Living with terminal cancer during the Coronavirus pandemic

cancer coronavirus


Over the last few weeks I have poo-pood people (like my mother) who were freaking out about the Coronavirus. It was far away from me, not yet in Toronto. Why would I worry?

People started posting about their stockpiles; food, water, toiletries, cleaning supplies just in case. I didn’t get it. Why? It’s not here yet. 

Until it was here. 

The other day a man in my neighbourhood was confirmed with Covid19 or Coronavirus. Then I started to worry. It’s now not just in Toronto but in my neighbourhood. I started to worry and didn’t sleep well the night I found out. What if we were in line together at Starbucks the other day? What if we crossed paths and I touched something he did after he touched his nose? All these questions started to swirl around in my head. And the reality of Coronavirus being in Toronto was now real. 

Regular healthy people are worrying about this but I’m not just your average person. I’m living with terminal cancer which makes me the perfect target for this as I am immunocompromised due to my oral chemotherapy. I’ve read a lot about Coronavirus and educating myself with the information that is currently out there. 

So yesterday, I went to the store and grabbed a few things. I didn’t go crazy at all but bought some stuff to keep us protected and made sure my kids had some food to eat should we be quarantined.

I’m not the person who usually buys into hysteria or starts to freak out about things but I am scared. 

Last night I learned that Italy’s hospitals are so packed with people and low on supplies, that doctors are making decisions about which patients to treat. Want to know whats terrifying? If this should happen here and if I would need help, I wouldn’t be saved. Do you know how scary that is? Beyond. So beyond that it makes me so upset just even thinking about it. 

Right now, my travel part of my bucket/fuck it list is on HOLD. This is one of the most upsetting things. I had plans go cross some locations off my list, but I can’t be putting myself at risk. The last thing I need is to be hospitalized in another country because I’m sick and come home with a hospital bill worth a few hundred thousand dollars. I continually feel a need to do things on my list while I feel good,  and considering I don’t know how much time I have while I feel good, that I can’t do these things now is devastating. 

cancer and coronavirus

 So what am I doing?

I’m continually washing my hands and making everyone around me wash their hands too. I cannot attend events or go places where large amounts of people are. I’m asking those around me if they or any person in their family is sick before I can see them. If people are travelling, I won’t be able to see them either. I carry hand sanitizer and use it often and I don’t touch shopping cart handles, door knobs etc in public places without covering my hands or the item I’m touching. 

I’d love to get my hands on some face masks but people have bought them all thinking they’ll be protected, but those who need them most, the sick and immunocompromised, can’t buy them because they are sold out!

With March Break starting next week, we had some great plans but sadly those won’t happen. My kids have been begging me to take them to the aquarium, but that can’t happen anymore. So instead we are going to come up with theme days at home, and make a list of activities that we can do together. Not ideal, but it’s what we have to do to keep me safe. 

 I worry daily about keeping healthy, and staying well for as long as possible, but now I have something extra to worry about. I know this post sounds a little melancholy but this is my reality right now. My spirits are high and I’m doing things to make me happy. At this point, I’m still going out, just limiting how long and where. 

I wish that the WHO would just suspend International travel for the next few weeks so that healthy people cannot unknowingly be spreading the virus especially to immunocompromised people like me. 

We all have to look out for one another, and stop the spread of this virus ASAP.

These are my thoughts today on living with terminal cancer during the Coronavirus pandemic. I’d love to know how you feel about it, where you live and what, if anything, you are doing to protect yourself and others. 



  1. Deborah Coombs says:

    Such a scary time to be immunocompromised. Sending you love and protective, healthy vibes. Here in NL we have no cases yet, but I imagine it’s only a matter of time. Washing hands and avoiding crowds, just in case. Reminding myself I got through SARS, even with an emergency room visit for a broken foot. But, I am otherwise healthy, so the stakes are much lower. Love you, my friend!

  2. julielaura1 says:

    I cannot imagine how scary it must be for you and your family. Hopefully this virus will run it course quickly and disappear as fast as it came!

  3. Jen says:

    I can only imagine how you are feeling. My daughter’s best friend is has a compromised immune system, I suggested my daughter be extra empathetic and understanding with her. Sometimes kids don’t fully understand the consequences of their behaviour, even adults are bad with this. Right now we all need to take care of ourselves and each other. Sending you a virtual hug.

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