So around the week of March 8th, I just recently finished my third round of chemo, I am feeling good, and looking ahead to March 19 when I’m scheduled for my final chemo therapy. YAY!!! Woman’s day rolls around, helping me feel empowered, things seem pretty good in the world, except for these reports we keep getting about a virus in China. We’re all starting to take a little bit of precaution at the restaurant where I work (Tony Di Napoli’s) in Times Square. But at first we’re not taking it too seriously because who would think that a virus could overtake New York City? I mean COME ON!💪 🏙🦠🗽NYC
I go to work on that Tuesday and people are starting to really talk about this virus called CORONA? (you mean, like the BEER?) “I guess we’re not serving that for a while!”😜 And people are starting to say that you need to bring hand sanitizer etc wherever you go. Working in the hospitality business I am constantly washing my hands at work, so I’m always aware of germs etc. you might even call me somewhat of a germophobe on occasion. Even my coworkers at times make fun of me (in a sibling kind of way) because I always come in and the first thing I do is take spray and wipe down all the terminals before I start my shift.
I don’t think they’re laughing at me anymore!😀🤣
Anyway, I digress.
So finally it’s really starting to scare me a bit because here I am in the middle of battling breast cancer, trying to stay positive, trying to work and make money to pay my bills, and my upcoming medical bills. So I start to take it really seriously. I think to myself I probably have some hand sanitizer around my apartment🤔 and of course I couldn’t find any anywhere, but then all the sudden I realized that the hospital had given me chemo care products and lo and behold I found this hot commodity in my bag!!!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! The skies part!!!! 😇👼
The following day on Wednesday March 11th I came to work prepared with hand sanitizer and starting to feel the fear. As soon as I walk into the restaurant I see about 100 people in the back of the restaurant that are mainly teenagers from a high school. My girlfriend and co worker Kathleen France (who knows my health issues) sees me, she walks and rushes right towards me and says “DO NOT go near those teenagers and that party.” Of course I say “why?” And she says “All of these kids are from Florida, their school was told they should stay in Florida and quarantine in place but instead they decided they didn’t want to miss their trip to New York City! So as soon as they get off the plane they are going to be in mandatory quarantine for 14 days!” I’m sure the fear and a little bit of anger on my face was palpable! I don’t think I have used so much hand sanitizer in one night! Once the kids left I wiped all the tables down etc. Of course you know at this point no one’s wearing a mask yet!! SCARY!!! Somehow I got through the night and made it home.
I was scheduled to go into work on that Friday evening of that week. And of course after that horrific night at work on Wednesday I started discussing with my mother on Thursday about how scared I was to go back to work. So that morning that I was scheduled I just kept giving myself pep talks saying that I could go in, I’ll be fine, because I knew I needed to work.
A little thing you need to know about my mother and I, is that every day on my way to work when I’m walking to the subway I call her, and we have an eight minute chat every day, that had always been our routine. As I am walking to the subway and talking to her I just started to express how fearful I was for my life because of my very high risk of catching the virus while having cancer. At times your mother’s voice is the only thing that can stop you from making a BAD CHOICE. I almost feel like she saved my life because at that moment my mother said to me three times Robin, DON’T GO!! In between I’m saying to her “I need to work, I need to make money” the last time she said it to me, Robin, DON”T GO!! I started to cry, and I knew she was right, and realized that this Sh@t was getting real!
I called my boss Dreni, and he was so wonderful! He said “I was hoping you would call out, I really think it’s risky for you to be here, but it’s totally your choice. I just want you to get better!” How lucky am I? That was the last day I attempted to go to work, and I have been sheltered in place ever since, except for treatment. Later that evening my girlfriend Kathy sent me this video so I would understand that I missed nothing at work. Two days later they closed the restaurant.
Now I’m home for the next week before my last chemo, NOW WHAT? It’s time to learn how to shelter in place. Let the SUPPLY HUNT BEGIN! So of course I start to stock up on everything from hand sanitizer, to groceries, to vitamins to kick coronas ass, you name it, I’m buying it while I still can! But NO, I did not overload my cart with toilet paper! 🧻 😜 🧻 And guess what? I have never run out!!🙄
So of course I’m watching the news every day and now they are talking about everyone having to wear a mask. Now for me I was happy to hear that, because I am very high risk. But, where am I going to find a mask? This is the moment that I am so happy that I have always done a lot of work in my apartments over the years like painting, redoing furniture, putting up shelves etc. so over the years I have acquired many tools and supplies. So lo and behold I found this hot commodity!
Can you say N 95?
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! The skies part AGAIN!!!!😇👼
So as the time is approaching for me to have my final chemo, the original plan was that my mother was going to fly out for the last chemo therapy so we could celebrate together. But I was not going to risk my mother getting sick with corona, so we discussed it, and of course she stayed home and that was a sense of relief for me. So I was prepared to go alone, because how can you ask anyone to go with you to a medical facility for Chemo while the corona virus is starting to ramp up? Steven had called me to say hello, and if you’ve read my blog in the past, you know that he is my friend who took me to my diagnosis appointment and held my hand and then took me out for lunch where he bought me “Breast Cancer Beignets!”🤣
He asked me about my mother coming and of course I told him what was going on, so he insisted that he wanted to go with me. You know you have a really amazing friend when they’re willing to risk their health to support you! I felt truly blessed! Love you Steven!!
So we prepared, met at my apartment, and took a car to my final treatment!
Of course we did my final cold cap therapy to save my hair and we made sure to take a photo of all things unicorn for a good laugh!
Once we were all done of course we had to take a victory shot!
And of course this was my face once I got home and let everyone on social media know that I had my last chemo! Not even a pandemic was going to ruin my happiness for completing the first hurdle of my breast cancer journey!
And once again all my beautiful friends and family flooded me with gifts and support, and also sending me masks to make sure I was safe. I am amazed everyday by everyone’s love and generosity! My first chemo completion gift was from Sarah and her family! So beautiful! What a wonderful surprise!!
This was from My nephew Brian and his wife Lorena! I Love you guys!
Many of my sweet friends sent me masks, gift cards, artwork, and beautiful notes and cards. I felt showered with love!
Just remember guys no matter what you are going through during this crisis, if you just surround yourself (not in the physical sense) with the people you love through calls, Facetime, Zoom,and even regular mail (which is my favorite) you can get through anything. During this darkness there is always light, so always rise to touch it.
I think my friends and family have defined the new saying “Alone but Together” in my life. So stay safe, stay strong, and inspire yourself for your future!