For Lacey, the hardest part of having breast cancer is not the chemo sessions, which leave her exhausted. It’s not losing her hair and eyelashes, although she admits to feeling out of place sometimes now that her hair has fallen out. And it’s not having to spend so much time at home due to the treatments that make her vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.
The hardest part is not having the energy to keep up with her 5-year-old daughter, Ivy.
“She’s the joy of my life,” said Lacey, a single mother now juggling cancer treatments with parenting and all of the complications that have come with that due to the pandemic. “There are just a lot of things I can’t do with my kid. She deserves to be able to go outside and go to the park. To do things that mommy just can’t.”
Lacey learned she has breast cancer in early May. “It was a total surprise,” she said. “My energy level had been down, and I couldn’t figure that out.”
After starting treatment, a therapist who is also a breast cancer survivor suggested that she look into getting meals from Project Angel Heart. Thanks in part to funding from Cowgirls Against Cancer, a Colorado Springs group that funds medically tailored meals for people diagnosed with breast cancer, she was able to get meal deliveries started quickly.
Lacey’s weekly deliveries include meals for both her and her daughter. Ivy, a picky eater, likes the soups best. She also likes the cheerful, hand-drawn images that volunteers add to the meal bags used to deliver the meals to their third-floor apartment.
“My daughter loves the bags when they’re colored. Those are great, especially the ones with the painted flowers. We cut the flowers out and hung them on her wall. The artwork makes her more excited about eating the meals, too!”Lacey, a Project Angel Heart client
The meals make life a little simpler for Lacey, who’s often too exhausted to cook or do housecleaning. “They give me more time to spend with my daughter,” said Lacey, “even if we are just watching TV.”
She also feels like her health is better than it would be without the meals. “They provide more nutrition for me than what I would get otherwise,” she said, listing off the easy-to-prepare alternatives. “Ramen, hot dogs…”
It’s a long road to recovery. She’ll go through several more weeks of chemotherapy, followed by surgery. After that, there will be radiation therapy, and then breast reconstruction surgery.
In the meantime, Lacey is taking precautions to avoid the coronavirus. She wears a mask everywhere. She uses hand sanitizer. She tries not to go out unless she absolutely needs something. And she found a temporary, on-call job, a huge financial help, where she is still able to follow social distancing practices.
Ivy is now starting school. She’ll do remote learning this year due to the virus, but Lacey was able to get her into a childcare center that will help with her schoolwork. That’s a win for Lacey, who felt guilty putting Ivy in front of the television when she was too tired to keep her busy in other ways.
Best of all, the two will continue to receive medically tailored meals—delivered in the hand-decorated bags that Ivy loves—for as long as Lacey needs them. “I believe it‘s a really good service and helps a lot of people out,” said Lacey.
(Photo credit: Stellar Propeller Studio)