Thursday, August 13, 2009

good blood counts

Hello everyone
Today is another day and seems to be better.
I have been trying to figure out why this times is so much worse than the last one and it may be for a positive reason.
As I have explained in previous blogs, I receive a shot the day after chemo (neulasta) which is a "colony stimulating factor" which is essentially a growth factor for white blood cells.
When the marrow is healthy and a person recieves neulasta, the response can be significant. The bone marrow, when stimulated, can cause extremely high white blood counts and subsequent pains in areas of cell bones.
After I finished chemo, I think my bone marrow was a bit worn out and even though I received the neulasta my blood count did not go up very much, and this round of chemo had to be delayed as a result.
My blood work this time around is much better, in fact my white blood count on the weekend was actually very high. The count yesterday was also above normal. So what this means is that
the bone marrow is working hard, and effectively raising the counts. However this is likely why I have not been feeling well, but also a sign that as the neulasta wears off, I will feel better.

The reason neulasta is used is to shorten the time in each cycle that the blood count is low (and thus shorten the time that the risk of infection is high). It is only given with chemo agents that are at a high risk of causing these types of infections. It is not used when a person has a leukemia type of cancer, as the last thing you would want would be to give a growth factor to the bone marrow cells, which are already producing out of control.
There are some concerns that Nuelasta might also cause the growth of other cancers, such as bladder, bone..
It makes me kind of nervous, and I have thought about not taking it, but then....what about infection? Everything is such a balance between risk and possible benefit, and it is never quite as clear, it seems, as in the treatment of cancers.
Music tends to cure many things, and yesterday we had a great practice with Jamie, and somehow "life looks better"
We are going to play at the Bandon Farmers market this Saturday, in old Bandon, across from where Rayjens used to be.

That is, if it does not rain

Love and peace
Janet Bates
jankenb @

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