General — TransplantLyfe

General

The dichotomy of a second chance & COVID

StephenCFTransplant Patient
January 10, 2022 in General

By now we're all sick of COVID. Some literally. But I'm almost 11 years post-transplant, bi-lateral lung due to Cystic Fibrosis. No instances of rejection or infection. Yet.

And here we are entering year two of COVID, inching ever closer and closer to endemic status. I'm beginning to venture out, knowing the risk. I'm not taking unnecessary ricks. I still double-mask with the N95 as my first line of defense. I still avoid large crowds. I've had my three shots, with my 4th coming in February.

To be clear, prior to COVID I still wore masks when I travelled, for instance flying or on a train. I was still a hermit during flu season. I told employees not to come to work if they even had the sniffles. So COVID wasn't necessarily a huge disruption in that regard.

But recently I've flown for the first time since Feb 2020 and I've been in situations that I wouldn't have considered "safe" as recently as just a few months ago. I now go to the mall to shop instead of browsing endlessly on the internet. I'd rather go to Whole Foods, and I do now, than have it delivered. I've eaten inside a restaurant exactly once since Feb 2020; it's a start.

The opportunity and promise of a successful transplant is bountiful; spanning career, education, relationships, et cetera et cetera. When I said inching closer to endemic status, that's still not a huge relief for the transplant and other immunosuppressed groups. Our ability to ward off COVID is indisputably tougher.

So how is everyone dealing with this dilemma? Taking the COVID years as a "time out"? Going out with extreme precaution, yet still getting out? Obviously it's not as black and white as this, but overall what do you think of the fact that we have this amazing second chance yet going to Thanksgiving could literally spell doom?

1 - 8 of 8 Replies

  • KarinTransplant Patient

    Hi!

    great thoughts and difficult dilemma - I have taken the approach that I don’t limit myself unless it seems obvious I would get exposed… I am also triply vaccinated and I have yet to catch covid / I don’t socialize with people I don’t know - meaning no conferences, parties or big groups, but I do see friends and importantly keep my daughter in school. The latter has yielded me many infections the past year including norovirus and RSV, but no covid yet which I think is thanks to her mask and my vaccinations… I don’t feel limited / but I do accommodate easily - I never enjoyed concerts or big groups anyway so it has been a comfortable time for me and I mostly miss my business travel and the meetings I used to go to.

    January 10, 2022
  • LarryFTransplant Patient

    Hi.

    7 years post Heart Transplant and I have had all 3 shots plus my flue shot. All ways use hand sanitizer and a mask. We were venturing out more and ate at a few restaurants in of peak hours. On Nov. 13 2021 I had a runny nose and I thought it was my allergies as I was raking leaves but wearing a mask. Went to the emergency room 2 times before I was admitted on the 23. Was there for around 30 hrs before moving to a isolation floor. I was there 14 days in a isolation room. Covid was terrible can’t breath, cough, no taste, nose bleeds from the Oxygen, and isolation. No one allowed in to see you but staff. I thought I had a reaction to all 3 shots. Fever, aches, head ache but you never know with the immune suppressant how strong of response you get. Left the hospital on Dec. 17th. Had to use a walker again for a week. Had OT and PT come to my home fore 2 weeks to get exercises to help me get stronger. My point being be careful. My wife did not get Covid and she was every place I was and took care of me before being admitted.

    January 11, 2022
  • BrucePTransplant Patient

    My daughter was diagnosed with Covid last Monday. She has had two heart transplants and has been very sick. She seems to be a little better. So I empathize with any transplant who's had it. I too am a transplant patient. I now wear the N95 mask as a protection. My wife also wears the same type of mask. Hope we hear from more transplant patients as to what their experiences have been with Covid. I think that information helps us all.

