To the Editor:
On this day that can be considered very dark and uncertain, I thought about sending this message of hope to the people of the Martha’s Vineyard community. It was just a few weeks ago we were all going about our regular duties until suddenly, new guidelines, social distancing — yes, due to the pandemic, “coronavirus/COVID 19.”
It is said that the most effective way to avoid contracting this virus is to stay inside. We have no idea when we will have the opportunity to freely go outside again, we all anxiously await that freedom day. What do you do when you are bored inside? Netflix and chill, eat, use the bathroom countless times, read, sleep, pray, worship, exercise, virtual link ups such as club-quarantine, quarantine happy hour, quarantine with a book club, and the inside list continues. Until this “social distancing” is lifted, the cycle repeats itself daily.
I couldn’t help but reflect on my journey in June 2019, when I was hospitalized for 10 days due to “Typhlitis.” At that time I was undergoing intensive chemotherapy treatment for a second breast cancer diagnosis. This was further complicated by the rupturing of my appendix and colon inflammation which almost shut down my systems. “Talking about dark and uncertain days!” I surely know that very well, I was unable to eat or drink for a few days and of course, I couldn’t go outside with a most uncomfortable NSG tube in my stomach. One day I remember begging the nurse to call my doctor so I could plead with him to remove it from my nose and allow me to drink some water. The doctor told me that he was willing to meet my requirements, but if there were any signs of complications, it would be immediately replaced.
I agreed and shortly it was removed, my wish was granted, I got some ice cubes to suck on and gradually within two hours I got to sip some water. Shortly after I became nauseous and the NSG tubes were back. I had to endure the discomfort, just as we all are now with staying inside. A few day later, while being transported to the lab for testing, I saw a bright light, I had not seen in 10 days, but it seemed like it was much longer. It was daylight, there was a big glass window and I asked kindly to be allowed two minutes to glare at the beautiful sunshine and lovely green trees outside. I thought how quickly your life can change and I became more appreciative of seeing the trees, and the daylight.
To everyone that is reading this message of hope there is a brighter day ahead — just as I anticipated sipping on water after having the NSG tube removed from my nose. Soon we will all have that freedom to visit our loved ones and give those hugs we’ve been longing for; pulling up at Mocha Mott’s and sip on our coffee; riding the ferry without fear across the Sound; dining in at the Black Dog; enjoying a freshly made lobster salad without worrying about socially distancing; and holding hands while watching the sunset in Aquinnah.
However, a lot of things will appear different, but as we all patiently await this lockdown to be lifted, I encourage us all to be intentional and mindful that in a wink of an eye your life can be changed. Next time you sip on your coffee, do it slowly. Next time you visit your loved ones, create new memories. The next lunch date at Black Dog, be generous in your tipping. But, most importantly, the next time you lay down to close your eyes, be grateful. Many lives have been lost, many jobs, but let us not lose hope. Brighter days are up ahead!
This message of hope is written to you by a two time breast cancer survivor.