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Questions?Could not have my 6th chemo due to low WBC Questions?Could not have my 6th chemo due to low WBC

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Unread 10-17-2003, 08:12 PM
Questions?Could not have my 6th chemo due to low WBC

Hi All,
I didn't get to have my 6th chemo Thursday due to my WBC. My blood work from my 5th chemo showed my WBC at 2.4. My doc went ahead and gave me the chemo followed by 3 days of excessive amounts of the neupogen injections. I was hoping this would give me the boost I needed, however Thursday's count was 0.9. As the nurse stated, you will not have chemo this week. Your white blood cells are almost non existent. I was due to return to work on the 20th. He is keeping me off work another week and told me to avoid crowds of people. Has anyone experienced this and if so how long did it take to build your cells back up. I realize that everyone is different. I am just so discouraged. My doctor is not giving me any more neupogen. He wants to see if I can build them back up on my own.
Thanks, Deb
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Unread 10-18-2003, 09:49 AM
White Cells and Neupogen

I had the same thing happen in Sept. My white cell counts were very good mid-cycle and then crashed so I had to have chemo postponed. This was on a Friday. I got a shot of neupogen that day, Saturday, and Sunday and by then I had enough WBC and neutrophils for the chemo. Then on days 4-10 after chemo I had them again. At what should've been nadir I had 3.8 for WBC. I hope they're OK for Monday now. My doctor indicated from now on out I should expect Neupogen.
Unread 10-18-2003, 09:56 AM
Questions?Could not have my 6th chemo due to low WBC


There is a really accessible on-line chapter "Understanding Blood Tests During Chemotherapy" from a book - The Chemotherapy Survival Guide - written by Judith McKay, R.N., and Nancee Hirano, R.N., M.S.N.

If you type in "Understanding Blood Tests During Chemotherapy", it should come up. The site is

I refer to it often. It explains, in layman's terms, the different components of blood, etc.

I have had those daily rounds of Neupogen, starting the afternoon of my 3rd chemo, July 9. The reference range used here for WBC was from 4.8 - 10.8, and I was at 3.4. Anyway, after 6 shots of Neupogen (the first turned out to have passed its expiry date), by my next chemo - July 30, my WBC was at 11.3. And it has stayed within the 'normal' range. Well, now that I look at this, I guess a bit above??!

And I could say that doing chemo is really like a Catch 22 situation - it does impact those blood counts, and then we need to build them up again, either with injections/pills or with some extra time before the next chemo. Right now, it's my platelets that have caused a delay for me.

In closing, there is an article in October's Reader's Digest about counterfeit Neupogen, among other counterfeit drugs - I had been aware of this when I was taking mine as my sister had e-mailed info about it, and then it was on the Miami news. This is not to alarm you, but I feel that anyone taking it should know.

While I am only too aware of what chemo delays can do emotionally to us, if we let them, I just remind myself of why I can't have a chemo, if the counts aren't right. And resign myself to it! This, too, shall pass, I guess. Give yourself time, and do avoid crowds, as you need to avoid any infections, like colds, etc. Please, do read the article.

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Unread 10-18-2003, 10:24 AM
Questions?Could not have my 6th chemo due to low WBC

Thanks Margaret and thanks wildrose for the link. It was very imformative. I think I was just so afraid of not having my 6th treatment as scheduled. My ONC is going to try again next Thursday. I am at a high risk for reacurrance, so right now I am on pins and needles. I know that I have along road ahead of me.
Right now my Grandson whom lives with us has a cold. I have been taking all measures to keep him out of my face and wiping everything down with disinfectant. So far so good.
Thanks again, Deb
Unread 10-20-2003, 11:50 AM

The week before my last cycle of chemo my white blood count was 1.04 and they weren't sure I would get my last chemo that next week. My dr. opted to see what my body would do, and my wbc did indeed go up and I had it. However, the next day she had me get a neulasta shot. So your count can and will go up on it's own - just give it a little time. I know how disapointing it it not to be on your "schedule" and I really understand that. Just take care and think good thoughts. I ate spinach a lot that week and drank some really good red wine - a glass a night. It may have had NOTHING to do with it, but it gave me some feeling of "doing something" - and I am sure the wine helped! I will be praying for you.
Unread 10-20-2003, 10:48 PM
Questions?Could not have my 6th chemo due to low WBC

Hi, Deb!

I had a lot of trouble with my WBC numbers and had to have chemo postponed a number of times. From all I've been able to ascertain through research, it really doesn't matter if your treatments are three or four or even five weeks apart. So don't worry about that.

I found that when I had Neupogen, my count would spike super high (into the 40s!) and then crash back down to 2 within one or two days of stopping. My bone marrow really took a hit.

It's best to let your counts recover on your own. If you're at your sixth treatment and this is the first problem you've had, your doctors will likely not give you Neupogen (which is around $180 per shot). They will want your counts to recover on their own, but it might take some extra time. My counts starting suffering before my third treatment, so my situation was different.

Do avoid crowds and stay inside. Monitor your temperature and go to the hospital if it hits 101. (I had to be hospitalized for my own protection when my WBC hit 1.0 and my neutrophils hit zero.) You are particularly susceptible to infection right now, so wash your hands frequently. Do not have any raw foods.

I'm sure your counts will build back up in time. Your body is probably telling you that you need a bit of a rest. Your doctors know best, and I'm sure they've told you that postponing a treatment by a week or two isn't out of line at all.

Best of luck on getting those counts up!


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