Cancer and COVID-19

I am a 7-year survivor of Stage 2 aggressive bladder cancer. I’m very lucky.

But I still worry about my health more than the average bear. And COVID isn’t helping.

I say I worry about it but I still can’t say I do enough even today from an eating/exercising standpoint. But, today, in our pandemic world, I do wear a mask whenever I’m out and about.

I don’t do that for me but for others.

The impact of chemo on the immune system

Having been through the first chapter of cancer – chemo – I know what treatments did to me and my immune system. I know that many of those currently on chemo are highly immunocompromised.

I feel the need to protect them.

But I’m probably safe today 7-years after chemo, but I still wonder if I’m a bit less able to handle viruses like COVID. I’m more scared than most probably. You may be too.

And I’m okay with that.

Wearing the mask helps me protect others

I don’t need to be macho. I need to be alive.

I don’t need to worry about whether I look cool in a mask or not. I need to look alive.

I don’t need to eat at a crowded restaurant. I need to continue to eat period.

In other words, after cancer (AC) there are very few things outside of living that matter. Most of us on this site or who have battled cancer know that viscerally. We faced hearing the “odds” of living (even when we hear odds of living, we do the math and convert it to odds of dying.) We’ve googled survival rates when we shouldn’t. (Survival rates are guesses at a population outcome – not your future.)

Being cautious

In other words, when we hear about COVID and people dying it means something more because we’re attached to it at an emotional level.

And that’s okay.

I am putting this out here because I think that being cautious is being smart.

You don’t look silly in a mask - you look respectful.

You don’t look weak with a mask – you look strong saving others.

You don’t look scared with a mask – you look brave.

Protecting ourselves and others

A mask can help you help yourself – and help others who are going through similar journeys with chemo to survive COVID.

I don’t want anyone who can take on the beast of cancer to be killed by the lack of a couple of layers of cloth.

I see your mask and salute you. Thank you.

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