Cold & Flu season… our new life as germaphobes



There are so many things swimming around my head to write about it’s hard to know where to begin today. I think I will hold off a bit on the piece regarding heath insurance (groan) a little while longer as it has the tendency to put me in a pretty foul mood!!
Since we are entering into the cold & flu season, I’m going to write about germs. Let me start by saying… and my people will laugh hysterically … I am a HUGE germaphobe!!! My coworkers at the animal hospital chuckled at me daily for my “swabbing the deck” with alcohol swabs. I had my own bottle of alcohol under my desk… I cleaned religiously!! Dog kisses no problem.. when one of my coworkers used to say she licked something of mine ( you know who you are)… haha ( I loved them all like sisters) but.. where are my gauze pads soaked in alcohol??? I so rarely get sick, but that is exactly what happened recently. Sitting on the couch, next to Peter one evening all of a sudden my throat was sore, my nose stuffed up… I got a headache… oh no.. panic set in. I took my immune boosters, had some green tea, honey.. the whole nine yards… where did I pick something up??? The gym, I wipe everything off there before & after…. the grocery store??? I’m more contagious before I know I’m sick right?? I know I kissed him… several times… (we are newlyweds) today… PANIC!!!! You see, Peter can’t get sick… he hardly has any immune system. His lymphocytes are 73% useless.. malignant. Everything that I have read was backed up by his doctor; usually it’s a secondary infection of some sort that takes a CLL patient.. primarily lung infections. Chemo wipes out good and bad cells… making a person during treatment vulnerable to infection… Peter’s system alone is kind of like that. He has a small percentage of his lymphocytes trying to work.. but the vast majority of lymphocytes are malignant.. useless.. and are just getting in the way, blocking the good guys from doing their jobs. You don’t usually really give it a thought so much when you get sick… I mean nobody likes to get sick… but it happens. Well given our “new” reality… any illness can become a major problem!! When I woke up the next morning I knew I was really sick.. achy, fever,stuffy head, really crappy.. then I remembered and cold terror hit me. Peter can not get sick!!! This is what it’s like loving somebody with cancer… I want to shield him and put him in a safe bubble … and here I am sick. “Don’t get near me” I’m in a panic. Three days I sit outside on the deck trying to stay away from Peter who is feeling so weak & tired & dizzy and laying on the couch. I can’t help him… I can’t sit with him.. rub his back, because I don’t want to get him sick…maybe he’s getting sick from me… We’ve had to look at EVERY SINGLE THING in life from a new perspective & reality. Getting sick used to be nothing… now it could be life & death… I’m really feeling fear now. Fear… there it is… I know the opposite of fear is faith… fear is winning the battle right now. We’ve never had to think like this…. it’s scary! Peter’s doctor had told him at his last appointment to not put himself in situations where there were sick people. We stay out of large crowds, off planes, we unfortunately have to be careful around people. We love people… it’s a life changer. We have to ask questions like, “are you feeling ok”, “have you been sick”, “anybody in your house sick?”. We have to sanitize hands after handshaking. We are both huggers… and we have to revisit the safety of it. We have to be careful around children.. who so often have runny noses…. This simply sucks!!!!! I don’t think many people out there understand how dangerous being immune compromised is on a day to day basis. Big old hug… just like we both like to give and all of a sudden we hear, “how you doing… I’ve been sick with this stomach bug or chest cold for a few days now…” AHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOO…. you just hugged us… whyyyyyyyy????? Even a simple trip to the store can be disasterous… if I had a nickel for every person I see cough & sneeze without covering their face.. I’d be rich….. really…germs flying everywhere for every person to breathe in…

FEAR ….. reality

The opposite of fear is faith…. you can’t truly feel both at the same time… one drowns out the other. By some God given miracle Peter does not catch what I had… Thank you God for this blessing… looking for the beauty in everything….my prayers were answered… Peter still has cancer… but he didn’t get my nasty virus…

Some days fear wins… it’s a battleground inside. There are so many emotions attached to this cancer. Out of nowhere deep feelings rise to the surface and shake you to your core. I try to focus on my faith at these times… Just because we sometimes get rattled and shaken doesn’t make our faith any weaker … we are after all only human. We aren’t lost… we are just walking the path of life… with it’s twists and turns. There will be hard days, and times… and there will be joyous triumphs. Peter staying healthy is a triumph… really!! So if we run into you out there.. please don’t be offended if we don’t hug you… man do we want to.. bear hug… Please understand somebody with cancer needs to NOT get sick… Peter can’t get sick!! If you are unwell.. blow us a kiss, let us know.. we get it.. it’s of utmost importance as we come into cold & flu season!!

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