Dealing with lowered immunity caused by chemo

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Hi

My son is having chemo, and it will be going on for quite a few weeks yet. As he has lowered white cell count because of it, neither of us goes out except for walks in the open. We avoid shops and public transport, and have our groceries delivered. This makes for a fairly lonely life for both of us. How do others deal with it?

  • Hi again …… low immunity is one of the normal unwanted gifts when having chemotherapy but keep reminding that this will pass and it is all temporary.

    You are doing the correct things…….. just the same as you most likely did during the height of Covid.

    But once his blood recover you can get out more and there is no reason that you can’t have visitors as long as the people visiting are well and have no bugs... but it is the winter so there are a lot of bugs going around to you are most likely doing the safe thing.

    We dd a lot of walking, reading, Netflix……

    My isolation was very long due to the treatments I had so I had 6 months of chemo and radiotherapy so had to be carful during these times

    But I also had 2 Stem Cell Transplants, these had me in hospital in basic isolation for 4 weeks each time then when I left the hospital we had to be very careful for 6 months to allow my new immune system to grow as Stem Cell Transplant kills the bodies immune system and bone marrow so it has to re-grow……it was a long 2 years…… but I am over 8 years out from treatment and now going great - you will get there ((hugs))

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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  • Thank you. That's encouraging. Because my son has Thymus cancer he will have to have surgery to remove the thymus once the first 5 rounds of chemo are done. They have recently found that having no thymus reduces your immunity permanently. They used to think it made no difference in adults , only in children.

  • There is a playoff in all treatment with regards to ‘good outcomes’ against the post treatment ‘left over’ issues.

    As I says I am 8 years out from my last treatment and like your son I have a reduced immune system, but also, as Stem Cell Transplant kills off ALL my childhood vaccinations and my bone marrows history of fighting infections I had to get re-vaccinated but I can’t have live vaccinations so can’t have the MMR….   not good new when Measles are on the rise.

    All my blood counts sit near the low side of the acceptable range and while my new immune system was growing I was back in hospital 5 times (32days) with Chest Infections, Lung Fungal Infections, the RSV Virus, Pneumonia x2 and Neutropenic Sepsis x2

    I now have on the shelf emergency antibiotics I can take at any time when I feel an infection is developing and can get them on repeat prescription…….. but this has not stopped us getting on with life, going on holiday abroad.

    Post treatment you have to take control and define your life……. and not let the ‘what if’s?’ define you ((hugs))

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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  • My! You have been through a lot! Hugs

  • May I ask what your blood count was when you got all these horrid infections - especially the neutrophenic sepsis? I have read that normal is 500 to 1500. Can't find anything specific on the number after thymectomy, just that it is "below normal"

  • All my bloods results never actually changed that much and just sat at the lower levels…… 

    Mike (Thehighlander)

    It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

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