The past couple of years have been filled with uncertainty, lockdowns, changes in restrictions, and worry for many people. For those who are at a higher risk of serious illness if they contracted covid, such as those living with lung cancer, that uncertainty and anxiety was magnified.
This week, the government announced its ‘Living with Covid plan’ revealing the next steps in relaxing restrictions. This includes the ending of the legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid in England, coming to an end from today [24th February]. In Wales and Scotland though, there are no plans to end the requirement to self-isolate.
Shielding advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable ended in April 2021. However, for so many lung cancer patients across the country, shielding remained a way of life. People like Michelle and Margaret.
Michelle was diagnosed with lung cancer in June 2021. Thankfully, her disease was diagnosed at stage 1, early enough for curative surgery. However ever since her lung surgery, she has been shielding for fear of getting Covid.
“When restrictions were relaxed, I felt much more nervous about going out. I haven’t been on a bus for two years but would feel more confident about doing this if mask wearing was compulsory.
My husband has a serious health condition, so he has also been shielding – at least I am lucky to have company! We want to start doing other things apart from visiting parks but feel extremely nervous about it.”
Like Michelle, Covid remains at the forefront of Margret’s mind ever since her lung cancer returned in the midst of the pandemic.
“I feel more vulnerable now with restrictions easing. At the beginning of lockdown, it was better as everyone was in a similar situation, but it hasn’t got any easier for lung cancer patients like me.
After my booster jab, I did feel a bit braver and started to meet friends for a coffee occasionally, but the rest of the time I spend at home. I do feel thankful that others are wearing masks now but come March, masks will no longer be a legal requirement in Scotland. It is a real concern for me.”
What can I do to ease my concerns about coronavirus restrictions ending?
If you are living with lung cancer and feeling like Michelle and Margaret, there are a few things that you can do to help alleviate your worries.
- – Flag any concerns about the Covid vaccine and lung cancer treatment.
If you haven’t received your two doses and booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine, organise getting this as soon as possible as this will help improve your protection against the virus. To book your vaccines, click below to the vaccine booking service in your country. If you have any worries about getting the vaccine, speak to your lung cancer nurse specialist or MDT.
This week, the JCVI announced there will be plans for an additional booster dose of the Covid vaccine for those who are immunosuppressed. We will bring you more information on this as soon as we can.
- – Ask your friends and family to take a rapid lateral flow test before visiting you
Currently, rapid lateral flow tests are free. You can order your pack of tests from the government website.
- – Continue to wear a mask in busy areas
If you can, wear a face covering when you are in shops or on public transport.
- – A problem shared is a problem halved
It’s an age old saying, but it’s true!
We understand that the pandemic has been an extremely worrying time for those living with lung cancer, sharing how you’re feeling with family and friends can often ease matters.
Our lung cancer support services offer some great resources for you to share your thoughts and feelings with others in similar situations to you.
This free forum is a great place to meet others who are affected by lung cancer. Our friendly administrators are also available to answer any questions you have.
Lung Cancer Connect
Our Lung Cancer Connect service hosts regular Zoom sessions designed to help people living with lung cancer increase coping skills, adjust to life with lung cancer, as well as a range of topics to help you take the best care of yourself as possible.
These sessions are free to attend and a good opportunity to meet others who are also living with lung cancer – all from the comfort of your own home.