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Low white blood count

Ctine70's picture
Ctine70
Posts: 150
Joined: Sep 2012

Had my first round of chemo last Thursday followed by three shots of nepogren. Went yesterday for blood work and was told my white blood count was very low and need around round of nepogren. So upset over this
Can anyone tell me does this happen a lot should I just expect that every time I go for blood work that it will be followed by more shot

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

I have always had a low WBC (<4) and, when I had chemo back in 1987 (the Dark Ages lol), my doc withheld chemo one month because my WBC was <1. It freaked me out more than anything to not be able to get my chemo.

Wish we had had neupogen back then!

As to your question, I believe it does happen quite frequently because I see posts asking about it from time to time. My sister did have to have neupogen when she had her chemo, but I can't remember if it was after her first round of chemo.

But I am betting someone else has had this happen?

missrenee's picture
missrenee
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

During chemo and even after for a while. I got a Neulasta shot after every chemo and was always able to get the next treatment. However, for some reason, after the 6th and final round of TAC my onc. decided to forgo the Neulasta shot. Ten days later, I ended up in the hospital for 5 days with some sort of systemic infection. My white count was 800 (3,000-4,000 is norm). I was on IV Vancomycin and some other antibiotic. The count came up and home I went.

Glad they're watching your counts. Try to stay away from crowded areas, and my doc have me refraining from eating any raw fruits or veggies.

Take good care,
Hugs, Renee

Ctine70's picture
Ctine70
Posts: 150
Joined: Sep 2012

This is all so new to me. Spoke with the nurse today and she said pretty much the same as you.
I am due for my next round of chemo on the 27th so hopefully my count will come up some before them
Thanks :)

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

Whatever you do, don't eat bean sprouts! No kidding, I had a nasty bacterial diarrhea this spring after eating them. The CDC site states that bean sprouts are the "usual suspect" in such infections. I am riding in car right now, but I can attach a link later.

Ctine70's picture
Ctine70
Posts: 150
Joined: Sep 2012

Good thing I bean sprouts lol thanks for the tip :)

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8507
Joined: Aug 2009

What my Oncologist recommended was staying home -- house arrest, and eating
as many foods high in iron.

prime rib (my favorite)
raisins
cream of wheat
almonds
fish
spinach

*per WEB MD .....
Red meat
Egg yolks
Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards)
Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
Iron-enriched cereals and grains (check the labels)
Mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops)
Turkey or chicken giblets
Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
Liver
Artichokes

just to name a few.

Vicki Sam

Ctine70's picture
Ctine70
Posts: 150
Joined: Sep 2012

Vicki
Thank you so much for the list of foods to help out m WBC.
The doctor has put me under house arrest but I felt like there was more I could do but wasn't sure what.
I will give the list a try
Have a great weekend
Christine

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

So much great advice here. A few more tips come to mind for me:

White blood cells are so important in fighting infection. There are many different types of WBC's and most are important in taking care of infections. Some are even phagocytic (just a fancy, dancy term that means cell eating) and can literally eat up bacteria just like a pac man!

One of my biggest tips on avoiding getting sick while you have a low WBC is to carry a hand sanitizer. I never, ever shake a person's hands without discreetly using my hand sanitizer asap after. As a nurse practitioner, I can assure you that most infections come from hands. I also use a hand sanitizer after exposure to a germy place (bathrooms). Another good idea is to wipe germy surfaces (such as your phones) with a chlorox wipe from time to time.

Along that same thought, avoid touching your eyes and nose as many germs enter that way. Also, let your family and friends know that you are immunocompromised and, if they even just suspect they are coming down with anything, tell them to please stay away.

Do stay up to date on all immunizations, as soon as your onc says it is ok to get them. You are eligible for the pneumonia vaccine due to the cancer. You may also be eligible for the shingles vaccine. But check coverage of both. My carrier paid for the pneumonia vaccine but won't cover the shingles vaccine until I'm 60 (which sucks since I have now had shingles twice since age 55)

More about food:

"Food selection and preparation
•Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs, or foods that may contain raw egg. (some hollandaise sauce, Caesar or other salad dressings and mayonnaise.)
•Do not eat raw or undercooked poultry, meat, or seafood or unpasteurized dairy products. (Well-cooked means no pink in the middle or with the internal temperature higher than 165F.)
•Produce should be thoroughly washed before being eaten. (See Travel section if leaving the U.S.A)
•Take care to avoid cross contamination of food. For example, uncooked meats should not come into contact with other foods. Hands, cutting boards, counters, and knives and other utensils should be washed thoroughly after contact with uncooked foods.
•Do not share food, eating or drinking utensils with others if you have low white blood cell count. A dishwasher is not necessary as long as soap, friction, a hot rinse and a clean towel are used for utensils. Avoid using "communal" dips with vegetables, crackers etc. where others redip items that have been in their mouths or do not wash their hands." http://www.chemocare.com/managing/low_blood_counts.asp

And one last link below about those pesky bean sprouts that I so loved written by Lt. Cmdr. Rajal Mody, MD, MPH, U.S. Public Health Service. Even though you don't eat them, I am just warning others, because I would have avoided them if I had known that they were so inherently dangerous.

Hold the Raw Sprouts, Please

http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/raw_sprouts.html

And one final note (I promise...lol), even though I was exposed to all kinds of awful crap when my WBC was <1, for some unknown reason, I never got sick and never had to stop working. I am praying the same for you :-)

Ctine70's picture
Ctine70
Posts: 150
Joined: Sep 2012

What wonderful advice and suggestion! Thank you so very much
I will definitely follow your advice last thing I want to do is get sick.
Don't need any reasons to prolong chemo
Thanks again
christine

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

I hope that with all of the suggestions you got that your count will go higher.

Hugs, Debby

Ctine70's picture
Ctine70
Posts: 150
Joined: Sep 2012

I hope so I go Thursday for more blood work so figures crossed
Christine

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