Lunch with Lindsay: Parenting and Working During a Public Health Crisis

It has been seven weeks since you heard from me. Since I last wrote on here, I have been so busy that I recorded my last episode of Lunch with Lindsay in late August; however, I did not get to share it here until today. If you read my post on my other blog, you know that I am Forcing Myself Off of the Hamster Wheel in order to make time to blog again.

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Proving Your Pain

Today I called an airline for a refund on a flight I had scheduled prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was quite an ordeal.

In November 2019, I bought tickets to travel to Austin, TX, in May 2020. I had no clue that I would be diagnosed with breast cancer weeks later, how expensive cancer be as I worked to improve and maintain my quality of life, how challenging it would be to interact with medical providers and loved ones, how much pressure it is to take care of others even when I needed care, how the COVID-19 pandemic would intersect with my cancer and fertility treatment, how emotional freezing my eggs would be, and how George Floyd’s murder would place the United States’ racism under a magnifying glass in ways that reminded me of the ways others and myself have experienced racism in this country.

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Racism Is a Public Health Crisis

Photo from Flickr

Almost two and a half months ago, this article on racism being a public health crisis was published on Boston.com. The journalist Dialynn Dwyer quoted leading experts and hospitals such as the Dean of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the President of Massachusetts Medical Society, Boston Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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How Close Does Pain Need to Be to Impact Your Spirituality?

Last week I had a couple conversations with friends who were contemplating the impact that the pandemic was having on their spirituality.

Photo from Flickr

That’s not surprising. Whether someone is enduring a personal or global crisis, it’s not unheard of to have spiritual questions in the process. I should know. I’ve been through a wide array of thoughts, emotions, and questions since I started Saying Goodbye to My Body (As I Know It) with my breast cancer diagnosis. Over the past few months, I’ve replayed the chain of events that led to my diagnosis. Upon receiving antiquated and unhealthy advice that society gives breast cancer patients and survivors, I’ve managed hurt and anger while seeking both community care and self-care. As I’ve confronted the largest medical bills of my life, I’ve rethought the way gift giving and generosity are perceived in society. All of this mental processing is just what I call January.

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Sending Practical Actions

Yesterday morning, I went on Facebook to post in a support group for young breast cancer patients and survivors. I got connected to this group Young Survival Coalition at the recommendation of another survivor shortly after I was diagnosed. After reading the website, I signed up for their Facebook group as soon as I realized they had one.

Since I joined the online group, I’ve mostly read other people’s stories, comments, questions, fears, and victories in their battles with breast cancer. Sometimes their fears have amplified mine, but their hopes also have given me hope when mine felt low.

As a newbie to breast cancer, I got to learn about terminology, resources, and other issues that I otherwise wouldn’t have known had I not joined that online group. More knowledge can be both disconcerting and comforting; therefore, I have to be very mindful of how I interact with the page. Overall though I find the benefits to outweigh any discomfort I feel from reading patients’ and survivors’ challenges and fears. We all need an outlet to share our unfiltered thoughts, and that forum serves that purpose.

This online support group for young breast cancer survivors is the opposite of content that I find highly annoying online, and that content is inspiration porn.

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Photo from Flickr

There’s nothing like inspiration porn to make me roll my eyes, especially as I undergo cancer treatment during the global pandemic known as COVID-19, or the Coronavirus.

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Replaying the Chain of Events

If you’re a close friend or coworker of mine, you know that I take preventing illness very seriously. In fact, I wear a surgical mask when people are coughing and sneezing around me on public transportation. The photo below is of me proudly wearing a surgical mask on the train two winters ago.  30582358_10109547602559750_8507850508006948708_n.jpg

When it comes to surgical masks, winter isn’t the only time I don them. The following picture is of me from two summers ago. I rode the bus from Boston to New Hampshire to help my friend pack supplies for her wedding weekend in Maine. When she picked me up from the bus stop in New Hampshire, she informed me that she was sick; in response, I quickly put on a surgical mask that I had stored in my purse for emergencies like this.

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