Sunday, May 29, 2005

more questions........

We've been learning a lot about cancer and treatments along the way. There is always more to learn. This question seems like it should be easy to answer but I've not been able to find an explanation yet. Maybe someone who reads this can help me.

During all of mom's chemotherapy, she has been given two injections; One to help keep her red blood cell count normal, and one to help keep her white blood cell count normal. One was given the day of her treatment and one the day after.

For some reason, those injections weren't ordered with her last treatment. If you've been reading, you know she needed blood transfusions because her red cell count went down, and antibiotics and "isolation" because her white cell count plummeted.

At this point her red count is staying normal, but her white count is not going back up. She can't have anymore chemotherapy until it's closer to normal again. In the mean time, her CA125 is rising.

Has anyone had experience with this? Does anyone know what they do to get a white count up? If there is something, they're not doing it for mom. I'm starting to wonder if there's more to the story that I'm not being told....


Blogger Crazy Like A Fox said...

I wish I had some answers for you, hopefully someone out there will. I wish you and your mom well in this battle.

8:47 PM, May 29, 2005  
Anonymous Rae said...

Have you asked why they aren't giving her Neupogen or Neulasta. That is the usual treatment, like she was getting before. Usually if a person consistently has low counts after chemo, they will give the injections every time. I don't know why they didn't this time?? Ask for her to get a Neupogen shot now, and go onto Neulasta (longer-lasting) after each and every chemo. I hope it all gets sorted out.

12:09 AM, May 31, 2005  
Blogger Jeannette said...

I agree with the Neulasta/Neupogen recommendation. The drugs are very similar in the way they work; however, the neulasta is just one shot and the neupogen requires daily shots for ten days following chemo. The neulasta is very expensive (about $2700 per shot) so perhaps the medical group or insurance is blocking it. I would check with the doctor as soon as you can. It could have been an oversight and not ordered or maybe there is a limit on how much a body can take before other side effects kick in. Either way, it should be a discussed. Every cancer patient needs an advocate. You are doing a great job!

7:18 PM, May 31, 2005  
Anonymous Louise said...

Both Rae and Jeannette gave good answers. I never received the neulasta, but I did receive 10-14 days of neupogen shots (starting 5 days after chemo I believe) to bring my wbc up. There were times though when even with the neupogen shots, I still had to take an extra week between treatments for my counts to rise. In the end, my final two chemos were done at a slightly reduced dose because I just wasn't recovering. Good luck to your mom.

9:21 PM, May 31, 2005  
Anonymous Busy Mom said...

Everyone has given great answers. I would ask about the Neupogen and Neulasta. There may be a certain interval that they must observe due to insurance as well as dosage and side effect restrictions.

And, I hope you are taking care of yourself as well ;)

9:51 PM, May 31, 2005  

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(written September of 2005) I have learned much in the last nine months. I have read that ovarian cancer whispers. I say it screams. It just needs someone to listen. The American Cancer Society statistics for ovarian cancer estimate that there will be 22,220 new cases and 16,210 deaths in 2005. This is a death rate FOUR TIMES that of breast cancer.Almost 70 percent of women with the common epithelial ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced in stage. The 5-year survival rate for these women is only 15 to 20 percent. This is unacceptable. Women need to be made more aware of the symptoms, and doctors need to listen to their patients. Especially when the patient tells them that they fear they have ovca, as my mother did for almost a year before she was finally diagnosed. It’s so sad and senseless when a woman knows the symptoms but can’t get anyone to listen to what she is saying.