It has been almost a month since my last round of chemo. I wore the blue mask for a couple of weeks after the final round of chemo just to make sure I didn’t catch anything. At this point I am very glad I had been doing so. Yesterday I was taken down by a stomach flu bug of some type. The though of having this flu bug while on chemo makes me glad I wore the blue mask!
Actually last Halloween I blogged about my decision to wear the blue mask. At the time I felt the extra precaution of wearing the blue mask was worth attention it drew to me in public. During all six rounds of chemo I was pretty clockwork about using the blue mask and carrying hand sanitizer with me when I ventured out in public. Some chemo patients I’ve spoken with feel the blue mask is worthless. They may be right, but I feel comfortable with my decision to wear the mask. Going through a stomach flu like this during chemo would have been horrible, especially during the last few rounds as chemo got harder on my body.
I know some chemo patients struggle with the decision as to whether the blue mask is necessary. Personally I think it was worthwhile for me to wear the mask, especially since the flu and pertussis (whooping cough) have been going around. Yes I’ve heard some chemo patients say they made it through their treatments with no issues after deciding not to use the mask. But I’ve also heard of chemo patients being hospitalized by things such as the flu virus. In the end though it is up to each person to make their own person risk assessment.
It is Halloween today! This is a day where a lot of kids and adults wear masks to pretend they are someone or something else. In the past my wife and I have held Halloween parties and dressed up in couples costumes (my favorite was me as a gunslinger and her as a barmaid). Between my being on chemo and us traveling to get our youngest son seen by a specialist, no costumes or parties are happening this year. Even so I will be wearing a mask this year, it just happens to be the mask I wear every time I go out now that I am on chemo. In this post I will blog briefly about the blue mask.
Since I’ve started chemo I tend to stay out of public as much as possible. My immune system gets trashed by the drugs I’m taking and I have to do everything I can to reduce the risk of catching any viruses or diseases. Of course that doesn’t stop me from going to events my kids are participating in. When I do go out I wear the blue mask.
Wearing the blue mask and being bald definitely makes me stand out. I’ve noticed everyone looking at me while trying to make it seem as if they aren’t looking at me. That really doesn’t bother me. The best is the times I have to go into the school for my youngest sons. When going through the elementary there are some younger children who say hi to me and ask if I am a doctor. That always gives me a smile.
I’ve been in contact with other chemo patients that don’t wear the blue mask. Some of them believe the blue mask does very little or they don’t want attention drawn to them. Personally I think the extra precaution is warranted, especially since it is such an easy step to take in order to protect myself. Actually there has been a lot of cases of pertussis (whooping cough) going around at the schools. I really don’t want whooping cough while my immune system is compromised. So I will continue to wear my blue mask when out in public.
Tonight I will be around my little nieces. While they are dressed in their costumes I will be dressed in mine: a surgeon! I guess I am dressing up for Halloween after all.