(I just got cancer) Chemotherapy and Chemotherapy
I have been extremely exhausted this last week and it turns out I am anemic again. Chemotherapy and anemia are very common. For myself, I was already anemic prior to starting my chemotherapy sessions. You can tell if you have anemia when you get a CBC which is a complete blood count. This is usually done prior to each chemotherapy session depending on which chemo medications you are getting. You may also be tested for calcium and magnesium.
These tests will provide your levels for the red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, platelets and more. The red blood cells transport oxygen rich hemoglobin through your body. When you are anemic your body has to work harder to supply oxygen to your tissue. Some signs of anemia are shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, weakness.
If you are severely anemic, which by medicare means your hemoglobin is under 10, you my be eligible for blood transfusions, iron shots or aranesp. I have been taking aranesp on and off. I sometimes get blood transfusions. I had my last dose of cycle five two days ago and my hemoglobin was at 10. I am anemic, but medicare will not pay for aranesp except for every two weeks. I was already fatigued, but I had my chemotherapy and we just know it will knock my levels down lower. Therefore, I am going to have another CBC next week and possibly another blood transfusion.
The platelets are what cause your blood to clot. If these get too low, you may not be able to stop bleeding. Be sure to notify your Oncologist if you notice bleeding such as nose bleeds, bowel, or gums.
The white blood cells protect your body from getting infections. If levels of neutrophils, which are a type of white blood cells get too low, it is called neutropenia. This makes you vulnerable to infection. There is a medication called neulasta which I have been taken which helps to rebuild you white blood cell count. If you do have neutropenia, be careful in crowds and children. When you go to rest homes or hospitals you also need be careful. You can wear a mask to help protect yourself.
There are some things you can do to help your self. Changing your tooth-brush frequently is highly recommended. If you do not want to change your tooth-brush often, sanitize it . I rinse mine in hydrogen peroxide. It is also important to brush and floss to prevent mouth sores. If you get white spots in the back of your tongue and throat be sure to have your Oncologist check to see if you have thrush. If you do there are mouth lozenges they can prescribe.
Do your best to eat a healthy diet and exercise everyday to keep strong. Keep hydrated and get rest when you need it. Since I am anemic often, I take iron daily and have to work at eating iron rich foods such as liver, spinach, cream of wheat, beef. chicken, salmon, beans, tofu, nuts, and more. I also do my best to eat 90 mg of protein a day. I eat other things such as greek yogurt, whey protein shakes, pumpkin seeds, tuna and much more.
Being on chemotherapy is a continual learning experience. I hope that some things here may assist you in living with cancer and chemotherapy.
A special thank you to all our veterans of foreign war. God bless,
- Finished Cycle Four Of Chemotherapy (ijustgotcancer.wordpress.com)
- Chemotherapy and Weakness (ijustgotcancer.wordpress.com)
- Physical Therapy While On Chemotherapy (ijustgotcancer.wordpress.com)
- Finished Cycle Three of Chemo (ijustgotcancer.wordpress.com)
- Started Cycle Five Of Chemotherapy (ijustgotcancer.wordpress.com)
- How Anemia Is Diagnosed (everydayhealth.com)
- Anemia & How to Cure it Holistically (enlightenedlotuswellness.com)