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Saying Goodbye and Thank You to a Hard Year

In January 2020, my radiation and medical oncologists said, "I belong to a group of 5% of lung cancer patients who are never smokers called the ALK positive." They further said that my medical condition has no cure yet but could be treated by a targeted oral medication which has caused an increase in the survival rate since 2018. Though I have survived for more than a year, lung cancer surveillance does not stop. The pandemic has created lockdowns but cancer treatment continues.

Thank you, 2020

Before I move on to 2021, I have to reflect on the good things that happened in 2020 despite the adversity and challenges of living with a stage 4 diagnosis. I have thrived because of my health care team who are passionate to go beyond the standard. In addition, my co-survivors have constantly shown their love, support, and presence. Not to mention my body has been responding well to targeted therapy treatment.

Receiving a flu vaccine this year

My medical oncologist allowed me to get the flu shot. However, there was a delay in getting my 2020 flu vaccine. First, the vaccine is administered on an appointment basis. Second, my general physician works part-time with a long-term care home dealing with COVID-19 cases so she has been in isolation. Thus, I could not get the shot from her clinic.

In November 2020, I got poked in a local pharmacy. The first time I got the shot that was administered by a pharmacist.

Preparing for the COVID-19 vaccine

The pandemic drove to a number of developments of coronavirus vaccines. The launch of the limited Pfizer vaccine in the immunization clinic has begun. This has been rolled out to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The priority takers are the health care workers who are directly dealing with the coronavirus patients.

There is no expansion on the eligibility criteria yet, especially to cancer patients. Another vaccine called Moderna will soon be distributed. As 2021 begins more immunization plans will be in place with a purpose to cover most of the population.

All while managing type 2 diabetes

At the end of 2020, I got a new chronic disease called type 2 diabetes as verified by an endocrinologist. I am genetically at risk because my maternal grandmother died from it. In addition, sixteen years ago when I was pregnant with my youngest, I had gestational diabetes so that puts me 50% at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Metformin has been prescribed to control my glucose level. Daily I consume B12 foods in my diet in order to minimize its aftereffects. I am managing my diabetes very well by watching out my calorie and carbohydrate intake.

Moving on past 2020

Facing two chronic illnesses has drained my energy. There is real stress in their management. One is a handful to deal with. How much more two. What a time for me to wrap on 2020.

There is no doubt that the new year will be full of measures to manage my chronic diseases and listen to my cancer specialists. Hoping for a new year full of promising developments and improvements on my illness.

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