14 June, 2006
I have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer and have started chemotherapy treatments this past week. To get my treatments I have had a PICC line attached to my arm where all treatments and blood work will be done.
The PICC line prevents having to be poked and is a needle inserted into my left arm. The nurses at the hospital say it is essential not to get it wet.
When showering I wear a plastic glove that covers 95% of my left arm. My question is, Is there any way I may go to the mikveh with a Shinu'yi (some sort of change) like having my arm out? Or may I be exempt from going this one time?
I just want to know how it works…
We are sorry to hear of your illness and wish you a refuah shleimah.
Immersion requires that the entire body be submerged. Therefore, leaving out your arm invalidates immersion. Until a solution is found, you cannot use the mikveh.
However, in cases of medical need, there are potential solutions that would allow you to immerse to be tehorah at this difficult time in your life. In order to help you better, we would need more information about your treatment. In particular, we need to know for how long the PICC line is scheduled to remain and why they decided on a PICC line as opposed to a subcutaneous port. Please also ask your physician directly whether a single brief immersion in clean, chlorinated water would be acceptable, and how it could be handled.
This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.
For further questions or comments:
The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.
Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.