Blood count still really low, so got neupogen shot yesterday. I guess the area that was radiated makes up a large percentage of the bone marrow that produces cells, so it does not take too kindly to being radiated and then poisoned.
Hematopoiesis is the formation of the blood's cellular components. It occurs in the marrow of long bones in children, such as the femur and tibia (the long bones of the leg). In adults it occurs mainly in the pelvis, skull, sternum, ribs and vertebrae. Most of my pelvis, and the largest lumbar vertebra were radiated, so I guess that is what the problem is now. Since these areas make up a large percentage of where the blood cells are formed, it is more significant than other areas of radiation. I guess I did not realize that the bone marrow would be so affected. While this area's damage can be permanent, other areas will start to produce more. (oh and the other areas will likely do a better job of catching up once I stop "insulting" what marrow remains).
The main concern with a low blood count is your susceptability to infection. When your ANC (absolute neutrophil count) is under 1000, your risk of infection is increased somewhat, when it is under 500 it is increased substantially. The other problem is that your white blood cells are largely responsible for the symptoms you experience when you have infection. Redness, pain, swelling, production of mucus (in lungs) are all your bodies response to an infection, not necessarily the infection itself. So when your white blood cells are markedly decreased, so is the bodies reaction, so it is hard to even recognize an infection.
So when the ANC is below 500 they often start you on antibiotics prophylactically.
Despite having a low ANC, all the cuts on my hands from cooking and gardening seem to be healing without getting infected. Oh and my garden is really doing well with all this personalized attention I have been giving it. I am getting a zucchini every couple of days, a few tomatoes a day a feed of basil for pesto once a week and enough peas to nibble on every day.
I have planted several fall crops, fall beets, fall spinach, Kale, potatoes and lots more peas. Lets hope it does not freeze here this year.
I will go for another blood test this morning, somehow I think it is unlikely I will be getting chemo tomorrow, but will see.
Other seemingly good news, is that my LDH is back to normal range. LDH stands for Lactate Dehydrogenase and is a blood test that is done prior to each chemo. Mine was slightly elevated that past two times but normal now. It is followed in cancer patients as a non specific way to possibly detect early recurrences. Many things make the LDH go up, and mine was only slightly elevated, but if it were to go very high it would mean that there was a high rate of cell turnover somewhere, and perhaps a sign to look further for recurrences or metastasis.
I have no hair now, and our son Josh is here now and I am trying to convince him I DID have hair a week ago, and that I DID look a bit like Annie Lennox.
wish me luck
love and peace
jankenb @ gmail.com