Saturday, January 16, 2021

It's All About Waiting

My journey with cancer has included a lot of waiting. 

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I waited to have CT scans. I waited for CT results. I waited for CA-125 results. Twice, I waited to have chemotherapy when my platelets were low. I waited to have my port flushed. I waited to see my gyn onc. I waited for my genetic test results.You would think by now I should be an expert at waiting. 

I am not. 

Ever since they mentioned a vaccine for COVID-19 was being developed I have been waiting. I learned as much as I could about mRNA vaccines. I learned how the Moderna vaccine differs from the Pfizer vaccine and how the potential J&J vaccine differs from others.

In December, I filled out a screening questionnaire to be in a clinical trial for a COVID vaccine. I've participated in a number of clinical trials so I felt comfortable going that route. I checked all the right boxes and received an email regarding the location for an interview for the trial. I waited six days and received an email saying that all the trial slots were filled. Back to waiting.

When NJ opened a site to pre-register for the vaccine. I signed up within 24 hours of the site going live. But so did over 450,000 others based on the governor's Tweet. 

On January 14th, my state opened up vaccine eligibility for those over the age of 65. Hurrah ! I was now eligible for an appointment for the vaccine. I went on the state site listing vaccination distribution locations. I was happy to see eight locations in my county and even more a short drive from my home in the 3 neighboring counties. I had an anaphylactic response to a chemotherapy drug I was given. So I wanted to go to a location capable of treating me if I had a reaction or one not far from a hospital.  Every single one of the locations had no appointments available. 

As disappointed I was being unable to schedule a shot, I thought about what I had read on NJ.com.  NJ has been receiving 100,000 vaccines per week. That means that unless that number allotted to NJ increases it, will take more than a month for the first day registrants ( of which I was one) to be scheduled.

Today, I  registered for an appointment to receive the vaccine through the health care system affiliated with my cancer center. No appointments available at this time but I am in the queue.  I am hopeful that by Spring I will get the vaccine.

In the mean time, I'll continue to wait, wear a mask, wash my hands and social distance.

Dee

Every Day is a Blessing! Even if I am waiting. 



Saturday, January 2, 2021

Uncharted Waters

When I look back at the Jan 2, 2020 blog post, I see how glad I was to be starting a new decade and beginning another year of cancer survivorship. In that post, I wrote about my aspirations for the year, which included practicing my watercolor painting and yoga, visiting Maine, going kayaking, building a better bond with my dog and stepping away from social media to meet with friends in person. 

And then the Covid-19 pandemic happened.

I think we could all agree that we just finished a year that took us into uncharted waters. We had to change how we did so many things due to the COVID 19 virus. We kept socially distanced, wore masks and didn't visit others in their homes. We searched for toilet paper, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, washed our hands for 20 seconds and refrained from shaking hands. We had almost everything from dog food to light bulbs to groceries delivered to our home. Being online was more than browsing Pinterest, Facebook or writing e-mails. We visited with family and friends via Zoom, and attended virtual conferences. 

All this meant some of my aspirations weren't going to even be able to be attempted. 

 I was home pretty much 24 hours a day, so to stay physically healthy I needed to remain active. It helped to have my dog Amber to walk outside a few times a day but I decided against going to agility class except for the last few classes of the year where we wore mask including when we were running our dog and stayed 6 feet apart . We attended one agility trial in February before the shutdown began. As for yoga, well that switched to online Zoom classes.There was no kayaking and my social media use went up instead of down and now I only spoke to friends on the phone or video chat.

After returning from a conference in Texas in January, I traveled no further than 50 miles from my home. During one two month period the furthest I drove from my home was 7 miles. Needless to say I never made it to Maine nor did we go on the family vacation we had planned the year before. 

Being home meant I did get a chance to do more art creations so I was able to fulfill that aspiration.  I even registered for a free weekly online course through the Princeton Art Museum, too.







As I start 2021, I will continue to wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart and wash my hands.  And I will patiently wait to receive the COVID Vaccine.

When this the pandemic is under control,  I aspire to make a trip to Maine and trips to see family in the US and abroad. In the mean time, I'll create more art, when weather permits I'll spend time outside with my dog trying to keep healthy and I will continue to advocate for cancer research with an additional focus on cancer treatment equity.

Dee

Every Day is a Blessing!