We know that lots of Trekstock's community of young adults living with and beyond cancer are currently strictly self-isolating during these difficult times with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

We've asked our community to share their tips and plans to stay positive and sane during these extraordinary times. Next up, it's Pryana.

Originally, we had planned an adventurous holiday to Hong Kong and Vietnam for January/February 2020, thinking I would be in remission before I received my secondary diagnosis in November 2019. As fate would have it, it turned out this holiday would not have got ahead as all flights to Hong Kong got cancelled in late January.

So instead I started a course of immunotherapy and chemotherapy in January. After three cycles, I started to develop quite bad shortness of breath and in late February I ended up with a short hospital stay and was diagnosed with pneumonitis. All the while we were carefully watching and following the news as COVID-19 started to spread across the world. 

At the start of lockdown so many friends and relatives would ask me how I am coping with all the uncertainty. To them I replied, I’m used to it. Not knowing how you’re going to be feeling from one day to the next, or whether you are going to catch something that could kill you, is something that everyone with cancer goes through every day.  

It’s just my husband and me at home and since lockdown, he’s been working from home 24/7. Although we are in each other’s space a lot more, it’s actually been a massive blessing in disguise. I’ve been lucky enough to carry on with my treatment unaffected. 

Having those extra pair of hands around has been massively helpful. Sometimes I am so fatigued it is impossible to do the simplest of chores and the shortness of breath has continued making it difficult to even move around. We have been extra cautious as well as I have no lymph nodes in my left arm and we don’t want any unnecessary trips to A&E right now!

I’ve felt incredibly guilty whilst my husband takes on the lion’s share of all the housework, whilst working intensively long hours. It’s made me become more aware and mindful of the need to be kinder to ourselves and each other during this time. I’m usually a person who likes to be on the go all the time, but lockdown has actually forced me to rest rather trying to zoom around. I’ve learnt it’s ok to not be ok, to indulge in a box set or simply just take naps and pamper myself a bit.

I did get incredible FOMO seeing everyone’s baking pictures – incidentally what’s the obsession with banana bread - good thing flour has been so difficult to get hold of! But I’ve been encouraged seeing everyone nurture their hobbies like gardening, art and cooking to doing what I can. It’s giving me goals to aspire.       

One of the things I’ve been doing is having a weekly video call with one of my best friends. We called them accountability sessions.  We both wanted to stay motivated and as positive as possible. We’re both people who like feeling a sense of achievement and progress to achieve our goals. It got me into building a daily to-do list, sometimes filled with simple tasks such as listening to a podcast, and things to aim for that would help me both physically and mentally, like planning a short and safe daily walk to help my muscles and try to improve my lung capacity.

It got me into reading that pile of self-help books I’ve acquired over the years. Now is the time, more so than ever, to work on myself and change the things I don’t like or that don’t fit anymore, becoming closer to the person I wish to be.

Probably the hardest thing has been not being able to see our families. We usually get loads of support during treatment times, with mum's meals on wheels coming into the save the day. Poor hubby has had to develop into a culinary chef, with me being the creative director. 

My brother and sister in law had their first child at the end of May, and it’s been so hard not to be able to see and help them. We managed a cheeky social distancing visit after a couple of weeks but it was heartbreaking not to be able to hold and cuddle my new niece. But that day will come soon, and it will be a ray of sunshine.

We’re slowly approaching the end of lockdown for us shielded folk, so wondering how the rest of the year will pan out will be a total surprise and I suspect we will have to continue to be extra cautious and avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Read more of Pryana's Story Here