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Did anyone else's white counts drop after 4th or 5th chemo and radiation to WBC below 2 and neutrophils below 1?

hopeful girl 1
Posts: 454
Joined: May 2010

Hi everyone,

Did anyone else cope with low white counts that dipped really low in the later chemos during sandwich therapy? Currently, two weeks after my 4th chemo (which was preceded by five weeks of radiation).....my white counts are really low. I know this is expected but it makes me nervous. My overall WBC is lowest it has been so far at 1.4 (normal range is 4-10) and neutrophils are at .8 (normal range 2-7). I was told my neutrophils need to come up to 1.0 to get the 5th chemo next week. My medical team focuses primarily on the neutrophils when it comes to white counts. But even that scares me. If I come up to 1.0 and have my chemo, I would think it would be a pretty sure thing that two weeks from the 5th chemo they will drop to zero.

Does anyone have any tips for avoiding infection, or encouraging words?
I am avoiding the fresh fruits as I have read about that, eating only frozen cooked veggies, protein etc.

Feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Healthy happy thoughts to all.

Posts: 99
Joined: Feb 2010

This is common. They should give you a neupogen or neulasta shot after your next chemo if your whites aren't back up by then. You may want to make sure your insurance covers it. You may need this for your remaining infusions.

I stayed in to lower risks of infection. And I, too, was advised not to eat anything raw and only pasteurized juices.

I got 70% rubbing alcohol and put it in a spray bottle and sprayed it on my hands frequently and counter tops and the cutting board. Make sure your cutting board is kept very clean. I put mine in the dishwasher frequently. Also, do everything you can not to accidentally cut yourself.

This is a pain, I know. You're doing great, though!

Hang in there!

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I had low white counts for my last 3 carbo/taxol traetments. Try and get Nuelasta or Nuepogen as they really help. Your WBC can be low and you can still safely get chemo, but if your nuetrofils get too low you'll have to wait an extra week for your chemo. No one likes to do that, but I had to take an extra week between my last 3 carbo/taxol rounds and got a blood transfusion (for low red counts & platelets) each of the last 3 rounds also. I also had 1 Nuelasta shot after my last chemo round because my white count was crap by then. All of this is very common. Try not to stress about it.

I bought (online) a box of face masks and wore one when I went out during flu season to crowded places like grocery shopping. I kept one in a ziplock bag in my purse and popped it on if anyone coughed around me, and kept the box by the entrance of my home in case anyone sick came to see me, so I could offer them a mask. The worst part of all this was that my son kept my little grandkids away from me because they always had runny noses, and I missed them so much that I would cry when I did get to see them briefly. Since my recurrence I get Nuepogen or Nuelasta with every chemo infusion and see my grandkids even when they're sick and don't worry about it. & I haven't caught anything! Try to get approved for the shots. (My clinic charges my insurance $1500 for each Nuepogen shot and $7,000 for each Nuelasta shot, so many insurances balk at covering this.)

hopeful girl 1
Posts: 454
Joined: May 2010

Thank you to everyone for tips. If any others have tips please, please post.
I am trying not to worry so much, but I am......

While the shots of Nuepogen or Nuelasta are often given, and many on the boards have received, don't think my medical team likes to use, and not sure about my insurance. My coverage has been very good, so it may cover. But I don't think my oncologist wants to use on me, not sure.

I am very nervous and freaked out about the low counts, even though I know it is very common. My whole life I have been prone to easily catching colds and almost every cold goes into bronchitis etc.,and I have had pnemonia a couples of times. I certainly can't afford to have that happen now. My doctor does not believe in having to live like a hermit, but that is what I have been doing on my own.

I too have been staying in to avoid infections as much as possible, and I am avoiding fresh fruits and veggies, washing hands constantly with antibacterial liquid soap, and then moisturizing because my hands get so dry/chapped. I am avoid ketchup (also to try to prevent mouth sores), and mayo (has raw eggs).

I am told they can do chemo if the neutrophils are 1.0--that is still starting out a chemo below normal range which is 2-7, so that makes me worry. If I come up to just 1.0 then I will probably fall to zero after the 5th chemo. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I might get to wait another week. I am supposed to get chemo on this coming Tuesday, if counts allow. My oncologist does not like to postpone chemos, as they want to aggressively treat.

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