I’m sitting here reflecting and it’s pretty clear to me: I never thought I would be in a world pandemic crisis in my lifetime. That was something we only learned about in history books, right? We’ve become so cutting edge due to advancements in health care technology like testing, vaccinations and medications. I am proving my naivety as we are not bulletproof from everything and we have several issues at stake.
My life is fairly busy and there’s not a lot of dull moments yet I’m sitting here in isolation to protect my immunocompromised body. This COVID-19 virus has proven to be something that has uprooted my life: some positive, some negative. I work as a dental assistant and office manager for two offices. The dental profession has taken a hit due to an aerosol-borne virus. It has left my coworkers and myself unemployed for the time being.
It’s a strange feeling when you’re used to managing every aspect of every day and you go to completely nothing. I’m here a week into quarantine I catch myself thinking of all the negatives; the uprooting of lives and the health of friends, family, and people I haven’t even met yet and the financial implications this will hold for all of us. The stress on interpersonal relationships, the increase of depression and anxiety, and the general fear of the unknown for our future. I won’t disregard these negatives. It’s the social worker in me. Oh, did I mention I was a part-time master’s student for social work?
My positive thoughts are that I am thankful for a slow down. I now have more time for homework, I get to exercise, spend time with my dog, etc. But even these thoughts have expanded and deepened so much more. Where I have been able to spend more time on homework, I’ve also signed up for auditing a class through Yale (thanks to a friend), I’ve picked up my camera and snapped some photos of the birds visiting the feeder, I dove into my old iPod and listened to music I haven’t heard for a few years, picked up the exercising, cleaned and organized, written creatively and I’ve caught up with old and new friends through chat/Skype/FaceTime.
Most importantly, I have asked myself multiple times, “How can I help?” Every morning I’ve read constant panic-filled stories on my local Facebook pages and wish I had the means to help everyone. One in particular stood out. The postal service workers needed hand sanitizer. I knew I had some small travel bottles so I gathered them up, wrote a small note of encouragement and sealed it up in a Ziploc baggy. My dachshund, Sassy, and I walked up and put it in our lock box. The next day we received a nice thank you note attached to our mail. Later on I found a few more travel bottles and did the same thing. Again, we received a nice thank you note.
I’m constantly praying for cardinals to show up and let me know everything is going to be alright. Last weekend I received a beautiful pair of cardinal earrings in the mail from a First Descents bestie, Bethany, and yesterday I received a packet with beautiful cardinal photos and a handwritten note from my friend, Mark. These are the little things I appreciate so much during this time. It makes me miss hugging my friends and family. I’m clinging onto the feeling of the last hug and kiss I received to make the time alone not feel so lonely.
I also knew I wanted to volunteer some of my time, while I had it, to my favorite organization, Cervivor. We’ve been hit recently with a tremendous loss to our leadership team. I think it’s safe to say that we all need help during this time. Little tasks end up becoming these wonderful projects and I know what I’m doing means a lot to those who need the help. I would highly consider volunteering virtually with your favorite organization as well! I know this too will pass but it is my hope that our society will become reacquainted with humanity and compassion through this all.
Morgan is a metastatic cervical cancer survivor, Cervivor Ambassador, and the 2018 Cervivor Champion recipient. She lives in the rural state of Iowa where she continues to advocate tirelessly. You can find her networking in various communities for cancer prevention in hopes her story can help others. She was recognized for her advocacy completed in 2019 with the Iowa American Cancer Society Action Network. Morgan continues to advocate along side Above and Beyond Cancer, Bras for the Cause – Madison County, the Iowa Cancer Consortium, Iowa Department of Public Health, and Des Moines University.