I’m not sure what to do. I don’t know who to talk to. How seriously do I need to take this corona virus? Am I hight risk or just vulnerable? Will I die?

Frightening questions most people never need to consider.

I was in hospital two weeks ago having my fifth procedure to remove more metastasised bowel cancer nodules in my lungs. I had six ablated in the left lung and two in the right and came round two hours later, a little battered and bruised with two drains attached.

With fresh holes in my lungs and scarring from the previous procedures I’m probably vulnerable, although not high risk as I haven’t had chemo since June 2019.

It became apparent how serious the virus was becoming when my surgeon told me he had cancelled four operations after he had completed mine! I was lucky. The hospital was eerily quiet, and there were now security officers at the entrances. I was told no visitors unless essential. 

Am I in the right place? Better here or at home? Endless doctors and nurses around me, with no masks or gloves on. Who were they with last night? 

Despite the loneliness even I didn’t want to leave until I knew my lungs had healed properly: the consequences of a collapsed lung and a trip to A&E kept me focused. 

I finally got discharged after 6 days (normally 3) and I came home to a very strange environment. 

My wife was insisting on self-isolation AND social distancing, even inside the house. Everyone seemed very worried about me. More worried than I was. I have two boys aged 22 and 18, also taking it very seriously. No hugging, eating dinner two meters apart, no watching telly in the same room. News on TV 24/7, phones pinging each time the death toll rises! None of us has any symptoms. Is this over kill?

I don’t know the answer, but I feel strangely less stressed about the situation, or more specifically, the mental side of this disaster. It might only be me but maybe as someone with incurable cancer I guess I’ve been dealing with fear, uncertainty, and anxiety for a few years now. Disease and death are subjects that I’ve had to come to terms with.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate the magnitude of what we are witnessing, and yes, I’m worried for all those elderly and vulnerable people, including my 84-year-old Dad, and for everyone putting themselves in harm’s way as they work tirelessly to fight this pandemic. My heart goes out to all those with chronic illnesses, particularly those with cancer, that are now having treatments and procedures delayed or cancelled.

Trying to stay sane is not easy; I will only watch Boris and the gang deliver their daily update and I try to avoid the doom on social media, preferring to seek out reputable articles that deliver a proper perspective on the situation. I’m recovering still so can’t go crazy on the exercise at the moment; a short dog walk suffices. I keep busy writing, and working on a few fundraising ideas, interspersed with watching a movie or two, reading a book, and playing some PlayStation games (my boys find this highly amusing – I’m really bad)

It’s slightly odd that it seems that the whole world is now in the same boat, and everyone is suffering in one way or another. We are not alone, lets support each other in whatever way we can, as we make our way through this difficult situation. Now is the time to show strength and resilience, kindness and compassion, to maintain a positive attitude, and to hold onto a sense of humour. We will get through this.

Read my story at                                 http://bowelbloke.com/my-story/