Bubble Boy

I’m taking two medications as preventative remedies. One, acyclovir, staves off shingles. The second, bactrim, puts a stop to a couple of common pneumonias. During this past week, my recovery stabilized. My appetite improved though my taste buds continue to be flat. I have renewed energy and I am walking 2+ miles, weather permitting.

The first visit with my new oncologist went well. He favors fewer visits as we await the verdict on the transplant’s success. I am ok with that. I’m happy to unleash myself from the constant scrutiny we experienced in Seattle. Obviously, it was necessary. As an outpatient from a major medical procedure, it was essential to keep a close watch. Now, however, it’s time to move on. And, I’m a bit at a loss as to what to do.

Some of my restrictions:


  1. No gardening (digging in soil), mowing lawn, raking leaves for six months.
  2. No carpentry (light woodworking allowed) for six months.
  3. No hot tubs or swimming pools for six months.
  4. No work or school for approximately one year post-transplant.
  5. No golfing for six months.
  6. No spectator events and crowds (church, movies, games, etc.) Use caution and understand the risk involved with public events and large crowds. Do not shake hands!
  7. No new pets and minimize contact with household pets and do not handle litter boxes etc.

Eating no-nos:


  1. Fresh salsa!
  2. Deli counter sandwiches
  3. Salad bars
  4. Crowded restaurants

One of the wildflowers still left in my garden
One of the wildflowers still left in my garden

As you can see, I must spend the next several months in a kind of bubble. As I begin to feel better, this is all the more difficult and requires discipline. Given these restrictions I am trying to come up with a plan to stay fit and keep my mind occupied while my immune system matures. It sounds as if I can travel but I must go by car and, preferably, alone. I love to read and may catch up on some books I’ve set aside. However, my love for books has limits. To be honest, I am a little anxious and do not have a plan for this semi-quarantine period. Cancer shelved my routines and I’ve not yet developed interim goals. How has this changed me? I don’t know yet. Perhaps I’m trying too hard to understand.

What I feel though, more than anything and, in spite of the restrictions and bad memories of the summer’s ordeal, is lucky. My friends and family have been wonderful. My employer is supportive. Yes, I have a life-threatening chronic disease. But I’ve taken advantage of the best treatments available while the cancer is still relatively dormant. Should the transplant prove to be inadequate, other options await. So many people in our country do not have adequate health care for basic preventative care, let alone a serious illness. I am fortunate to be proactive about a disease that demands immediate attention. For the moment, I have done all there is to do.

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