HOW would you feel if you knew your actions had caused the death of another person – possibly many others?
It might be a horrible thing to think about, but the reality is that more than ever it could be true.
Yes lockdown is tough, but break the rules and you’ll have the blood of cancer patients like me on your handsCredit: Refer to Caption
As we endure a third national lockdown, the debate is rife over whether it’s right or wrong.
Regardless of your political views or what you feel your rights are, we all need to look at what is right for our society, as a whole.
I support lockdown. I know the arguments, I understand the long term economic and health effects, I really do.
But that doesn’t stop me supporting lockdown.
The reality is there are only a few ways out of this mess.
The vaccine is our biggest hope, if we can just roll it out and protect the vulnerable we can stop Covid in its tracks.
While the data seems to show the earliest signs of infections levelling off, hospitals are still swamped with patients and deaths are still going up each day.
But this isn’t just about Covid, it’s about the knock-on damage Covid is causing.
By trying to take measures to reduce the spread of Covid, we are also taking measures to reduce that collateral damage.
If we sat back and let Covid rip through the population, as some have suggested, cancer patients like me would be in an even worse situation.
Doing that would likely see the NHS actually crumble, it’s really close to that point right now, but any more pressure and we really might see the health service fall.
If that happens then cancer patients, heart attack victims, people suffering strokes, emergency cases would all be left with nowhere to turn.
As we approach the year anniversary of this pandemic raging around us, deaths are crept above the 100,000 mark.
In contrast, in a ‘normal’ pre-Covid year, around 165,000 lives are lost to cancer.
Whatever the cause, any life lost is a devastating tragedy for a family.
Imagine the death toll WITHOUT lockdown measures
The NHS is under unthinkable pressures and is at risk of crumbling, if that happens it’s not just Covid patients in trouble, it’s all of us
The Covid death toll is shocking, but imagine how scary that number would look if we hadn’t locked down, if restrictions hadn’t been put in place.
And now imagine the tsunami of collateral deaths that would have followed had the NHS fallen apart, crushed under the weight of Covid.
This virus has us between a massive rock and a really hard place.
One of the arguments is that we should all be left to make our own risk assessment and behave accordingly. Nice idea.
Even with stage 4 cancer, it turns out I would actually be really unlucky to die of Covid, so maybe I could run the risk.
But if being diagnosed with cancer at 35, when you’re a fit and healthy veggie, has taught me anything it’s that someone has to be the unlucky one.
And if it’s not me, it could be my sister.
The point I am trying to make is no one is Covid proof, we’re not immune yet – not until we’ve had the vaccine and that will take some time.
We could all end up one of those nasty Covid statistics read out at the Downing Street press conferences.
None of us are Covid proof
Nothing is more important than our health, and that goes for everyone as a collective.
We all blindly live our 20s and 30s thinking we’re invincible, that our health is a given.
We believe we are owed a good innings.
And it’s easy to look at those Covid death stats, those cancer statistics and think that happens to others, right?
Not me! I learned that the hard way, with cancer.
I know some people are angry, I know some are filled with dread and despair at the thought of more lockdown.
I am more terrified now than I have ever been, because the NHS is under much more pressure than during the first wave.
In March, the health service effectively transformed into a Covid service, only really treating those with the virus.
But since opening their doors again to all other patients, the heroes on the frontline have worked tirelessly to make sure they don’t have to do that again.
They have worked in horrific conditions, seeing awful things to make sure they can do their best to treat Covid AND everything else.
I’m missing precious time with loved ones
I can’t bank on living a long life, chances are I might not even make next Christmas so I am desperate for more moments like these with my loved onesCredit: Instagram
The start of this year has felt so far removed from the “fresh start” we all crave.
I live on borrowed time, if I can live to next Christmas I will have reached an almost impossible milestone.
Bowel cancer patients like me have a 7 per cent chance of living five years.
I’ve got 11 months to go and counting.
But that just means I have to live for now and make the most of every single day, just in case my luck runs out.
So more than most, I have a really good reason to want out of lockdown.
I want to see family and friends, I want to laugh in restaurants, drink cocktails in my favourite barrs, feel the sand between my toes and dance until the wee hours of the morning again.
I want to cry at the cinema, get shivers at a music concert and feel alive in the now.
I want to get back to being busy living when I could be dead.
I am living with a ticking time bomb that could explode around me at any moment. At any moment the life-saving drugs I am on could stop working, and I don’t really have many options after that.
So no I don’t want lockdown, but yes I do see why it’s necessary.
Stay at home – it WILL save lives
Please stick with it, as tough as it is, staying at home will help protect the NHS and it will save livesCredit: Instagram
I need Covid to do one so I can stay on top of my cancer treatment, and give myself the best possible chance of living to Christmas to celebrate that five-year ‘cancerversary’.
It is tough, probably even harder this time around, but if we can all just stick with the rules for a bit longer the vaccine light at the end of this miserable tunnel is in sight.
Stay at home, to reduce your risk of getting Covid – and help reduce the pressure on the NHS.
The doctors, nurses, and support staff are at breaking point, the NHS is on the brink of being overwhelmed, so we have no choice.
The ONLY way to save lives – both Covid and non-Covid patients – is to give the frontline a fighting chance to treat all patients.
So please stay at home, and know that by doing so you are reducing the chance that your actions might cause the death of another.
Could I live with myself if I did anything else? No. And bet if you really ask yourself the same question, you’d agree.