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Hairy cell leukaemia: how to understand Bloods and foggy brain

BB 533
Posted by
After my husband(M) had neutropenic sepsis which was 2 weeks after chemo, I have made an excel now and entered all the bloods results from the past.
M's hemoglobin is now reached 100(it was 72 a month ago) and some energy returning.
But not much changed for the white cells part. Neutrophils is about 0.5-0.6
1) how long would it take (I know everyone is individual) to bring it back to say 1.0? And to above 1.5?
2) What level of neutropenia is it OK to go back in working environment where you meet lots of people?
3) The way bloods in general recover. E.g. hemogrobin first, platelets and then .....Do they need red cells to recover first to get the white cells, Lymphocytes and Monocytes recovering?
4) Chemo brain/ brain fog
M keeps struggling to find right words, using wrong words often, and made a few driving mistake (one of them wasn't great at all but we were lucky ). Today, he realised he needed to go upstairs to get something- it took 5 attempts to remember why he wanted to go upstairs!
5) Are there grants for doing alternative therapies when you are 58 Y? I see there are some places for young people.
Caroline- Macmillan

Hi BB 533,

It can take some time for the bloods to return to baseline after a bad infection. As you say, everyone is individual and the sequence of recovery can be different. After chemo, blood levels may never fully return to 'normal' levels, but are high enough for a person to function very well.

If your hubby is to get more chemo, it would be unwise to go back into the working environment, especially at the moment when there are so many germs around! Every haematologist has their own level that they like patients to be at before returning to work- your CNS will be able to advise you.

As for the Chemo brain- this is very common and par if the course for many. Especially after a bad infection. It may be better if M is having concentration issues, that he doesn't drive for a wee while!  I think he may be pushing himself a wee bit too hard- sepsis takes a while to recover from and he needs to cut himself some slack.

There are alternative therapies available locally through your local Macmillan or Maggies centres. Or your CNS will know of local, smaller charities that may provide therapies or grants.

I hope this helps, if you have any more questions, come back to  me

Caroline - Macmillan  Information Nurse Specialist

Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.