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Colds Season Again

Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

I have perused the boards to look for responses to similar questions, but have not found what I am looking for -- usually the reason is that it is tied to someone  doing chemo.

It seems that I am more susceptible to chest colds than usual -- currently have my second one, which is nastier than my first.  I finished chemo in mid-July (and did have coughing and breathing issues then) and finished rads the end of September. 

My two "wonderings" are these:

1) Is this because my immune system is still not near normal?

2) Is this because of the rads?

I am beginning to wonder what my winter is going to be like.



Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

These are good questions.  I wish I had a better answer, but my suggestion is to talk with your onc and your rads onc.  Do you know how much of you lung 'caught' radiation?  That might give you a little clue.  I hope you are done with colds for this winter.  Let us know what you find out.



Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

I do see my RO the end of this month.  I need to remember to ask about that -- might be a good time for me to have a cold . . . Wink

I do know that at least for the bulk of my rads, there was something they put over me when they were shooting directly at the chest area; I forget if they did when they did the boost.  I know that they tried to be careful AND to be accurate in what they did.  The ones who operated the equipment told me that my state has certain requirements as far as expected accuracy, but this group has an even tighter margin.  I know they checked regularly to see that their target areas were accurate.

Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

Today I came across some information that may explain why I seem more susceptible to colds -- and I pass this on for others who may have had the same question.

I was reading the papers that came with my latest re-fill of tamoxifen and noticed that it stated  that the medicine may lower the ability of the body to fight infections -- and that it is a good idea to try to avoid people with colds and other infections . . . I work at a school with kids . . . 


CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

I am very, very careful now and have found these simple steps to be really helpful in avoiding colds:

1) Wash your hands frequently.  Keep a small hand sanitizer with you at all times and use it!  Especially if you shake hands, touch a germy keypad, etc.

2)  Avoid touching your eye, mouth, and nose-the portals for cold germs.

3) Let folks around you know that you are immunocompromised and tell them that your NP friend (me Wink) said to stay away!

4) Buy wipes like Chlorox and Lysol.  I use these to wipe my keyboard, my remote, phone (my cell phone has a protective cover), etc. 

5) Always sneeze and cough into your elbow area--never your hand.

Katherine (daughter) had a terrible cold while visiting over the holidays.  I not only took good care of her, I somehow managed to not get her cold.  I think the above steps really do help!  Hope they help you too!

Posts: 653
Joined: Oct 2012

Thanks for the pointers.  I think that part of my problem has been thinking that since I am six months post-chemo, my immune system ought to be improved.  I used to rarely miss work or any other thing I had going on because of illness. 

Others have been better about keeping their space from me when they have colds than I have been about being a bit cautious.  My reading my tamoxifen info AND your pointers here have made me realize that I still have to try to steer clear of people with colds AND/OR have my "ammunition,"  perhaps for the time I am on tamoxifen.  

I am sure that at school, saying something to my co-workers will be helpful to me. 

Angie2U's picture
Posts: 2992
Joined: Sep 2009

I am sure that your immune system is still down and it may take awhile.  What did your onco say about this?  I know that my breast surgeon and rads oncologist said it could take a year or more for my immune system to ever be close to what it was and it may never be.  I know this is disheartening, but, I guess it is just one more thing that we have to try and accept.  I am sorry for you.


Hugs, Angie

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