People who have weakened immune systems are considered high risk for COVID-19 related complications. As the immunocompromised community continues to navigate this pandemic, here are some of their stories in their own words.
Laura Zielinski, Cancer
Laura Zielinski is an essential worker and said she has shown up to her job nearly every day during this crisis, even when she’s tired from her bouts with cancer.
“I am a health care worker and I have recurring cervical cancer — two rounds of radiation, two rounds of chemotherapy just ending in February. I am severely immunocompromised and yet I am working every single day. I’m one of the people that should not be working, technically — and frankly I’m getting pretty sick of hearing how everyone’s staying at home. I want and I need to stay home, but I can’t.”
Lorraine Leach, Pneumonia
Lorraine Leach is an older resident who contracted pneumonia. Leach can social distance while at work, but after her car died she accepted a ride from somebody who later showed symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
“I had pneumonia about a year ago so I’m compromised. I had a job at a place where there’s only two people working in the building. My car died, so I accepted a ride from one of the workers. When I went in the next day, they weren’t there and they told me they were isolating themselves because they had a fever. I was shocked that this person isolated themselves but didn’t call anybody else that was next to them.”
Liz Haigh, Cancer
Liz Haigh just wrapped up cancer treatment and she said she worries a surge in COVID-19 patients may leave her forgotten when she needs help the most.
“I was recently diagnosed with cancer and started chemotherapy in January. And I do worry, very much, about the uptick in cases that we may very well see. And what that means for all of our medical providers who are vital for people like me — who have other things going on that need prompt attention. Cancer is not going to wait for the coronavirus, but I mean the coronavirus is definitely not going to wait for cancer.”