My 5th Cancerversary

My 5th cancerversary was June 21 meaning I was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago. Christine reviews how different her husband, children and parents reacted to her cancerversary from her, and she believed that since we have to live with cancer, we either die with misery or live with our head high. Please see the details in https://lungcancer.net/living/fifth-cancerversary/

My friend HaoPei (斐皓) was a Stage 4 lung cancer patient, 38 years old. He passed away in early February 2020. These pictures were taken by him when he travelled in rural China after his diagnosis. 斐皓, 一路走好。

The Phrase “I’m Fine” From Lung Cancer Patients

Do you have experience when you said “I’m fine” to your non-cancer friends’ greeting, your friends startled? The following article is my observations and my argument. https://lungcancer.net/living/i-am-fine/

My friend HaoPei (斐皓) was a Stage 4 lung cancer patient, 38 years old. He passed away in early February 2020. These pictures were taken by him when he travelled in rural China after his diagnosis. 斐皓, 一路走好。

Advocacy Improves My Cognitive Impairment Caused By My Brain Tumor

“I will not let stuttering, losing the proper words and my compromised memory define me, just like how lung cancer does not define me either.” Christine talked about her coping with brain tumour caused by lung cancer. See detailed in https://lungcancer.net/living/cognitive-impairment/

My friend HaoPei (斐皓) is a Stage 4 lung cancer patient, 38 years old. He passed away in early February 2020. These pictures were taken by him when he travelled in rural China after his diagnosis. 斐皓, 一路走好。

Equality for Women: From Hitchcock Movies to Engineering to Lung Cancer Advocacy

“When it comes to the war to conquer cancer, we need both men and women working together equally.” Christine talks about how women have influenced lung cancer advocacy: https://lungcancer.net/?p=11404

My friend HaoPei (斐皓) is a Stage 4 lung cancer patient, 38 years old. He passed away in early February 2020. These pictures were taken by him when he travelled in rural China after his diagnosis. 斐皓, 一路走好。

It’s not easy to stand alone on what you believe is right.

Wuhan (China) has gone through COVID-19 pandemic. People from Wuhan accumulated a lot of experience and made some mistakes. We should learn from their experience and put aside the difference.

Wearing the masks

Finally, the Canadian government changed its attitude, saying wearing masks (not N95 masks) are good for people to prevent the COBID-19 spread. It was happened 2nd day of the USA encouraged people to use masks. I have observed that since the end of January, people mainly from Chinese, South Korean, Japanese and Singapore, have used masks. It has been proven that masks can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19, even if they cannot protect us 100%.

Many Chinese from mainland China in the USA and Canada knew the COVID-19 since it was broken out. So some of them wear masks at the time, even N95 masks. I’ve heard some of Chinese in the USA had difficult experiences because of the masks. I overheard that one Chinese student was pushed down on the subways and was killed because he wore a mask. Americans could tolerate freedom of speech, but couldn’t tolerate some people wearing masks. Although I had posted the article about wearing masks before the USA and Canadian governments encouraged to do so, I had to wait for a while because I didn’t want to be the first several people to promote wearing masks.

It’s not easy to stand alone on what you believe in something right. I was promoting to wear masks at the very beginning when pandemic came to Canada through FB, but it was against what the government said.

Disinfecting the surface of goods

Now, there is another issue I have to talk, that is people use 70% alcohol to clean the packages of food and parcels. 70% of alcohol has a Flash Point of 25 °C. It extremely dangerous, but I haven’t heard any precaution mentioned.

It’s widespread people in China to use the 60% alcohol to clean the packages for food and daily necessities. It has been the fire in the residential area (see video below). Now in one of the talks given to lung cancer doctors, I heard that some lung cancer patients took the 70% alcohol to clean the MRI or CT equipment before their testing. It is like these cancer patients are taking a burning bomb everywhere with them. I brought up the problem in the talk with lung cancer patients, but it didn’t get the attention. I strongly suggested not to use 70% alcohol, rather than to use Lysol or mixtures of bleach and water.

