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low blood count

lhsteer
Posts: 28
Joined: Jul 2004

Hi everyone this is new to me I am doing my second round of chemo and yesterday went to get it they said blood count was low so I have to wait til next week. I am doing fol fox, oxiplatiun this is the first time this has happened to me. has anyone else had this happened and what do you do. They just told me get plenty of rest. I started chemoin June-oct had 4 months off butalso had surgery in december to put colon back together.So any help please tell me I need to get blood count back up to continue the treatment. karen

juliababy
Posts: 130
Joined: Aug 2004

hi karen, the same thing happened to my father midway through chemo, in fact he was on the same regimen as you. Basically he just skipped a week of chemo and went back the following week and the blood count was fine by then. The drs also told him to take it easy, in fact he also said it wouldn't hurt to drink a glass of wine every night with dinner, as this builds iron, but even though my dad never had the wine, again after being a week off of the chemo, his counts were fine and chemo resumed as usual.

susana

JKendall
Posts: 186
Joined: Nov 2004

Hi Karen...I'll be reading these responses as closely as you do. My wife (Jerri) just had her second round of chemo (5FU, Irinotecan, and Leukovoran); she goes every-other week. When she went back in on Wednesday to get her 5FU pump disconnected, they told us she was slightly anemic and gave her a shot of something (I can't remember the name of the stuff....it's advertised on TV). She has to go back in next Tuesday to get another one. But they didn't say anything about stopping the chemo...yet.

I'm wondering if it's common for the chemo to cause the anemia after just one round??? I know it happens, but I didn't think it caused anemia so soon into the treatments.

Jerri is so fatigued she can barely find the energy to watch TV.

Take care of yourself.

BTW, I saw an earlier post for you where you said the "LH" was for "long horn". Are you in Texas, or do you play the bass saxaphone? We're in Dallas.

Jimmy

lhsteer
Posts: 28
Joined: Jul 2004

Hi been a while since I was on had my 11th session of chemo last week. though my 2nd session I am doing the ful fox, leukoverin, oxiplatin not avastin yet since still healing from surgery. To make it short had reaction to oxi rash and itchy so I know now that is it with the first session after 7 round got numbness toes and fingers and teeth hurt, now on 11 reaction did anyone else have this. I have 4 more to go. I have spots on liver just waiting for healing from surgery in december to avastin. Any ideas on this I do 48 hours of it. just finished thursday now tuesday feel lousy, achiness, tired fatigue anyone else.
thanks for reply

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Hey, Jimmy & Karen -

Anemia is part of the deal with colon cancer and colon cancer treatment. The colon helps the body absorb a lot of the iron we digest. If you remove that absorbtion mechanism, it's harder to suck up the US Recommended Daily Allowance (I'm sure it's a similar recommended daily allowance for other countries, too like Canada, Australia, Texas...) Anyway, the chemo also has a signifcant impact on the body's ability to produce red blood cells. A couple of recommendations:

1. Procrit (I suspect that's the shot Jerri gets) helps, but

2. Even though she's fatigued, exercise will help a lot

3. A high iron diet as suggested above (except for prunes... and brussles sprouts... YUCK!) I wonder if beer is high in iron? Maybe I can get a research grant for that... wanna be a lab assistant?

4. Like Andrea said, Neuprogen helps restore white blood cells and is available from your doc if appropriate.

I had to skip a week here and there, too. Got a few transfusions along the way as well. Nothing to get too worried about, Karen. Hang tough and take care of yourself!

- SpongeBob

andreae
Posts: 238
Joined: Sep 2003

Hi all,

Low blood counts are to be expected. I did FOLFOX, FOLFIRI and gemcitabine over the past eighteen months and my counts are always low. They will keep track of platelets, hemoglobin and your absolute neutrophil count (really important for infection!!!). I often take GCSF or neupogen so I can stay on schedule with treatment (increases your white blood cells) and eprex increases your hemoglobin. When my platelets dip, they simply delay treatment. I don't rest but I do carry around purrell to keep the nasty germs away!

