Coronavirus pandemic doesn’t stop New York woman from overcoming cancer: ‘It’s an incredibly special day’

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At least one New York woman is finding a reason to celebrate in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Elizabeth Wyant, 62, of Long Island, N.Y., was diagnosed with uterine cancer in December. A month later, she underwent a complete hysterectomy to remove a large mass. The surgery was followed by radiation treatment, which the retired administrative professional successfully completed this week.

To celebrate, Wyant rang a gong at Northwell Health Cancer Institute, where she was treated.

Elizabeth Wyant, 62, of Long Island, rings a gong to celebrate the end of her radiation treatments.

Elizabeth Wyant, 62, of Long Island, rings a gong to celebrate the end of her radiation treatments. (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health)

“It’s an incredibly special day and I want to thank everyone from staff at reception, the technicians, my doctor and physician assistants — they are like family to me, so warm and caring,” Wyant said at the celebratory event, according to a Northwell Health blog post.

“I never expected to have cancer of any sort and it happened so fast,” she added. “By the time I needed radiation, New York City was already the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Cancer patients are considered at a higher risk for severe illness should they contract the novel coronavirus. Thus, doctors treating Wyant had to take extra precautions – such as wearing a mask and observing social distancing measures – to ensure she could still receive her treatments, while she underwent five days a week for five consecutive weeks, according to the post.

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“We’ve never been through anything like this,” said Dr. Beatrice Bloom, a radiation oncologist at Northwell Health’s Radiation Medicine Center, and Wyant’s physician, in a statement. “Over the course of years, we’ve suspended treatment because of natural disasters such as snowstorms and during Hurricane Sandy, but those were very short acute episodes. We had not faced a public health crisis over the long haul, affecting so many.”

“I’m grateful to my son, who was able to drive me to radiation appointments and does all my grocery shopping and laundry. I take one day at a time. My positive attitude and sense of humor [are] getting me through this,” added Wyant.