Hi Folks, it’s been a while since I last posted, just over a month to be exact. Things might have changed a little since then. Still life carries on, one hopes.
It’s quite funny really. A friend of mine, Juliana, posted on Facebook, way back in Jan about how this Coronavirus was going to take off. We had a back and forth and agreed it as far worse than people thought and was going to explode. It’s just simple maths. Now, less than two months later, we see most of Europe locking down and numbers of infected soaring. It’s exactly like a plague Inc game. So that’s how fast life can change.
I own a company with my best friend ( http://www.nutbourne.com ) and we have been taking this very seriously. We have rolling send home plans and lots of scenarios mapped out. One of those is that people who are most at risk work from home. We enacted that on Friday. So I’m now working from my shed (thank you Tony and Graham for building it). for the next however many weeks (estimates are for a 8-12 week peak). It’s the right thing to do as a company, and I have to follow the logic too. If we can all limit contact a bit more, especially those with underlying health conditions, then so much the better. My gut says that by early April everyone will be working from home, so it’s good to test the systems with people like me anyway.
So how should I feel? Well on the one hand I’m far less bothered than I was two months ago. That’s purely due to the mounting evidence that kids under ten don’t get it in the same way. We haven’t seen the u shaped graph of other flus. As a father, that’s first and foremost my concern. I WISH THIS HAD BEEN COVERED MORE!
AGE DEATH RATE
80+ years old 21.9 70-79 years old 8.0% 60-69 years old 3.6% 50-59 years old 1.3% 40-49 years old 0.4% 30-39 years old 0.2% 20-29 years old 0.2% 10-19 years old 0.2% 0-9 years old no fatalities. Note that this is from Chinese sources.
On the other hand there’s me and some of my elderly relatives. This stats don’t look so hot. I have an underlying health condition, and all indications are that someone with cancer will have the following rates.
PRE-EXISTING CONDITION DEATH RATE
Cardiovascular disease. 13.2% Diabetes 9.2% Chronic respiratory disease 8.0% Hypertension 8.4% Cancer 7.6% no pre-existing conditions 0.9%
It is worth noting that this isn’t in isolation. Many of the over 80s have one or more of these conditions, so it is skewed. Still it is sobering to know hay all fatalities in the UK at the moment had an underlying health condition.
So with all the above in mind there is some light. I have a very rare condition that produces far too many white blood cells. Now they can be ineffective or partially effective, which I think is the case with mine given how I react to illnesses. If that’s the case most people have 1-4 white cells and I have 42 so that could be interesting. Now on the other hand my platelets are dropping, although not to immunocompromise yet, so that could be a factor.
So like all things with having cancer, you just don’t know the prognosis. (I’m still waiting for follow up tests to make sure my cancer hasn’t changed to the more aggressive kind after the last big jump). The advice I have seen is avoid all chemo and ritumaxib for now, if you can. These kill of your immune system to get rid of the cancer. Having a low immune system is a bad idea at the moment. If you can’t avoid these (and sometimes we have to get treatment) then isolate hard and avoid germs. Most of my fellow condition sufferers on my Facebook group have come to the same conclusion. It’s a wise one.
So for me I haven’t needed treatment in seven years this June. I may be getting close to it, but it was up to me how long I put up with it and it’s symptoms before I underwent it. Before the Coronavirus came along it looked like maybe this year or next. Now, well I think I’ll keep trucking to make sure and avoid treatment. My B symptons aren’t too bad. I’m used to fatigue and can manage it well (no one at work spots it for sure, the train journey home is mostly spent napping though). I get occasional night sweats, but not many. So if I do need treatment it will be for my thrombocytopenia (or dropping platelet count, as they get crowded out by white cells).
If, on the other hand, I do catch it, which is certainly probable with the government’s herd immunity plans, then I hope my white cells kick it’s arse. If they don’t I hope it’s not too bad. If it is and things don’t work out, I have been recording videos for my family. (This is true, and actually pretty hard, so I’m not talking more about this right now). So all bases covered. :P.
Joking aside. I think i should be fine, as the stats above are skewed. Additionally my prognosis on getting cancer (average age of getting my condition is 63) was 75% survival at 5 years and 50% at 10. I haven’t even had treatment yet. So I think I’m pretty safe to say that stats are only as good as the age they come from. (I know this sounds blasé, but with my condition I have to be brash. It’s much easier that way).
I can’t say it doesn’t concern me, and I’ve had a cold the last two weeks and that hasnt reassured me, but there are a lot of people worse of that I am. If all I need to do to protect the more vulnerable is work from home (and upgrade my shed to keep out the kids way), wash my hands more and make sure if I get sick hide away, then that’s a small price to pay. I’m not taking this lightly, as I think people were a few weeks ago. It is serious. But I’m also being realistic about my risk and managing it. You should all do the same. Remember the stats above. It’s mostly the elderly and inform at risk, let’s try and minimise that.
Anna Ellerbee said:
I’m in the SMZL Support Group on FB too and I, like you, have not had treatment yet. I am only at four years (almost) of Watch ‘n Wait. I had decided that I probably won’t even go for my three month check up at the end of April as I live in a rural area and have to travel to Atlanta, GA to the oncologist. I think it’s certainly OK to let a visit slide at this point rather than go into this clinic connected to major hospital – Emory Winship Cancer Center. Also, I have deciced, like you, to not start treatment any sooner than I HAVE to with all of this going on. So I agree with you 100% and am happy you have your shed to work. This is serious as you said and those of us with other conditions had better do all we can to stay healthy. Thanks for your update. I do enjoy your posts.
Thanks Anna, very kind of you to write back, it’s always nice to know I’m not just talking to myself. Stay healthy and you are doing the right thing. Four years of watch and wait suggests you can wait a little longer, even with B symptoms.