It felt like the world as I knew it no longer existed. After both of my breast cancer diagnoses my life went from routine and predictable to chaos and uncertainty. Work days were filled with anxiety as I continued to operate as normally as possible while internally all I could think was Cancer-Cancer-Cancer. Outside of work I obsessed over every detail I had from each step of the process. I spiraled deep into the internet finding articles and blogs and images that were a very sharp double edged sword of informative and terrifying. When it was too much I would close my laptop and walk away only to return a few minutes later to search again. It was like a drug I couldn’t stop. It felt more comfortable to live in that dark internet place than in the scary new reality that waited for me in life.
Today as I write this COVID-19 has done the same to a lot of us.
Chemo_graph started after an incredible moment caught the hearts of thousands around the world. Focusing my energy into building a campaign to raise awareness for cancer gave me a renewed sense of purpose following my second round of chemotherapy. Between bouts of fatigue and nausea and body pain I let myself have fun with the interviews. I was excited by everyone’s interest and the connections we made to expand and grow the Chemo_graph momentum. But as that momentum grew so did the news about the Coronavirus. The two were almost parallel in their development. Like a cartoon character with one foot on two separate trains, eyes-wide as my legs stretched apart from each other I tried to keep up with both Chemo_graph and COVID-19 as they veered away on their own separate tracks. For a while I continued to try and make Chemo_graph happen by posting on Instagram but quickly it became obvious that everyone’s attention was, understandably, elsewhere during this crazy time.
Have I lost hope for Chemo_graph? Absolutely not! But I have accepted my ability to gain a following on Instagram and connect with more beautiful bald heads out there who may want to have their head signed is limited without outside help which, as of now, isn’t available. Frankly, I can’t seem to find the courage to directly ask other chemo patients to have their heads signed to raise Chemo_graph awareness. It feels intrusive to message someone I don’t know going through the hell that is Chemotherapy and ask them if they want to get involved. And any potential interest from more well known signers couldn’t physically happen now even if I could get them on board. I still want to get more chemo heads signed. I still want Ellen or Alex Trebek or Brian Malarkey or Richard Blais or any other amazing celebrity out there to do a Chemo_graph. And I will still want that when it is safe to go out there and pound the (actual) pavement to do so.
Chemo_graph is just two days away from the one-month mark. I am overwhelmed with all the donations so far and we have raised more than $2500. If you would still like to donate please do as BKCO, Young Survival Coalition, and the as of yet (but I’ll keep hoping) undetermined third Cancer focused non-profit need our support now more than ever. Please repost and share and email and put this on Facebook so people who haven’t seen it might. Cancer hasn’t stopped just because COVID-19 started. And neither have I. Promise.