Three Tuesdays each month, Katherine O’Brien straps on her face mask and journeys about half an hour by Metra rail to Northwestern University’s Lurie Cancer Center.
What were once packed train cars rolling into Chicago are now eerily empty, as those usually commuting to towering skyscrapers weather the pandemic from home. But for O’Brien, the excursion is mandatory. She’s one of millions of Americans battling cancer and depends on chemotherapy to treat the breast cancer that has spread to her bones and liver.
“I was nervous at first about having to go downtown for my treatment,” said O’Brien, who lives in a suburb, La Grange, and worries about contracting the coronavirus. “Family and friends have offered to drive me, but I want to minimize everyone’s exposure.”