Tracey Schlamb, Manager of Department of Nursing, CancerCare Manitoba

Tracey Schlamb, Manager of Department of Nursing, CancerCare Manitoba

I’m a nursing manager for CancerCare Manitoba. During the pandemic, it’s been very hard for those working in healthcare to keep up the positive face that we show our patients. The pandemic-related changes are happening quickly, which places a strain on us. Cancer patients still require treatment and care and unfortunately, our patients are coming in sicker than before because they’re too worried about leaving their houses even for their cancer care. 

Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been worried about my family. My husband’s job is in the transport industry so both he and I have been out in public this whole time, along with our children in the school system – we’ve had higher exposure to the virus. We offer support for my mother-in-law, who has severe health conditions, so it’s been hard on us all as we’ve had to isolate to keep her safe. 

When I got my first dose of the vaccine my husband and kids dropped me off at the RBC Convention Centre. They wanted to be there with me when I came out, because it felt like a big climactic moment. I was fortunate and had zero side effects with the first dose of vaccine, while with the second dose, I had a bit of a headache that went away with some Advil. 

I know some of my friends and family have concerns that the vaccines were made in a rush. I use this opportunity to educate them on the science behind the creation of vaccines such as the COVID vaccine or the annual influenza vaccine. I have also received lots of questions about the efficacy of different vaccines, and I have friends who are holding out for a particular vaccine. I have told them that the right vaccine is the first one available to you. My husband was finally eligible to get the AstraZeneca shot, which was a relief to both of us. 

We live in a Winnipeg hotspot area that was prioritized for vaccination, and the day that eligibility for vaccination opened, our neighbourhood Facebook page was filled with messages from people making appointments and my phone filled up with text messages from friends. We’re all happy and relieved when they get the vaccine. We are big hockey fans in our house, and the more vaccines administered, the closer we feel we are to scoring the overtime goal to end the game! 

I hope that in the future, we’ll appreciate our resiliency throughout this troubling time and know that we made it through to the other side, in the world and especially in Manitoba. Hopefully many of us overcame the struggle and found new strength within ourselves.


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