Low blood count

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Hi my mum is only 67 & was diagnosed in June stage 4 gallbladder cancer and it has spread to her lungs. She was given 6-9 months if she had chemotherapy. She’s been coping really well. The first chemo just made her tired & she got her appetite back so put a bit of weight back on. In Dec she was told this was no longer working & the tumours in her lungs had grown slightly so they were going to give her a more aggressive chemo. Again she has coped really well. She’s had tiredness, a little nausea and tingling in hands & feet but  overall coping and remaining positive (she amazes me with her attitude) this week she has been told she can’t have chemo as her platelets have come up but her blood count is only 74 (I can’t be with her as she lives 2 hours away so all I get is what she tells me and sometimes she can get muddled) she said it could cause sepsis so she will be tested again next week and maybe have it next week. I’m just worried what happens if her blood count remains low, does that mean the end of her treatment? Is there anything you could advise to get her number back up? I think I’m panicking a bit because I’m aware of the time they gave her and hoping this is not the beginning of the end. Will they offer her anything else if she can no longer have chemo? Where do we go from here?

  • Hi Chris,

    I’m sorry to hear your mum is in this awful situation, I too am stage 4 diagnosed with gallbladder cancer but I’m in a different position than your mum. I originally had stage 3 and had my first tumour removed non 2016, I had 6 months of chemotherapy to mop up any rogue cells and It did the trick until 2021 when it came back. Again I had 2 new tumours that I was fortunate enough to have removed by surgery and once again I had 6 months of chemotherapy (finished 4 months ago). 

    I know your mums situation is different from my own (I’m not terminal just incurable right now) but I do know about having a low platelet count during treatment and how your body reacts. I felt like I had the flu, I felt shaky and headachey and downright awful, I had chemotherapy stopped a couple of times during my treatment because of that issue but the break gave my body a chance to recoup and recover so I would hope the same would happen for your mum. After a fortnight my bloods would return to normal levels and then I’d start chemotherapy again.  I hope that helps?

    Colette 

  • Thank you so much yes that gives me a little hope. Good luck with your treatment too. I just wish I could be with her when she gets the information then I can help ask any questions. She has another scan on Sunday so hopefully we’ll know more soon x

  • It’s such a difficult time with Covid19 and having to do everything alone but maybe you could write some of your questions down and ask your mum to give it to her consultant? Or if they would allow her to record the appointment on her phone?  I know from experience that even at aged 46 then 52 I missed things that were said to me and having a second pair of ears (my husband) on the call or face to face helped me hugely. Oncologists are usually as helpful and accommodating as they can be so you could maybe ring the secretary and ask what options are available for you to be involved in the appointment, good luck. 

    Colette

  • I ask the doctor to phone me as my mum gets updates from them (she’s pretty deaf). They have been really good about doing this. I feel it’s worth asking. My number is written in the front of mum’s diary so it’s as easy as we can make it. I wish you and your mum well.