WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 06: A customer counts out her cash for N95 face masks and hand sanitizer that she is buying from Adilisha Patrom, owner of Suites DC, a co-working and event space across the street from Gallaudet University, in her coronavirus pop-up store in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, DC on March 6, 2020. With the growing spread of the coronavirus around the world it is becoming harder and harder to find protective equipment and hand sanitizer around the country, especially the N95 protective face mask which Patrom is selling for $30, three times its regular cost. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

When I had a compromised immune system here’s what I did

I am 7 years cancer free but when I was going through chemotherapy protecting myself from the common flu and other potentially deadly bacterias and viruses were paramount.  I have really been thinking of those that have compromised or suppressed immune systems and I really hope those around them are taking the precautions seriously. You might be saying that I should hope those that have weakened immune systems should take those precautions seriously too but trust me those people KNOW!  When I was sick it was made very clear to me that I could die from getting the common flu.  The coronavirus is not the common flu and it is more dangerous at this time in a sense because little is known about it.  Coronaviruses have been around for quite some time but this particular coronavirus, COVID-19 is new.

Chemotherapy basically suppresses the immune system.  It kills the white blood cells in the body which pretty much fights infections which is why viruses of any kind or bacterial exposure can be deadly.  The body doesn’t have anything to fight it off.  With folks that have respiratory issues or COPD I can’t imagine that contracting this virus would not have any adverse effects since it targets the respiratory system.  While I am not a doctor I believe these people are at risk although studies say no. 

During chemotherapy, which for me was 3-4 months, I made sure people didn’t come over my house and if they did they had to wash their hands first.  I stayed in doors most of the time and I did not touch surfaces when I went out if at all possible.  If I had to go somewhere I would wear gloves and sometimes a mask especially if I had to go to the hospital or grocery store.  I wouldn’t touch door knobs outside in public or hand rails in stair cases.  I would not press elevator buttons.  It created a habit so I still do all of these things to this day (except going out with a mask and wearing gloves all the time).  I press the button with my elbow or back of my hand or put my sleeve over my hand and press it.  A barrier always needed to be there and of course I ALWAYS WASH MY HANDS and carry hand sanitizer just in case.

I feel that people need to be very cautious and not take this lightly. Even if you don’t think you will ever get the COVID-19 coronavirus we all still have a public responsibility to others.  Protect these more vulnerable people by protecting yourself.

Thank you so much.

Your friend,



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