'Cancer Doesn't Care There's a Pandemic': What It's Like to Be In Treatment During COVID-19

Rudy Fischmann, a brain cancer patient and former true crime TV producer, battles balance issues that started after his first set of surgeries two years ago. Daily walks and physical therapy are part of his treatment regimen. Yet strolls around his Knoxville, Tennessee, neighborhood are already becoming more stressful as the state begins to open up.

“It’s getting harder and harder, with more and more people outside every day,” said Fischmann, 48. “I don’t enjoy walking laps around my kitchen, so I’m finding myself having to change my routes almost daily.”

A father of two young children who are now home round-the-clock, Fischmann finds all the family time draining his limited energy. He also fears what germs they will bring back from school come fall.

“The thought of, if I were to contract the virus, would I get a different standard of care?” he said. “I’m used to staying home and not doing that much, but it’s more nerve-wracking now.”

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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