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Low White Blood Cell Count

vicken
Posts: 12
Joined: Mar 2008

My husband was diagnosed w/NHL last year. Underwent six months chemo and now in remission. However, his white blood cell count continues to drop, even five months after stopping chemo. Has anyone else experienced this? Dr is putting hims on B12 shots and iron supplements.

AuthorUnknown
Posts: 1564
Joined: May 2006

Hello,

You may want to contact the American Cancer Society's National Cancer Information Center for information on the symptoms your husband is experiencing. Cancer Information Specialists are available 24 hours a day at 1-800-227-2345. I hope you husband is doing well soon.

Dana
CSN Dana

winthefight's picture
winthefight
Posts: 162
Joined: Dec 2007

Hello Vicken,

I experience a low white blood counts every week. I have been trying to receive my 8th chemo treatment, but can not due to white blood count levels. My dr checks my levels each week. I was told the white blood counts are due to the chemo treatments hitting very hard. I was getting Chop-R treatment. I have spoken with other Lymphoma and other cancer patients who have experienced the same.

vicken
Posts: 12
Joined: Mar 2008

winthefight, thanks for the post and the encouragement.

sandybe
Posts: 40
Joined: Aug 2008

A year after treatments have finished I still do not have a normal white blood cell count either. They say it takes time.

Blackkat
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2009

I'm now 14 months after chemo and my WBC is still hovering on the low side. Before chemo it was always around 5-6. Now I can barely get it above 4. Today it's just 3.7. During my six months of chemo, which was administered on a weekly basis I had a lot of white cell boosters. I started to get a bit concerned and stopped them towards the end of treatment \

My onco tells me that these drugs are relatively new so long term effects are not really understood.

I'm concerned that my count is linked to an overuse of these booster drugs. Does anyone else share the same opinion?

klhokie
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2008

Did the counts ever go back up? My fiance is going throught the same thing. Neupogen shots are keeping them at normal levels for now.

sandybe
Posts: 40
Joined: Aug 2008

I am now a year and a half post chemo and my white counts hover just below 4. I took Neulasta during chemo to increase my white blood cell counts or i would probaby still be waiting to finish chemo. My very first treatment put my counts dangerously low and my second treatment was delayed until they went up to 1. I'm happy my white counts are at least just a little low, the doctors told me that just may be where they will stay, everyone is diffent. Although a year and a half later my lymphocyte count is still only 0.5, fighting infection and viruses I think will always be a difficult thing.

fm5930
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2009

I am now six years post chemo and my white cell counts still fluctuate. My Onco warned me of this at time of treatment. I had Hodgkins Lymphoma. She said that my immune system will be considered "compromised" forever. So when infections and viruses come my way it takes a lot more time and rest to completely get over it. Because of the Neupogen shots (I had seven shots after each chemo and had chemo every two weeks for 14 treatments) I have chronic pain that will never go away. My bones ache and winter is horrible on me still. I have been told that the Nuelesta(sp?) is a much better shot with far less side effects and more prescribed today because of this. They are extremely expensive but I would happily write that check now, knowing it would save me years of pain. I was diagnosed at 28. I am now 35 and I can only describe it like having the flu body aches or being 80 years old with arthritis. Just remember to take care of yourself because our immune systems are working double time to keep us well. Everyone is different. Is anyone else experiencing what I am for as long as I have? This is the first blog I have ever done. My husband said it might be good for me to find others who have gone through this so I don't feel like I am the only one and can maybe get some good advice. My friends have not had cancer (amen) and believe that once the doctor says you are in remission you are cured and should feel normal. They don't understand why a simple cold can turn in to bronchitis and/or pneumonia if I don't take care of myself.

Sorry for the long comment but if anyone would like to respond who has had difficulty with the shots and treatments long term I would LOVE to hear from you!!

Stay well and healthy
Paige

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Paige. First I am sorry your in pain and it happened at such a young age. I had NHL 5 years ago in my face. I did the CHOP+Rituxin and 25 radiation treatments. I had facial nerve damage and then my spine started to fall apart. So living in pain is a daily issue for me and it will not get better. I sure understand why you don't like cold weather. Holy it kills me when the barometer drops. And living in Michigan, I didn't like the -18 this morning. Your comment about pain being like having the flu is the same way I describe it. Joint and muscle pain wears on a person and frustration and anger seems to build. I tend to push my pain to the extreme limits as I know I will have many years on drugs. But then I have to make sure I take something so I don't take my pain out on some poor undeserving person. It seems many of our friends and family have high expectations after we survive cancer. Mine are just getting a grip on the fact that I am not the same person. I might make it to their home for a holiday or I might not. I can't plan 10 minutes ahead as I don't know if I will have a full blown migraine or not. And I really wish I could work and do the things I used to do but its not in the cards. So I seem to live for those few times when I don't feel pain or have something good happen in my life. The immune system is also an issue. I am proubly just short of "Monk" on T.V. if you have ever seen the show. I have 3 daughters that have learned to stay away from me when they are sick. And I wash my hands so many times a day that they are constantly dry. I keep lotion companies in business. Anyway you are far from alone and I hope you keep writing. Take care Slickwilly

