Living Immune Compromised

Unless you know someone who has been on chemotherapy or immune suppressing medication you may not realize the level on constant awareness of those who live this way.

I have been on chemotherapy medications for my Multiple Sclerosis since 2016, not the cancer killing levels of the medication but 600 mg every six months. Just enough to kill all the cells that fight foreign invaders in my body. For me this means almost every cold turns into a sinus infection and every time I go to a store I must be vigilant to wipe down carts, not touch my face and use my hand sanitizer like a nurse in a hospital.

This year, as every year since 2006 my immediate family got flu shots. This is more important now than ever because if I don’t have the flu shot and get a flu on flu I could end up in the hospital with pneumonia and other complications. This year, unlike previous years, both our boys and I got flu B.

Unfortunately you cannot drill into children who go to school the amount of importance of good hygiene and frequent disinfecting is for the health of others. Try as I might, we tell our kids all of the time but life and fun get in the way so it goes by the wayside. Luckily for us, we got the flu shot so for me it was a milder case than what could have ended up very serious.

There are people who will say there is no point to the flu shot if you are just going to get the flu anyway. I can tell you from personal experience, the one time I got the flu before my husband and I were married I thought I was going to die. Until my MS kicked in fiercely I had never experienced the pain and fatigue like it before. Now, with the flu shot, the flue caused more symptoms of my normal MS symptoms and I actually told the doctor I couldn’t tell if I was sick or if it was just my MS.

With the spread of the coronavirus, there is a mad dash for masks and fear in the community. Let me say this, if you feel any kind of sick, practice good hygiene, wash your hands, cover your sneezes and coughs because even without the coronavirus you could be someone who is immune compromised and severe risk.

My husband has informed me that I will be on lock down if the coronavirus comes to our state. He wants me safe, I understand that, is it realistic, probably not. Luckily, I have drive up grocery pick up and food delivery services so if I do have to stay inside, I will not starve.

The deaths due to this virus have been in the elderly and people with serious underlying health issues. That’s us, those of us who are immune compromised and it’s not by choice. I can guarantee that no one chooses to have their immune system killed off. Whether they are born that way, or become that way due to illness or have to take medications to fight off other issues it is not a choice that we want. I would be over the moon if I didn’t have to take these meds anymore, but the truth of it is, if I stop my body will start attacking itself again, escalate the swallowing, walking, talking, thinking, bladder, and mobility issues I already have.

You may not know any of us, but please remember us when you are sick and go out in public. We do not have the luxury of easily fighting off diseases and we can only protect ourselves as much as we have control and we do not have control over your ability to cover your sneezes and coughs and not spreading viruses in stores, banks, schools and other places we or our children go.

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