Cancer survivor shares what remission is like during coronavirus pandemic

Orlando woman turns to tele-medicine for virtual visits with doctor

Cancer survivor shares what remission is like during coronavirus pandemic
Cancer survivor shares what remission is like during coronavirus pandemic

ORLANDO, Fla. – During the coronavirus pandemic, life looks a lot different for a cancer survivor going through remission.

"You try your best to get things back to normal because then you feel normal, you don't feel like someone with cancer," Krista Robeson said.

Krista Robeson is a 26-year-old speech therapist in Orlando who beat cancer last September. Six months into remission, Robeson said she is vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak.

“You still have anxiety in general, you have anxiety of relapse, and now that this pandemic is going on, that anxiety is now heightened, because not only am I high risk, I’m also putting myself at risk every day with my job,” Robeson said.

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Robeson was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma March 28, 2019. She said she saw her dermatologist after finding two unusual bumps -- one on her head and one near her underarm. A plastic surgeon sent the samples off for testing and revealed the cancer diagnosis. After six months of treatment, Robeson is now cancer free. While in remission, she needs to see her doctor every three months for follow ups, labs, and tests.

“For these follow ups, they’re not just appointments I can push off to a later date, they are crucial for me to go to to talk to my doctor and make sure everything’s still going OK,” Robeson said.

News 6 talked to her doctor, Oncologist Daniel Landau, about the switch to virtual visits for patients like Robeson.

“These are the patients that are winding up the sickest, so for most of our patients who have that compromised immune system, we’re trying to take whatever precautions we can to keep them safe,” Landau said.

Landau said during the pandemic, virtual visits are a great alternative.

"Doing a visit like this from the comfort of their home where they are far less likely to have exposure than they are in a hospital system, that's our goal right now," Landau said.

Tele-medicine is helping to cut down the number of trips patients take to and from a doctor’s office. Robeson was able to get her labs done through Orlando Health and discuss results with her doctor virtually.

“I know that I came out of this experience stronger and I know it happened to me for a reason, and I know that anxiety that I feel (and) have every day will eventually wear off as each day goes on,” Robeson said.

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