Why I don’t have enough white blood cells

I knew that chemotherapy was a destructive process, but, until I started getting really low scores on tests for my white blood cells, perhaps I hadn’t realised just how destructive.

White blood cells are a significant part of the body’s immune defences. In effect white blood cells are the security forces of the body: when they pick up on an intruder of some sort, whether a germ of some kind or a bacteria, then the white blood cells spring into action either secreting antibodies or surrounding and devouring the bacteria. White blood cells have a short life typically existing for a period from a few days to a few weeks. If the body is on the alert because of an infection then there will be more white blood cells produced in order to deal with the intruder. Conversely, when the body is not under attack then there will be less of these cells. Chemotherapy kills white blood cells.

A low-level of neutrophils means that your body is less able to fight infection and so what would ordinarily be only a minor infection has the potential to have a disproportionately large impact with the possibility of disrupting chemotherapy treatment. In order to avoid this possibility my oncologist, Dr Tache, has recommended that I have a second course of Neulasta, and, once again, everyone has told me that it could be painful. They were right! I had some pain last time but it was handled easily with Tylenol and I thought the same thing was happening this time too, but, last night, the pain ramped up another level so that the small of my back feels as though bone is grating on bone. The Tylenol brings the level of pain down for a an hour so but then it starts to climb again. Sitting is painful. Standing is painful. Lying down is painful. I feel as though I would like to try levitation so that nothing is pressing on anything else. Anyone know of a magician willing to try this for me?



Filed under Cancer, chemo, chemotherapy, Dr Jason Tache, Hodgkins Lymphoma, Neulasta, Neutropenia, White blood cells

3 responses to “Why I don’t have enough white blood cells

  1. Ooo bummer. My Navybean is supposed to do the same to the wb count,thanks for the warning about neulasta. Maybe Acupuncture? Helps my bone pain (somewhat) from the cancer. Good luck!!

    • Not sure about acupuncture as I’m supposed to stay away from places where people congregate or pass through but I may ask a friend to send some Reiki. Happily today the pain has gone.

  2. I’ve got neutropenia, too, since my last round of chemo. It’s a bore (to be all stiff-upper-lip about it).

    I’m glad I’ve found your blog. Thanks for visiting mine. I’ll certainly be back to read more of your thoughts!

    Hang tight; you are not alone!

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