COVID-19: Impacts on Breast Cancer Patients

March 31, 2020 (Day #18 of Quarantine in Spain)

4 years ago today, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Time has gone by so fast! Every year, I go back to the US and do a photoshoot for myself so I can feel beautiful and show to the world how confident you can be after a double mastectomy.

Photos by Rey Trajano
Instagram: @thephotographer
MUA: @makeupbyjulian
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Recall

recall has been issued on the breast implants received during my reconstruction. The Recallletter was sent out to all patients that had BIOCELL textured great implants Style 115 Natrelle. This certain implant shows an increased risk of breast implant-associated anapestic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) I’ve contacted my surgeon but haven’t heard back due to the current situation. Even though the changes are low, I’m guessing that I will have the option to do another surgery and replace them with another set of implants. After all the procedures endured in 2016, I’m not sure that I’m ready for another one. I’ll be sure to follow up with my doctor and see what she recommends.

COVID-19

Today, the world is forever changed with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Living through a pandemic is something I never thought I would experience in my lifetime.

How does this effect breast cancer patients? Patients that are going through or have covid-19completed chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy and radiation have a higher risk and can weaken the immune system resulting in lung problems. Taking the hormone drug therapy, Tamoxifen does NOT affect your immune system. You can read the article here.

I am lucky that I didn’t have to do any of these treatments. When I opted for the double mastectomy, my team of doctors said no chemotherapy nor radiation was needed. Every year I come back to the states, I have a visit with my oncologist and we do a blood test. For the past two years, my blood tests have resulted in low white-blood cell counts and we can’t figure out why. Could this possibly mean that I’m more prone to infection – yes.

Precautions I’ve Taken

After Italy’s lockdown, Spain soon followed. The kind of lockdown that we are experiencing  can’t be compared to the states. We’re only allowed out for essential things such as going to get groceries, hospital, pharmacy or to walk the dog. People are getting fined for taking a stroll. Police have been checking ID’s so if you’re walking your dog more than 1km for your apartment, you can expect a fine for that too.

Grocery stores only allow a certain amount of people at a time and when you enter, you have to sanitize your hands and wear gloves. People are starting to disinfect groceries before coming into the house. We certainly do not wear our shoes in our apartment and I change my clothes immediately when I get home. To add to that, I clean my dog’s paws before he enters the house after a walk.

The majority of Spain is obeying this lockdown rules because we’ve seen the number of new cases and deaths rise. We’re all working really hard to flatten the curve and I know all of us long for social interactions. I feel for the ones that live alone, but that’s what video chatting apps are for – FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and HouseParty (my favorite because you can play games.)

People that still believe this is a hoax are the ones that think they are invulnerable. COVID-19 is killing people of all ages. Most of the people that live in my apartment building are elderly, so I have to be extra careful and wipe down door handles and elevator buttons.

Difference in Lockdowns

The difference in lockdowns between the US and Spain are very different. I don’t understand why the US hasn’t enforced a FULL LOCKDOWN. Even though the bars and clubs are closed, I still witness gatherings on social media. THAT IS NOT QUARANTINING. The point of this is to sit your ass at home to reduce the spread of the virus. People acted as if this was a vacation so of course numerous people went to crowded parks, beaches and popular hiking trails. Do you think you’re safe if you’re outside? Check out this article about cough and sneeze projectiles.
cough projectile

The scary part about COVID-19 is that it has an incubation period of 2 weeks and is highly contagious and worst, you don’t know you have it because you can be asymptomatic. Imagine bringing that virus home to your friends, family and just anyone you’re around. How would you feel being responsible for their deaths? Here’s a good article to read about why some people may think that this doesn’t effect them.

And if you’re one of the selfish assholes like this girl who licked a toilet seat and said that Dr. Phil is part of the Illumanati, go fuck yourselves. This video makes me so furious.

Till this point, I still don’t believe American has started THE OFFICIAL LOCKDOWN yet.  The US will suffer the most and god knows for how long. The hospitals in New York are already overwhelmed and there is a shortage of ventilators. Will the US be like Italy and have to choose who lives and who dies? The photo below is from an overwhelmed hospital in Manhattan, New York. You can read the article here.
Overwhelmed NY HospitalMost of us should be very lucky that we have a place we can quarantine in. We have a roof over our heads, fast internet, sunlight, backyard or terrace, our computers, Netflix and other streaming services. The reality is that people in other countries can’t afford the luxuries that we have. Look at the photos below (from Hong Kong/China) BE GRATEFUL!

