Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day +3: Neutropenia

eutropenia is a condition characterized by really low blood levels of infection-fighting neutrophils, a specific kind of white blood cell. Mark's white blood cell count has now tanked sufficiently that he is neutropenic. He has been neutropenic before during chemo (several times 2 years ago, and last year) which was a big red flag to put in place barriers to bacteria, like staying away from people, fresh fruits, and raw vegetables, and taking prophylactic drugs to prevent infections. However, this time all those precautions are already in place! This is, as they say, "planned neutropenia", - a reaction to the mega-dose of chemotherapy he got last week.

So basically Mark has major fatigue and nausea, and just has to wait it out. His counts will continue to go down for a few days before the new stem cells "engraft" and start creating new white and red blood cells. This is the part of the process that takes patience and fortitude, - and Mark has plenty of both.

He has also had some visitors today and some walks around the floor (11 laps around the floor equals one mile) and some music and reading. It's a beautiful sunny day to be looking out over the city and Mt. Hood.


  1. Hi Julie and Mark,

    I'm checking in daily to see what's new on the blog and how Mark is doing. It sounds like things are proceeding exactly as planned, which is good, even if Mark is feeling somewhat drained--the inevitable result of the treatment, as I am coming to understand. I'm getting a medical education--as are all readers of the blog. I think the two of you could author a very coherent textbook on BMT--kind of BMT for Dummies. I'm glad to hear that beautiful Mount Hood is out in all of its glory. Hang in there.


  2. Off for the whole weekend and hoping to see Julie about some yard work. Would love to be part of your visitor list but want that to be good for you, too. We're all enriched by your strength of heart and optimism of energy. Gripping contractions and tubular squeeze accompanies birth, should rebirth be less engaging?

    susan(not bikegroup)