One picture is equal to 1000 words. Please see below.

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The Chinese words are: The lower floor residents were cleaning using 60% of alcohol and got a fire because somebody upstairs threw a cigarette bud. (I couldn’t upload the video, thus a picture instead.)

How to Talk to Healthy People as a Lung Cancer Patient?

I wrote this article several months ago, but it’s always in my mind: how to get friends, especially non-cancer friends, since your lung cancer diagnosis? Do you care to share your opinion or experience? https://lungcancer.net/living/finding-new-friends/

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My friend HaoPei (斐皓) is a Stage 4 lung cancer patient, 38 years old. He passed away in early February 2020. These pictures were taken by him when he travelled in rural China after his diagnosis. 斐皓, 一路走好。

Interview on My Lung Cancer Friend from Wuhan (China) after Pandemic

I have a friend who is from Wuhan, China. I interviewed her about her life in Wuhan before and during the epidemic, especially as a lung cancer caregiver. My friend was such a strong lady.

 1). Can you first introduce your family?

At the age of 42, my husband has diagnosed with Stage 3B lung cancer in the summer of 2018. He had surgery, chemotherapy and later radiotherapy. We have two young children. I have to give up my career to look after my husband and raise two kids.

In November 2019, my husband’s lung cancer was metastatic to thoracic-vertebral, which further caused compressive fracture on his spine. He had to surgically remove the thoracic vertebral body and fix it with internal titanium alloy. My husband had a painful recovery, and it took more than two months. Within those two months, he couldn’t move not mentioning he couldn’t walk, eat and dress. Two months later, he gradually recovered, and now he walked on the treadmill 5 to 8 km every day. My husband did biomarker testing after the surgery and found ROS1+ lung cancer. He was on Crizontinib till now.

After several months of recovery of the surgery, my husband suffered not only physically but also mentally. He couldn’t continue to work. So we have to sell the house to pay for the treatment.

2) Can you talk about what happened in Wuhan at the beginning of COVID-19? Have you noticed anything different?

From mid of November to December 27, 2019, my husband stayed in Wuhan Xiehe Hospital (Author: one of the best hospitals in Wuhan). We had not heard or seen anything related to coronavirus. We did not notice anything abnormal.

On December 27, my children’s school had flu spread, and the classes were cancelled. Every winter, we always had flu, so it did not get our attention. And soon, the school restarted. At January, more and more people had a fever and had to visit doctors.

Until mid of January 2020, although there was no official notification, there were a lot of rumours that epidemic occurred at Wuhan. On January 18, the officials from the central government visited hospitals in Wuhan. On January 20, it was announced that the virus passed from human to human. Wuhan city was totally in panic and chaos. Everybody wore masks and stayed home. January 23, Wuhan city announced to shut down.

3) After COVID-19 epidemic broke out, how did you manage and how was Wuhan?

At the beginning of COVID-19, the hospitals were chaotic. There were not enough staffs, beds and equipment. The patients couldn’t enter the hospitals when needed. Both the health care workers and patients were under extremely high stress.

The Wuhan government adopted all kind of measures to ease the pressure on doctors and nurses and to keep the operation of the hospitals. For example, the hospitals accepted COVID-19 patients as much as the possible and reduced source of infection. Meanwhile, the residential areas were totally blocked. The residents could not go outside. Several people from each neighbourhood were selected to take the responsibility to purchase daily food and goods for the residents. Many people volunteered to help others.

At this time, a lot of doctors saw their patients used the internet. If the patients needed to go to hospitals, the ambulances would take the patients. Once the patients got to the hospitals, they would check with coronavirus first.

4)How did COVID-19 effect lung cancer patients?

For long-term patients like us who need the medication, the government rule was that the specified community volunteers would go to drug stores to fill up the prescriptions on behalf of the patients and caregivers. Then they would deliver the medications to the patients.