Hoarding

I can’t believe that people are still hoarding in the US like crazy. What is it with toilet toilet paper memepaper? It’s sad that a lot of people can’t get the basic essentials. Also, the people that are buying up all the toilet paper and disinfectants and then selling it for an absurd amount of money? SHAME on them! This is illegal in the US at a time of a crisis, so if you see any postings or any stores that are overcharging for these, report them! Depending on the states, the fines can start at $10,000.00 (in CA.) Here’s the website of the fines for price gouging.

The hoarding of masks and gloves needs to stop. The lack of these items have put our frontline healthcare workers at risk. How can they help us if they don’t have the right protective gear and are falling ill to this disease?

In Spain, no one is hoarding anything. The grocery stores are usually stocked at night time and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, there’s another grocery store down the street. People here aren’t fighting over rolls of toilet paper like in the US.

Balcony Police

In Spain we have our own problems in which I’m not proud of. These people are known as the “balcony police” insulting people who are on the streets. How do you know if these people aren’t the doctors and nurses fighting to save the lives everyday? How do you know if these aren’t the staff at grocery stores working day and night, risking their lives being exposed to numerous people everyday just to replenish the goods. We all need to be a little less judgmental and work together to help everyone out in our community.

Racists Attacks Against The Asian Community


There has been in increase in incidents of racial attacks to people of Asian decent for simply just being Asian. This shows you how ignorant people can be. Earlier in March when I was riding the metro system, I got some weird looks, but luckily nothing ever escalated to confrontations.
iamnotavirusThe latest story I heard was a man that stabbed a family because he thought because they were Chinese and  were spreading the virus. Read the article here. Please, if you witness this, jump in and help out.

Healthcare

When the US announced that American should return back home, some of my friends told me that I should fly home. Reasons why I chose not to:

  • I have FREE public healthcare in Spain (and I’m not even a resident) and I have private health insurance in which I pay a whopping 40€/month.
  • I also have health insurance through my job in California but my deductible is high. For example, my last blood test cost me $500. I’m scared of what my bill is going to be when I go in for an MRI this year.
  • The healthcare system in Spain is amazing. If you’re a tourist and you get sick, the hospitals here will NOT deny you. In fact, if you’re a tourist, you’re probably better off not going back to America in case you get sick. Here’s an article about a teen that was denied at Urgent Care because he didn’t have insurance. Pathetic.

People in the US that have medical insurance now – you’re still not safe! I’m sure many of you have been laid off. Can you afford the premiums of COBRA insurance? Most of Americans don’t even have health insurance. Do you want to know what the average cost is for someone that had to be treated at a hospital for COVID-19? The bill was about $35,000.00. You can read the article here. How can a 1st world country not be able to take care of their own people?
healthcare bill

America needs universal healthcare. I don’t care if you have a healthy lifestyle or that you eat very healthy. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because you never know when you’ll need it. No one is invincible. I never expected to be diagnosed with cancer at the age of 30. No one does!! Had I not had insurance, my bill would have been almost half a million dollars. Do you have that kind of money?

Did you know that in Italy and France, the government have already decided to stop rent payments etc. England is paying 80% of people’s salaries, Denmark is paying 75% of people’s salaries. Canada is sending everyone $2,000 CAD for the next 4 months. You can read the article here. I’m still waiting for the Spanish government to help assist its people. The US is issuing a one time $1,200.00 stimulus check….and that’s it? That check won’t even cover rent, mortgage, utilities and groceries.
Stimulus

Outcome

Will this pandemic ever end? Yes but it everything won’t go back to normal like how it used to be. Vaccines will be made in the near future but not soon enough. Corona virus will be something that will be around for a very long time. How about re-infection rates? China has closed its borders again.

This will forever change how we travel, re-evaluate our hygiene practices, our social habits such has shaking hands, hugs and kisses. This is a true test of a relationship, ones’ patience and ability to make the best out of the situation. We must find a way out of this economic crisis and find ways to improve the health care system.

For now, the answer is to #StayTheFuckHome

 

4 thoughts

  1. Wow, Jenny you have been through a lot. I have been meaning to write you and tell you how much I enjoy your posts. Are you making each of those recipes each time you post? And the stalker guy obviously knows you are on to him!
    I saw a guy in your apartment. Boyfriend or roomie?
    I will be glad when this is over and we can start traveling again. Aloha from Maui, Julie

    Like

  2. Hi Jenny,
    Hope all is well with you. You always look amazing.
    I contacted you near two years ago through Dr Kim. We both had same situation and same doctor. She is fantastic. For the recall, dont worry at all. We are safe. I got the same letter and contacted her office and they told me that it was for the expander not the permanent implant. So since we didn’t have that expander for so long, we are ok.
    Take care and be safe 🙏

    Like

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