Family shows support for leukemia patient despite coronavirus (COVID-19) visitor restrictions

Since Robert Alvarado was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2014, his family has accompanied him to each appointment, from quick blood draws to 6-hour-long immunoglobulin infusions. But his most recent appointment was different. Like other hospitals, MD Anderson has temporarily stopped allowing visitors at all of its campuses, in order to protect its patients and workforce members from the 2019 novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19. This meant that Robert would have to go to his infusion appointment by himself. A new way to show support for leukemia patient When the Alvarado family learned about the new visitation policy, they were disappointed, but they started working on a plan to continue showing Robert their support. “Once the staff called and told us that he wouldn’t be able to have visitors with him at the clinic, we decided to make signs,” says Robert’s daughter, Alisa. “It was the closest thing to being there with him.” When Robert’s wife, daughter and granddaughter dropped him off for his infusion appointment, they held up the posters as he walked into the building. “I was very surprised by the signs,” Robert says. “And I thought it was great that my wife, daughter and grandkids all worked together to make them.” Intravenous immunoglobulin infusions strengthen his immune system Robert’s care team has been observing and monitoring his leukemia since his diagnosis, but he’s never actually needed leukemia treatment. That’s because his cancer is not progressing and he does not experience adverse symptoms from it. However, after he began having recurrent episodes of pneumonia last year, he was referred to Janet Tu, M.D., at MD Anderson in...