White blood cells: Hello, my wife finished her... - My Ovacome

My Ovacome

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White blood cells

Beckyk123 profile image

Hello, my wife finished her 6th cycle of carbo/taxol about 3 months ago. She is having monthly check ups which are showing her white blood cell count to be low. The doctor out here keeps telling her to eat egg whites.. Apart from that, does anyone have any other suggestions? (she's 30 years old).

Thank you!!

27 Replies

Do you know what part of the white blood is low? Paw-paw fruit and leaves (dried ones unless you live in a tropical area) are supposedly good for low platelets and neutrophils. I’m just waiting for my neutrophil count and will post later today if it’s working.

I'll follow this post Helen as I need something for the whites. xx

Hi and welcome.

It's a difficult one because we are all different. I'm on weekly chemo and finish in two weeks. My red and whites have been dropping steadily for a few weeks. When I was on 3 weekly, in the beginning, I was given a 6mg shot of NEULASTA which kept the blood stable. Weekly chemo isn't supposed to affect the blood so much but I eat high iron foods to keep the red blood cells good as I tend to lapse into anemia very easily. Trouble is, high iron foods also contain a lot of potassium and the level was rising each week - not enough to damage the kidneys but enough for it to be mentioned. I cut out iron foods containing potassium, which basically meant I lived on white rice and half a tin of tuna and very little else. After one week the potassium remained the same - over the max amount - but my red and whites had dropped so much that my chemo dose had to be cut down. The doctor said that my blood was more important than my kidneys at the moment so I've been a week back on the iron foods and the red blood cells have crept up a little this week but the whites are down a bit. I'm still in the anemic zone but not enough to lower the chemo today. Also, chemo effects are accumulative and it doesn't stop being so just because you have stopped having the toxic waste pumped in. I was advised to eat Boudin Noir - a disgusting french sausage which I suppose is similar to black pudding in UK. I'd rather eat mud and worms. I don't eat liver or any red meat either so I'm on a hiding to nothing really. Never been advised to eat egg whites. If I have eggs then all of it goes in. Can't dip my soldiers in egg white for goodness sake!!

As far as I'm aware - and I may be wrong - but there's not really anything you can eat which will increase your white blood cell rate, only the red. The cells are destroyed by the chemo and only a healthy life style will level things out again. Now your wife is off chemo I'm sure she will get better soon. If not she may need medication from the doctor to sort out the low white cell problem. She is open to infection of course and then the white cells should naturally increase to help fight the infection. Being low they may struggle a bit so be aware of people with colds etc. No pruning roses in the garden either or other things where a cut may become infected easily. I wear disposable gloves for even doing housework as it's so easy to touch something nasty and transfer it to my mouth just my touching my lip without thinking. I have antiseptic wipes and gel everywhere - even in my handbag for when I'm out. I know it sounds extreme but better safe than sorry. Hubby calls me Howard Hughes in drag now.

If anyone has a solution to the white blood cell problem I would be interested to hear as mine need a kick up the derriere as hubby has the start of a cold and now he's banned to the other side of the room as well as being shoved into the spare room tonight. Howard Hughes rises again!!

Kryssy xx

Do you think meringues might count as egg whites?

From what I understand, I think it’s very very important to try and not to touch our eyes or lips as Kryssy says as well as using hand gels etc. A lot of cold and flu viruses can live on cold surfaces much longer than as droplets in the air. I was using a brand new burgundy nail varnish to remind me about my hands but I can no longer paint it on successfully as fingers lack control. Will have to think of something else to remind me.

Hand gel kills 99.9% of bacteria/ viruses. Depends upon size but let’s say there are 10,000 on a pin head, will leave 100 to double in in 20 minutes say and those 200 will again double and so on exponentially and before long we are back where we started, although to be fair they do not live as well on our fingers as cold surfaces. Still an awful lot of pinheads would fit in one fingertip. Although I use the gel everywhere and the wipes I am very conscious to think of a way to remind us not to touch our faces.

