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So many transfusions


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Hello everyone! It's ME again! I just wanted to ask your opinions if you would be so kind? As many of you know my husband has been on Gemzar/Carbo. He's had 7 sessions total. BUT, it's been so brutal on his blood counts that we just completed the 7th transfusion last night.

I feel so dumb....I feel like I should have "known" this was just too much for his system to handle. I just thought, well, this is part of the way chemo goes. I've never experienced this before and left all the decisions to the onc doc.

I started to wonder about this and was curious why I hadn't read any other posts on it so I asked Dr. West. I'm shocked that it took doctor West to educate me on this instead of my husband's onc doc. Dr. West informed me that he would have taken my hubby off this combo a long time ago!

It's just so darn frustrating when we caregivers have to do the doctors jobs isn't it? I'm totally beyond upset and angry! We have an appt with the onc doc on Tuesday and I swear......I better get some answers to this mess. But in the meantime......we are taking a chemo BREAK! :x Maybe start Tarceva soon.

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completely understand the frustration !! What I always remember is that the doctor sees many patients every day. Now I can't speak for everyone's oncologist but Deb's Onc was always at the hospital. Sometimes seven days a week and also on holidays. He used to go in and see everybody on the ward on the holidays just because... (Getting a little teary here....) He would go in and just sit and hang with patients on the holidays because they had no one there for them. Now what I am getting at and this is nothing against us caregivers at all so.... We have one person to advocate for and doctors have many more than that so sometimes they need a little boost or help. remember their situation is some what overwhelming to. This is why I always say we have to advocate as LOUDLY as we can for our loved ones. Because no one else will!!!!!

Hang in there. Hugs and Prayers and great thoughts for ya!!

P.S. its good to get it out to Huh!!! :wink:

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I didn't know anything about chemo, we were so in shock and totally trusted our onc.

We aren't oncs. and I think you are doing a good job searching out info, just communicate with your dr. so you can get info from him too, don't give up, you are doing great :)


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Bill was on Gemzar a ways back, and it did a number on his red blood cells.

He also received a transfusion. One was all he needed due to the chemo being halted.

Our oncologist saw that the chemo wasn't doing what he expected, and took Bill off - pronto. We switched to another regimen of a different chemo, and Bill did fine for many, many months.

Right now, he will be testing Bill to see how the counts are doing on this treatment, how the chemo is working (via scans), and that's how we go along.

Of course, we are pretty much at the end of the pipeline here, so our case is becoming tenuous. As the oncologist said, "If this doesn't work we will have an issue."

Months back, there were options. Now we are down to - if this doesn't work - hope for a clinical trial, or hope that something new will appear on the scene. I will be doing a LOT of thinking . . . .

You are doing great! Hang in there. The road may get bumpy, but we are the best advocates for our loved ones. As Randy noted, who else?


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I heard from Dr. West and he said that Gemzar is really hard on the platelets, especially for the elderly. He was shocked that the onc doc didn't take him of this chemo earlier. I don't have any hard feeling toward this doctor, he's actually just overwhelmed I guess since there are only two oncs where we live. If anything, I blame myself for not looking into this earlier. I've learned that I must pay more attention and partially do their job too. It just breaks my heart when I think of all that my husband has been going through when I could have done something about it earlier.

We see the onc doc tomorrow morning. He made an exception to see us as quickly as possible. His PA told me that she's so sorry and it seems we "slipped through the cracks" as far as the transfusion monitoring. I have a very long list of questions ready for him and hope he's prepared to spend some "quality time" with us. I'm also hoping we can start on Tarceva. I've heard good things about this drug. Especially the fact that it doesn't mess with the blood cells very much. I also called the insurance company this morning and since he has medicare part D it is indeed covered. Thank God! I was so afraid we were going to run into another wall.

Thank you all for your kind words and wish everyone the best!

Your Friend,


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Hi Michelle

My dad was also on Carbo/Gemzar and only had one full cycle of a planned four. This was due to his counts dropping too low too fast. He needed a transfusion and on top of this he caught an infection and spent 7 days in hospital. The Oncologist wasn't happy with this and stopped treatment.

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Col's first round of Chemo was taxol and carbo...She ended up needing, and getting, a transfusion after every round...I didn't think it was odd. Of course, I was still completely floored while that was going on, so I'm not certain that I would have noticed a freight train driving through a nitroglycerine plant in my back yard...But anyway, She got through it, and the chemo worked for all but the last round.

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