Cancer Recovery During a Pandemic

It’s been 18 months since I finished chemo for breast cancer, 15 months since I finished radiation at this writing, June 2020. My hair grew back a year ago. The tingling in my fingers is gone. I used to have heart flutters and some chest congestion; those symptoms have passed.  

I had a mammogram recently; it was good. No “signs of malignancy.” That’s how the official language goes. I wasn’t expecting anything bad, but you never know.

I saw my oncologist the following week. She felt my scar tissue. I have tenderness under my armpit where four lymph nodes were removed. She said it all felt fine. She also told me my “blood work was perfect.” That is very encouraging.

However, my BMI hovers between average and overweight; 24.8 some weeks, 25.2 on others. I can’t lose five pounds, I’ve been trying for five years. I know it’s not life and death, but it sure means something to me. Less belly fat, more control of my life?Perhaps. A sign that middle age is not getting to me? Maybe. A sign that having cancer has not rearranged my motivation to be a bit slimmer?

I could move more, eat less. I am trying. It’s so hard with the COVID-19 pandemic that stopped our lives for months in Chicago, and even now, as numbers start to lessen, we must still practice social distancing and continue our super cleanliness routines.

Then, the tragedy of George Floyd’s death brought protests that crippled our city again, and for us cancer survivors who are the “at risk” population, brought yet another new set of challenges for self-care and survival.   

I don’t have a car. Is it safe to take a bus or a taxi? Even with a mask and gloves, I worry. I walk to the

Read More