COVID-19 & MBC – It’s Different For Women Like Me

I ‌was‌ ‌diagnosed‌ ‌with‌ stage‌ ‌IV‌ ‌or metastatic ‌breast‌ ‌cancer‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌fall‌ ‌of‌ ‌2018, ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌age‌ ‌of‌ ‌30.  This meant that at the time of my diagnosis, breast cancer had already travelled outside the breast to my liver.  Unfortunately, metastatic‌ breast‌ ‌cancer‌ ‌is‌ ‌incurable‌.‌  ‌The‌ ‌average‌ ‌life‌ ‌expectancy‌ ‌after‌ ‌a‌ ‌stage‌ ‌4‌ ‌breast‌ ‌cancer‌ ‌diagnosis‌ ‌is‌ ‌just‌ ‌2-3‌ ‌years.‌ Currently, I am receiving targeted therapy infusions every three weeks, which will continue for the rest of my life, or until it stops working and we try something new.

What does all this mean when it comes to COVID-19? It means an extra real threat for me and so many others living with advanced cancer who are already fighting for our lives, fighting to stay alive for our families and friends. We were fighting before COVID-19 showed up and we want to be here long after it, continuing to fight. How is someone supposed to be given a fighting chance when the severity of this virus isn’t taken seriously by everybody?

I am staying home, I am self-isolating, I am having groceries delivered and sanitizing every single thing that comes into my home. When my husband gets home from his job as an emergency dispatcher, he changes his clothes in the garage and showers immediately. My kids and I are washing our hands non-stop. When we are outside, we are far from our neighbours, waving from the porch or driveway. We just celebrated my daughters 4th birthday, speaking only to loved ones through the glass door. We weren’t able to wrap our arms around them and tell them how much we love them. 

However, I do have to leave the safety of my home to head to the cancer centre for treatment. I sometimes wonder and worry, what is the point of going through all these extra precautions when I could pick up the virus the moment I step into the cancer centre, all because someone there didn’t think this virus was a big deal and hasn’t taken all the precautions I have.

What really worries me though, is our healthcare system getting overwhelmed if we as a community don’t succeed in slowing the spread of COVID-19. As someone with MBC, a terminal disease, I don’t want to get to the point where our healthcare workers need to decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t. Deciding whose life is more important or more worthy of saving. It’s unfair to force them to decide.

As someone with a terminal illness, I worry about the value placed on my life, should the choice need to be made. I don’t want to fear for my life every time I step foot out my door and into the cancer center for my life-saving infusions, because others aren’t doing their part.  Do I delay my treatments and risk disease progression so I don’t risk exposure to the virus? I don’t know if there is a right choice.

I can’t stress enough just how important it is for EVERYONE to #stayhomeforcancer. This isn’t just about you, it’s about all of us. We need to all work together to get control of this virus. Please, do your part and stay home. – Laura Montgomery

Will you join us in urging your friends, family, neighbours, coworkers, old classmates and anyone else you can think of to #StayHomeForCancer? Click here for more details.

For more stories and tips to keep you occupied during the COVID-19 physical-distancing, click here.

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