Coronavirus Isolation & Cancer — ‘The Uncertainty Isn’t New’

Political News


My friend Olivia has written a moving and insightful piece at Market Watch on her experience as a young person with stage IV cancer, self-isolating alone in the Scottish countryside.

For a 21-year-old, I have a fairly unusual relationship with my own mortality. Last December, my 45-year-old mother passed away, having been diagnosed with terminal cancer four years earlier. Two days later, on Christmas Eve, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer myself. I am now self-isolating alone in a cottage in the Scottish countryside — as someone undergoing chemotherapy, I have been classified ‘extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus, so living with my family was too dangerous.

For me, the uncertainty generated by coronavirus isn’t new — it feels like the rest of the world has caught up with what I discovered four years ago. I was forced, prematurely, to reckon with some hard facts. That one day I will die. That I may do so at any time, even today. And that there is only a certain amount I can do to prevent this. That might sound horribly morbid to some, terrifying to others — but to me, as for my mother, it is death’s inevitability that offers direction on how to live.

I highly recommend reading the whole thing. Quite apart from anything else, it’s beautifully written. (Do say a prayer for her, if you’re so inclined.)

Madeleine Kearns is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute. She is from Glasgow, Scotland, and is a trained singer.


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