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What's up with these white blood cells?


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Hi everyone,

Bill has had his 6th cycle of chemo postponed for a second time due to low white blood cell counts. They're actually lower than they were a week ago.

I have to wonder, is the Neupogen even worth it? It seems like every time he's used it, he's had to postpone the following session. It bumps him up real high when he's taking the meds, then he drops right down when he's due for his next chemo cycle.

He's so philosophical about it all -- it doesn't bother him in the slightest. He'll say, "well, maybe this schedule is what my body needs." I don't disagree, but I still get anxious and frustrated. We're both starting to think the Neupogen is at best a waste of time and money, and at worst possibly exasperating the situation by artificially messing with the counts.

Weird thing is that he's not had so much as a cold since starting chemo. As time has gone by, his energy level has increased, he looks great, hair is coming back, etc. Yes, some days he feels better than others; however, other than being a little thin, if you didn't know he was ill you'd never guess it.

The doc says there's really nothing he can do to increase the white cells. Doc is cautious and doesn't want to push him into the hospital by doing chemo with low counts -- we both agree.

Any thoughts or experiences?

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Neupogen is a short-lived wbc booster that Tony gets sometimes with his new regimen when counts fall. He may get two shots a week or none, depending on his wbc. His chemotherapy is every week at this time. We know some people at the office who get Neupogen three days in a row following chemo.

When he was on his 2nd Line treatment of Taxotere/Gemzar, he received treatments days 1 & 7 of a 21-day cycle. For that he received monthly Neulasta shots that seemed to boost for a much longer period of time.

However the doctor has worked it, he has never missed chemo due to low counts. You may want to ask the Doctor about Neulasta. (I think Neulasta takes longer to boost the counts, but lasts longer overall.) Maybe the problem is that, in our experience, these shots must all be given the day following the chemo infusion, which isn't going to work for Bill's situation. Double check this issue with Dr. West so you can be armed with info to ask your Onc.

Hoping things will look up for our dear Bill and he can get back on the treatment trail. Glad to hear he is feeling well! You hang tough too Teri! :D


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My sister, Beverly had low white counts 2 or 3 times also.She had to take the shots..she hated those shots. She started forcing herself to eat. Ice cream, pies, cakes, fruits, vegetables and lots of green tea. She actually gained about 3 lbs. during Chemo. I think your body and your mind have to be well nurished. We all know Bill's mind is great..Now he has got to start eating good. Someone told my sister that green grapes were good for White Blood Counts. She eats a lot of them. Who knows? Someone told her to drink lots of water before chemo..She drinks almost a gallon a day. Who knows? Personally, I think it works..because she has finished her chemo and radiation and the Dr. thinks she is in remission. We will know for sure mid-April.

Anyway,I am sure Bill will be ready next week for his last Chemo. Keep the faith and keep us posted.



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My dad always had a low white blood count after chemo and he would always given WBC booster shots for about 3 days. Then he would keep his normal WBC the rest of days before his next chemo. He takes some Chinese medicines and eats a lot of beans to maintain his WBC normal.

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I guess I should have been more specific. He takes the Neupogen for 10 days straight, starting 24 hours after his 3rd day of chemo is finished.

We got Neulasta the very first time he needed it, but the insurance won't cover it now. They only gave it to us then because he needed it on Thanksgiving and it was a last minute prescription. We did notice a difference, but thought maybe it was due to the cumulative effects of the chemo (he got the Neulasta after his 2nd cycle).

I've queried people about the differences overall, and the consensus seems to be they are the same clinically (Neulasta and Neupogen). But I'm wondering...

He's actually eating pretty well, but yes, there is definitely room for improvement. He loves grapes, so we'll get some of those!


I should have also added this the first time around. Doc has always said, "if you were in trouble, I'd reduce the doses and push it to keep the schedule." Because Bill is doing well, our Doc's preference is to keep him at his regular dosage. Hope that makes sense.

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Okay, now that I understand, I'm clueless! :shock: The only thing I know is that WB cells have the shortest life span in the blood system and fall prey first to the chemo.

I don't know about foods and the ability to raise white counts. All I know is that Tony eats anything and everything he wants. (Personally, I think it is all the olive oil in his veins that makes his marrow work so well. :D )

Good luck! Hope someone comes around that can answer.


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First of all Types of Foods that may help WHite Blood cell Production.

Click on the Link for Info;

http://parenting.ivillage.com/gs/gsheal ... q2,00.html

This applied initially to a child but the types of food should apply to an adult. If you add vitamins or pills in to the mix let Oncologist know.

2nd Sanitationa dncautions. VERY IMPORTANT!!!!

This Link is excellent source of info;


Supplements possibly that may help productionOf WBC's;

http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/seniors/nu ... 004dec.htm

Hope something here helps you out with this. If I can be of further assistance drop me a PM or just post here. I check in a couple of times of day.

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Welthy - you're not clueless. I'm just a bad post writer!

Randy - Thanks so much for the links. I'm going to check them out thoroughly tomorrow. Bill has been using the AHCC (mushroom complex), but perhaps not as consistently as he might.

Bobby - Thanks for the info about your sister too!

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