What a week! A cd release party on Friday, concert on Saturday, I have put together 550 cds to go to radio stations, and we have been working.
Ken and I have been working pretty much straight through since September 4th, I guess making up for the time we will be gone. On Friday we are leaving for a month holiday in Canada. Ken sent me home from hospital yesterday and said I could not come back.. :) My white blood count is down to 1.6 and my ANC is 980, which is low and leaves me more prone to infection.
I guess I had hoped that by the time the flu season hit I would be over all of this, but we are starting to see the flu at the hospital now.
The problem with the flu vaccine in immunocompromised people, (such as those on chemo, with leukemia, AIDS, and the elderly) is that these people are not able to mount a response to the vaccine. Normally when you receive a vaccine, your body mounts a response and forms antibodies to the organism (in this case the influenza virus), which is how you are protected. If you have had the vaccine and then come in contact with the virus, the antibodies you have formed quickly takes care of the virus. If you are immunocompromised you are unable to form the antibodies. So this is the reason that the people who care for the immunocompromised need to be immunized, so as to decrease the risks that they will come into contact with the virus at all.
In my case since I am at the end of all of this, I will just wait to get the flu vaccine until my blood count comes up, so as not to waste it now. Perhaps while I am up in Canada.
The flu vaccine is a "killed" vaccine which means it contains what is needed for the body to form antibodies against it, but it is unable to infect you. Some vaccines are "live" vaccines, which should not be given to anyone on chemo. The only significant "live" vaccine is the mumps measles and rubella vaccine. This one should not be given to people on chemo because of the risk of getting the infection.
My hemoglobin and platelets are slowly going up, but at least they are going in the right direction. We are a little nervous leaving town before the blood count comes up, but I am sure it will be better before Friday. If need be, it will be pretty straightforward to get my blood work done up in Canada.
By the way, there is very little being said about the Canadian health care system that is true. I was a physician for 7 years there, I was a nurse for 10 years there and a patient there for 40 years. I have been a physician here for 13 years and a patient. I have insurance here, and have spent 10,000 dollars out of pocket this year. If I did not have insurance here, chances are I would not even have had the surgery, let alone the chemo and the radiation. Right now my insurance statements say I have cost them 80,000 dollars this year.
In Canada, no matter who I was I would have had the surgery, the chemo and the radiation and only would have needed to pay for the medications that were prescription medications. The cost to the system would have only been a fraction of 90,000 dollars, as the system is not a "for profit" system. So the shareholders in the insurance companies are not benefitting from my medical problem. The CEOs of insurance and pharmaceutical companies are not "benefitting" from my problem. The system is only there for health "care".
The part that I do not understand about what is going on here, is why those who are so opposed to a "socialized " approach to health care, have no concerns that the school system here is very socialized. Everyone here can go to school.
My health care here costs me 347 dollars a month. This does not include any dental. I have to pay the first 7500 out of pocket in medical costs, and the first 1000 in medication costs. I also have to pay for tests my insurance does not cover, for instance an MRI I had to pay for. I am a physician and my husband is a physician, so we can afford this. But who else can?
I would be willing to bet that anyone who is defending the current health care system here in the US has insurance, and/or has never had a major health care problem that they have had to pay for themselves.
I also wanted to explain that medicare is a form of socialized medicine, as is the VA.
I am hoping that some good can come to the system here, and I wish they would stop using the Canadian system as a punching bag.
peace and love
jankenb @ gmail.com