Friday, March 13, 2009

Clarification of Gabriel Contracting Infections

I wanted to post two blogs today to update everyone on Gabriel's progress and procedures, but to add an additional blog discussing visits. The second most difficult process that Mike and I have to face all the time outside of leukemia treatment is including and excluding visits from family and friends. We would love to visit with everyone and hope that over time we can see you all. We miss our family and friends a lot, and we appreciate any phone calls and/or e-mails that you send. We apologize if we do not respond immediately or even within a few weeks, but please know you phone calls help to know that you are thinking of us at this time and that we are not forgotten over the duration of treatment. Our faith in God and your support and care is what helps us cope during difficult days, even when it is a brief message on our voice mail or even an e-mail.

Our Nurse Practitioner and Pediatric-Oncologist's recommendations for family and friends visiting:
  1. If you or any of your family members have been sick you or your family members should not come in to contact with our family. Once you and your family member are three days free of symptoms, then you are welcome to visit. This particular recommendation is dealing with colds and flues.
  2. However, if you or your child are in contact with more severe illnesses a required time of two weeks free of symptoms is required. Please always check with you GP to determine whether you are contagious.
Reasons for this Visiting Policy:
  1. Regular colds and flues can cause Gabriel to be really sick at various times throughout chemotherapy. This infection could involve hospitalization even up to one month. It is unpredictable and you may not always know you are sick until a few days later. However, this is the chance we will take when we choose to visit with you. We do advise you that if you have visited and you become sick a few days later to contact us immediately to inform us.
  2. In addition, chemotherapy must come to a halt upon an infection, which sets his therapy back a lot further and less chance of fighting his leukemia when he is not receiving chemo. Once the infection has been treated and Gabriel's blood counts are substantial then chemotherapy will occur once again.
  3. Infections for Gabriel, depending on how severe, can mean life or death.
Final Note:
Mike and I will continue to weigh out the pros and cons for everything in Gabriel's life as to whether things will benefit him more than cause him damage. We can only decrease the results of damage when we know there is a clear case of infections. Please know that we can't and won't be able to prevent all infections as we still will be leading a normal life. Mike will be going to work, and we will continue to visit stores, etc. Furthermore, we intend to visit our family and friends who may not always know you are infected until after our visit. We intend to not live in a bubble as much as we can achieve as this will prevent further mental and developmental issues for Gabriel. I am quite aware of the symbiotic relationship that exists between our physical and mental well-being, and try to debate the risks between these two areas of humanity every time we choose to be involved in an activity. There will always be a chance for infections as this is the world we live in. Therefore, we can only control and decrease Gabriel's risk through the apparent signs and symptoms of infections as pertaining to the above policy for visits.

We have come to realize this will cause some frustration as plans may change within a matter of minutes and also it can be painful for children if they were looking forward to playing with Gabriel. We know it is hard for children to comprehend such quick changes. I know as a Social Worker, communication in their language is important to assist in decreasing "some" hurt feelings. If at any time, you would like me to speak to your children to explain the circumstances, I would be pleased to assist where I can. We want to see you more than you know and we want Gabriel to play like a child should, but sometimes the risk is too great. Mike and I truly apologize for any future inconvenience this may cause even if it is just a simple cold. We will always reschedule for a future date and will look forward to the time we get to spend with you.

Okay, I know this was quite formal compared to my previous blogs. We love you all!

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