Chemotherapy Diary - Cycle #4: Day 9

Hooray!!! My mum was discharged after 3 days in hospital and was now fit and healthy enough to be at home.  It is such a fantastic feeling to be able to get home, shake the hospital smell from your clothes and be able to eat the food that we like and sleep in the comfort of our own beds.  My mum was going to spend the day at home as she was still feeling delicate, nauseous at times, slight pain in her abdomen and dizzy when standing.  My main goal for the day was to get the house in order, make sure she had lots of yummy, healthy meals and most important of all, get a flu vaccine.  We all know that flu is rampant during the winter months and almost inescapable should you either have children, work in an office or travel daily via public transport.  Flu can make you feel dizzy, drowsy and generally unpleasant.  However, it can be more severe in either the elderly, pregnant or those with an underlying health condition or a weakened immune system.  In my mother's case, she had her spleen removed as part of her surgery as the spread of her cancer meant that numerous cancerous tumours were also found on her spleen.  The spleen is a fist sized organ in the upper left side of your abdomen and is an important part of the immune system but a person can survive without it.  The body is an amazing thing and the liver has the ability to take over many of the spleen's functions of which the main ones are to fight any invading germs in the blood, control the level of blood cells and remove any old or damaged red blood cells.  This means, as a result of having her spleen removed, my mum is much more prone to infection than a person with a spleen.  Therefore, I like to be very careful with infections and germs in my house.  The flu vaccine has to be administered 2-3 days prior to the next cycle of chemotherapy when the immune system is at its strongest.  So my mum can't have her vaccine yet but will do so in two weeks time.  As a carer, I'm eligible for the flu jab to ensure that as the primary carer, I'm not out of action for a period of time that will have an adverse effect on the ability for me to care for my mum.  At work, I sit in an open plan office with a host of colleagues around me for up to 7 hours a day where germs are easily passed in confined places.  It really bothers me that others who have colds, coughs and illnesses do not take sick days and risk passing infections onto others.  Consideration needs to be taken into other people's circumstances.  What is a common cold to one person, is not to another.  What's worse, a few weeks ago, a colleague told me that another colleague who worked at the other end of the office had come to work with shingles, his doctor telling him that it was fine for him to go to work.  I was terrified, not only was I afraid that I could contract shingles and pass it to my mother but I attend the hospital regularly and encounter other patients.  I did not want to be contracting shingles and passing it onto other vulnerable people.  So though it seems like a very mundane task, it is important for 1. people who are sick to avoid public places and risk passing the illness onwards; 2. get a flu vaccine which is available over the counter at your local pharmacy.

Take care.



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