    January 11, 2022
  • AliEm14Transplant Patient

    I have taken a similar approach to @Karin in that I don't overly limit myself. I am cautious when I go out with wearing an N95 and sanitizing my hands often. I don't go out a ton anyway, usually my only outings are to the grocery store or running a few errands. My social circle is limited to my immediate family and a few close friends. My husband has a wider circle than I do (He is involved in youth outreach) and so when he goes out he just wears a mask and sanitizes as well. We avoid people who are sick, large crowds... I've been around people who were positive (I was a close contact of my brother, who got it over the holidays) and I've never contracted it. Aside from the typical precautions, I also take supplements (vit.d is especially helpful with covid, it seems), make sure i'm getting enough rest and eating a balanced diet, and I practice Wim Hof's breathing method. I think living my life in fear could be far worse for me than living my life with normal precautions.

    January 11, 2022
  • DonnyCTransplant Patient

    Great topic, Stephen! Not sure that I recall anyone else bringing this up yet, but yeah, the question of how do organ recipients (especially lung recipients) balance the 2nd chance at living, not just existing, with living as an organ recipient during covid is a good one. I am a lung guy who, like you (pre-covid), has always worn a N95 mask on flights/public transportation and semi-hibernated during the winter season to avoid infections.

    When we first went into lockdown in March 2020, I still made my supermarket & Home Depot runs but tried to limit those to 1-2x a week. Beginning that May, I felt comfortable enough with the precautions I took to not worry much about limiting those errands. Everything I've read, seen, and have been told convinces me that, even with the use of vaccines, we'll be dealing with covid for quite a while longer so I've decided to lean more toward the side of living rather than existing.

    Since spring 2021, I've attended several sporting events, concerts, and other events, but only those held outdoors. I've traveled a few times, including overseas, using the same precautions that I used pre-covid: N95s, sanitizing gel/wipes, portable filtration devices. I've dined out about 20-25x (mostly when traveling); always outdoor seating.

    Common theme: I do my best to find things that I can enjoy where I can limit my exposure to getting sick. Life is not promised for anyone.

    January 11, 2022
  • LarryFTransplant Patient

    When I had COVID-19 and was hospitalized we had my Hospital care team contact my Transplant care team who recommended to remove all my Immune suppressants but Tacrolimus and they lowered the dosage so my body could fight back. They also come up with a plan to start all my meds back before I was discharged.

    January 18, 2022
  • JimGleason_TRIOTransplant Patient

    Great discussion thread. Thank you, everyone, for sharing. Now out 28 years with my heart transplant (and getting more elderly each year - smile!) with being a diabetic due to that tacrolimus (Prograf) since 2006, I know I am very high risk but not paranoid and do go out shopping for groceries and to church with a KN95 mask on, but otherwise stay pretty much at home, busy here in my office and hobbies. Yesterday I was at that 5-month mark when you could get the 4th Pfizer booster shot and went to my local Walgreens only to be told since I didn't have an appointment, they required that I go home and signup for one (last time for my 3rd booster, I had walked in to that same pharmacy and got the shot without incident - despite the fact that nobody was waiting this time, so feel I should have been taken without or with an instant appointment). No big deal, I went a very short distance to my local Acme food market and easily got that 4th shot there, with a smiling pharmacist and given a 20% off coupon for my next food order! It is good to see, at least in my local NJ area, how very easy it was to get vaccinated with four chain pharmacies in a very close area.

    PS: that Acme pharmacist at first didn't think she was allowed to give me that 4th shot, but as I quoted the news that we were eligible at 5 months and with immunosuppressed condition, she willingly went on her computer to find out what rules her company had her follow and, after careful reading of regs, gladly gave me that shot (with a friendly smile!) We do have to be our own advocates!

    January 20, 2022
  • Sdey0522Transplant Patient

    @StephenCF - congrats on your 11 years with your 🫁.

    COVID is a beast to say the least!

    According to me, and there's plenty of proof : keeping our 😷 is the best protection possible, no matter how vulnerable we may be. Of course, being vaccinated & boosted is essential so that we don't get impacted too severely (or end up being hospitalized), in the event we get infected.

    We must remember though, it's not possible to be masked up around food/drink - and this beast lives in the air we breathe!

    #BeSafe #stayhealthy - I do what I need to do in order to protect my loved ones and myself. Of course, I also do it to honor my #donorhero since I was #blessed with the #giftoflife.

    This too shall pass!

    January 21, 2022
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