Are you getting cancer treatments during COVID-19?

Posted by Colleen Young @colleenyoung, Mar 26, 2020

Are you getting cancer treatments at the moment? What about diagnostic tests, like blood tests, CT scans, mammography, PET scans etc? Is your surgery going ahead as planned or postponed?

I’d like to hear from you. What is like being in treatment during the COVID-19 crisis? How are you doing?

@sqdncnws

I am about to start my cancer treatment and it really scares me. I realize the chemo breaks down your immune system and right now I have a good immune system but am terrified of what is about to happen. Any words of wisdom?

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Hello @sqcndnws. I see Bob has already introduced himself and given you some very good words of wisdom. My name is Nancy (1nan) and I have had a variety of treatments non stop for the past four years. At this point I am in remission. It isn’t expected to be permanent since there is no cure but I have no concerns about it coming back. You see, somehow you come to be master of your ship and know you can do whatever it takes. It makes perfect sense to have apprehension about both the knowns and unknowns. Can you tell us a little more about yourself and what you have been told so far?
Peace, Nancy

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Hi sqcndws : I too am a cancer survivor and I had both Chemo and radiation. Bob told you some things to expect and I did loose my hair and my head was cold until I got the caps. the one thing I can tell you is I was very sick with my chemo. My oncologist did advise me to take anti nausea medication– did I do it NO as I wasn't feeling sick so why take the medication right?? wrong !!! so my advice is if the oncologist orders a medication take it even if you don't feel like you need it. I am a great proponent of Boost juice not the milky kind the juice. I also became immune- suppressed and still am just sitting at 2.2 -I have been very careful since last October and since COVID really careful now there is only 2 in my bubble. Stay positive and do the walks it is the one thing I do even now. You will find you are tired so make sure you sleep when you can/ or at least try to. This is a great forum if you need to talk to someone please use it. Good Luck- sending you a virtual hug!

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@sqdncnws

I am about to start my cancer treatment and it really scares me. I realize the chemo breaks down your immune system and right now I have a good immune system but am terrified of what is about to happen. Any words of wisdom?

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@sqdncnws The best words of wisdom I have for you is to treat yourself kindly. Take naps, go walking, get a good nights sleep, and say yes to doing something only if you feel up to it. Some of those I worked with during my years as an oncology nurse experienced only slight side effects, others, none.
You will have to be extra careful because of the virus. Let someone else do all of your errands. Explain to friends why wearing a mask is SO important.
What type of cancer do you have and what drug will you be getting?

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@5qdeletion

My concern is about precautions, not about postponement. I check in with Mayo's hematology doc twice a year for guidance. But my chemo treatments are done locally, a three hour drive from Mayo. I get infusions for 7 days on, then 21 days off. Those 7 days are frightening.

My local oncologist has a very loose disinfecting program. People go in and out the door, touching on door handles, the door, the door jamb – then they fail to use hand sanitizer, even though there is hand sanitizer in sight. There's no one watching to make sure they sanitize. The front desk lady – when she has a chance every hour or so – sprays and wipes door handles and the countertop at the window to her desk. With the same cloth she keeps laid on top of the spray bottle between wipedowns. There are no signs or notices to tell patients and caregivers exactly how to conduct themselves to help prevent virus spread. Nothing.

No one sanitizes the chair arms or the toilet rooms. Patients and caregivers sit in the waiting room, sometimes pull their masks down for comfort; no one is making sure they wear them properly or keep them on. Caregivers are not allowed into the infusion room where I'm told sanitizing takes place between patients; but seeing how the waiting room is handled, I have doubts about the procedure.

I am frustrated. I wear a mask, a shield, disinfectant wipes on my hands, a bottle of disinfectant spray in my pocket which I use every time I touch something with my wipe-covered hand. I spray my shoes after leaving, before I get into my car.

Imagine what would happen if I told the doctor all he's failing to do to prevent COVID-19 virus spread. I'd never have a decent relationship with him again, no matter how nicely I present this.

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@5qdeletion– This would be very concerning to me too. May I suggest speaking to your doctor about this? This is very disconcerting and unacceptable for an immunology facility. Is there anywhere else you can go?

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@5qdeletion – Would it be possible to anonymously report this to the Department of Health? Maybe they can inspect?

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@astaingegerdm

@5qdeletion – Would it be possible to anonymously report this to the Department of Health? Maybe they can inspect?

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@astaingegerdm– Or, maybe call the Governor's office to see where the best place is to report the facility/or the attny. general

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@merpreb – Yes, that is another option.

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Yes and doing as well as expected
I have been back to Mayo each month for blood work and doctors review, i am on a tablet for renal cancer
Kidney removed and now its move as a tumor to my left lung
God Bless
Harvey

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@monroeed

My boyfriend is receiving his blood tests and chemo infusion every 2 weeks at Kaiser Santa Clara w/out interruption during Covid 19. He’s had a kidney, spleen and part of his pancreas removed; the current chemo treatments are related to the pancreas. After he completes 3 more rounds of chemo they will be looking at surgery for the nodules on his lungs. I’m grateful that my boyfriend has a wonderful oncology team for his care. Unfortunately, his immune system is very compromised and he relies on me for grocery shopping (we don’t live together) and I work FT in a healthcare clinic. I realize my boyfriend’s situation is critical but the waiting in lines and his complaints about what I’m able to buy at the store are disheartening. Fortunately, I have a therapist I’m able to see 1 x per month, but do have times when I feel overwhelmed. Thank you for this forum where I can air my feelings.

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Hello @monroeed,

I recall that your boyfriend was being treated with chemo after his surgery in the spring. How is he doing now?

When you last posted you said you were feeling a bit overwhelmed. How you are doing?

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