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Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi all. It's 5 am and I can't sleep. What else is new? I am 42 married 19yrs, have 3 great little girls and was recently diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer.
Had 6 weeks chemo/rad., surgery and am getting ready to start a 6 month round of chemo ( just to make sure :).

Anyone have advice on how to keep your blood counts up while on chemo? I did fine on my first round, but this is a different drug ( oxalplatnin (sp) )

Exercise? Vitamins ? Foods?



Posts: 1995
Joined: May 2003

Welcome to the site, but sorry this is the reason we all get together here. There are so many things you can do for yourself during this difficult time. I was already 'health conscious' so to speak, so I just enhanced everything during my chemo - I relied on protein bars and drinks (MetRx are the best!), lots of water, rest, vitamin supplements including Fluoressence Tea, mushroom extract, B-6 for neuropathy, and the usual multi's, C's, E's, Cal/Mag. There were days I wasn't hungry at all, sometimes because of mouth sores or just lack of appetite and no taste at all. So I would nibble little bits of the bars, or drink the liquid form a little at a time. Of course, don't deprive yourself if you do have an appetite. Veges, fruits, chicken, fish, and DON'T FORGET THE FIBER, unless of course your doctor has advised against it because of your situation. Maybe,if he allows iron supplements, get a liver extract. It's not harsh like usual iron supplements and helps the blood counts a great deal.

Beyond that and more, the biggest factor for me is the Faith I have in the Lord. That and my family's support gets me through everything. So, you'll be in our prayers. Keep in touch - there are tons of people here who know what you are going through and can be here for you!


StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Barb,

I am a stage 4 colon cancer with liver mets survivor. I was up early this morning to drive a half hour to my sister's house with coffee cake to celebrate her birthday with her before she left for work (I was there at 5 AM)...so soon you will be awake early for GOOD REASONS, and not just worrying!

I'm hoping Emily (known here as 2bhealed) will show up to give you the low-down on nutrition. She bravely battled her entire cancer without chemo and relied on nutrition and alternative methods.

With regards to keeping up your counts, though, I recall getting a shot of nupogen. I think it's similar to Procrit. The shot takes only 10 seconds to get, and helps keep your counts where they need to be in order to continue with the chemo. I didn't have "ox" chemo, I had camptosar, 5 FU, and leuvorican (sp?). Exercise is key in keeping your mind focused, as well as relieving stress. Drinking tons of water before and after chemo also really helped me. If you're prone to nausea, ask for a prescription and take it before you go to chemo, and don't wait until you're already feeling cruddy, as it'll seem to take forever to work!

I too have 3 kids (ages 4, 6, & 10)...they were even younger than that when I was diagnosed 3 yrs ago...they will make you stay strong and get through this. Today, I am all clear, and you soon will be too!

Keep positive, you're on the "upswing" now!


Posts: 28
Joined: Jul 2004

Stacy, hi glad to read your message my situation is same as yours stage 4 and liver mets 2 spots on liver am doing the fulfox 6 ^ leucovorin & fluorourcail(sp)now they started me with avastin the newest drug out there, I was diagnosed in may with emergency surgery the reg.doc was treated me urinary trac infection to make it short I had 2 in tumor in colon blockage, now I have a mucuous fistuala (bag on left side from surgery to drain the part that was blocked and a ilosotomy now so this whole thing has been a shock to me I forgot to mention I am gonig to be 56 so this has been a total whirlwind to me, one day a little pain next day emergency surgery and then they discover this they removed 21 lymh nodes only 5 showed cancer cells I have 2 mestatis (sp) on my liver which they hope the chemo and avastin is shrinking I have a cat scan scheduled in 2 weeks to see what is happening, but right now the only side affects I have is coldness n my fingers and toes, now as the more chemo and avastin I get (I do every 2 weeks 2 hours in hours 46 hours at home) so straight 48 hours of chemo and plus just started the measured amount of avastin now I find myself more tired than usual and fatigue. anyhow I am glad to see you are a survivor because I plan on beating this with all my faith in god and people who love. please email me back at lhsteer@aol.com

Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Thanks Monika and Stacy. I, too, have and continue to lead a very active lifestyle. I was getting ready to test for my black belt in taekwondo when I received my diagnosis. I'm hoping that the chemo won't knock me off my feet so I can test in a couple of months.

I've done the bars and protein drinks before.(Body for Life program) That is a great idea. I'll check with my oncologist about the supplements. I know they didn't want me taking any antioxidents on my last round.

Stacy, I totally agree with you on the water thing. I think that made a huge difference in how I felt on my 5FU treatments. My doc did say she would give me a shot of something for nausea and Procrit if I needed it.

It's funny, I was always one of these people that wouldn't so much as take an asprin if it wasn't absolutely necessary. Never smoked, drank, drugs, no chemicals on the lawn, organic foods...you get the picture. Now, they are pumping me full of all this crap. I do have conficting thoughts on it all, but I know this really is the thing I need to do. I don't want to chance anything right now.

Thanks all. I love this site already.


Lisa Rose's picture
Lisa Rose
Posts: 597
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Barb,

Welcome to The Semi- Colon Club... My name is Lisa and I am also 42 years old. I had a stage 3 rectal cancer with 10 positive nodes. My surgery was March 20, 2002 and so far everything is great.

