Lions, Tigers and Coronavirus….Oh my!

How is your general health?……  Great, except for the cancer.

The whole world has changed in an instant and now everyone needs to be on alert to avoid catching or spreading this new virus. Sneezing and coughing in public will soon be illegal.

Especially near people who are high risk.

And that’s me!  And some of my very dear friends.

I’ve always been a healthy person – the one who doesn’t catch the viruses and flu. My youngest son even asked me once if I ever got sick. (I did, sometimes.) When I saw my new internist this past week, I answered the question – How is your general health?……  Great, except for the cancer.

Now, I’ve decided to isolate as much as I can. My pancreatic cancer has metastasized to my lungs so they are well covered with numerous nodules. Coronavirus is a respiratory virus; thus, I am a very serious high risk person.

Even before the day the world stopped, my new internist recommended I stay off all public transportation and away from crowds. He appeared concerned for my health. That was concerning. 

Elderly people are also at risk. So, how old is elderly? I asked my friend Alexa who lives in a machine in my dining room. She said those above age 65.  Great, now I’m elderly too. Double whammy. I actually believe we should call people from ages 65-70 pre-elderly. Especially if they still walk 2 miles most days and frequently dream about returning to play old lady soccer.

So, being pre-elderly, I remember swine flu, h1n1, in 2009. It was also a national emergency.  “On November 12, 2009, the CDC reported an estimated 22 million Americans had been infected with 2009 A H1N1 and 4,000 Americans have died.” (wikipedia)

For me, that flu was very real. I lost a dear friend to it.  

I was also exposed. I was teaching a class at MATC, Milwaukee area tech college. I teach the teachers so they can get certified. (I still teach the class online) One day a teacher/student brought the virus to class. By the next week another person had become symptomatic. Then the public health department and college shut down my class. Everyone passed, but I never heard if anyone else caught it. Thankfully, I didn’t. But I was not at risk back then. 

Isolation. I guess it’s time to get out my books, puzzles and clean out my closets. (Wait, let’s not go that far.)  However, it is time to respect the power of this virus and be smart. If everyone else will also be careful, people like me will be safe and stay alive. 

We need to be all in this together.

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This is my blog about living my life with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer—End stage. I joked about writing this imaginary blog when I spent a year on a treatment that allowed me only 10 days to feel well enough to live a fairly normal life. (Actually normal doesn’t even really exist for me anymore!) To earn those good days, I spent the previous 10 days living in post-chemo treatment physical hell – that also became normal in a perverse way. I’m also writing to honor those who are diagnosed with Stage Four Pancreatic Cancer. You might live longer than you expect and I want you to have someone who tells you what that’s like. There aren’t many role models for people with this because, well, they’re usually gone. So, this is for you. Maybe your journey will be similar to mine. Actually, it will probably be very different because “everyone is different.” Even still, maybe this will still be a bit of a guide.

4 thoughts on “Lions, Tigers and Coronavirus….Oh my!”

  1. Great post Kathy. Well said, and with your super personality sprinkled throughout. 🙂 The Coronavirus adds a strange new (and concerning) variable to this mix but I know you are being extremely cautious and you are one of the smartest individuals I have ever know about following the right protocols and listening to your inner direction. (Not sure I worded that right but you know what I mean). Thinking of you daily and sending love and wishes for sunshine in Milwaukee, so you can get out into the fresh air often (just not near anyone!). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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