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Pets and. chemo

Aaron's picture
Aaron
Posts: 237
Joined: Jun 2012

I'm curious how many of y'all had pets in your home during chemo and your experiences and methods of staying safe from infection during treatment. We have 2 dogs and 3 cats and a bit of a game plan to keep safe but any and all advice and insight would be much appreciated. Thanks. Aaron

po18guy
Posts: 237
Joined: Nov 2011

I was on anti-biotics, anti-virals and anti-fungals during chemo. If you are not, might give a call to doctor and ask about them. As a general rule, you would be well advised to keep just a bit more distance from while your immune system is suppressed. Since humans are the most likely source of infection, be especially aware of anyone who exhibits the signs or symptoms of a cold or other infection. Wear a mask if you can while around others. More frequent hand washing is always good. Chapped hands are a small price to pay for avoiding infection. If you have allergies or react to dust mites, change your bedding more frequently, as this can cause inflammation in your sinuses, (which are essentially a Petrie dish in which to grow bacteria.) Oftentimes, it is not what you see that gets you, but what you do not see. Preparation and not paranoia, is the rule.

Aaron's picture
Aaron
Posts: 237
Joined: Jun 2012

Thanks for the good advice po18guy I'll take it to heart. C'mon y'all throw me a good story or 2 on how you managed chemo and kept all your pets and what you had to do to make it happen. Thanks

dixiegirl's picture
dixiegirl
Posts: 1043
Joined: Apr 2006

Just try to keep them from licking you. Wash your hands and use lots of purell. Have someone else bathe them often. Don't let them sleep with you. As for the cats, they present more danger. Do not come anywhere close to cat litter or feces of a.y kind. Just do your best to keep your distance. With sct I wasn't allowed around either for a month and not the cats for 3 months.
It nearly broke my heart.

po18guy
Posts: 237
Joined: Nov 2011

We have only a single cat, she is an indoor-outdoor cat. I had no problems with her. Actually, since chemo in August-December, 2008, I have not had a single infection. I must credit the Hand of providence with that, as well as a doctor that stayed on top of things. Wife had the swine flu, son had strep throat, daughter had walking pneumonia twice, and I got - nothing at all. We are all amazed. There is no natural explanation for that. But, that's another story altogether.

Aaron's picture
Aaron
Posts: 237
Joined: Jun 2012

I just read your story on your profile page and all I can say is wow. It makes your last post to me even more amazing considering your family's health during treatment " providence " is the right word. I'm going to scca on Thursday for my second opinion. I'm seeing dr. Shustav and hoping he has some good advice for me. We have GH coverage and they have a partnership with scca so well see what the options are. It would seem we are in the same state, we're pretty fortunate in the weather department as compared to the rest is the country lately. Btw I'm in kent

po18guy
Posts: 237
Joined: Nov 2011

He is my doctor. He has saved my life twice now. Am I confident in him? Oh, yeah!

Aaron's picture
Aaron
Posts: 237
Joined: Jun 2012

Cool, from what I've read he really knows lymphomas of all types quite well. I may not be able to get much more than some good advice on a treatment course and concurrence with my primary onc. About the dx, but it's sure nice to hear first hand that he's a real pro. So are you in the Seattle area or do you drive in from afar?

po18guy
Posts: 237
Joined: Nov 2011

I live an hour out, south of you, but the drive is no problem - not when I consider the great blessing of receiving state of the art treatment at SCCA. I have just passed the three year remission point, when I was not expected to survive 2008. There is much to be said for going to a research/treatment facility. If you can be treated there, all the better. Dr. Shustov is one of the nation's (if not the world's) best on T-cell lymphomas. First of all, he came up with a novel double primary regimen (CHOEP/GND) that I have not seen used elsewhere. It was tough, but it worked. There's nothing more to say.

Aaron's picture
Aaron
Posts: 237
Joined: Jun 2012

Got to meet the good doctor today and he's a pretty cool guy. SCCA is quite a place, I've driven past it hundreds of times over the years on I-5 and remember thinking I sure hope I never have to go there but.... Your absolutely right we are very fortunate to have such a world class facility so close to us. Going only for a second opinion I was very impressed with how thorough and candid the doctor was. His knowledge of my subtype(NLPHL)where not much knowledge exists was impressive and he had the decency not to tell me I have "good cancer" if I hear that phrase again my head might explode ;). I'm glad dr. Shustov was able to help you so much, in a much smaller way he certainly helped me as well today.

po18guy
Posts: 237
Joined: Nov 2011

Of course, I'm a little biased. The prognosis for PTCL-NOS is poor. It drops further if you have "B" symptoms (which I did), and drops again if you relapse within 6 months of treatment (I relapsed immediately), making prognosis what...extremely poor? Abysmal? Well, his judgement has pulled me from the fire twice now, and I have four years past diagnosis, when I was not expected to make Thanksgiving 2008. You could say that I have confidence in him, as well as Confidence in Him (pointing to heaven). If you can pull-off getting treated at SCCA, you will have nothing to worry about. Before I knew how serious it was, I did not want to drive to Seattle several times per week. Well, let's just say I'm a little smarter now.

p.s. afterI had survived once or twice, Dr. Shustov did tell me that I had a "scary cancer". So no, he never did tell me I had a "good cancer" :-D

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 1008
Joined: May 2012

Aaron,

As I told you somewhere else, cats in the house were no problem at all for me. I think they may have even been soothing or therapeudic. Cats seem to frequently have a "sense" about the sick, and like to sleep nearby. I enjoyed having mine close at hand.

max

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