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25 Replies Latest reply: Oct 10, 2009 12:22 PM by jill RSS

Flu shots and Now What?

azteri Registered Users
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I'm wondering about getting a flu shot-have any of you gotten one? What does your onc. say? I asked at the office but she wasn't in that day so I have to wait until Tuesday. They're free at work on Wednesday. I'm a teacher and exposed to EVERYTHING, including H1N1.

 

Now, for the NOW WHAT? I was having an unusual pain in my side last week-it wasn't severe and I didn't always notice it, but with cancer, the sniffles can be an emergency so I called my PCP who scheduled a abdominal CT scan for the next day. I figured it would be nothing.That day, and since, I've had no pain, but the report said I have two masses in there so I scheduled the transvaginal ultrasound they wanted. I have an apt. with the PCP on Wednesday. They also want me to see my gynocologist. I was just there in July for the annual fun.

 

So, I'm concerned. I had uterine cancer that was discovered after my hysterectomy in 2003, which was for a precancerous condition, but a few small spots of cancer were discovered in the uterus but were completely contained and I had no treatment. I elected to keep my ovaries since hormones giveme blood clots. I've had ovaraian cysts off and on that caused a little pain, but this was different. So,of course, I'm concerned. I've things by folks here who have more than one kind of cancer. Just the kind of thing I would come up with.

 

So, anyway, live goes on, which is more than some people can say.

  • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
    Susan61 Registered Users
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    Hi:  So sorry your having other problems on top of the ones you have.  I can only pray that you do well with regard to the 2 masses they found.  As for the Flu Shot.  I get them every year.  My oncologist told me I had to get them.  Prior to getting the flu shots, I was getting so sick every year.  Had Pneumonia the one year, and also got the pneumonia vaccine after that.  He is very strict on not taking Antibiotics unless its an emergency.  Since I have been getting the Flu Shots, I have been fortunate to just get slight colds.

         Please keep us up to date on how  your doing.  God Bless You

  • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
    Catlady Registered Users
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    Azteri, I was just reading this and wanted to pipe up that I hope all is well with you. How did your appt go? Apols if you have answered this elsewhere; I'm just finding my way round the site.

     

    I was given a flu shot the day I got discharged from hospital. It was presented to me as a non-negotiable option as apparently I had pneumonia when I was at my worst, not that I would have noticed it, and indeed didn't. I'm also anemic so anything that helps is ok with me, and so far I've only had a slightly sore throat or mild sniffles except for one week where I really did overdo it and had flu-like symptoms, which disappeared after an early night and a good meal.

     

    My onc is all for them, and I trust her. Have you spoken to yours and asked?

     

    Cat

    • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
      MomMom Registered Users
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      Azteri and Catlady,

       

      I took my regular flu shot this am. Mine is also furnished at work.  I am at a major university and we've been experiencing H1N1 here since the beginning of fall classes.  So far, only a couple of students who are in classes in my building and one professor have been diagnosed with  H1N1, but the potential is great for many more cases.  My onc told me to take the regular flu shot as soon as it became available, but he did not recommend that I take the H1N1 vaccine.  His reasoning was the potential side effects of the vaccine and he was not going to take it himself.  I am not telling anyone "don't take it,'  but I will not be.

       

      There was an outbreak of a 'swine' flu in the 70s and I took the shot then.  Fortunately, it did not materialize into the threat as expected during that scare.  It appears from what doc said that unless it mutates into something different, it should pass without too much fanfare.  If I get it, I am to call him immediately and he will send comforting meds my way including Tamiflu.  Of course with any raging virus, the young, old and infirm suffer the greatest. I think we fall somewhere just outside that triangle.

       

      By the way, I had what we called the 'Asian flu" when I was about 10 years old and that was the worst one I believe we could have. It is still very clear in my mind how I felt.  Apparently nothing stopped it.  I remember my grandmother finally mixng up her own Rx for cough.  Teaspon of 100%proof ( the medicinal kind of course) and a teaspoon of sugar. I wouldn't have coughed again if my life depended on it.

       

      This probably isn't much help, but it's all I got.  Praying none of us gets it and if so we all recover quickly.

       

      Azteri,  keep us posted on your test results.  Praying foir you. I had a hysterectomy, doc left ovaries in.  GYN keeps a check on them.  Sometimes I think they're two time bombs waiting to go off.

       

      MomMom

      • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
        Susan61 Registered Users
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        Hi:  This has been a very recent topic with regard to if we should be getting 2 flu shots or not.  I would certainly appreciate some feedback from others who have gotten advice from their Oncologists.  I have not called mine yet, but I plan on doing so.

        • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
          WoofWoof Registered Users
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          This flu business has really been on my mind & I've allowed it really worry me. My Onc is suggesting to get the full compliment of shots but I'm having some other issues & he wants me to get theses cleared up first.

           

          By the by...been off Gleevec for two weeks now to see if it's the cause of a reaction I'm having. Having a CBC in an hour so we'll see what's happening.

  • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
    azteri Registered Users
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    I just wanted to let you kow that I saw my PCP today and the "masses" are small and fluid filled, not solid, so they are not tumors. They might be related to my ovaries, an infection that isn't registering in other ways or just fluid filling in where other things used to be. So I am relieved. Still having the ultrasound next week to hopefully get better images. I've been feeling good this week, energy is back and minimal pain. Didn't get a flu shot today. I usually don't. I had this leukemia last fall, probably earlier and had kids coughing and sneezing all over me and going home left and right and I was fine. I seem to specialize in odd things you can't catch from others. Not saying I'm untouchable, just lucky in that one way.

  • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
    MomMom Registered Users
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    So glad you're getting a good report about the masses.  You are exactly right, everything that comes up after CML diagnosis is big issue for all of us.  Keep us posted.  I know we are all concerned.

     

    Kay

    • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
      everonward Registered Users
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      Hi Azteri

       

      I'm glad your getting an ultasound and that it sounds less severe than originially thought and I hope all goes well for you.

       

      As for flu shots - I shall have one this year - didn't bother last year and picked up a nasty cold/flu type virus from some of my little munchkins in Jan. I will NOT however have the H1N1 vacine as I don't like the sound of the reported side effects. Also my sone nad daughter both had a case of 'suspected' swine flu in July. We are no longer testing in the UK but the GP thought it might be. I treated them as if normal flu and they both recovered in about 5 days. I had been ill the week before, slight fever, cough, runny nose but not enough to send me to bed and I carried on working, as it could just have been a nasty cold.

       

      Marian

      • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
        MomMom Registered Users
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        Marian, I was in the UK late June and early July at what was thought to be the beginning of the pandemic.  How severe an outbreak of the flu have you had there?  The docs here in the US, at least in Mississippi, say the labs are so backed up you'll be well before the testing can be done so they just treat the flu as H1N1 since it is too early to be the 'regular' flu season.

         

        We had 24 of the University of Mississippi football team with it this week. They are better.  Only one hospitalized because of dehydration.

         

        Happy Friday,

         

        Kay

  • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
    bsbk13 Registered Users
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    Azteri, so glad you got good news on the cysts!

     

    My significant other was diagnosed about 3 weeks ago with CML, is on Gleevec, and one of our first questions today was flu shot yes/no?  We typically get flu shots every year and for us, it seems to have some level of cross-protection as we get almost no colds anymore, even. 

     

    Anyway, his answer was flu shot YES as it's a killed vaccine and won't hurt you.  I didn't ask specifically about H1N1, but see from the other replies that we probably won't get into that.

     

    Beth

    • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
      Susan61 Registered Users
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      I am going to get in touch with my doctors this week, and find out exactly what they want me to do.  I always get my FLU SHOT, and now that they are saying the Swine Flu Shot will not be available until later, I wonder if I need both.  I think I am due for Pneumonia Shot also.

      I have been doing very well since getting my vaccine, and my husband works with the public and handling money all day.  My fear is of him bringing something home to me.  I do not worry so much about being out and around people with the bug.

      I will post as soon as I know more myself.

  • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
    AliceJane Registered Users
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    Since I was diagnosed my oncologist has required me to have Flu and Pneumonia shots, so on my way out in August I asked if I would also need the Swine Flu shots this year.  My Dr. said  "absolutly not, you are at top of list of people who can Not take Swine Flu Shots"    I have no idea what that was about and was surprised by his answer.   I'll see him the first week of Oct. & will question him more.  As I said I only thought of it on my way out and he answered me on his way to see next patient as I was asking the nurse.  He was pretty emphatic about it, and he is usually pretty reserved person.

    • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
      bsbk13 Registered Users
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      Our doctor specifically mentioned that because the regular flu shot is a killed vaccine, it is no risk to us....so maybe the H1N1 vaccine is a modified-live vaccine which has a very small risk of giving you the swine flu?  Don't quote me on that, but that's my thinking at this point.

      • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
        jill Registered Users
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        So glad to hear your tests came back good news! My Primary Care Doc and my Onc both say get the regular flu shot, H1N1 & the pnemonia vacine (sp). They said that it's not usually the flu that kills people but the pneumonia you get from the flu. Not everyone gets pneumonia from it but it still can make you very ill. I know even though I am doing well on Gleevic that sometimes my disease fighting white blood cells can dip low and I can catch bugs easier. So the Doc's tell me to get the regular flu shot, pneumonia vacine, and the H1M1 shot when it becomes available. I had my regular flu shot and the pneumonia vacine (it lasts for 5 years) in Sept. I have had no side effects from it. I will have the H1N1 when it becomes available. The shot is killed virus, but the nose spray is a small dose of live virus. If you have an underlying disease-like us with CML-you are not supposed to have the nose spray, just the shot with the killed virus. This is just what my Docs opinion is. I would talk it over with both your Primary Care Doc & your Onc because of your underlying disease.

