My health, the health of my dog, my boyfriend, my family. Our health and our happiness. About three years ago I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I ended up beating it once, and four months after, they found that the cancer came back, so I went through about two more years of treatment and surgeries. I’ve been cancer free now for going on six months. I’m so well aware of what it’s like–what the world is living through right now. Paralyzing fear of the unknown. That’s what my life has been like the past 3 years. I’ve found a lot of comfort in that I kind of know what to expect and go through in these unknown times. I just want to be there for my family and my friends who have never really had to go through anything like this. It’s a difficult time, but I’m trying to be there for myself–being in a high risk group–but also being there for my friends and my family.
What was most important to you before you had to social distance?
Being able to just go out and live my life. I had a very small window, I think. I’ve just been so sick the past three years. I started to finally feel better in January, and I had a very small window in February where I was able to go out and do things. Just go to a coffee shop, go for a walk, and finally feel well enough. To have that taken away is a little bit heartbreaking. But just going out and doing the simplest things–it’s not really something to be taken for granted.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when this is over?
I’m probably just going to go outside. Maybe kiss the ground. Try and go about my everyday life. Just go to a coffee shop, going to the dog park, going out and being social and just living life.
What are you doing to pass the time?
It helps to have a dog, of course. It occupies a lot of our time. I’m working so that also is a great distraction. I’m really just trying to use the platform that we have on [my pug] Mister Meatloaf’s Instagram page–trying to be creative with that–finding lots of ways to give back to the community. That’s just been a great source of distraction. Doing a lot of good with the platform that we’re lucky to have.
What makes you happy right now?
Being home with everyone around me. I just like to be surrounded by my family. It’s really nice that I can go through this with my family. The last three years I didn’t always have people around me day-to-day. There were many days I was by myself and felt very lonely and it was just very hard. I feel really lucky that I have to stay home now, but I can do that with people.
What would you tell yourself two months ago with the knowledge you have today? What is the biggest realization you’ve had through this time?
I’ve gone through this before, and it was a really hard mental hurdle to get over–that I couldn’t go out and live my life because of something that was directly happening to me, and I had no control over it. This is something where it’s not necessarily directly happening to me yet, but again, it is something that I don’t have control over.
Enjoy every day. I think a lot of us know that deep down. Be in the moment, be present. I try not to take any day for granted. I know how precious life is. I tend to get ahead of myself and be like “I’m young, I’m invincible, I have the whole world ahead of me” and that’s not really always the case. It’s a good reminder sometimes that it’s really important to just slow down and really enjoy every moment that you have.
I’m not alone. I’m okay. When the news started pouring in, I started having really bad panic attacks because I’m very susceptible to getting this. All these what-if scenarios. I had to change my thinking to be like “if I get this, okay.” We’re going to be okay, we have a plan. It’s just kind of being comforted in the unknown.