The pawpaw seems to have worked on the platelets but not so successful on neutrophils. Start of previous cycle, platelets 4.32 this start 4.86 but neutrophils were 3.38 and this first day only 2.5. Maybe my cough has something to do with it. I’ll have to investigate.

I do garden but with thick gloves.

Helen

Jeez Helen. All those germs on a pinhead? That's gross. I'm going to buy a rubber body suit and old fashioned diver's helmet and an oxygen tank and wear them 24/7. Seriously, you are completely right about germs. Nasty little critters just waiting to attack the vulnerable. Apparently, a sneeze comes out of someone at about 100mph. Just think how far and how quickly that spreads out when it's just let go. Hubby is now banned to the garden shed for a few days and nights..! He's moaning from the other side of the room that he's getting man flu. Oh, give me strength.

I save the masks which the nurse and I wear each week when fitting the pipes into my port and I've been giving them to hubby for his dusty DIY chores. Now they will be mine and I'll wear one whilst cleaning so if I try to touch my mouth I'll remember not to. We do it without thinking don't we? Hubby won't get a mask if he has man flu. I'll be fitting a plastic bag to his head.

Just off to chew on some screws to get some iron in for the little red cells. Love Kryssy xxx

Yes, that many and even more if they’re smaller. Coins are really a no-no so best to be like the queen and don’t carry any money, that’s best. We also touch our eyes. I was thinking about tying a little piece of string around each index finger to remind me not to touch, but people might think I’m a bit odd. I hadn’t thought to wear the masks.. I them to clean out the chickens. The painter decorator ones we have are too big for me. Also useful perhaps for wearing on the train to deter those who might want to sit next to me and annoy me banging the keys on their laptops.

Wonder where to source a diver’s helmet.

Think my iron is ok. Did you get chance to speak to your man or was he too busy ?

I bet if he really gets ill, you’ll be up there looking after him. He’ll need you. He will be feeling so ill and helpless. You could wear your cleaning outfit when you bring him his cups of tea etc.

Night!

A lot of the chemo patients take their masks for travelling. It doesn't bother the Japanese so why should it bother us so much? It's not like a burka, but not let's get into that one.

I'll PM you tomorrow, Helen, as I am completely wrung out now and we are hijacking this post a bit. xxx

Green tea is supposed to help x

Green tea for the neutrophils or platelets or both?

Hi , I have just started using Astragalus to help build up the WBC . This is recommended by a number of members on the OCRFA site who found this helped considerably with good results. Also I have started to use paw paw leaf tea or papaya/pawpaw leaf extract in a liquid firm to help with RBC and platelets counts. The next test will tell how successful it is ...for me anyway.

Keep smiling ..Gladys.

Thanks for info Gladys. I’m going to look up Astragalus later today.

Best wishes!

Hrlen

There does seem to be some info on line regarding it's benefits for chemo induced low WBC. What type are you taking and at what dosage. Did you clear it with your onc?

Hi, I have only been taking Astragalus, for two week.The dosage I am using is the recommended dosage which was also approved by the pharamacist. It is in tablet form called "Astraforte". Here is an interesting article by "The Truth About Cancer."

thetruthaboutcancer.com/ast...

Cheers

Gladys

Very interesting ladies. Ive been ok up to now but left chemo unit yesterday with injections to boost white cells. I start them saturday for 5 days and have been told to expect joint pain. I have that anyway. I'm going to cape verde tuesday and have permission. Jabs going in cooler bag with ice pack as have to be kept cool. I hope I'm not wiped out with joint pain. X

Wow! Cape Verde. Have a great time. I’ve no experience of the jabs. I’m thinking if you started a new post, naming the jabs and asking for help regarding joint pain / side effects you might get more responses than from this one which is mostly about paw-paw and cleanliness,etc.

You must be very careful on the plane as you’re obviously susceptible to infection with low white cells.

What a fantastic holiday. How long are you going for?

