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Joan Leavenworth: ‘Horrendous’

Jun 17, 2020



Joan Leavenworth says it took her weeks to gain back some of her energy after going through chemotherapy, and being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Credit Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio


Aspen resident Joan Leavenworth said she knows the pandemic has been hard on everyone, but for her, it’s come at the end of a particularly difficult year. In November, she was diagnosed with Stage III cancer. She went to Shaw Cancer Center in Edwards Monday through Friday each week until February 1.

Then, on Valentine’s Day, her husband passed away. “Things were piling up,” Leavenworth said. “I tend to be upbeat and positive, but it was dark and snowy and I was alone in this house.”

In March, she fell ill with COVID-19. Her doctor recommended she stay home because she could use her husband’s respirator, which was still in the house. “I went through it with my deceased husband's oxygen equipment,” Leavenworth said.

“It's been quite the winter for me,” she said. “Between the stress and the chemo fog and COVID-19, boy. I'm really in quite a bit of a fog.”

She credited neighbors and friends with helping her through. 

“I felt taken care of,” Leavenworth said. “I had this triple whammy and everyone’s so willing to help.” 

Leavenworth said she still feels weak and short of energy. 

“And I don’t know if it’s because of COVID, chemo, stress or just a combination."


“Quarantine Stories: Recording History" is a community oral history project from Aspen Public Radio and Aspen Historical Society, featuring self-recorded interviews from individuals and families during these historic times. 

There are two easy ways to submit your recording: 1. Record it as voice memo on your smartphone and email it to 2. Call 970-812-3726 and leave your story as a voicemail.