Breast Cancer and the Coronavirus: Anna R.

Coping Through Crisis: Breast Cancer and the Coronavirus

Anna R.

Photos by Rathkopf Photography

Anna was first diagnosed with Stage I Triple Positive breast cancer 4 years ago after finding a lump on her 37th birthday. After chemo, radiation, a lumpectomy, more chemo and radiation, and biological treatment, Anna was put on Tamoxifen, which she will be on for the next 8 years.

Anna, her husband, Jordan, and their young son quarantined as soon as COVID-19 made its way to New York City.

Anna still got sick, though. To not spread the virus to her family, Anna quarantined herself within their home.


Anna experienced severe isolation and hopelessness. She was completely alone. Unable to hug or kiss her family, who were just one room away.

“When I got sick with coronavirus, I fell apart. I got angry. I got sad. I started to kick myself. I just felt so alone.”

Anna has since recovered from the coronavirus but is still struggling with being in quarantine. Because she and her husband are photographers, they have had no work since quarantine began. People have been canceling events through the entire calendar year, and with no word on when New York City’s quarantine will be lifted, they have no way of knowing when they will be able to start working again.

Health insurance has also been an uphill battle for Anna. Being self-employed and a young adult with breast cancer, it’s expensive. Her Cobra is expiring this year and she is already preparing for what that will look like.
Exercise and CBD oil also help with Anna’s anxiety. She also relies on exercise to relieve some of the side effects of Tamoxifen. Anna’s tried to get into meditation as well but is struggling to keep her mind from wandering while in quarantine.

YSC and Rathkopf Photography have partnered for Mental Health Awareness Month to draw attention to the fear, anxiety, and isolation that COVID-19 triggers in young adults affected by breast cancer. Media often focuses on those in active treatment, but the consequences of cancer can last years after diagnosis. As the world grapples with its ‘new normal,’ these 5 survivors and thrivers navigate an already permanently altered life after cancer now compounded by COVID-19. Follow their stories all May.

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Coping Through Crisis: Breast Cancer and the Coronavirus

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