Social distancing tips from a blood cancer survivor
Most of us aren’t used to being stuck at home for days on end. However, for blood cancer patients, like Marc Normandeau, isolation and social distancing are nothing new. Marc was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was four and relapsed twice in middle and high school. After Marc’s second relapse, the prognosis was clear – if he didn’t get a stem cell transplant, he would die. Though the months before and after his transplant were physically grueling, Marc admits the psychological pain of being isolated was what affected him most. The social distancing we’re currently going through is not nearly as difficult as the time patients spend in isolation. Nevertheless, we could learn a bit from their experiences. Thankfully for us, Marc has a few tips on how to survive social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Connect with Friends
While Marc was in isolation, he realized how important it was to maintain the relationships he had. “Staying social during these times is crucial...I used to link up with friends on XBOX, play games, and talk,” Marc says. Don’t let the loneliness of being stuck at home get to you! Pour yourself a glass of wine and video chat your best friend from the comfort of your couch.
“When I was in isolation, I worked out a lot...try your best to adapt your exercises to your space at home,” states Marc. According to Marc, exercise was vital in helping him cope and clear his mind. Marc was able to buy some work-out equipment before the pandemic hit Montreal, but if you don’t have equipment at home, don’t sweat it! The other day, I saw my brother using a big sack of rice and a mini carry-on suitcase filled with books as makeshift weights. Who would have thought it? Your pantry could double as your very own weight rack!
Marc and his mom
Do Things You Enjoy
Marc reminds us to have a bit of fun while social distancing. “This time around, I’ve started playing games with friends on Zoom and Jackbox...there are plenty of games out there,” Marc says. Or, if you’re not into games, the possibilities are endless. Jump on the bread-making bandwagon and get elbow deep in yeast. Finally, get around to watching Fleabag. Grab a pair of scissors and give yourself that fringe you’ve always wanted. The (indoor) world is your oyster!
Focus on Your Goals
After Marc received his stem cell transplant in April 2015, he got into Concordia University and wasn’t about to let anything prevent him from starting his semester. Consequently, Marc decided to take online courses until he was physically able to go to class. Whether we are continuing school online, working from home, or lost work because of the pandemic, we should try our best not to lose sight of our goals. Every day, we get closer to the end of this pandemic and life beyond all this craziness.
Staying Safe and Sane
The New Normal
Being positive can seem unimaginable, but Marc argues we need to have hope in our ability to make it through this. According to Marc, we need to “take the necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy...but we should still try to make life as normal as possible,” even if we all know it isn’t.