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Story Time: Cancer in the time of a pandemic

Posted on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 5:11 pm

By Lorry Myers

I didn’t sleep the night before dreading the next day. My husband and I had known for a while that something was off. A second opinion and countless scans of every nook and cranny in Randy’s body were completed. When we were sitting in the medical office waiting for the doctor, I wanted to be anywhere but there.

Randy looked at me and winked.

I knew bad news was coming and so did Randy but when the doctor gave it to us, I wasn’t expecting it at all. My family has heard things like this before but still, I wasn’t ready to go through it again. As the doctor talked, Randy slipped his hand on my leg and gave it a squeeze.

Lorry Myers

Lorry Myers

My husband has cancer.

A treatment plan was put in place and we came ready to battle. The reading material the cancer center offers is overwhelming but I read every word. I looked up terminology, calculated probabilities and read every cancer story that had a good ending. I started a folder, a timeline, a question list.

Writing it down makes it very real.

At the cancer center, I was overwhelmed by the steady stream of cancer fighters just like Randy. To limit contact, I waited for him in the parking lot and people watched. Women with colorful turbans and pale faces. Men with walkers or in wheel chairs with stocking caps covering their bald heads. Some walked in alone, but most had someone with them, their eyebrows furrowed with worry.

Everyone wears a mask.

Cancer stinks, but cancer in the time of a pandemic really stinks. We had read all the materials about the side-effects of radiation and chemo but in these times, our awareness was heightened. We had to be diligent, we had to be careful, we had to make sure that Randy didn’t get what no one wants. I carried hand sanitizer and sprayed down shopping carts. I walked out of businesses where no one wore masks. I stopped shopping at stores where employees ignored safety precautions.

Randy simply stayed home.

A few days before his last treatment, Randy started to slip. After he rang the bell signifying his radiation was over, Randy was hospitalized. The first thing they did was test him for COVID-19 even though I insisted that he had been sheltering and I had been so careful.

The test came back positive.

So, as I write these words, my husband is in the intensive care unit at the hospital. I can’t go, I can’t visit, I can’t whisper words in his ear. The medical staff is weary, the unit is full and I am mad about it. I am mad about mask-less people. Mad about careless, uncaring, unbelieving people. I’m mad that people rant that this is a freedom stealer or an inside joke.

This is not a joke.