The evolving COVID-19 situation has impacted all of us. For people affected by cancer, the pandemic has been particularly challenging.
We asked our community to share how COVID-19 has impacted them.
This is Lindsay’s story of how he has needed to postpone his treatment for his own safety.
My wife Maria was diagnosed with cervical cancer and passed away in 2016 when she was 51.
A few months later, I was diagnosed with Pancreatic NETS.
Maria’sdad lived in the country and I was communicating with him quite a lot, and he could sense that there was something wrong. At the same time, my brother had the same feeling. They badgered me a little bit, and then I went to see my GP.
He looked at me and said he wanted me to get some blood tests and a scan. That was on the Wednesday, and on the Thursday,he called and asked if I could come in.
I couldn’t because I was working. He asked me if I could come in on Friday, and he never works on that Friday, so I knew it was bad news. That afternoon I was at Royal North Shore Hospital. Within days I was having a stent from my pancreas to my liver.
I was in and out of hospital seeing a liver specialist. It seemed like every day there was something happening – I was sent from here to there and having scans.
It was an out of body experience– I couldn’t believe it was all happening, especially just after losing Maria.
In 2017 I was put on high radiation infusions called Lutate therapy. You’re meant to take four infusions over eight months, but I had one infusion and it adversely affected my blood count and my bone marrow.
The second infusion was postponed. When the prior results came through, they were even worse than they had been previously. My body just couldn’t take it – my immune system was so low, and I had malnutrition.
“A waiting game”
Before COVID-19, I had scans which suggested my cancer had progressed a little, and they wanted to do another round of Lutate therapy.
Then COVID-19came along, and my doctor said,“We’re just going to have to put it off, we can’t have you coming into the hospital with your low immune system, it’s probably more dangerous than waiting.”
The Lutate therapy takes about six days of consecutiveappointments so you’re in and out of the hospital a lot. My doctor said we should just play it by ear.
So, it’s just a waiting game at the moment.
I’ve self–isolated since reading about COVID-19, long before the government started putting rules into place.
I’m a great believer that people should stay home. I look at the beaches, and people are still going out there and selfishly being amongst other people. You don’t know what other illnesses people have.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Lindsay.
We understand those undergoing cancer treatment, cancer survivors and their families and friends may have questions in relation to COVID-19.
If you are feeling anxious, have questions or need support, Cancer Council’s information and support line is available on 13 11 20 during business hours. Our specially trained team can provide emotional support as well as practical tips for minimising the risk of infection during this time.