‘I’m trying to stay alive’: Inside the life of an immunocompromised Conroe resident during coronavirus

(Kaitlin Schmidt/Community Impact Newspaper)
(Kaitlin Schmidt/Community Impact Newspaper)

(Kaitlin Schmidt/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Brassard family is on strict lockdown at their lakefront property on Lake Conroe.

Susan Brassard said her family only leaves the house for grocery runs or, in her husband’s case, for work. When her husband or children come home, they are immediately sprayed with Lysol. They remove their shoes and place them, along with grocery bags, by the front door.

Then, they take their clothes off and put them in a basket in the garage. They shower, put on clean clothes and bring grocery bags to the kitchen, where the outside of each product or container is wiped down.

Nine to 12 hours later, the pantry food is brought in, wiped down and put away. The interior of her husband’s truck is wiped down.

Every day, the Brassards spray Lysol on all doorknobs and cabinet handles. They clean the oven, microwave, sink and dishwasher handles. And, of course, there is a lot of hand-washing, Brassard said.

“No one comes over,” she said. “Our kids' only outlet is the grocery store. ... They have to go first thing in the morning when the store is its cleanest at 7 a.m.”

For Brassard, these daily rituals are a matter of life or death. Brassard said she has a colon disease and endometriosis, a condition she has had all her life. For the most part, she said she has learned to cope with the pain, nausea and vomiting. But understanding how to fend off the coronavirus has been a new experience, she said.

I’m at high risk,” she said. “I’ve been quarantined by my two specialist doctors since the beginning of March.”

Brassard, who has been taking daily chemotherapy injections since June 2019, said she had three planned surgeries—but these have been temporarily canceled because of coronavirus.

The first surgery is to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes as well as the endometriosis from her pelvic area. This is to prepare for her second surgery, which will remove as much endometriosis from her colon and other organs as possible, she said. In the third surgery, there is a significant chance the lower part of her gastrointestinal tract will need to removed, she said.

The latest recommendations by The American College of Surgeons urge surgeons to curtail the performance of “elective” surgery and provide guidelines on surgeries for cancer, breast cancer and other diseases. But Brassard said timeliness is critical for her surgeries.

“The longer I have to wait, the higher the percentage of losing my lower GI increases,” she said. “I’m trying to stay alive.”

Are you an immunocompromised individual? Have you had a surgery postponed because of the coronavirus? Let us know at comnews@communityimpact.com.
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


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