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After getting chemo...

KristynRuth86's picture
Posts: 140
Joined: Aug 2010

Last week when I got my first bout of chemo the nurse told me she didn't reccomend I be around anyone who was sick after the first week b/c your white blood cell count is really low. She said she would go as far as avoiding restaurants, movie theatres, stores etc. I just want to know how many of you actually caught an illness while doing chemo? And how bad was it? Or is it just like any other time you get sick? Also, did any of you guys get a fever while on chemo? She said to go to the ER if I get a fever as little as 100.3!
It just has me thinking b/c my 3 year old has a pretty icky cough right now, but I refuse to quarentine him away from me lol. Carlos (my husband) made my son stay the night with his grandparents last night b/c he is so scared I'm going to get sick? He's the BIGGEST worry wart! lol Feed back please!

D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1577
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Kristyn,

I didn't catch anything while taking chemo. But, I had no exposure to little kids. One option is to ask your doctor to give you the neulasta (nuponin?) shot after every round of chemo treatment. It quickly boosts your white blood cell counts back up again. If you aren't offered this, ask for it, on the basis that you DO have little kids at home, and avoiding them is not an option for you.

Good luck, and hang in there, you wonder-mom, you.


KristynRuth86's picture
Posts: 140
Joined: Aug 2010

oh wow!! I will DEF ask for that, they never mentioned anything like that! Thanks Deb!!

adventurebob's picture
Posts: 690
Joined: Jun 2010

Your white blood cells may not plummet after each chemo. I get my blood drawn the day before each chemo to see what happened since the last and the count then determines whether you need a booster or not. I'm getting them now since my last WBC was 2.3. I am much more careful about what I do and who I'm around when they're so low. Getting even a cold or a flu at this point would really suck! How much worse do we want to feel? Lots of handwashing is important too. If you have options to not be around sick people now is the time to exercise them. Your kids will be ok with it. They don't want you feeling any worse. How are you doing with the nausea and fatigue? Best to you.,

KristynRuth86's picture
Posts: 140
Joined: Aug 2010

Thank you for that info! I do have an aptmnt w/ hemotology before my next chemo so that must be why! Yeah it would suck to get sick right now! I'm like a freak with the handwashing and hand sanitizer lol. The nausea has been ok today, yesterday was a very icky day lol I did call my nurse and she said some people just react this way despite all the meds I've been taking to prevent it. The fatigue is about the same I feel like I could always use a nap, but I don't necessarily NEED one! Thanks for the great info!

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009

I had a nurse tell me I should stay home on Thanksgiving - another said not to worry - just not sit next to a sick person. Another specifically cited young kids picking up tons of germs at day care. Later, my doc said that chances were better I'd pick up a germ from some THING rather than some ONE. I wore a face mask in public a few times - my cousin's memorial service (Service was for mutliple people in an enclosed area - lots of people - I felt like a freak, but my aunt was adamant about the mask) and drug stores and a few days at work (brand new office - bits of gunk were coming out of the air vents). I didn't wear it in large stores. One doc told me to wear the mask in public - my doc said the mask's best germ fighting point was that it would keep people from getting close to me - not keep germs out if I got near a sick person. Toss a coin.

I developed fevers my first and second chemo rounds - got hospitalized for 9 days on IV antibiotics the second round - got Neulasta injection for the last round of chemo. The fevers didn't make me feel bad at all. That's why you have to keep taking your temperature - so you'll know that way if you have a fever. Dunno where the fevers came from - after round 1 I had no fresh fruits or veggies - I kept the kitchen and bathroom disenfected, and was fastidious about hand-washing - I did go into stores and restaurants, but didn't lick the shopping cart handles or anything.

I think most of us don't get fevers - hope you're in the majority. Do well.

rush1958's picture
Posts: 218
Joined: Jul 2010

I didn't catch anything while having radiation/chemo. I didn't have much exposure except for being around sick folks at the hospital while I was being treated.

Having said that, my family doctor made sure that I had all my inoculations up to snuff prior to treatment. I had the standard flu shot, H1N1 shot, pneumonia shot and had my DTP booster prior ro surgery.


Jimbo55's picture
Posts: 579
Joined: Jun 2010

Krystin, I was given the exact same advice, stay away from crowded places and if I did develop a fever to get my butt over to the ER ASAP. They said with the WBC low, you are much more susceptible to catching something. Also, if you do come down with something, it could interrupt the treatment schedule, at least until it is brought under control.

My wife was more concerned about this than I, but I never did get catch anything. Hope you will be the same. Cheers


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sep 2009

When they were going over all of the possible sides, they told me that if my temp reached 100.5 to call in, not to wait until in the morning. Of course I was taking my temperature like every hour, the first rounds of chemo once home...

I told them I was going to stick one of those electroninc meat thermometers in my butt set to go off at 100....


delnative's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Aug 2009

I was told not only to avoid crowds, but to avoid pets, gardens and well water.
I don't like crowds anyway, and my dear old dog has passed on (sniff) but I had to draw the line at gardens and well water.
Although I spent my weeks during treatment at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, I came home to the country on weekends to recharge. We have a garden and our water comes from a well.
I hung out in the garden, drank our well water and didn't get sick.
FWIW ...

--Jim in Delaware

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

I too was told to stay away for people who might be sick, I never got sick while on chemo or on radiation. I was also told any fever to contact them ASAP the problem was with infection and my bodies immune system being too week to fight off the infection.

All the best to you

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sep 2009

I tend to stay away from crowds anyway, but one thing that always bothered me during treatment, scans, bloodwork, and associated testing.

The only time I was around crowds and sick people, hacking, coughing, sniffling, was in the waiting rooms of those same places.


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