Being a high risk patient during a world wide pandemic: ‘The one person I could see on a daily basis and talk to suddenly moved into her room and stayed away from me’

‘I was diagnosed with lung cancer the end of last year, this news turned my world upside down. I started isolating myself because I did not want people to know that I was sick.  By march 2020 I had gotten great news that my tumors began to shrink which means that my body started healing. 

I felt overjoyed and I started going out again. I remember how happy I felt. I went shopping, I went out for lunch and dinner, I started living the life I had before my illness. That’s when they announced the lockdown. I remember feeling very upset and I couldn’t really accept it, I had just regained my freedom. 

To me, it felt like taking a few steps backwards and at first I was not planning on caving for these measures. That’s when I started to notice how serious this disease is, more and more deaths were reported each day and it frightened me since the coronavirus directly effects your lungs. 


As I had said before, I had already isolated myself for a few months during the peak of my illness and so when the government decided the lockdown I immediately thought about how I maybe shouldn’t have isolated myself in the months prior.

The hard thing about the isolation is being alone with nothing to do except listen to your own thoughts. I knew my mental state was declining but I was too stubborn to admit it. I have a daughter who takes care of me and gets me through the day, for that I will always be grateful. 


With my condition I am not allowed to drive myself anywhere, so I have to depend on my daughter to drive me to my appointments. This was very hard on me since I have always been someone whose very independent and I do not like to rely on others. This time I had to. With me being such a high risk patient and receiving chemotherapy at the same time this is a very stressful time for me but also for the people around me. 

Fear of getting infected

Since I have a daughter who of course has a few friends, the fear of getting infected was very prominent. She took the right measures of disinfecting everything such as doorknobs, our phones, our windows, basically anything you can think she was disinfecting it. She saw a few of her friends but kept the distance but she still got sick. We don’t know wether it was with the coronavirus or just the flu as we know it. 

Yet, this made things a lot harder. She isolated herself from me for about a week and a half and that was probably the hardest period during this quarantine. 

The one person I could see on a daily basis and talk to suddenly moved into her room and stayed away from me.

‘I know that there are so many other people out there who don’t have any family of children to depend on and that must be very lonely.’


About two weeks ago I got very sick again and I had to be hospitalized. I was brought in to the hospital by my daughter but she had to leave me there a the door since she could not enter the hospital with me this was very hard on her as well. I don’t really remember anything that happened that day, I just remember what my daughter told me. She could not visit me and stayed behind. I got tested for the virus in order to be moved to the right wing in the hospital and luckily for me I tested negative. I stayed there for a couple of days, alone. The one thing I often thought about while being in the hospital was that I needed to survive for my daughter. The experience of being alone in the hospital and not being able to see any familiar faces was particularly hard, but in a way I was lucky. 

I know that there are so many other people out there who don’t have any family of children to depend on and that must be very lonely. 

Home sweet home

‘If I could give one tip to people who are in a similar situation, try and live and do things you want to do. Life is short and we should not waste it feeling sad or depressed about something we ultimately cannot change.’

After my hospitalization I decided to change up my daily routine. I wanted to feel happy again. This is when I started gardening and cooking. I decided that well if I have to stay inside I better make the most of it. The garden hadn’t seen a green hand in a while so I started focussing on getting my plants healthy again. I could almost immediately feel a change, I started enjoying the day to day tasks again and I felt happy. 

Since my daughter loves cooking we decided to try out a few new recipes and have our lunches and dinners outside in the garden when the weather allowed it. I must say that in the beginning of the quarantine I was very negative minded, right now I am actually very glad that I have had this time to bond with my daughter and give myself the rest I deserve.’

Tekst: Helena Lundahl Beeld: © Helena Lundahl