Saturday, March 21, 2020

Covid-19 update

Seems like everyone is posting a Covid-19 update. I thought I would do one as well.

As you may recall, Multiple Myeloma tends to wipe out the immune system. My immune system is certainly is not working up to par. One might think that I would be somewhat freaked out about this Covid-19 thing. One would be pretty much right. On the other hand, my approach to things I can do nothing about tends to be pretty laid-back. I do what I can and then approach the situation fatalistically.

Fortunately, there are some things that Barbara and I can do about this.
  • Yesterday, we moved to the New Hampshire house and plan to stay here. We have lots of food and will seldom have to leave the property.  When we do leave, we hand wash upon return. I also wash my face in case there are any nasty guys there that I might later rub into my nose or eyes. 
  • If I must go out to the supermarket, I will go when it is mostly empty.
  • I carry sanitizing wipes in the car. I take one to the market and use it to touch things. 
  • I use self-checkout to avoid the cashier. 
  • I wash my hands upon leaving the market (in their rest room) and then use another sanitizing wipe upon my return to the car. 
  • Unfortunately, I have my weekly trips to Dana Farber. I think that starting after next Wednesday. the protocol will have me visiting every two weeks. Fortunately, traffic is light these days and I am thinking of day trips.
  • I have a Rockler Powered Air respirator that fits snugly on my face. This is one that protects the wearers not those around them. I plan to wear this while st DF. 
  • Whether or not I visit FHV during these visits will depend upon timing and disease proliferation in MA.
  • Fox Hill Village is taking steps to protect residents. This is one of the reasons we have waited this long to move. Remember that average age at FHV is 88. Lots of very at-risk people. Note that FHV instituted these steps well before any of them were mandated. 
    • All group activities are cancelled.
    • Movies are still shown in the auditorium, but most chairs have been removed and those remaining are 6+ feet apart. 
    • Dining room is closed. Bagged meals are delivered to apartments.
    • Guests are strongly discouraged.
    • Leaving the apartment is discouraged except to go out for walks.
    • People returning from trips that involve airplanes are asked to self-isolate for two weeks.

I am not much bothered by being stuck at the house; I was already spending most of my time either in the shop or in front of the computer. Not much change for me, though I have promised to go on more walks with Barbara. Also, we will hopefully use the boat more this year, though we will wait for the ice to melt off the lake before we start this. 

Barbara spends a lot of time on the phone with the other Members for the FHV board of directors. The board is conducting most meetings via phone conference these days, so being in NH is not a huge problem for her.
So that is the situation. On the plus side, people in this area tend to be taking the virus very seriously. I have heard that that is not the case elsewhere - such as Florida where our friends tell us that people are still congregating at restaurants, etc. Or maybe it is just the oldsters we congregate with here who are being careful.

My thoughts on this tend to change almost daily as more info becomes available and I have cogitated more on it. I also think the USA will make progress on dealing with this faster than we are anticipating. Progress will come with better knowledge of how the disease usually spreads, methods to slow disease spread, treat the symptoms when the disease occurs and better testing methods.

I also read somewhere that it is often not the virus itself that kills, but rather than the immune system's response to it. So maybe not having an immune system can sometimes be an advantage.

I will let everyone know if our situation changes.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

CC-220 : Even Better Numbers

Good news. My latest Clinical Trial seems to be working well - even better this cycle than after last cycle. My M-Spike number is down close to what it was a year ago. I am also feeling pretty good and I have more energy. Side effects remain very tolerable. I am now a week into Cycle 4. Let's hope things keep improving.

We are still at Fox Hill Village and I continue to spend lots of time in the shop. For the last several weeks, I have had an urge to make wooden eggs. I have no idea why. I have been making them out of different kinds of wood to get eggs of different colors. When I want to get fancy, I laminate several pieces of wood together. Then when I cut the egg, it leaves an interesting pattern in the egg. Here is a photo of some of my eggs:

My goal eventually is to make an egg and after 30 days, have it hatch and a little wooden chicken comes out and walks around. FabergĂ© had better look out.

On the negative side, it turns out that I need another "nose job". You may recall that a year or so ago, I had Mohs Surgery on my nose (Mohs Nose) to remove a Basal Skin Carcinoma. Well, it's back and I have to have the surgery redone. Plan is for this to happen next week. So it seems that they will be hacking yet another small bit from my nose. Good thing the nose was rather large to begin with. Unfortunately, the last procedure left the nose a bit bumpy. I am trying to convince myself that the nose bumps give my nose character.

The other thing on my mind is Covid-19. Most people who get the disease can expect to recover - UNLESS they are over 65 (hey - that's me) or have a compromised immune system (Whoa - me again). Not to mention that we are mostly at Fox Hill Village for the winter. And just exactly how is Fox Hill Village different from a cruise ship. Lots of people packed together and eating in the same dining room. Oh - I know. More people coming and going.

So far, we are taking a wait and see attitude, but we are concerned. If and when  the virus takes off in the Boston area, my idea is to head to the New Hampshire house and lock the doors, leaving the property only for supplies and trips to Dana Farber.

So, on that happy note, I will close this update. Thanks for reading. Wash your hands.