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Blood Work

Clearblue
Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi there
My wife is 15 days in RT & weekly Erbitux.
Her mouth is "on the burner" and she was given oxcycot today.
1.What are the issues here i should keep tabs on?
2.What should i be keeping my eyes on - re blood work etc. My knowledge on this matter leaves little to be desired.
Clear

Ed_PortOrange's picture
Ed_PortOrange
Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2010

I also was was treated with weekly erbitux and daily rads for 6 weeks. Each week my blood was drawn and all levels checked. I was consistently low in potassium and after week one I was given a solution to help that. That lasted throughout the 6 weeks of treatment. The other major item that affected me was dehydration, which i believe was caused by the radiation treatments. Starting with week 4 of treatment I was also going 2 or 3 times a week for saline solution to build up my fluids. This lasted an additional 4 weeks post treatment.

I'm a little surprised that the cancer center I went to has not ordered blood work during any of my quarterly visits. I'm now 1 year post and PCP has had me go for blood work on 4 month intervals. Next visit to my Rad/onco doc I'll bring the last couple results to see if he has any concerns. I know my white and red counts are still low but just under acceptable levels.

Make sure you have them give you copies of all blood work and don't be afraid to ask questions. If I can be of any further help please ask.

Your in my prayers,

Ed

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Did a quick study of your wife's profile, and can't help but wonder if she's victim to "the learning process" for H&N amongst the C-fighting medical community. A number of surgeries over the years before chemo and rads? If so, are you in a smaller community/city? I don't ask this for any negative reasons, but rather I ask to just better understand. And- does your wife have a PEG? If not, and the minor Op to install doesn't put her at risk, perhaps this is a good option. All agree on the importance of Nutrition.

Aquaphor does help the skin to heal. My sores extended to my lips and beyond, and my rad Dr. only advised to use Aquaphor, and it did seem to help the healing. I know there's other ointments used, also. She did get me one other thing for a particularly bad sore inside my mouth- HURRICANE. That's what it is called, and you can get in different flavors. Strong stuff. My research of it revealed it is also what tattoo "artists" use to deaden the areas where they are doing their thing; however, I was assured it is safe to use in the mouth by my rad Dr., but did get via prescription.

As for the Oxycontin- I never used, but did use the Hydrocodone, and Morph. And, of course, Magic Mouthwash and the stuff to help prevent Thrush. Whatever it takes to get thru this IS A MUST DO. I never liked the Morph, because the X!#/ scared me, but did use for 4 of 5 consecutive weeks to get me thru the roughest times. Whatever it takes, Clear- it is critical that she completes the rads and chemo, as that's her best shot at knocking the C out of the ring in her fight with it. She's got a ways to go, and you've gotta help her get the rest of the way as best you can.

Please keep us updated.

kcass

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Clearblues wife is in the guinnea pig camp with me. We both have faconi anemia and radiation and erbitux are last resorts. She couldn't have the peg because of a gastric pullup so she has a j tube.

Clear, as far as the blood counts go, I would make sure you get a copy every time, this way you have a baseline and you can look at those numbers yourself. You can see for yourself if they say counts are still acceptable, but something may have drastically changed from one week to another. I have my CBC papers with the before cancer numbers to compare to.

I also had a heck of a time with dehydration and low potassium. No matter how much fluids and foods with extra potassium, I still needed IV fluids.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8071
Joined: Sep 2009

I have a copy of all of my bllod work, from start to finish and continued through the most recent.

It's always good to have and reference.

If your chemo MD is worth their weight, they should monitor and prescribe different meds along the way.

Hydration is vital and very easy to overlook, especially when you don't feel that well and just want to sleep a lot. Definitely keep and eye on that...My wife used a tenting method the nurses showed her. Gentle pull up the skin on the back of the hand. If it doesn't return to it's normal state rather quickly, more than likely she needs fluids. Drink as many glasses of water and fluids a day as she can (normal ranges). This flushs the system of the drugs and meds that can do damage to organs.

I was low at time on Potassium also, usuallt was prescribed tablets for 7 - 10 days. Steroids once or twice, but they made my glucose rise.

Don't wory about any pain meds they prescribe (as for addiction), take as prescribed and they should do what they are meant to do.

Best,
John

Clearblue
Posts: 188
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi again,
Her Leukocytes are higher than normal , and shes had a slight fever for 2 or 3 days, so the Onco put her on antibiotics.
Today she started Fen patch for first time, starting at 12.5 mg low dose.
Clear

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Those are white blood cells, right? So is there an infection somewhere, hence the anitbiotics? I hope that clears up soon. You guys are still in my prayers.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8071
Joined: Sep 2009

Are they giving her anything to generate WBC growth and regenration...

When I was doing the chemo, the week after I had to go back each cycle and get an injection that would help to raise my blood counts and platelets...expensive, something like $3000 for each injection.

About two days later it made you feel like you had the flu, all of the large bones in your legs and back would hurt and ache.

Like Dawn says though, they should be checking all of the highs and lows and prescribe meds for her.

Best,
John

Hal61's picture
Hal61
Posts: 656
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Clear, wishing you and your wife the best. You've already got great suggestions, keeping track of blood counts for shifts is the best way to monitor. The fentanyl patch was the best pain killer I used. It had the most effect on the pain with the least problems with my system.

better days, Hal

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