How COVID-19 Is Affecting Me As A 29-Year-Old Cancer Patient

COVID-19 has changed all of our lifestyles. (Almost) everyone is practicing social distancing, panic-buying toilet paper, and staying home from work and school. It’s more severe for someone like me, because I’m a stage four cancer patient currently going through chemotherapy. I’m the absolute definition of “at-risk” and “immunocompromised” right now. I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in October, and I only have FIVE WEEKS of chemotherapy (out of 20) left to go. When you go through chemo, the drugs wipe out your white blood cells (that fight viruses) along with the cancer cells. This makes you particularly vulnerable in the midst of an insane, fast-spreading disease like coronavirus. There is no treatment for coronavirus, so basically, if I were to get it, I’d be immediately hospitalized, and my body wouldn’t be able to fight it off, and I’d be royally f*cked. And right before I might actually be cancer-free, guys!

Actual footage of me at home rn:

To attempt to keep me alive, my doctor has demanded I go into quarantine, which is worse than social distancing. I am not allowed to leave the house except to go to chemo every week. I’m not allowed to see friends. I can’t go to the grocery store. This is super inconvenient because grocery delivery services near me have also shut down (why tho, Instacart?) and Amazon is out of basically anything useful. I’m lucky I have awesome friends who will bring me food and that restaurants are still doing takeout, otherwise I’d be pretty screwed. I’m still allowed to go to chemo (because I have to or my boobs will try to murder me for a third time), so I get to hang out with my friend while she drives me like a chauffeur, with me sitting in the back on the passenger side to maintain maximum distance. (She gets 5 stars, although she doesn’t even provide snacks or water.)

Overall, quarantine is really, really boring. I’ve barely worked since my cancer fun began, but before that, I was a career freelancer who already worked from home. I had so many surgical procedures done that it was pretty impossible to keep up with my workload, and with the last four months of chemo, I’ve been too sick to work majority of the time. I spent a lot of time curled in the fetal position and trying to sleep until I feel better. The minimal work I’ve kept up throughout my illness has mostly been put on hold, as companies close and don’t need as much output. Lucky for you guys, Betches has continued to put out content to keep you entertained during these next few weeks, soooo you’re welcome. I’d be really screwed financially, though, if I wasn’t already from having cancer/not working enough. Companies just aren’t thinking about hiring out extra artists/writers when they’re trying to keep their own employees afloat.

So yeah, not a whole lot going on for me. I’m trying to stop ordering stuff online so I don’t have to frantically Lysol the box it comes in and wash my hands a million times after opening the box. Also, I’m not even allowed to drink anymore! Fun fact: you are actually allowed to drink on chemo—just minimally (two drinks max, twice a week), so it doesn’t make your nonexistent immune system worse. I, however, started doing immune therapy (another treatment that destroys cancer cells in the body) at the same time as chemo, so my liver freaked out and now I’m not allowed to drink at all. (The immune therapy is the only thing that’s really going to save my life and keep me around long-term, so I’ll take it, but still.) So you think social distancing is bad? Imagine being quarantined AND sober!


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The beginning of the decade to the end of the decade is a little weird for me. In 2010, I was in college, killing it in my career path, had all the goals and hopes and dreams in the world. Now I’m ending the decade sick from chemo with a fresh diagnosis: stage 4 mets with four new tumors. Usually at the end of the year, I beat myself up for the list of goals I didn’t accomplish and make new schedules for how hard I’ll work the next year. Now my career and everything I’ve worked for is off the rails and I’m just happy I survived this year and praying I survive another. Here’s to the end of 2019 and I hope I begin 2021 able to say that I’m cancer survivor, not a patient. Stage 4 cancer simply isn’t enough to take me down. 🔥#fuckcancer #fuckbreastcancer #stage4cancer

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Obviously the worst part of being high-risk is not having to stay at home and endure a little bit of boredom; it’s the people that aren’t taking social distancing seriously and are putting me more at risk. I keep seeing people (like Resident Asshole Vanessa Hudgens) post things like, “Oh, well the only people dying are elderly or compromised already.” First of all, that’s not true. You’re not invincible just because you’re young. But also? I don’t want to die, Vanessa, especially when I’m five weeks from being cancer-free. It’s really awkward reading friends say things like this when I’m sitting here at 29 years old in the high-risk category. Can you f*cking not just work out at home for a couple weeks so that this disease stops spreading and I’m less likely to get it/die from it? Why is it okay that people die from this at all when all you have to do to prevent it is stay home? It’s not asking that much. But sooo sorry you’re missing Coachella, so sad for you. Why should I live when Scheana Shay needs to go to Palm Springs? Anyone who is not practicing social distancing is saying, “F*ck everyone else, I don’t care if people die as long as I can do whatever I want.” What if it was you who was at risk of dying, though? Would you still be saying that? I’m going to guess no.

If you’re using this as a reason to travel and potentially spread disease because you think it doesn’t affect you so it doesn’t matter, let me just tell you to your face: F*CK YOU, MAN. You better pray people are kinder to you when you inevitably get sick, get old, or have to deal with an insane pandemic in the high-risk group.

If you’re bored AF while social distancing, here’s what I’ve done since getting cancer: reorganized my entire apartment, made a list of every book I need to read in my lifetime (and then just reread Harry Potter again, whoops), watched almost all the Real Housewives franchises, ordered one million plants from The Sill, cleaned out all my expired beauty products, bought a lot of cute spring outfits online that I have nowhere to wear now, and watched A LOT of Netflix. I also bought a ton of different wigs but I don’t think that really will apply to most of you, unless you also happen to be bald.

For those of you who are social distancing, thank you for staying inside and washing your hands so coronavirus doesn’t spread. You’re awesome and I appreciate you. I’m also extremely alarmed by how many people did not know how to wash their hands prior to this. If anything good came out of this, let it be that the masses now understand basic hygiene.

Happy quarantining! Have a drink (or 5) for me!

Images: Holly Hammond; hollydoesart / Instagram Giphy (3)

Holly Hammond
Holly Hammond
Holly is an ex-sorority girl with the personality of Elle Woods meets Wednesday Addams. She is an artist, writer, animator, and part-time magician. Her parents are v proud but also like to ask her when she's going to get a real job. Buy art from her so she can pay for her bulldog's dermatologist.