First of all, amazingly enough I did sleep last night – a whole 4 hours!
Taxol #1 today was entirely uneventful. Boring even. Which is the best we could hope for! So, so far so good. My friend Heidi and got lots of reading done, and it’s so nice to have her here.
I did get my preliminary lab results from the morning, and the biggies are all in normal range. White blood cell (WBC) count, red blood cell (RBC) count and platelets are all doing quite well.
However, there were a few smaller things that were off, which of course piqued my curiosity, so here goes:
1. My lymphotocyte count is low. Lab tests online reports that “Lymphocytes are natural killers of infection and regulators of antibody production.”
But from my googling it looks that’s normal for taking steroids, especially dexamethosone. In some populations even 1 mg of dexamethosone can decrease lymphocytes and I took 10 mg. As my WBC are normal, it just means that I have few T cells and B cells (that make up lymphocytes) running around to fight off infection, so I’m going to be a little more conscientious about hand washing, touching my hands to my face and nose etc. And hopefully when the steroids wear off the lymphocytes will increase.
2. & 3. Also, my RDW was slightly high, and MPVs were low, so:
“# Red cell distribution width (RDW) is a calculation of the variation in the size of your RBCs. In some anemias, such as pernicious anemia, the amount of variation (anisocytosis) in RBC size (along with variation in shape – poikilocytosis) causes an increase in the RDW.”
“Mean platelet volume (MPV) is a machine-calculated measurement of the average size of your platelets. New platelets are larger, and an increased MPV occurs when increased numbers of platelets are being produced. MPV gives your doctor information about platelet production in your bone marrow.”
So, what I assume is that even though I still have enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, the production process for all 3 in the bone marrow is decreasing, and not as many new ones are being made. Which is normal for chemo because chemo impacts the bone marrow. And my neulasta shot tomorrow will hopefully help with that.
It’s funny, my doc tells me not to worry about these things, and it’s not so much that I worry but that I like to have at least a very simple grasp of what’s going on. If your interpretation is other than what I figured out here, let me know! I’ll ask the oncology nurses more when I go in for my – gasp – $7000 white blood cell boosting count shot (neulasta).