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CLL Support Association
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Does getting sick progress our CLL?

I am fighting off a sinus infection and started wondering about whether getting infections cause a progression in our CLL? I am WW and this is my first real infection since I was diagnosed 2 years ago. The last thing my hematologist says when I leave his office is," Don't get sick!" Just wondering!

Maria

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Hi Maria,

I view it more in terms of getting or being sick indicating a progression in our CLL rather than the illness progressing the CLL. More frequent infections can be an indicator of increasing compromisation (but not always) but blood results have a tendency to chart that. When I've been sick my WBC has usually raised but even severe pneumonia didn't cause my ALC or other levels to deteriorate significantly even though I expected it to. I therefore don't see illnesses as necessarily weakening me but rather indicative of the fact that my immunity may be less robust as time passes.

We can suffer all kinds of illnesses which may or may not be the result of having CLL but I don't see them as chipping away at me and causing CLL progression. But that's just my take on it and others may disagree. If it is CLL related, we sometimes need medical interventions that others don't because we can't necessarily rely on our immune systems to cope but I wouldn't worry that a sinus infection is going to cause you to suddenly progress.

Regards,

Newdawn

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Thanks Newdawn. Just wondering. Maria

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And it's a very sound thing to wonder Maria. When I had pneumonia I did wonder if I'd be left with long term lung problems which may exacerbate my blood levels but thankfully not!

Keep well,

Newdawn

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Well I am no expert, but I think the answer is NO! However, where you are sick, white blood cells increase in number as they are the ones doing the fighting, so if you have a blood sample taken you will see rises in all white bloods cells (including lymphocytes). This does NOT mean CLL is getting worse, just you are fighting off an infection. When better, all white blood cells go down again. So if you have had/have an infection at time of a blood sample, let your haematologist know! They will quickly be able to see any lymphocyte count increase is matched by other white cells and is not due to CLL but your body defences working to fight an infection.

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I am due for blood work in about 6 or 8 weeks. I sure hope this is gone by then. It is being nasty. I will remember what you said Quarry. Thank you.

Maria

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