Friday 24th April 2020

Hi, I’m Hiral, I’m 23 and I was diagnosed with leukaemia in July 2018. I’m hoping to finish my treatment in November 2020 – finally something positive to look forward to this year.

Hiral, who is currently on maintenance treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Coronavirus has amplified isolation by x100. It’s very difficult because when you’re on treatment, you’re isolated most of the time, and we’re in that same position now. It means we have to come up with more creative ideas to pass the time.

Young people with cancer might be ‘pros’ at isolation, but we still struggle sometimes. We might not always have enough energy to do things – even getting out of bed might be a big achievement on some days.

And just because you’re used to isolation, this definitely doesn’t mean you are alone and should be left to it. You’re still just as important even through this pandemic crisis. If you are worried, talk to friends, family, or if you have one, your Clinical Nurse Specialist or Youth Support Coordinator.

Remember you’ve fought a big battle already, or are still fighting just like me, so we have to be extra careful as we are still vulnerable. Don’t let this overwhelm you. Please follow all the safety measures that have been sent to you.

Through self-isolation we are all united, and saving lives by staying indoors. A huge shout out to all the frontline heroes that are risking their lives and saving our lives. Thank you for the endless support.

Here I've prepared a list of things to do during isolation:

  1. Nothing is better than having personal clean space. Moving furniture around helps to declutter the space and makes it look neater. Don’t be a hoarder! Things you no longer need can be useful for someone else e.g. donate unwanted clothes (when it’s possible after lockdown)
  2. Challenge yourself to learn something new. This can either be a new language, reading different genres, do that online course you've always wanted to do to improve your skills. Don't be afraid: always give it a go, and if it's not your cup of tea then it's absolutely fine – at least you got to experience it.
  3. Putting together a slideshow of old and new videos and pictures of friends and family which you can watch and relive those memories.
  4. Try a new form of exercise. This ties in nicely with number 2 about challenging yourself. I personally tried out tai chi and I really felt rejuvenated.
  5. Cooking. There's endless recipes online. Gordon Ramsay would be proud.
  6. Organising/updating all your admin stuff. Get rid of those unwanted subscription and junk emails that you never signed up for. Update your CV, free up space on your phone and other electronic devices of the apps you don't use anymore.
  7. Use technology! By that I mean don't spend endless time watching videos on YouTube. Videocall friends and family, even your work colleagues if you want. Maybe you could plan to cook together virtually or use your creative skills to draw/paint each other. By the end you might have your own exhibition.
  8. Think of charities you can help out during crisis. They need our donations more than ever. We are still fortunate enough to have food, water, shelter and good health. Some are so vulnerable and need our support.
  9. Remember to be kind to yourselves, and also during this crisis there are no limits to just winding down and relaxing.
  10. Do not listen to rumours online – listen to the Government advice.