Dealing with leukopenia - Low White Blood Cell Counts and Treatment

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My mother in-law has been fighting this cancer for over 1 1/2 yrs now and is nearing the end of her second round of Chemo. She had a short seven month remission before she was told that she needed to attack the beast again. She is 84 years young and just returned from a two week trip to the Middle East when her symptoms reoccurred. Anyway, I am wondering if the rest of you get regular support from a dietitian as you are going through treatment or other supportive therapy and coaching to help you learn to mananage your white blood cell count? What type of vitamins or minerals do the doctors prescribe?

I am annoyed that I feel that this part of her treatment seems to be lacking. If the count is low, they send her home with no Chemo. When I asked if they give her any advice on what to do, she said ... "Oh sometimes they give me pamphlets and things to read" REALLY?  I found out more on the internet. Shouldn't she be consulting with a dietitian and doctor If this is a regular issue? Over the last two weeks the white cell count was lower the second time than it was from the time before. Her comment to the nurse was, "what happens if my white blood cell count goea to zero, does that mean I will be dead?" Seriously, this breaks my heart! I guess it is time for my husband and I to call the doctor and staff to advocate AGAIN. Is the what the rest of you have experienced in your treatment of Peritoneal Cancer. I feel like we have to always stay on top of the doctor for everything.

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  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,397 Member
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    yayasister28, I am sorry you

    yayasister28, I am sorry you have had find us, but welcome.  As you see, chemo kicks the body in the butt.  I did have a sit down with a dietician that specializes in cancer treatment and can share what she told me.  I am a visitor from the Uterine board so I hope you don't mind.  The Peritoneal board is a little slow and would suggest you also visit the Ovarian or Uterine board - they have a little more traffic.

    I was told to "push the protien" and asked "what does that mean?"  I was told to eat PROTEIN - 7 to 9 servings a day.  Bone marrow produces both red and white blood cells.  Now, 7 - 9 sounds like a lot but she broke it down like this:

    1 egg - 1 serving of protein

    1 yogurt - 1 serving

    a 3 oz steak - 3 servings

    1 oz of cheese - 1 serving

    You see how it goes...nuts, tuna, ice cream, protein drinks (I personally avoided the soy based ones and went with whey - only Atkins is whey - because of my aggressive form and, while controversial, soy can fool the body in to thinking it is estrogen) chicken, cheese, etc...

    I know a few women who get the Neulasta shot, and while they say it is painful, it helps boost their white blood cells.

    What a sweet daughter-in-law.  I hope this helped some, it is something you may want to consider.

  • seatown
    seatown Member Posts: 261 Member
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    On my own for food choices

    So sorry to hear of your MIL's diagnosis. FWIW, I was diagnosed with PPC 2 1/2 years ago & basically have been on chemo of 1 type or another ever since. Most of this time, I've been slightly anemic but it has never caused me to have chemo cancelled. Depending on the type of chemo, sometimes I've had Neulasta, sometimes not. I've never been referred to a dietitian; maybe I should have been. I have been avdvised to take various dietary supplements for some issues but not for anemia. I would agree from my layman's perspective that loading up on protein sounds like a good idea.

    Good luck to your family!