Cheers,
Andrea

eweb
Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2004

Hi Karen,
While I did chemo (5-fu/leu), I tried to keep my counts up through diet and supplements (good multivit. and iron). My counts never got too low, but then again I tolerated the chemo fairly well, so who knows why I didn't have problems. I saw an oncology dietitian and got a list of foods important for blood formation - protein, iron, folate and B12. If the iron stuffs you up, prunes are high in iron! If you'd like more information I'd be happy to post it.
Good luck,
Ellen

lhsteer
Posts: 28
Joined: Jul 2004

sure can you send me some information on the stuff you have. I do keep a fairly decent diet, I really can't do the carrot juice anymore since I already have problems with diahria from chemo. so I need to do something else, I take multi vi. thanks

andyc56
Posts: 42
Joined: Oct 2004

Ellen, I'd love to see your food list for my wife's benefit. Please post or email to andycpa56@yahoo.com. Thanks!

eweb
Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2004

Here's what I have. Of course, there's lots more you can do...
High Iron Foods:
-beef, lamb,pork, seafood and organ meats(yuck). I'm not a red meat eater, but I did eat 2 meals made with very lean ground beef every week. Organic meats have a much higher iron content.
-Eggs (yolks)
-Dried fruit: apriocots, raisins, figs, prunes (I like prune juice!)
-fortified cereals/whole grain flour
-soybeans, firm tofu, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, hummus
-baked potato with skin
-Swiss chard, spinach and snowpeas
-blackstrap molasses
I was told that consuming a vitamin C-rich food or juice with the same meal increases iron obsorption.

High Folate Foods:
-beans: lentils, navy, kidney and lima beans, and chickpeas
-dark green leafy vegs: spinach, romaine, broccoli, brussel sprouts
-Beets, green peas, asparagus, avacado, parsnips
-orange juice
-fortified cereals/whole grain flour
-organ meats (yuck, yuck)

High Vitamin B12 food:
-Beef, lamb, pork, seafood and organ meats
-Egg (yolks)
-milk and milk products
-nutritional yeast

I tried not go exceed the upper level (much higher than the RDI) to avoid possible adverse effects (a debatable point).

As you have seen on this board there are a number of good nutrition resouces. For the number of servings per day/week I used "What to Eat if you have Cancer", and for a quick reference of nutrient breakdowns for a variety of foods I used "The Food Bible" by Judith Wells. This book is also very helpful for soluble/insoluble fibre content. There's also Patrick Quillin's book and I recently found the site www.Fitday.com which gives the nutritional breakdown for tons of foods, so you can easily discover the specific nutritional content of individual foods and food combos.
My oncology dietitian also specializes in colorectal cancer. I found her extremely helpful in assisting me to formulate an initial overall diet plan. She gave me photocopied materials and
had plastic food so I could get a good idea of serving sizes. If your hospital has such a resource, I strongly recommend a visit.

Hope this helps.
Ellen

CAMaura
Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hi there, Karen,
I think I am on the same regimen as you are. I started out (in chemo) being anemic - after surgery and two transfusions. Procrit has worked really well for me; at first, I needed it each week, and now only every-other week. Talk to you doc. Oh, and having the shots in my stomach - sounds scary - are so much LESS painful. I don't get it, maybe abs are just more fleshy than the upper arm. Anyway, check it out....I bet it would help you! Take care and I hope you are gaining your strength back.
Cheers,
Maura

CAMaura
Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hi there, Karen,
I think I am on the same regimen as you are. I started out (in chemo) being anemic - after surgery and two transfusions. Procrit has worked really well for me; at first, I needed it each week, and now only every-other week. Talk to you doc. Oh, and having the shots in my stomach - sounds scary - are so much LESS painful. I don't get it, maybe abs are just more fleshy than the upper arm. Anyway, check it out....I bet it would help you! Take care and I hope you are gaining your strength back.
Cheers,
Maura

grandma047's picture
grandma047
Posts: 381
Joined: Feb 2004

My chemo has been delayed the last two rounds because of low blood counts. Then this week an infection, so no chemo this week either. I was on FOLFOX4, same as you, but they're changing me to FOLFIRI. The FOLFOX didn't shrink my tumor, so they're going to try something new, if I ever get well enough. Good luck to you and I'll add you to my daily prayers.
Love and prayers, Judy(grandma047)

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