I agree that cancer treatment can have a long term impact on your immune system. I was diagnosed in 2015 & since then my lymphocyte count has always run well below the normal range. My GP just keeps a watchful eye on it, in the absence of repeated infections, but it has never managed to return to normal levels. I am a nurse, so it did cross my mind when Covid-19 emerged, whether it was a good idea to put myself in the firing line, given that one of lymphocytes’ functions is to deal with viruses. Occupational health organised a blood test for me & miraculously the levels have returned to normal 5 years after chemo/Herceptin. Timing could not have been better. I’m telling you this so you know that the immune system can recover, even years later. I work in green hospital, so theoretically should not have had to care for Covid +ve patients. However all that colour coding went to pot during the peak & on a few days I spent my whole shift in isolation rooms looking after Covid positive patients who were coughing all over me. We cannot nurse people at a 6ft distance, so l was pretty close to the patients for a prolonged period & did not catch it. I was wearing a normal surgical mask, gloves & goggles. If your work wants you back, they should provide PPE given your medical history. I have to say the biggest risk is from other staff, when we have breaks etc when we are outside isolation rooms & not in PPE. The other think you could do is have a blood test &, if some of your white cells are also low, use that as a reason to register as vulnerable. Take care xx
I finished my cancer treatment just after last Christmas and then got very painful shingles which has still not completely gone away so my immune system is not what it should be. I didn't realise that the cancer treatnent, in my case, a lumpectomy then radiotherapy and Anastrazole would have such long-lasting efects. I also have asthma so feel I wouldn't fare well if I caught the virus.
I also am not counted among the most vulnerable but fortunately I am retired so I feel for you regarding work. My husband died a year last February after 4 years of battling prostate cancer so things have been hard as you will have discovered.
My daughters have told me not to go out and my youngest is doing my shopping. Understandably they are fearful for me, having so recently lost their Dad so I am careful.
I wish you all the best.
Thank you for your long reply.I do appreciate it and you have put me at ease. I think all this time on my own has sent my thought processes into haywire. I know I am doing the right thing staying in. Who knows what the future holds. I should just try and concentrate on the next few weeks and make the most of this free time, Thank you again - stay safe x
Love the name. I think you answered part of your own question by saying you are reducing the numbers the NHS are having to deal with as the figures soar. It’s a social responsibility we all have and your employers sent you home because they identified you as at risk from the confined environment. I am NHS identified, though my chemo finished a year ago. I can only think it’s because my GP is currently looking into chemo-damage to my immune system although I haven’t caught any coughs or viruses - touch wood. Anyway. I’m on the list. I can’t see any benefits but I’m under house arrest for another 11 weeks and 1 day. However, the benefit is as much to the NHS as it is to me. Isolation will mean one less sick patient, one more ICU bed and that could mean lives saved that might have been lost. It’s a long chain and we’re a small but essential link they are removing for now.
I know you are in a protected job but, apart from that, your situation is no different from those laid off as their shops and businesses have closed. Rather than worry about it for the duration, I would contacted HR and discuss it with them now, while the crisis is real and we haven’t grown smug about it again, as I fear we may (as a nation, not us). Meantime, there is a government website where you can register as a vulnerable person or see if you can at least. It’s worth a try. The stumbling block may lie in the ‘extremely.’ There are also guidelines as to what to do if you believe you should be registered as vulnerable, again worth trying. www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
Hope that helps. A strong element of this crisis, as with when you had breast cancer, is emotional health. You need to look after that carefully but again that may be grounds for HR to agree to your continued absence. No one knows what the situation will be in 12 weeks do they? Take care, Jan x
I wouldn't worry, if your work sent you home they obviously think you are high risk. I think the amount of chest infections you get puts you in that bracket.
If you are isolating then you cannot be penalised for it.
Hope that helps a bit.
Joemic x 😊
It’s been over 10 years since I had breast cancer and chemotherapy. On the whole it’s a distant memory and I know I am one of the lucky ones. My immune system was never the same though - I tended to get every cough and cold going- in fact I was hospitalised several years ago as I just couldn’t fight infection. Sadly after I was released from hospital my husband had a heart attack and died so I have been on my own since. I work full time but every year I have sick leave due to a chest infection. I am really poorly for a few days so I self certify and usually go back to work. At the start of all this Corona Virus - I was called in and told to go home - my work place is a prison - so not the healthiest of places. I phoned a helpline and they said I should treat myself like the over 70s and isolate as much as possible for 12 weeks. I feel guilty doing this but I know it’s best to stay home so the NHS have one less to worry about. I am worried that because I won’t get a letter as vulnerable - nor should I - that if work starts again before the 12 week period I have not get the evidence about my immune system as I have not really been to the doctors for several years. Sorry if I am rambling . Have I really been at risk or have I panicked.