fm5930
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2009

OMG Slickwilly, I feel like we are the same person. I read your reply and it shocked me because I have the EXACT issues. I have had two spine surgeries since my treatment because like you, my spine was/is deteriorating. I have to live day by day and that is so difficult for me to grasp. My husband is in the Air Force, we are living in NC. Our family is on the opposite side of the country in CA so it is just us and our military family. I sometimes feel like I am living the game of Survivor. Don't get me wrong but our friends have been great but they don't understand and I can't ask for help because I do not want to be the "needy" military wife who can't handle her spouse gone. That is not the issue for me. I never minded the deployments and long trips away prior to the cancer, but now it is REALLY a challenge for me when he is gone because I am solo. 100% and that enhances the pain because I am mom, dad, maid, chef, banker, landscaper taxi driver, and therapist to my 14 yr old daughter and soccer coach to my 10 year old son! Did I forget anything? LOL anyway it is such a relief to read your post. Not that I want you in this pain but because I know I am not the only one and I am not crazy. My family, who are wonderful(but only see us a couple times a year) just don't realize what it is like for me. I have ALWAYS been and always will be the caretaker and peacemaker for all. When I visit or they visit and I have a bad day they look at me like I need to get over it and get up and go go go because we are always on limited time. They huff and puff or give sighs when I say I need to rest or get my feet up. I carry SO much guilt because of it. My husband who is the love of my life and most supportive man, has never judged me, doubted my pain, and has had to juggle being an aviator in the military (very demanding and competitive) with being a caretaker for me. He has been looked over for promotions and better jobs within his career field because of it and yet he never blames me. After working an 18 hour day he comes home and helps as much as he can. Why can't my friends and family understand? Yes I WAS always up for anything, adventurous, spontanious, the organizer, flirty and funny. But now each day is different, I have to plan things out and learn to take care of ME but it is very hard when the expectations are high from everyone else. I thank you SO VERY MUCH for your post. I am aw struck at how similar our post treatment aches and pains are the same. BTW, I was born in Ypsilanti Michigan (Ann Arbor) and lived there on and off for a few years of my life. Wierd huh? LOL

Have a Healthy New Year,
Paige

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Paige. Your my new hero. Anyone that can keep her base housing clean and make it to Officer's tea parties deserves an award ha ha. Let alone put up with the pecking order when your in pain. Its amazing you have not corked a Squadron Commanders wife. I suspect your husband didn't base his marriage on military promotions. You didn't choose to get sick Paige. And your kids are pretty lucky to have you as their mother. OH, I was Army 73-75. UH-1 helicopter crew chief and door gunner. I can tell your not one to give up easily which is good. But you have to learn to put yourself first now Paige. It took me quite some time to come to terms with that. I raced snowmibiles for 15 years at the professional level. I worked in a Michigan State Prisons for 17 years so I was not afraid of much. Camping out in 20 below zero was just a fun challenge. And I really wanted to go on Survivor! It has been a challenge to completly change my life. I now help local people dealing with cancer and talk to some people on here. I would imagine your quite sick of people asking how your doing and not waiting for an answer. Or you have developed the "I am ok syndrome" as its easier than telling the 30 minute story of your medical problems. Yes I know how it is! Its just not a good day when every move hurts and there is a bunch of things that have to be done. I bet you have people tell you that you look great all the time. I do. But I am a complete wreck inside a shell of a body. I always thought that if they could replace my head above the shoulders I would be just fine ha ha. I am glad you don't feel alone anymore. I am so sorry that you have to deal with this. If you want to talk my e-mail is slickwilly007@msn.com You take care of yourself Slickwilly

sandybe
Posts: 40
Joined: Aug 2008

Slickwilly, I have seen many of your posts over time and they are always so insiteful. You are an inspiration to many of us.
I wish you the best, Sandy

slickwilly's picture
slickwilly
Posts: 339
Joined: Feb 2007

Thank you. Many people including yourself help so many on this site. Its quite an amazing experience when you can connect with someone and hopefully help them a little. But the reality is that we are helping ourselves in the process. The last couple days I have spent with a woman that has breast, bone and lung cancer. It keeps me grounded to the fact that things in my life could be much worse. I believe in God and I don't want to waste the time I have been given. I remember praying that I could stay alive long enough to see my daughters graduate from school. That prayer was answered so I figure God held up his end of the bargain. I will be the best person I can be and help anyone that needs help. I have lost a lot of things in my life and also gained so much. All the people here are quite special. Bless you Slickwilly

DennisR
Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Vicken,

Yes, Low WBC is a problem and likely side effect of the type of Chemo your husband is receiving, so is low RBC and Hemoglobin and many of the other blood chemistries, like electrolytes, potassium, and other trace minerals. I injected myself with Nueprogen (sp) daily for a week after each R-CHOP treatment. I hated doing it, it's unnatural to stick oneself with a needle and the shots put my Marrow into overdrive causing a lot of bone pain, etc.
Now my Blood counts are normal though I get a Complete Blood Count once a week to keep track of things. I'm always prepared for the various ups and downs that seem to take a while to get settled after the powerful Chemo regimes, but as the Doctors always say, the benefits outweigh the risks, in the long run. I always laugh to myself when I hear that and think, "yeah sure, it's easy for you to say".
DennisR

jpattersonkw
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2009

I'm six months post chemo and my WBC just came in at .04! Has anyone heard of this? I'm terrified of contracting the "swine" flu or some other sickness.

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