Tag Archives: cancer patients and a COVID vaccine

Vaccinate the most vulnerable

So this is everything I’ve got, pertaining to information as to when I, and others of my ilk, shall be eligible for a COVID vaccine. And–forewarning–it’s not a hell of a lot as all of the information I have been able to attain thus far–from my peers, medical professionals, and CDC as well as official Massachusetts Government Sites, has only served to confuse me more.

First. I think at this point we all know what COVID-19 is; most of us understand that getting the vaccine is a GOOD thing, but what is not clear, is when, how and why any of us might be eligible. As the new MA Phase 2 requirements make reference to comorbidity’s, let’s start with defining what the fuck a comorbidity is:

This is not cancer that they are talking about, but rather afflictions that one may suffer from in addition to cancer.

So what does this make cancer? I have, ahem, heard it referred to as The Emperor of all Maladies. We know it’s pretty bloody serious or people wouldn’t A. use it as part of the story-line in weepy movie after weepy movie or B. be so damn afraid of it.

And lung cancer? Not only is it incredibly deadly all on its own (dismally low survival stats at all stages), it is a disease of the lungs, just like COVID-19. Therefore, it only follows, that those of us with lung cancer are amongst the most vulnerable in this particular pandemic.

But wait! There is now a vaccine! Hallelujah! Hurrah! And surely I am first in line?

But no. And yes, this is starting to feel like a Monty Python Script.

I, the person with lung cancer, am literally at the back of the bus when it comes to vaccines. Healthcare workers (justifiable), prisoners, kindergarten teachers, those over seventy five, those over sixty five who are obese, smoke or have diabetes–all in line before me.

What doesn’t matter? Well, that I have cancer. Or–and this should be worth something–that I am now enrolled in my SIXTH PHASE ONE CLINICAL TRIAL. How’s that for community service? Not to mention the fact that all those frequent trips to the hospital make me even more vulnerable.

It hurts. It really does. To know where I stand. After all those years of being chosen last for dodge ball, you would think I had developed a thicker skin. But not.

Anyway. Back to the facts at hand. Here are the CDC recommendations as well as a list of qualifying comorbidities.

And here is the latest per COVID vaccines from Governor Charlie Baker and the state of Massachusetts.

In the meantime, all I can do is to continue to ask, complain, cajole, campaign. Vaccinate the most vulnerable.

Utmost vigilance

I feel as if I have taken reasonable precautions since the news of this pandemic first broke. Masked, hands sanitized, avoiding most indoor spaces. Initially, I continued to meet friends for a meal as long as we could dine outside. I would also go hiking or for a walk at the beach, or ride in the car with someone with the windows rolled down.

The riskiest outings I took were likely to thrift stores, but only those that were rigid about mask wearing and six feet of space between customers. Interestingly, those venues have been far less crowded than the grocery store, another place I continued to frequent.

However, I am hunkering down. The newest strain of the COVID-19 virus, first identified in the UK, is much more contagious. My health care providers urged caution, and one of them even gave me a gift certificate to Hello Fresh, one of the meal services that drops recipes and ingredients at your door.

Of concern to me is the fact that I have gotten sick not once but twice in the past few weeks. First the flu and now either strep throat (waiting on a culture) or a virus. Both times I was also tested for COVID and was, fortunately, negative. However, if I can be walking around with a mask and constantly sanitizing my hands and still get sick, I suddenly feel a whole lot more vulnerable.

My studio is a safe space and there is no way to avoid going to the hospital, but aside from that, until that vaccine is ready (my team said it could yet be months), then I am going to be extra, extra careful. And I think you probably should be as well.