        Hope Everything keeps going well with you and I Hope That This Has Helped Answer Some Of Your Questions. jill

  • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
    SunNsand Registered Users
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       It's interesting reading what other Dr.'s are saying about the flu shot and CML. I asked my Onc yesterday if I should get a regular flu shot and he said no. As long as I'm in treatment, no. Since I'm in treatment for the rest of my life I guess I won't be getting another one, ever... kinda surprised me.

     

    Robin

    Dx: 2/09

    • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
      Trey Registered Users
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      Robin,

      If what your Onc said was actually true, then you should live in a bubble and never contact anyone.  Fortunately, it is not true that we need to be so concerned about issues such as flu shots and other immunity issues since our immune systems respond in a relatively normal manner as long as our WBC is not extremely low (possibly below 1.0 absolute neutrophil count).

      • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
        SunNsand Registered Users
        Currently Being Moderated

          Yeah that's what he said. He did say if I was adament about it, I could go ahead and get one but he didn't recommend it.

         

        Robin

        Cornfuzed in Indiana

    • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
      Susan61 Registered Users
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      Hi Robin:  I get my flu shot every year under the insistance of my Oncologist.  I have been getting it now for 6 years.  My husband works around the public everyday, and he has brought home all kinds of viruses etc.  I Thank God I may have caught some of the viruses, but got rid of them quickly.  Maybe nothing to do with the Flu Shot, but I just feel better getting it.  I just got home now from getting mine for this year.

           Do what you feel safe with.

  • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
    Trey Registered Users
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    Some have asked about whether the H1N1 swine flu shot is a good idea.  The biggest issue is that the normal FDA process for drug approval was set aside due to the requirement for speeding the vaccine to market.  So there is not much data available on side effects and efficacy.  That is why the "wait and see" approach seems reasonable to many people.

     

    Regarding H1N1 flu vaccines, there are two types.  The nasal inhaler FluMist vaccine is a live virus, so there is more risk.  The injection is an "antibody" vaccine with no actual virus involved, so it is presumably safer.

     

    Personally, I think that since this virus came around in the 1970s, data suggests that most older people have some immunity.  I get the regular flu shot every year, and got mine for this year several weeks ago, but have not decided about getting the swine flu shot.

    • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
      Randofu Registered Users
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      My oncologist had me get my flu shot already, and it went fairly well. I had never actually had a flu shot before! He also told me to get the H1N1 shot when I can... unlike some of the other folks around here, I'm an 80's baby, so I doubt I have any immunity.  Plus, I basically live on a college campus, so chances are pretty good that I'll get it at some point.

       

      Then again, it is just a flu...

    • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
      Susan61 Registered Users
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      Hi Trey:  I trust your opinion more than these doctors half the time.  I just went to get my flu shot, and the pharmacist asked me questions as to how many years have I been getting it, and we talked about the Pneumonia Shot.  I got a Pneumonia Shot in 2003, and was told to get one every 5 years.  I asked my doctor about the Pneumonia Shot, and she said that if I had one, then I should not get one until I am over 65.  I am only 62 this Nov.  I am already a year late getting it, as if it is a 5 year thing I should have gotten another one last year.

          Too many different opinions going around on this subject.  I have had Pneumonia twice in my lifetime already.

          It was my Primary doctor that told me not to get it.  My Oncologist just retired, and have not seen my new one yet.

          Just would like to know what you think.

      Thanks

      • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
        Trey Registered Users
        Currently Being Moderated

        Susan,

        As with most things, it is a combination of how much immunity is enough, how exposed are you, how susceptible are you, and how lucky do you feel...the immunity does not just quit after 5 years, but it does fade.  If you are more susceptible and more exposed, it is better to boost the immunity.

         

        This seems to be some useful information.

        http://coldflu.about.com/od/pneumonia/p/pneumoniashot.htm

        This discusses both having "cancer" and taking "immuno-suppressing drugs", but that does not automatically apply to CML if the drugs are working well and the WBC is relatively normal.

    • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
      barlee1 Registered Users
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      For those of us who have had transplants and have newbie immune systems, the fact that the virus has been around for a long time and we should have built up some immunity if we were on the planet in the 1970's may be not ring true.  I'm an old body with a toddler immune system.   I'm kind of confused right now but plan to ask at the Hutch when I go down on the 21st and follow their advice.  I have read that the H1N1 can be a real bugger for those with pulmonary problems (such as my GVHD/lungs.)

      • Re: Flu shots and Now What?
        SheilaW Registered Users
        Currently Being Moderated

        I just had my 1 year appt and asked the doc about the flu shot.  He said to get the regular one...but to WAIT on the swine flu one.  Apparently the last time they made a vaccine like this years ago it caused some people to have their legs paralyzed.  Yikes!!!  I'm sure it's fine this time...but like he said...you never know so just wait awhile and see what happens to others out there.

         

        Sheila

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