Life with a transplant during COVID
I wear my mask when I go shopping and work at the university three days a week. I am fully vaccinated and made a plan with my primary care doctor what I would do if I tested positive for Covid: contact her immediately, she would schedule monoclonal antibody treatment and I would get it the same day or the following day.
My bmt doctor knows about my work and potential exposure to Covid, but she doesn’t insist on me quarantining myself – that’s just not practical for me. My two adult sons live with us. One works at the library and the other one attends university. Both of them are always masked up there. I can’t really quarantine myself indefinitely from the family and the world. I am very careful, but I have to take calculated risks.
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Good morning, Alive! My first thought was to give you a virtual High Five and a ‘You go, Gurl’ for having such a positive, practical and sane approach to your life after a stem cell transplant during the pandemic. Like we don’t have enough to deal with, right? ☺️
Calculated risks is the perfect term for taking back your life after transplant during a pandemic. You’re doing everything you can to prevent exposure and having your PCP already in the loop for a proactive plan is brilliant. You’re out in the real world, working and living a normal, healthy life. At some point we have to move on from the ‘patient’ mentality of our procedure and aftermath. It takes time to have that brain shift and you’ve embraced that transition fully.
Last month I had my 2.4 month visit with my transplant team at Mayo. One of the questions I had for my doctor was whether or not he felt it was safe for my husband and I to finally get back to Florida for the winter; Covid always on our minds, of course. We told him we were driving, our exposure would be limited. We don’t eat out, we’re always masked, vaccinated, etc. He smiled and said, “We didn’t get you this far to sit home and be a vegetable. Go to Florida. I trust you to continue to do the right thing.” So here we are in sunny Florida, far from the freezing cold of home. Few people are masked even though stores have signs in the front entry requiring them to be worn. We’re careful but practical.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
@loribmt, I’m so glad you got to go to Florida! @alive, I’m with you. I have to work. I’m in an office 5 days a week. I wear a mask. I’m definitely nervous, but it is what it is. Sometimes I do envision it would be nice to have my desk in one of those hamster bubble things though…probably be more comfortable than a mask!
I understand your uneasiness about being around people who are unmasked in a state with so many Covid cases. I live in Arizona and experience the same thing when I go shopping or go to church. It’s unnerving for me and I limit my interaction with people. People here act like Covid is the a thing of the past, but for me it’s very real and very much in the present.
I am very glad you are living your life to the fullest! Spending the winter in the sunshine is such a treat. I moved to Arizona from Michigan and can’t get over how pleasant winters can be. I’m attaching a picture I took in my backyard last week. Scenes like this make me think about how glad that I am alive.
Working outside of the home is definitely a tricky thing! I worked remotely from the time Covid hit until August of this year. Now I work a hybrid schedule and work remotely two days out of the week. I work at a university where mask wearing is very much a norm, but sometimes a colleague of mine will pop into my office not wearing a mask or we will have 5-6 people eating lunch in our conference room. It makes me feel uneasy, but I also don’t want to draw attention to my health condition. It’s such a fine line for me, since I am working for a new department where only one person knows that I had a transplant.
What a glorious sunset! Don’t you feel almost overwhelmed with gratitude sometimes for being alive and thriving with your second life? Every day feels like a gift to me now and moments such as this magnificent sunset seem to bring tears to the brim.
There’s no chance of not living life to the fullest now. I’ll never take life for grated again and won’t be defeated by people who are potential threats to my health. As you say, we take calculated risks. So if it involves mask wearing and avoidance, that’s the new norm. 😉 Masks are replacing shoes as the hottest accessory. LOL (ha, not a chance)
I completely understand your mind shift regarding winter. I love winter but my husband does not! So one year as a surprise for him, I rented us a condo in Florida for a month. It was an eye opener for me!!
We own a place here because I was a convert! LOL. We still return to Wisconsin for a couple weeks for and after the holidays so I get my snow-fix/family-fix, but then right back to the sunshine, warmth and no slippery sidewalks.
Thank you for sharing your gorgeous Arizona sunset! Happy Thanksgiving. ☺️
Remember Bubble Boy from Seinfeld? LOL. I often felt like that the first year after transplant, having to wear a mask everywhere. And just at the point I was able to shed my mask, Covid hit. Now my masks are such a normal part of life, just another accessory. (An extension of my professional life when I wore a mask, 8 hours a day for 30+ years in the dental office)
It would be so much easier if everyone got on board with wearing them until this crisis is over. But until then, it’s up to us to create our own “bubbles’, huh. ☺️
Stay safe out there, Athena and have a Happy Thanksgiving. Do you spend it with family?
I know my thoughts! Think I’ll rewatch that episode. Since I was immersed in liver disease and transplant all during Covid, I’m adjusted. There’s been an outbreak at the City I work for…25 public works employees thus far. So, adds to the nervousness. In fact, I was supposed to meet with the Department Director last week when the outbreak started. Bubble be me! There are certainly far worse things around our world. And, much for which to be grateful.
I’m having a skin cancer surgery this afternoon, so will just be hanging out as a couch potato 🥔 tomorrow with my little old dog. I am going to make Pumpkin Maple Soup…it’s awesome!
Happy Thanksgiving to you as well Lori!
I report to the Mayor and work primarily with Department Directors. When I went through the interview process I was transparent about my transplant as I wanted to explain why ai left my previous municipal employment. So, typically those I work directly with wear masks. The mask mandate has gone away for City employees in the office, although the public is supposed to wear them. There’s a high rate of vaccination, but there’s been an outbreak amongst public works employees.
My office mates know I’m immunosuppressed, but like you I still have to take my mask off to drink and eat. They do not wear masks. I mostly worry about breakthrough infections, as they are vaccinated.
I’m glad you can work remotely some. But, I’m very sorry you can’t be more transparent in your workplace. It’s sad that people are often judgmental of others. Be safe @alive!
The excitement never ends, does it. Sigh… I hope all goes well with your surgery this afternoon. The soup sounds delicious!!! Save me a bowlful. ☺️ Sending a huge hug your way.
Sorry to hear about Covid outbreak at work! That must be so difficult to deal with while needing to be at work. My stem cell transplant was 5.5 years ago, so my altered life has been like this for a while. Covid has made me even more vigilant, but I also want to live a full life.
At my previous job I disclosed my condition and felt like my coworkers were somewhat overprotective of me and felt they had the right to speak on my behalf, demanding accommodations for the whole team. It made me feel very uncomfortable being placed in that position.