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Sep 9, 2021 08:47AM
It's been a mixed bag for me in terms of impacts of COVID. In some ways I have been very fortunate. I have been able to work from home since March of last year and have not experienced the financial impacts that many have faced. However, it has had a profound impact given my situation.
I have not seen my oncologist in person since January 2020. I'm not sure that it impacted my care in any way but it has added a layer of stress as I try to ensure that I am providing the right level of detail in terms of how I am doing, feeling, etc. It was kind of comical when it came to the NP assessment of how I was doing on Xeloda. Not sure how she could accurately assess hand and foot syndrome over the phone! LOL.
Now, my MO is on a six month research sabbatical so I'm a bit adrift in terms of may care. I'm scheduled to see someone else in October (four weeks after the scan I had on Tuesday - hope he doesn't think I am waiting that long to learn the results). My MO is wonderful and very accessible so this situation of not having a direct line is daunting to say the least. While my MO may have gone on sabbatical regardless, I suspect it was, at least in part, in response to the stress and strain all health care workers have experienced during the pandemic. They are all burnt out and so I'm sure he welcomed a break.
I've also struggled with the lack of clear direction and information for the clinically vulnerable. I felt fortunate that early on they decided that I was in a group that should be vaccinated first but then things started to go sideways. Our Provincial Health Officer made the decision to space out the first and second shot to 12 weeks from the recommended 3 weeks in an attempt to get first doses to as many as possible. This despite early evidence that those with compromised immune systems had a reduced response to the vaccine and should have the shots at the recommended intervals. The guidelines quietly changed to three weeks for cancer patients but by that time I was at more than 11 weeks between doses. Then to add to the angst, they ran short of Pfizer for a brief period and I ended up having Moderna as my second dose despite my protestations. This has all left me a bit at sea, not knowing how well covered I am, particularly as I was on chemo at the time of my vaccinations.
The biggest impact, of course, has been the limitations that COVID has placed on me in terms of my ability to enjoy the time I have. There have been restrictions to travel, restaurant closures, etc. And with an unknown immunity status and a compromised lung, I don't feel I can do many of the things I hoped to do. (Add to this the fact that, given the decision about mixed doses, many of the places I would like to travel to won't recognize my vaccine status.) Part way through the pandemic I learned that the mets had spread to my liver so it's hard not to feel time is getting shorter...
Overall I am doing okay but damn, I'd like this blood pandemic to be over!
4/2001, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/10 nodes, ER+
5/10/2001 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary
12/17/2001 Whole-breast: Breast
12/20/2001 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
1/2/2007 Femara (letrozole)
10/22/2007 Arimidex (anastrozole)
1/3/2017, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/lungs, ER+/PR+, HER2-
1/27/2017 Taxol (paclitaxel)
3/28/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole)
4/20/2017 Ibrance (palbociclib)
10/12/2017, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to other
10/20/2017 Xeloda (capecitabine)
11/15/2017 External: Bone
1/18/2018 Faslodex (fulvestrant)
8/2/2018 External: Bone
11/5/2018 External: Bone
11/3/2020 External: Bone
1/22/2021, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
2/4/2021 Xeloda (capecitabine)