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should I be worried?

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

I just got a phone call from my "regular" doctor. She called me at 9.15 p.m. of course I'm thinking there is some kind of emergency. She says that she is "concerned" about my white blood cell count and wants me to immediately get some more blood work done. I've been out of Chemo since October 2006 and just had my 6 month check with my Oncologist and it was never mentioned this as being a problem

Has anyone had this i.e. low white cell count this late post Chemo? I'm just getting over a "scare" with a CT scan that turned out to be nothing. Just starting to relax and then I get this news.

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

My white cell count didn't come back into 'normal' range for 2.5 years after chemo. It it still barely in 'normal' range.

She is probably concerned because this usually gets paired with an increased vulnerability to colds/flu/any errant bug. And, these would be more serious for you because all the little white cell warriors could more easily get overwhelmed because of their smaller numbers.

That said, this is your 'regular' doctor....best to call your oncologist before ANY panic. He/she was monitoring this constantly during your treatment...your white count might be naturally low....

Stay relaxed. Call your oncologist. Have her/him call your 'regular' doctor...

Hugs, Kathi

JoyceCanada's picture
JoyceCanada
Posts: 134
Joined: Mar 2006

Kathi: I honestly think that there is a jealousy factor going on between my "regular" and my "oncologist" both females. When I spoke to my "regular" I said "I just had my blood work done at the Cancer Clinic and my "oncologist" didn't mention LOW white cell counts.

"Regular" got in a snit and said "they are only looking for Cancer, I'm concerned with the whole picture".....

I'm going for more blood work to-morrow (to please my "regular).

Oh before I forget..last year "regular" had me convinced that I was going into Kidney failure because my numbers were what is considered borderline for creatinine levels.

My question is there any vitamins that I can take to help boost white cell count?

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I'm sorry that you have this as well as fighting the beast!!

There is no vitamin that will directly help this. BUT, staying healthy, and eating healthy stuff, especially the bright colors in fruits and vegies will boost your overall health, and can positively affect this number. I consider my oncologist to be my 'general practioner' in many ways...what a mean spirited thing your 'regular' said! My onc knows not only the general stuff (SHE went to medical school, too!!!!), but the 'cancer' stuff, too. Your 'regular' doctor does serve the function of the overall body, but during the time of your battles with cancer, so does your oncologist. Shame on 'regular' for being so hardhearted!

Interestingly, my onc is weaning herself away from me. That's ok...I take it as a sign that all is well. I LOVE my G.P., so I have kept him up-to-date, always requesting a copy of whatever test results be sent to him, as well as my onc.

Is there possibly another 'regular' you can go to? Keep in mind, this person works for YOU, not the other way around.

Hugs, Kathi

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Joyce,

I know of two shots that are white blood cell boosters- Neulasta and Neupogen (not sure of spelling). I couldn't really find any more info on any supplements that might boost white blood cells. I actually found one online article that talked about echinacea boosting the leukocytes, a type of white blood cell, & that it can also increase the red blood cell count. I honestly don't know if this is true, it's just what I read in an article online.
I currently am going through chemo and have a low white blood cell count (2.1), low neutrophils (forgot the number), and red blood cell count is also slightly low. This, amazingly, is the first time this has happened to me even though I've had lots of chemo. The nurses and oncologist, however, didn't think I needed the wbc booster yet- they're giving me two to three weeks off chemo to see how it goes. So far, I feel fine, although I was told you can't "feel" when your cell count goes low.
I don't know how this works as far out of chemo as you are, although from what Kathi said, it sounds like it probably isn't that uncommon. As she said, I'd definitely contact your oncologist right away and share your primary doctor's concerns.
Another thought- have you considered changing primary care doctors? It's good to have a doctor be proactive, but you don't want to feel as if your doctor is the hypochondriac or that there is an antogonism between this doctor and the oncologist.

Best wishes,
Lisa

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