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Delaying Chemo Treatments

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6715
Joined: Feb 2009

I called the technician who took my blood yesterday and my platelet count was only 79. Last week on chemo day it was 102 and they had to call the doctor for a "GO ahead". Does anyone know when they won't do the chemo. I'm just so not wanting to delay my scheduled treatments. Is there anything to boost the immune system by what you eat. I know I can't take supplements other than my vitamins, but is there anything I can do before next treatment. I'm just frustrated right now. This is my off week and I'm still so tired.



lmliess's picture
Posts: 331
Joined: Dec 2008

I just got my blood checked today and some level is really low (I don't have the sheet in front of me). It was like 0.6 and it needs to be 1.0 before they will do chemo next week. They just told me to avoid crowds and wash my hands alot. I am frusterated too because I just want to get through this with no more complications. They mentioned neutropina (sp??) which basically means my immune system is shot. I have been researching this and I read eating more protien should help. So I am going to add 2 protien shakes made from whey protien everyday.

Any other thoughts or ideas would be great!!!

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi, Kim and Linda

I think I might be able to help you here.

I've already paddled in the same boat you are both in now - if it makes you feel any better, I'm still there with you.

Here's why:

More than likely, you've done the Oxaliplatin chemo. And that stuff just destroys your platelets and I mean in a permanent way. I know you want to stay with your scheduled chemo, but I can tell you that it will get harder and the times for Infusion will continue to stretch out. I started out every 2 weeks and on the 8th treatment of 12, I was getting the chemo every TWO MONTHS. So, we discontinued it mercifully.

Kim, your doctor was right. The 79 is actually 79,000 ml. People without cancer have a platelet range between 150,000 and 450,000. So being down where you are, the chemo could nearly kill you. It would have cut your platelet count in half and you would have been at risk of bleeding to death. If platelets ever get to 20,000 or below, you can just bleed out without doing anything - and the doctors can't stop it. So, it's very scary stuff.

Caution is the word...Linda, you kinda hit on it with neutropenia - there is another term also ITP, which means IMMUNE THROMOBOCYTOPENIC PURPURA. A fancy phrase for saying that your Immune System has been severely damamged and you will never be able to produce platelets to the level of a person who does not have Cancer.

That being said, my counts have varied between 50,000 and 85.000 since the chemo stopped. Way below what it should be, because the number never stays high. The ITP seeks out and destroys platelets and flushes them through the spleen.

But I'm still here and you will be too. Take great care when driving a car, because a car accident that involved excessive bleeding would not be good in our condition.

Now, I'm facing chemo again for the 3rd time and my immune system is shot like yours is now, so that's going to be interesting.

Ask your oncologist about a drug called NPLATE. It is an injection that "BOOSTS" platelet levels and is supposed to enable people like us to get our platelet levels high enough to do chemo. Of course, the chemo will knock the platelet level back down, and this pattern would continue.

I have not done Nplate yet, but it would be my only recourse if I'm to do chemo again, which appears to be my case.

I hope this helps you!


kimby's picture
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007


When I was on folfox I needed a Neulasta shot every other treatment just to get by. They suck but they help. I've had a few since then and have missed many scheduled chemo treatments. Sometimes your body just needs a break. Rest. Eat protein. I started eating organ meat 3 times a week because my white counts, red counts and hemaglobin are all low. I also have a vitamin deficiency so I get a big bag of that for every infusion now.

Kim, friend, please be kind to yourself. If your body needs this break it may mess up your schedule. Well, canzer has already done that! Don't worry about that. Take care of you.


Posts: 453
Joined: Aug 2008

I too had to skip on occasion and have Neulasta sometimes. I know that we try to plan our lives around the weeks we are on chemo and a break just screws that all up BUT your body must need a little hiatus. I was able to finish all 12 of my Folfox/Avastin treatments and had I not had a few breaks(usually just one extra week off)I don't know if I could have.

Hang in there and take a break if needed.


Buzzard's picture
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

I believe it is the WBC (White Blood Count) that goes awry that causes you to have to skip the treatment...No immune system and to go ahead with treatment would leave you invariably without an immune mechanism to fight off even the slightest germ. I know its robbing Peter to pay Paul in postponing treatment but I always enjoyed the break and better feeling I got when I got the extra week. Always find positives in every event you encounter during your treatment period and even post treatment periods. They are far and few between during treatment so grasp every one and enjoy it, that is what you are going through this for in the first place, and keep smiling...it takes less to do and sure looks better on ya.... :)

Posts: 305
Joined: Feb 2009

After taking four treatments of oxi, my body just couldn't take any more. I went almost two months with no treatments of any kind and my CEA went down.
Let your body do the talking.


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6715
Joined: Feb 2009

I am at the four treatment mark too. Talked to my oncologist today (just wanted some mouthwash but she called me personally) and she said the counts are low, but hoping that they come up by next Tuesday. She said we will wait and see. Last appointment she did mention something about getting the shots if my count was down, so if I don't get chemo next week, I might be assuming that is what she is going to opt for. She said because I had such low radiation that the bone marrow isn't producing as fast. Instead of letting my fingers do the walking I'll let my body do the talking :)



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