Forgive me for stepping back into the world of “personal blog” for a moment but many of you may remember my cancer diagnosis. The short version is that, in the space of a week, I went from feeling fine to being told that I was about to die. It’s a frightening and hugely upsetting time which also impacts your family massively.

More than four months since the diagnosis and I still sit here, in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. The staff and the care here is second to none. I’ve been monitored and cared for in such a professional and warm way. I can never thank everyone enough.

This round of chemotherapy, called “R-IVAC-M”, was scheduled to last for around 8 days and I thought I’d be out for Christmas. However, that all went out the window this morning. I was awoken by the Ward Sister, who told me that me and everyone on the bay had contracted COVID-19.

Put it this way, it’s not how I thought my Monday would start.

The upshot, according to my consultant, is that my regularly-scheduled post-chemo clinic appointments aren’t viable.

This type of chemo does lots of weird things to your blood (platelets, white blood cells), so you come in regularly for checks and transfusions. That’s OK normally but, as a “confirmed COVID-19 case”, I can’t exactly be walking around a clinic full of other immunosuppressed people. It’s just not cricket. Mr Coronavirus walking around people without an immune system? Bad idea.

The coronavirus is very real people.

So I have to stay in and have all the blood tests and checks as an in-patient “until 10 days clear”. We’re in a different room now, with plastic either side of beds and more PPE than you can shake a stick at.

That’ll make it around December 30th before I get home, so Christmas (as it is for many people) will be delayed and very different this year.

Whatever you’re doing, however your Christmas has changed, and if you can’t do anything else, ensure that you spend as much time as you can with the ones you love when time and laws allow. Things like this make you realise just how precious that time is.

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