Keep the faith.

Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi Lisa. My surgery was June 23rd. It also went well. Definately keeping the faith. Got to keep on keeping on!!

Have a great day.


Moesimo's picture
Posts: 1080
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Barb, I know exactly what you are going through as I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer in 3/03. I was 46. My surgery was in 6/03. I am now cancer free. Days that I was too sick to eat anything I would drink gatorade. The surgeon suggested that because it contains potassium. I even froze it and had popsicles. I also drank alot of carnation instant breakfast. This site is good because we have been there. If you have any other questions feel free to ask. Good luck with your chemo.

2bhealed's picture
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Welcome Barb,

Yes, I'm the one who said no to chemo and became a regular in the vitamin aisle of my natural foods coop!

I don't exactly know what to take to keep blood counts up since I didn't have to worry about that. But what I do know I would love to share with you.

First, stay away from all sugars and whites. Which by the sounds of it you know what I am talking about. Cancer feeds on sugar. Processed foods are a complete no-no. The point is to starve the cancer and build your immune system. There are many things you can take to do this. In all honesty, I have yet to meet a Western practioner who is very knowledgeable about nutrition. Therefore I highly recommend the book BEATING CANCER WITH NUTRTITION by Patrick Quillin. He explains in simple terms what to take during what chemos for what cancers. When my oncologist at the Mayo Clinic got colon cancer I told him to read it and he did and liked it! :-)

Others ones that I like are:

Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Balch and Balch
A Cancer Battle Plan by Anne Frahm
A Cancer Battle Plan Sourcebook by David Frahm (the "how-to")

the last two are wonderful testimony books on a woman's journey through chemo, stem cell, radiation, etc and was told to "put her affairs in order". She had little ones at home and was determined to not take that as her 'death sentence'. She started researching like crazy and found a different path. And LIVED to see her cancer cured. She did end up dying of a liver disease years later caused by all the blood transfusions she had to have because of the chemo. But the point is that she cured her cancer when no one else could.

(I gave that one to my onc too! Actually I told him to read the same ones I told you and he did).

As for me, I am also 42, was dx'ed three years ago this friday (August 6) at 39 and had a 20 month old who was still nursing. I had Stage 3 lymph pos zero mets adenocarcinoma of the sigmoid colon. 2 of 19 lymphs were pos.

My sister died of this cancer (in her small intestine) 9 years before my dx. I watched her go through radiation and chemo and die an agonizing death leaving a 5 month old baby girl. When I got my dx (which floored me too since I was a "granola-eating Birkenstock-wearing hippie-chick) I said I was going to have a different outcome based on a different approach. No one in my family who had gone the Western medicine route lived to tell. What did I have to lose but to try it the way I believed in most....that the body can truly heal itself when given the optimum chance...in detoxing, boosting immune system (rather than obliterating it), supporting it with live enzymes from living foods.....

So far it has worked to the amazement and delight of my Mayo Clinic oncologist who watches me closely and tests regularly.

If you would like to dialogue more on this (and I am happy to share the details of what I have done to help anyone interested....and NO I AM NOT SELLING ANYTHING!) (sheesh!)

Hope this helps in any way at this scary and uncertain time. We all understand!

peace, emily

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Barb - My story is somewhat similar to yours: I was diagnosed with rectal cancer (turned out to be Stage 3) when I was 43. I was v. healthy with no risk factors. Two kids (9 and 11 then). I had chemoradiation followed by surgery then chemo. But I had only 4 mos of chemo, and I had 5FU + leucovorin.

I didn't do anything too special to keep my blood counts up: basically tried to eat healthy, rest, avoid crowds/sick people. My oncologist did have me on high vit C. One time my count was too low and the chemo had to be delayed one week. Otherwise OK.

It's 16 mos since my surgery and one year since my chemo finished. All my tests have been clear hoorah and I'm feeling good.

Wishing you all the best,

Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Congrats Tara and continued good news to you.
I am so glad I found this site.

Have a great day.


joyceann619's picture
Posts: 33
Joined: Jul 2004

Hi Barb,
I am also recently diagnosed (6/16) with 3 young children, 4,11,and 12.

I just went through my first chemo session with Avastin, oxaliplatin, 5FU/leucovorin. It really wasn't as bad as expected. I had little nausea and some mouthsores.

I am currently reading teh book the emily recommended, by Patrick Quillen. Its a little tough to get through but a think it has a lot of sound advice. I am a sugar holic and I am slowly trying to eliminate it from my diet.

I also ate well and exercised, the only one in my family that follows a healthy life style. Everyone else smokes and drinks. oh well!

I wish you the best and your are in my prayers. I look forward to comparing chemo stories.

Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi Joyce, thanks for the reply. Did you have one treatment or one cycle of treatment. It sounds like we are having the same drugs. I don't know if I'll be getting the Avistan (?) though. It's good to hear you are doing well with it. I have to admit, I am apprehensive about this round. Taking a different drug and not knowing what to expect kind of thing.

I have the book on order and am looking forward to reading it.

Have a great day.


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