Friday, October 24, 2008

Neutropenia in Cancer

Well, I didn't get the super report I had hoped when I had my blood checked today! Everything checked out well except for my white count. It took a nose dive! So, I was given strict instructions for the next week and will pretty much stay in unless it is to venture out where there aren't a lot of crowds or sick people.

I was given the go ahead to attend the Making Strides for Breast Cancer since it is an outdoor event. I can't hug or kiss anyone, so you know how hard it is going to be for me not to touch people when I talk!!

Woody, Destiny and I picked out a pretty wig today just to be on the safe side. I don't want to wake up one morning with clumps of hair falling out and nothing pretty to put on my head!! If I am lucky enough not to lose my hair, then I will donate it to ACS.

Okay, I won't bore you all tonight with any more thoughts of mine! I am attaching information regarding my problem with the white cell count. So, I guess you will be bored with medical mumbo jumbo!!

Have a great weekend and look for pictures from the walk soon!


Neutropenia refers to a low level of white blood cells. Cancer patients are at higher risk of developing neutropenia because commonly used treatments for cancer such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy destroy cells that grow at a fast rate - such as white blood cells. Since white blood cells play an important role in preventing infection, any time your white blood cell count drops, you are at higher risk of getting an infection. Throughout the course of cancer treatment it is normal practice for doctors to monitor the levels of red and white blood cells and to take action if these become too low.

Neutropenia in Cancer
Since white blood cells are destroyed as a side effect of chemotherapy, there is nothing specifically that you can do to prevent neutropenia from occurring.

Nonetheless, there are several things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting an infection when your white blood cells are low:

Take action at the first signs of infection and seek medical advice to help prevent it from spreading and getting worse. Signs and symptoms of infection include: fever, chills or sweats, shortness of breath, soreness or swelling in your mouth, ulcers or white patches in your mouth, pain or burning with urination, redness, pain or swelling of any area of your skin, pus or drainage from any open cut or sore, a general feeling of being unwell, even if you don't have a temperature or any other sign of an infection.

Perform excellent daily personal hygiene: with attention to hand-washing, sanitary hygiene eg. using pads rather than tampons.

Minimise chances of getting an infection: avoid contact with people who are unwell, has been recently given a live vaccine (such as the oral polio vaccine), try to avoid crowds eg. take public transport at off-peak times, wear shoes to prevent cuts on feet, wear sunscreen, before receiving any vaccine, make sure it is approved by your oncologist.

Neutropenic precautions: regular monitoring of temperature (contact doctor if fever), avoid uncooked foods (such as salads of raw vegetables or fruits, raw meats or fish salads, natural cheeses, uncooked eggs), speak to doctor before undergoing any dental work.


Anonymous said...

I guess that drop in white cells explains a lot about everything else that you have been going through this week, especially what happened on Monday.

I am glad you are coming to the walk with us, but I will miss you next week. Get ready I am going to leave you tons of "behind the scences" work to do. Don't make me have to give you "WHAT FOR"(LOL)

Love you girl,


Sweet Peas said...

Let me tell you, you don't want mama eberhardt to get on your case about not following doctors orders!!!! haha des, oh and all 3 of us know that she can give you some work to do! hehehe. Love you both!

mlynnham said...

How are things this morning? I have a follow up DR visit tomorrow, but might see if they can work me in today. Love you,

Going Bald My Way!