Meanwhile, the doctors saw lung cancer patients through the internet. The patients showed the previous medical documents and consulted with the doctors. The doctors faxed the prescriptions to the patients if needed, and volunteers could purchase the drugs for the patients, or the medication could be delivered to the patients by the drug stores.

Because the hospitals were used for COVID-19 patients and the entire community was blocked, my husband’s doctor suggested to postpone the appointments. My husband felt ok physically and considering the benefit and harm, so his doctor postponed his future checkup. For oral medication like my husband on targeted therapy, we didn’t have any delays, and we could have two prescriptions of Crizontanib filled at once.

5) Some protection methods used.

There are several protective measures we used during a pandemic.

  • It’s crucial to wear masks. When we go outside, we have to wear masks. N95 masks are used by first-line doctors and nurses, but we also had access to N95 masks. Generally, we used the protective masks, not necessary N95 masks, but it was the rule that everybody must use masks to go to the public place, like supermarket, hospitals…
  • Keep social distance, no getting together and reducing to go outdoor whenever possible.
  • During the epidemic, for any purchased goods necessary for life, I always first wiped the packages using 75% alcohol and then wash then using warm water.

6) Last words

Take COVID-19 epidemic seriously, but don’t be panic. Take good care of yourselves, exercising and eating good food. Stay home, don’t go outside unless it’s necessary. Keep good personal hygiene. Always wear masks. COVID-19 attacks the lung, and as lung cancer patients, our lung function has already been compromised.

Life is not easy, but we still have to move on. Take good care of yourselves!

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My friend HaoPei (斐皓) is a Stage 4 lung cancer patient, 38 years old. He passed away in early February 2020. These pictures were taken by him when he travelled in rural China after his diagnosis. 斐皓, 一路走好。

Life After Cancer Is An Art: Making “Better Normal” After Cancer Treatment

“Life after cancer is an art: the art of living well.” Christine talks about her life after lung cancer. https://lungcancer.net/living/life-after-cancer/

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My friend HaoPei (斐皓) is a Stage 4 lung cancer patient, 38 years old. He passed away in early February 2020. These pictures were taken by him when he travelled in rural China after his diagnosis. 斐皓, 一路走好。

Is It Necessary to Use Masks?

It’s debating that wearing masks is necessary? Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Singapore (almost everyone) are using masks. Even if now the epidemic is almost over in Wuhan (China), people are still using masks. Germany is considering using the masks, and the Austria government has formally asked its citizens to use masks when going to the market.

In the USA and Canada, governments are still against using marks. Two reasons are given: 1) the masks give false security. It will not protect us, especially if we don’t use masks properly, and 2) the market is short of supplies even for doctors and nurses.

Recently more and more people in North America have raised their voices to use the masks and governments are reconsidering the issue of wearing masks. I can understand it’s not easy to provide such a large number of masks for ordinary citizens. Also, doctors and nurses are indeed short of supplies including masks.

I asked the Chinese ROS1 Lung Cancer Support Group regarding wearing masks. It seems all of them using the masks to go out. Some of them also mentioned the successful example of South Korean, Japan and Singapore, all use the masks. They firmly believe that the masks prevent COVID-19 even if it’s not 100% protecting people, it helps. They joked that future fashion is the design of masks.

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My friend HaoPei (斐皓) is a Stage 4 lung cancer patient, 38 years old. He passed away in early February 2020. This picture was taken by him when he travelled in rural China after his diagnosis. 斐皓, 一路走好。

Be Cautious But Not Panic!

COVID-19 has become world-wise pandemic now. First, it happened in Wuhan (China), and then was spread to the countries around China. Following that, it was in Europe. The epidemic centre was in Italy, and later COVID-19 was spread to Spain, Germany, England and Russia, etc. Recently the coronavirus came in North and South America, namely the USA, Canada, Brazil and Australia, etc. COVID-19 has spread globally. The situations are dire. 

