While watching a COVID-19 press conference by the Prime Minister a few weeks back, he was describing the new way of life and I told RK, “new normal”. Minutes later, he used the word “new normal”. And I gasped. Then something clicked in my brain. This COVID-19 is sounding more like cancer, the more I think about it.
Note: I’m gonna be inserting satire cancer memes from @thecancerpatient.
COVID-19 and Cancer Are Scarily Mysterious
You don’t know if you have them. They may take a while before you exhibit symptoms or you may not exhibit symptoms at all. When you do have symptoms, even if you only have common flu, you freak out and wonder if it’s COVID-19…or cancer for cancer survivors like me. The only difference is that COVID-19 is contagious but cancer is not. Cancer can be hereditary though so my children would need to be vigilant.
COVID-19 and Cancer Are Overwhelming
When I first heard about COVID-19, I wanted to know all about it. I read about it a lot. I cross-referenced multiple sources. I studied different theories (and conspiracies) and had to choose what I want to believe. People started sending me all kinds of information about it. I had to filter through fake news and sometimes educate people about it. At a certain point, I stopped reading about all things COVID-19 because it was getting overwhelming.
Sounds just like the early days of being diagnosed with cancer.
COVID-19 and Cancer Do Not Discriminate
You can be rich, poor, old, young, religious, non-religious, healthy, or otherwise. There’s a different risk level for each profile but the risk is not zero. There’s still a chance to get and die from COVID-19 or cancer no matter how careful or low risk you exhibit.
COVID-19 and Cancer Involve Quarantine
A lot of times, cancer treatment makes patients immunocompromised. This means that the immune system is very weak and thus a minor infection (like flu) can get very serious. Because of that, immunocompromised patients wear masks when they need to go out and have to avoid children, pregnant women and crowds. Hygiene is super important. Patients have to take special care on food safety too.
Sounds like a sort of social distancing for COVID-19.
COVID-19 and Cancer Affect Job Security
Feeling the need to secure your job more than ever? Feeling like the next job change is gonna be more risky than ever? I felt that after cancer. I didn’t want to lose my job because I’d lose company medical insurance the same time. When I move to another company (if anyone even wanna hire me), I may not get covered due to preexisting condition so it’s not just the boss, colleagues, work environment, job and salary to think about.
COVID-19 and Cancer Test Financial Resilience
When one is diagnosed with cancer, the cost of treatment and loss in earning opportunity can be as daunting as the disease itself. Medical bills pile up. Living expenses continue to accrue. If one doesn’t have an insurance (hospitalization and critical illness), cancer will dig into emergency fund or credit.
With COVID-19 and the growing troubles within many companies, shrinking revenue mean businesses, jobs and salaries are at stake. It gets really scary really fast when there’s no emergency fund to cushion the impact.
COVID-19 and Cancer Reset Timeline
COVID-19 and cancer cause so many changes to every day life that the brain can’t help but to have a “before COVID-19/cancer” and “after COVID-19/cancer” timeline. Work environment changes. Daily routine changes. People change. Outlook on life changes.
COVID-19 and Cancer Are Humbling
Suddenly, we realize that many things are out of control. We learn through the hard way that we may be sweating over little things. Or that we have been putting up with things that do not matter. We gain perspective. We get a wake-up call. Our mindset changes. Our attitude and behavior change. We appreciate and value important things more. We get out of this with determination to do better.
COVID-19 and Cancer Make Good Stories
Congratulations! If you live to tell the tale, you now have a great story to tell your grandchildren 😂.
Life will never be the same after COVID-19, for better or for worse. And if there’s any learning I got after cancer treatment would be to not expect life to be easier after Movement Control Order (MCO) 🙃.
Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Because for me, new normal after cancer was harder than the treatment itself. Without doctor appointments every other week, I was just afraid cancer would be back. Without a treatment plan to follow, I was afraid I would be doing it wrong. The fear and anxiety were crippling on bad days.
The good news in the case of COVID-19 is that the government will continuously monitor infection rates as MCO eases and we’d be given guidelines to follow! It won’t relieve all the fear and anxiety but it’d help 😃.
Also, EVERYONE is affected by COVID-19. It’d be much easier to look for a support group if necessary 😅.
All the best, world!