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White Blood Cell Count ?


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It has been really quiet on the boards. I pray that everyone is ok and is just busy. I have been very busy. I went back to work at my church as a preschool teacher. 4-5 year olds are my favorite age to teach. I am sore and stiff in places I did not know even exsisted. I am having fun and I love every day with those precious darlings.

Larry has had a tough time the past couple of weeks. He has had a difficult time with "keeping food down". Zofran seems to help somewhat. He was scheduled to start his third round of chemo today but it was cancelled. His doctor said he needed an additional week of "rest" his red and white blood cell count were low. I kind of know what low red cell count means BUT - What does low white blood cell indicate? I hope this is only a "bump" in the road and not a major pothole.

Hugs Sandy

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Hi Sandy,

I was a little curious myself. Here is what I've found so far.....

A low WBC may be due to chemotherapy, a viral infection, a toxic reaction, or another process in the bone marrow that is limiting production of normal WBCs. A high WBC count may indicate infection or leukemia. An increased risk of infection occurs once the WBC drops below 1,000 microliters.

White blood cells help to protect your body by fighting bacteria that cause infection. It is important to protect yourself against infection when your white blood cell count is low.

How to recognize an infection

When your white blood cell count is low, you may not have the usual warning signs of an infection, such as pus, redness or swelling. Signs you should watch for may include:

a temperature (fever) over 100 degrees

shaking chills

loose bowels for more than two days

a burning feeling when passing urine

a cough

a sore throat

a general feeling of tiredness or "flu-like" symptoms

If any of these symptoms occur, be sure to notify your nurse or doctor promptly

I hope that Larry will begin to feel better soon.


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After my mother's first round of chemo, her white blood cell counts tanked and she spiked a fever, symptoms of a condition called neutropenia.

After the next round of chemo she had a shot of Neulasta (it has to be injected within 24 hours of the chemo) and it worked like a charm. No more fevers, and her mouth sores disappeared, too. However, she does get about 24 hours of intense bone pain after the injection, which apparently is a common side effect.

At one point, she also developed borderline anemia and the docs gave her an injection of Procrit. Her fatigue was much better that round and there were no side effects.

Both medications are very expensive (the neulasta shot is $5G a pop, according to the insurance invoices) so if you're not covered, it might be prohibitive.

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My Wife has WBC problem's also and recieve's 2 shot's a week during treatment.. Sometime's when they get too low (under 4000 ) they will do a differential and if that does not work out they give her a couple of shot's and wait a couple of day's. As other's have said White Blood Cell's are your bodies natural fighter against virus's and desease plus the T Cell's from White Blood cell's help fight tumor's........

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WBC are made in the bone marrow. Chemo destroys just about anything that is fast growing and WBC, RBC, hair, skin in you mouth, etc. are all effected. When the WBC get low your immune system can not fight off even a minor cold.

Usually you will get some type of weekly injection-neupogen (or a version of it) it works on bone marrow to increase production of the WBC. They are baby cells tho so they don't really work to well for a few weeks. Those shots kind of trick the bone marrow to think you are sick so they work overtime making these WBC. Thus the bone pain after the shots.

Tylenol usually helps.


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Melinda was very informative. Thanks Melinda. I too had to have Neulasta a couple of times during chemo due to low WBC. Had to have Procrit very often due to low RBC. Chemo messes up lots of stuff. Our poor bodies really get the seesaw treatment. These are common things to deal with and a good doc will deal with each of these. praying for you and family. pammie

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