Ally Mclaws on the current pandemic and his experiences with shielding

31st March 2021 12:00

"We continue to wipe delivery boxes down before opening and we stay a safe distance and masked when talking to family in the back garden and plan to keep it that way for the foreseeable. We’re all delighted for the progress but for us, little has really changed so please help us stay safe."

Ally McLaws

'There’s always at least one “but” … This time there’s 2.2 million of them!'

'There’s always at least one “but” … This time there’s 2.2 million of them!'

31st March 2021


"We continue to wipe delivery boxes down before opening and we stay a safe distance and masked when talking to family in the back garden and plan to keep it that way for the foreseeable. We’re all delighted for the progress but for us, little has really changed so please help us stay safe."

Ally McLaws

 

It’s wonderful to see and feel the ripples of positivity coursing through the country as Covid 19 infection and resulting death decline as the vaccination programme moves forward with pace.

There’s a cautious but tangible mood of optimism blowing alongside the warmer winds as we summer time arrives.

 

We are wiser too. Better educated to about the virus health threat that we will have to manage and learn to live with from here on in.

People will still catch it and become ill – but the vaccine and increased human immunities – will result, according to expert medical opinion, in less serious health outcomes for the vast majority.

God knows we’ve all been needing something to smile about for long enough already – so let’s keep compliant for a few more weeks and gradually get back to going out and about and feeling part of the normal world again.

 

But – there’s a but, there always is.

In Britain there is an estimated 2.2 million of us shielding. We got the vaccine as a priority but it doesn’t stop us catching the virus. It just reduces the chances of it killing us if we do get it.

For those of us battling cancer during this pandemic and with virtually no immunity to anything due to chemotherapy or other treatments Covid 19 is a virtual death sentence.

Friends and relatives are meaning well when they welcome lockdown relaxation and look forward to more contact with us than they’ve been able to have for more than a year now…

But that’s not where most of us “are at” right now. In my case I feel more vulnerable than ever despite having had my first Covid 19 jab.

 

My cancer has spread from my chest to my brain. I have had brain radiotherapy treatment and now returned to my regime of chemotherapy and immunotherapy to the rest of my body.

Of the 2.2 million of us with reason to be shielding things will have changed little over these last few weeks to make us feel less at risk. In many cases our health issues will have worsened making us even more vulnerable.

 

 

 

If you see me walking slowly with my dog wearing my triple layered face mask and I cross the road to avoid a close brush-past please don’t think me odd …

I haven’t been inside a supermarket or any shop of any kind for a year now and don’t plan to any time soon.

 

We continue to wipe delivery boxes down before opening and we stay a safe distance and masked when talking to family in the back garden and plan to keep it that way for the foreseeable.
We’re all delighted for the progress but for us, little has really changed so please help us stay safe.

 


Ally McLaws is a journalist and former Director of Communications with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

He newspaper column “Living with cancer in a pandemic” is published weekly in The Herald on Sunday. Back copies of his columns can be read on his website (under the charity section) at www.mclawsconsultancy.com

Follow Ally on Twitter @allymclaws 

You can also read Ally's Beatson blog on Living with cancer in a pandemic, here

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