“Only the old and weak will be affected”
“Only a tiny percent of the population will die from it”
“Vulnerable and old can just stay in, we can carry on going out”
“It won’t affect me”
“But I need to work to pay the bills”
Just a small selection of things I have read on social media today alone.
As most of you know, this is my son. He is 12 years old and is 1/3 of his way through chemotherapy for Osteosarcoma (bone cancer). He has just had an operation to remove most of his leg and replace it with a prosthetic implant. He doesn’t have an immune system in ‘normal’ circumstances let alone with this virus.
He is the vulnerable. He is the tiny percent of the population who possibly wouldn’t survive if he contracted COVID-19. To you he is a tiny blip in your radar. To me, he is everything.
What the world is facing right now is scary and tough, but it’s exactly what us cancer families have had to learn to live with. It is our norm.
So, you are cleaning more than ever because of the virus. We clean more than ever because of all germs.
You are scared for your children. We are scared for our children.
You are worrying that the person you just bumped into, may already be ill without you knowing. Same, but for every illness, even minor common colds.
You are worried about finances. How will you pay the bills? How will you cope on a one person income or possibly having to claim benefits? Absolutely the same. Looking after someone with cancer is a full time job. Many people don’t have a choice but to give up work. We don’t get the luxury of doing it anyway.
You’re worried your children are scared and unsure how to talk to them. I have had to sit my children down and tell them that not only their Mum has cancer but 6 years later, that their brother has too. Not being able to answer questions on if they are going to die, just that I will do everything in my power to make sure he gets the best treatment and we do all we can to protect him.
You’re worried your child will miss so much school work they won’t be able to catch up. Ellis’ hasn’t been at school since December and won’t return until September at the earliest. Most children with cancer miss months if not years of their schooling.
My children will miss their friends and social life. Most children with cancer have to stay away from friends because of the risk of infection. They rely on social media and the internet to keep these relationships alive.
This isn’t about who has it worse, it’s just pointing out that yes, times are hard and at the moment it probably feels like the whole world is crashing down on top of you. Not knowing if and when you will next be paid, scared for your children’s health and feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed. BUT it will get better. You will cope, you will come out the other side. But you can’t do it alone.
We all need to work together in this. That extra ‘pop’ to the shops may be insignificant to you and your strong immune system, but it could be the vessel this horrible virus needs to spread and mutate.
Please please please, I beg you from the bottom of my heart, please stay in. Help me to keep people like Ellis safe.
We can’t do this alone