Hey fam, wanted to check in…make sure everybody’s good. I know that this is a strange and scary time right now. And though it might be hitting some harder than others, at the end of the day, this is affecting all of us. I find solace in knowing my boredom/frustration is being shared with friends + strangers all over the world.
On that note, I’d like to share with you my personal “quarantine” story (because I have nothing but time to do that now). Maybe it helps shift perspective for a few people. Maybe it doesn’t. Either way, you’re reading this because you have plenty of time now too.
Two weeks ago, I was given the “all clear” by my oncologist and radiation oncologist to resume what once were my daily activities prior to my surgery in November. Restrictions like: not lifting anything over 20 lbs, maintaining celibacy, keeping a restricted diet were no longer vital to my healing process. It felt like a major finish line was being crossed.
Needless to say, it was a slow and isolating winter for me. The trauma to my body due to the radical hysterectomy was one thing. I was couch-bound for weeks, unable to do much of anything but watch Disney+ and feel as my body suffered multiple side effects + allergic reactions to surgery on a daily basis. Thankfully, my sister had hung Christmas lights throughout the inside of my house when I came home from the hospital…an immediate mood-booster. I made a haven out of my little corner of the sectional, propped myself up right beside the window. Coloring books and word searches, a stack of library books, my journal, my laptop, and 2 dogs that laid beside me amongst an array of blankets kept me sane. My “social interaction” during the day was watching the mailman stepped onto my porch every afternoon.
A month later, I was cleared to drive. Which would have been somewhat of a ‘return to the real world’ for me, however, it wasn’t. I then had to drive to Beaumont Hospital 5 days a week for 5 weeks for radiation treatment. Treatments brought on fatigue like I’d never experienced. For a high energy person like myself, it messed with my head to feel like I needed a nap everyday. It severely affected my stomach and bladder control to the point I couldn’t be in public longer than an hour without some kind of embarrassment. So my “social isolation” continued.
Throughout this medical experience, only 20 people knew what I was going through while I was actively going through it. And even though that was intentional, it inevitably brought on intense waves of loneliness on my rough days. So I learned how to self-soothe. I meditated. I journaled. I read more books. I practiced guitar. I organized my closets. I got a FitBit and made myself walk…if it was too cold outside, I’d put on headphones and walk laps around my basement. Everyday was one day closer to normalcy.
By the end of February, life was picking up speed. I was done with radiation and my new releases on TIDAL were just starting to roll out. There were photo shoots, music videos, and big shows to prepare for. I was just starting to get back into the studio. And I was FINALLY going to get the honeymoon I’d waited over a year for.
But … just like with everyone else in the world, my big plans had to change.
Am I frustrated? Sure. Am I bored? Well, I’ve started singing karaoke alone in my basement, so you can guess the answer.
But I’ll tell you one thing I am not: Careless.
Look – I was young, I worked out 5 days a week, took my vitamins, and never got sick.
And I was still not exempt from cancer.
I’m smart enough to know that I’m also not exempt from COVID-19.
I know this sucks. I know you miss your friends, your nieces & nephews, your daily Starbucks runs … me too. I know you’re worried about your livelihood and what the future will hold. I am too. But you know what I’m most afraid of, the one thing I would never get over? If I passed COVID-19 to someone else.
I have not seen another human aside from my husband in 13 days. Granny is 92 years old. My mother has a very weakened immune system due to her kidney transplant and all the procedures she’s had to have since. My father has a lung condition and his plant is still open, where a co-worker was just put on a 2 week leave for being in contact with someone with coronavirus. My sister is reporting every day to U of M hospital as a nurse. My family is my everything and they are all less than an hour away. It hurts not to see them. But whatever I’m feeling now completely pales in comparison to the thought of losing someone I love. Or making you lose someone you love.
If I can make it through November, December, and January in isolation, surely I can handle another 2-3 weeks. And so can you. This is happening to all of us. So let’s start acting like our lives depend on it, because they do. Stay home.