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how careful?
jaycee
2 Posts

So I've started chemo and know that I am now one of the imnocomprimised people.

Pre-pandemic, when patients were undergoing treatment - how careful were you around others? I know it's way easier to get covid than a cold, so recognize that what was is no longer - but how much care do I need to take with in person visits, coupled with chemo and covid?

I have continued to wear a mask inside with others - grocery and shopping, and have not done any indoor, in person activities with strangers. I have only eaten on patios, but not since my diagnosis, so am already covid careful - but am wondering about friends visiting, and if I should keep that to an outdoor activity if I'm unsure about their last week's interactions etc.

Thoughts?

9 Replies
Climbing
178 Posts

Hi,

This is a question I ask myself all the time also. Same as you, once I started chemo I really wanted to be sure that I was taking the right precautions. Right now, Im trying to avoid going into stores, but if I have to I wear an N95 mask. I have my partner do all my shopping for me, wearing an N95. He wears a mask at work also.

I also do a bit of online shopping for some items, through Amazon etc. I have stopped going to restaurants all together, which I do miss! But we get takeout or delivery and put on a jazz record at home, so it can feel like we are dining out :)

I haven't had too many visitors although its amazing how many people all of the sudden want to come see me now that I have started chemo. Helpful, but also kind of counter productive. So I've been telling people that I am doing backyard, distanced and masked visits. I find it a hard balance as people want to drop off food but I'm not supposed to be around too many people.

I know we have to take extra caution as we are now immunocompromised. I think everyone has their own level of what they feel comfortable with. For me, I had to become comfortable telling my family and friends what my boundaries are. Really, this is not much different as we've always had a bit of covid rules and boundaries previously and people arent surprised when I tell them what I'm comfortable with, they get it! ♥️

Runner Girl
2799 Posts

@jaycee

Regarding friends visiting - do you trust them with your life? Are they careful and cautious and will they take precautions and not visit you if they are unwell?

You are on chemo and you are immune compromised - this means the common cold/flu can land you in the hospital because your body does not have the means to fight off the infection. This means your life can be at risk, you can land in hospital and your treatment could be delayed.

Best bet, play it safe. Much better to be safe than sorry. If you both wear masks and keep distance between you should be fine.

@jaycee Something that hasn't been mentioned is the precaution's when using the washroom. The medication that you are receiving isn't good for other people and extra cleaning is needed. If you are at someone's house, do you feel it will be clean enough for you to use. Then you are going to have to clean it after you've used it also. Thankfully, when I was on chemo, I didn't have to share the washroom with anyone.

@jaycee

Excellent question and some great responses. I also wanted to share the page from cancer.ca on cancer and covid https://cancer.ca/en/about-us/cancer-and-covid19-resources

Hopefully that will answer some of your questions and concerns.

It is definitely a delicate balance as being with and talking with friends and family is such an important part of our mental health. So finding ways to do that while protecting our physical health would be the goal for me.

Lianne

Essjay
1995 Posts

@jaycee i went through chemo in 2018-19…

I only met with friends at home or in restaurants if they were well. My husband got a flu shot for the first time ever. I didn‘t hug or shake hands and I physically distanced…

i also stayed home from work…

I never got sick…

JustJan
1629 Posts

@jaycee it is definitely important to be cautious because one small bug can have devastating effects. When I was on chemo in 2019, everyone had to have had their flu shot or they weren’t allowed to visit. As well, if anyone was sick they could not visit. I had hand sanitizer at the front door that I asked everyone to use when they arrived. Like others I was selective about who I saw and where I went.

Mammabear
300 Posts

I tell people that I was wearing a mask long before they became fashionable. I wore them out in public. People not allowed over if unwell. Enter my house and wash your hands. Wash hand endlessly. Funny now how these are all being done for covid. When covid hit my husband asked what people were so fussed about with the masks and hand washing - I reminded him he has been living with a cancer patient for years.

I was fortunate never to be ill during chemo.

BellaBlue
43 Posts

There are a few things to think about. If you recieved your vaccines during chemo, your immune system generates a lower response than others. Also, the protectiveness of the vaccines wane in 3-4 months, especially for immunocomprimised. There are still around 6000 people in hospital with covid, 375 in ICU.

Sure, many people only get cold-like symptoms but they are the healthy ones. You are going through enough, protect yourself. I went through chemo last summer, I had no visitors, it sucked but i knew I wasn’t going to add a serious illness to the one I’m currently going through. See people outside if you must but a few months really isnt that long in the big scheme of things .

jaycee
2 Posts

Thanks guys, this was helpful. It's about what I imagined - just wasn't sure about the levels of risk/safety but want to stay healthy and safe and wondered what that looked like in reality.

I doubt I'll be indoors with anyone, and if unavoidable I will keep my N95 on at all time. I might try for outdoor visits with people I know and trust to keep me safe. I would never have allowed a sick person to visit me in the before times (helps to have a germaphobe partner) so that's not a hard ask.

I moved into the country, and coupled with covid there has been a lot of isolation in the past two years (as I'm sure for many of us), so a few more months can be easily accomplished… :)

Thanks for all your answers!

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