Right now there is a huge conflict within the Cancer community regarding this vaccine. A lot of people don’t feel comfortable getting the Covid-19 Vaccine because they are just not sure how of their bodies will react. Survivors are more likely to get it, but those in active treatment are concerned. There really hasn’t been enough research to know how cancer patients will react to the vaccine.
Honestly, I was one of those people. I felt strongly about it because I have already been through so much. My body has been through the wringer and I have had so many chemicals pumped into my body. I really didn’t want to add anything else to my existing cocktail. I take a chemo pill everyday, and that comes with its own fun side-effects. I didn’t want to add something else that could cause more fatigue. My oncologist said I could get it as long as my immune system was strong enough. So ideally, I would have to get it the week I was off my meds. My Oncology team is great and I trust them, but there was still doubt in my mind.
The hubby and I have been back and forth about it for months. I was really started to feel the pressure and it was really getting me annoyed at the hubby. I know he had all the best intentions, but there were days that I wanted to just punch him in the face.. LOL I felt like he didn’t understand my hesitation. But we talked about it and he knows that I have already done so much to keep myself healthy. I have done everything the doctors have told me to do so that I can stick around for my family. I feel like I have been a more than ideal patient and the hubby appreciates all of my efforts.
So I tried to do the responsible thing and to educate myself on the vaccine. Luckily, the YSC:Young Survival Coalition (www.youngsurvival.org) had a workshop on the topic. They had Dr. Ann Partridge of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston explain why she is suggesting that all her patients take the vaccine. She was great and she addressed a lot of my concerns since she specializes in Breast Cancer. Dr. Partdridge really put my mind at ease. She explained that the vaccine would not interfere with my treatment and would not do anything to my DNA or to my immune system. But what really resonated with me was when she said if I were to get Covid I would have to stop my treatment. That is not an option for me! My treatment is working and I would be extremely concerned if I had to delay my treatment because my body had to recover from Covid. Eventhough we have been meticulously careful and strict with social distancing, Richard still goes to work everyday and unfortunately a lot of people are not as considerate as they should be.
It is such a personal decision, just like everything that has to do with Cancer. You have to make the right choice for you. In this case I made the decision for my family. Specifically for my boys. We can’t go another year being stuck in the house. I can’t handle another summer alone home with my boys. They deserve more than that. They have done so well with school, but they need to get back to some type of normal, whatever that may look like now, because I know it wont be the same. I got the vaccine so that they can see their friends and hopefully have a social life.
I also got the vaccine so that I could have some type of a social life. I miss my friends and family. Just like most stay-at-home moms I am starting to get concerned about my mental health (my sanity to be more specific). I have never been a person to suffer from depression or anxiety, but I completely understand and sympathize with those that do. This year has been brutal and I really don’t want to become a day drinker!! haha… But seriously, since I resigned from my job I need to find a hobby or something to distract me.
Just like everything else, I prayed about and just felt that I had to do it. So we finally made the appointment. Thank God Broward Health had availability. I took that as a sign since Memorial had no availability. Yesterday Richard and I were able to get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I am so happy Richard was able to get it. I feel like my poor hubby has aged in the last year. He has been exposed 5 times are work and has to get tested every time. Thank God he has always been negative, but the anxiety this poor man has had to endure. He was willing to camp outside just to avoid exposing us. He slept in the guest room and avoided me like the plaque. At the time it was annoying because I just wanted to hug my husband, but I know why he did it. He was hesitant about getting the vaccine because he didn’t want to take the opportunity from someone who needs me, but I explained to him that he does need it. He needs it to protect me.
We took the boys with us so that they could see that mommy got the vaccine and that they don’t have to worry about me anymore. Especially my oldest. This pandemic has created a lot of anxiety for him. He has been so worried about me. It’s been so sweet to see him wanting to keep me safe, but it’s also heart breaking. I am the mom. I should be protecting him. He’s 9 years old and has seen me go through so much already and he shouldn’t have to worry me getting Covid. He needs to be a kid. So my boys and my husband are my “Why”…..
The aftermath: Today I am feeling tired and feel a lot of tenderness in my arm, but I am okay. I am sure I will be more tired than usually, but that is an expected side effect. For those of you struggling with this decision the only advice I can give you is to educate yourself. Ask questions and talk to your doctor. Also, pray about it and find some peace in your decision.