Lessly Wikle Field: Just One More Thing

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A cancer diagnosis means Lessly Wikle Field is already defying death every day. The coronavirus? It's just one more thing.

My recent visit with death has left me realizing that it can steal life right out from under your nose. One minute, you are thinking about dinner, and the next, you are off to the hospital to save your life.

Facing death in times of pandemic, adds another dimension, but oddly, the virus is just one more thing in death’s arsenal, not necessarily the thing that will kill you.

When I first got diagnosed with cancer, it seemed like the biggest thing that could happen. Was I going to die? How would I say goodbye? Did I have enough time to structure my affairs, leave easy-to-follow instructions, and make sure any action needed to close the book of my life was not painful for others?

Today, after a sepsis infection, during a pandemic and still fighting cancer, life feels so much more basic than that. Am I drinking enough water? Should I take a nap? How are my bowels? Do I have the strength to round the corner of our block today and extend my walk by 15 paces?


The news is interesting but abstract. So much more interesting are the micro-interactions I get through the mail, email, on FaceTime with friends and being with my family.  Lockdown seems old hat to me now, but it’s fun to see how others are adjusting to what has been my world for the last two months.

With the shrinking of my world comes a great letting go. As a person “in charge” in my previous existence, I have become dependent on others for lifting anything over five pounds, my sustenance, rides to appointments and glimpses into the outside world.

I am pleased to report that humanity is intact from this perspective. Neighbors have brought me face masks, groceries, medical support. Friends are using remote connection tools to stay in touch. My sister is relentless in checking on me. People ask regularly, “Is there anything you need?”

The answer is yes I need my life. I need to see my son graduate from high school. I need to grow old with my husband. Since these kind folks can’t deliver that, I’ll take the next the best thing their compassion, kindness, masks and groceries.

With a Perspective, this is Lessly Wikle Field.

Lessly Wikle Field is a working professional fighting breast cancer. She lives in Berkeley.