Helen

Thank you.We are going for 10 days. It has been such a mad two year apart from treatment and ops. Two weddings for my son( same wife!!) But one was in Poland. We moved house. I had a throat ok, retired. Builders in etc etc. Actually my partner needs this. We mustn't forget how hard it is for those supporting us. I'll be very cateful with keeping well. I did voice my concerns to oncologist and she was so positive I should go. Back in time for Xmas madness xx

Both of you sound as if you could do with a holiday. You are right, we mustn’t forget how difficult it is for those close to us. Sometimes I get a bit tetchy because of the lack of sleep from the cough, although I try not to.

Helen

PS did you try the paw-paw?

in reply to Gleedy

You'll soon get the hang of the injections and you don't always get joint pain, particularly if only for a few days. I had none the last time I used them, but had serious pains when I did 10 days consecutively. Epson salts are a help. Perhaps take a magnesium spray just in case?

Just make sure to use FirstDefence before getting on the plane. I picked up a bug on a long haul flight back, and it is pretty routine to do so. Some people swear by this stuff and you have nothing to lose.

Have a great time!

Gleedy profile image
Gleedy in reply to

Thank you. I will get some first defense. I use Epsom salts and I've been using Flexiseq for joint pain. Its anaxing stuff but at about 17 pound a tube it should be. Amazon has deals if you buy multiples. Xx

Hello Gleedy, at last I've found your post before you set off for Cape Verde; I've been looking everywhere. What is Flexiseq? Today, I started to have quite a bad knee ache, so much so that I limp a bit if no-one's around and my thumb which has been bothering me for a while has now morphed into the middle finger and wrist. My ankles aren't too happy either. I broke my first mug today, dropping it from the cupboard and am finding it hard to use scissors. I'm guessing these are joints, but not exactly arthritis which is what the blurb on the websites seem to indicate Flexiseq is for. Is it good for any sort of joint pain?

It comes in two strengths. The white tube is max strength. It takes about a week to work. It has no anti inflammatory in it which is excellent for me. It puts moisture in the joints. It is billed as an arthritic cream. I started to get such achy hands,knees and elbows in August that in the mornings I could hardly move. I had been off avastin 3 months at that point but wondered if it was the cause. Blood tests showed no arthritis. Anyway this cream has totally improved my pain and flexibility. I'm like a different person. May be I was having a flare up of something and I would have got better anyway. I'm not stopping the cream yet. Another member on here recommended it and has found good results too. Good luck if you try it xx

Thanks! I'm going to get some tomorrow. If it can keep me off a dose reduction, all to the good. I like the fact that it's gel / cream which means I need apply it only to the parts that are giving me problems, rather than take something orally.

I saw on the website that there are detailed instructions how to apply it to a knee, but nothing for wrists, ankles, etc. I'll have to play it by ear!

You must be getting so excited! 😎

Bon voyage! Helen

PS I meant in my earlier post that the pain in my thumb had morphed into my wrist, etc. not my actual thumb, but I guess you guessed that! 😀

Thank you. Packed and ready to go. X

Kryssy profile image
Kryssy in reply to Gleedy

Sounds like you have been given Neulasta. It's magic stuff but very expensive so take good care of it or trade it for a nice ring or designer handbag. I never got joint pains so was lucky and I was given one big dose, two days after chemo. May be given some more if my whites don't buck their ideas up. You will be lucky too, fingers crossed. Have a great holiday. Kryssy xxx

Just had a look in my fridge. Is called Zarzio or filgrastim. I bet it's the same stuff different company. A nice ring would seal the holiday. Thank you for replying. I know it's not great for you right now. Take care xxx

My neutrophils were very low during chemo. Doctor did not give me Neulasta because I already had much joint and muscle pain. I was very careful about germs. Wore gloves when I went out to the store. I washed my coat and gloves after I had been out of the house. I used the disinfecting wipes on my light switches, door knobs and any other place my husband may have touched. Washed my hands several times a day. I wore my mask at home, whilst hubby was there, a few days when he caught cold. I didn’t get ill. I didn’t know this at the time, but I’ve been told Claritin helps with the muscle/joint pain when they give you Neulasta. My doctor didn’t want me to take iron because cancer likes iron. Also makes me constipated and I had enough trouble with that. I’m nine months past end of chemo now and feeling great.

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