 

For lung cancer patients and caregivers, COVID-19 is frightening because our lungs have already been compromised by cancer. With the coronavirus attacking the lung directly, it’s reasonable that the cancer patients become nervous. However, I feel that maybe some patients are too worried. Here is what I think of COVID-19.

 

Know what you are afraid.

By now, many doctors give talks, and many scientific papers have been published about COVID-19. On TV and radios, many channels and stations are about COVID-19. Especially, the coronavirus affecting lung cancer is frequently spoken in the lung cancer community. The information is everywhere. I think it’s crucial to know the facts of COVID-19 and not just follow somebody’s opinion. 

 

I’m a Canadian, and I watch CBC and CTV Nationals every day, and each of the provinces also reports the progress of the pandemic and the numbers of infections and deaths. There is no confusion from the sources, from the Prime Minister to provincial health officials. Also, all the medical information is given by health care professionals. So the information about COVID-19 and the progress of epidemic are quite consistent.

 

I’m also closely watching the situation in China since China is the first country to have a pandemic. I noticed that the period from the beginning of finding the coronavirus to the days’ virus dead down in Wuhan (China) was about three months. I’ve seen from the videos and pictures; Chinese people suffered a lot, but I also noticed that they were fighting the COVID-19 for their lives. The Chinese government spent a large amount of money on medical goods and infrastructure. The total medical cost for Wuhan, just a single city, is about $196.8B in the same period of epidemic. It’s unbelievable. 

 

Know the lung cancer patients in China?

I think it’s helpful to watch Chinese, especially Chinese lung cancer patients, to know their experience with COVID-19 since they have gone through it. The Chinese ROS1+ Lung Cancer Support Group has about 450 patients and caregivers. They distribute all over China, and some are, like me, in North America, Australia and Europe. 

 

In China, especially in Wuhan, the patients didn’t practice voluntary quarantine and social distance until the beginning of February. But they were using the masks, even now the epidemic is over and the life in Wuhan gradually recovered. The lung cancer patients were very nervous about the closure of drug stores and the hospitals. This is because, for the patients under targeted therapy, they got targeted medication once a month. Also, the hospitals were used for COVID-19 patients, so not accepted cancer patients. Some lung cancer patients who had appointments with their doctors were indeed delayed. In Wuhan, the doctors gave the patients with targeted therapy 2-month medication, and the post office or delivery was never interrupted. 

 

Unlike the patients and caregivers here, I found much more calmness from Chinese lung cancer patients and caregivers. I’ve hardly seen the patients and caregivers complain about scariness and frustration from WeChat*. When some patients get depressed and upset about the COVID-19 and lung cancer, there were always more patients and caregivers to calm them down and to share their experience on WeChat. 

 

The Chinese ROS1 group opened another WeChat page for patients and caregivers to talk and to get connected. They posted photos and videos and to share their stories, and some of them were about COVID-19. I specifically asked and heard that they hadn’t heard any cases of lung cancer patients getting COVID-19. At least, it means Chinese lung cancer patients were not directly suffered from COVID-19 disease. It’s just my observation.

 

It gives me much confidence even though COVID-19 is such a severe disease. If those Chinese lung cancer patients can survive COVID-19, why cannot I? Why cannot you?

 

Wash hands and stay home!

We are a group of lung cancer patients, and Lung cancer is a deadly disease. We have “kissed death” before. We know what afraid and anxieties mean, and they lead to nowhere. We shouldn’t be so panic and overly scared, but be cautious. The Canadian government, as well as the USA government, makes different economic packages to help to ease people’s life, and healthcare workers are doing everything they can to slow down and to stop the pandemic. As the patients, we have to follow the rule: Wash our hands and stay home, just be cautious!!

 

*WeChat is the Chinese version of Facebook.

 

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My friend HaoPei (斐皓) is a Stage 4 lung cancer patient, 38 years old. He passed away in early February 2020. This picture was taken by him when he travelled in rural China after his diagnosis. 斐皓, 一路走好。