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Why am I getting so many colds all of a sudden?

mcarva
Posts: 17
Joined: Oct 2008

My last ABVD treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma was in November of 2007 and I have been in remission since (hopefully still am). I didn't get sick much at all in 2008 but this year, I seem to be getting more colds and infections than normal. In January I had pneumonia and a sinus infection, in May I had a bad cold with a cough, and again, the end of June I got a bad head cold that seems to be lingering. Could this be related to the effects on my immune system from the chemo or God forbid, could it possibly be the signs of a relapse? I'm due to see my oncologist mid August for my 3 month checkup. I don't have a fever or feel sick otherwise and don't want to panic unnecessarily. Has anyone else had more colds/infections even as late as 1 1/2 after being treated?
Mary Ann

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi mcarva. I'll bet your out and around more now then you were right after your treatments. So your getting more exposure to any virus that is waiting on a door handle. That being said I had NHL in 2003. I have spent that last 6 years being careful because I seem to pick up things very easily. My doctor agrees that my immune system stinks as he makes a good living from seeing me. I am almost OCD about washing my hands. All I can say is nothing is off the plate here. Ring worm, yeast infections in the groin area and inner ear, pneumonia ect. Your not alone and not crazy. Its just the way it is for some of us. Best of luck Slickwilly

mcarva
Posts: 17
Joined: Oct 2008

Hi Slickwilly,

You raise a good point. I am out and about and basically back to living my life the way I did before my diagnosis. I am not as careful as I should be about avoiding picking up things because I feel good and think everything is back to normal, which is probably not the case. During treatment, I followed a neutropenic diet, hardly went out to eat (only after a Neulasta shot), wore a mask and gloves if I were taking public transportation, used hand sanitizers often, etc. I need to realize my body is not the same and I will take more care to minimize my chances of getting sick, if it is at all possible. Thanks for the insight. I hope you are doing well.
Mary Ann

edagata
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2009

When I was diagnosed they removed my spleen because it was infected. Since that time I get colds at least twice a year that work into something more critical and I end up on antibiotics. I am lucky that I can take penicillin with out any problems. It is bad enough that the treatment for what we go through destroys our immune systems if you havent had your spleen removed feel fortunate. I have lived with this for 36 years now, and I thank every day that I was given the chance to be around to see my family. Look at it this way if you were a serious runner you would have to deal with joint problems at some point in your life. This is what we have to deal with so it is not that bad of a price to pay for being around. Keep up a positive attitude.

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

edagata. I cracked up when I was reading your post. I was a serous runner while in the military and logged 3500 miles in combat boots. That proubly explains my bad knees. I was a professional snowmobile racer for 15 years and that explains my bad spine. Cancer treatments just added to bone problems, immune system issues and the other 8 medical problems I have. But life is good because I am alive. Today is my 34th wedding anniversary. If I can survive 34 years of marriage I can survive anything. Slickwilly

hodgkoid2003's picture
hodgkoid2003
Posts: 96
Joined: Apr 2009

One important thing that you may want to look into, and this is according to long term survivor guidelines (and may apply to other patients who've had their spleens removed), is the importance of the pnumovax (not sure on the spelling). Being asplenic, puts us at a higher risk for infections and such.

In fact, as a result of meeting with my late effects doctor, the plan (now keep in mind, I am post-cancer nearly 20 years) after last year, is that any fever (and I've had many), over 101.5 and I am to go to the emergency rooml. I have a letter that is to go with me explaining the protocol involving a blood culture, and an IV antibiotic. Now of course, why worry about all this after 19 years? Well, how many times would you expect to win at the black jack table at a casino? Remember Jim Henson (of the Muppets)?

With two small children, I am erring on the side of caution, and definitely heeding his advice. I'm not saying I'm for or against it. But this is the decision I made for me.

Paul E. (Hodgkoid2003)

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