Well, we are on the slippery slope down hill. We had Elizabeth's blood work done this morning and the results are just as we predicted.
I will give you a little refresher course on Leukemia, ANC, HGB, WBC, Platelets.
Leukemia is a cancer in which abnormal white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. These abnormal cells, called leukemia cells are cancerous. In other words, they grow out of control. Eventually they spill out of the bone marrow into the peripheral blood. The leukemia cells are not able to function as immune cells like other white blood cells, and their population keeps growing. Eventually they crowd out normal blood cells, including normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. There are so many leukemia cells that the normal blood cells cannot do their jobs of preventing infections, carrying oxygen, and causing the blood to clot.
ANC is the real or actual number of white blood cells that Liz has to fight an infection. White blood cells are the part of Lizzy's blood that work against possible bacteria, fungus, or viruses that may make her sick. A normal ANC is greater than 2,500. A safe ANC is greater than 1,000. After chemotherapy, Lizzy's ANC may drop low as 0. When the ANC drops below 500 , it is important that she remain away from crowds and people who have colds, flu, or runny noses. If Elizabeth is in the hospital with ANC below 500, she will be placed in protective isolation. This is to protect her from being exposed to possible infections. Lizzy's ANC is 90, not too impressive.
White blood cells protect the body from invasion by pathogens, and when levels of specific types of these cells are low, Liz has a lowered resistance to bacterial infection. White blood cells ( WBCs), or leukocytes (also spelled "leucocytes"), are cells of the immune system defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials. Five different and diverse types of leukocytes exist, but they are all produced and derived from a multipotent cell in the bone marrow known as a hematopoietic stem cell. Leukocytes are found throughout the body, including the blood and lymphatic system. A normal WBC is 4.5 to 13.5. Elizabeth is at .08. When she was diagnose on Oct. 25, 2008 her WBC was .05.
Hemoglobin is a protein carried by the red blood cells in the body. Hemoglobin will pick up oxygen when it passes through the lungs so it can deliver the oxygen to all of the tissues in order to maintain the health and viability of those cells. Hemoglobin is created by two similar proteins which will stick together. Both proteins must be present in order for the hemoglobin to pick up and release oxygen as it should. One of these proteins is called alpha, and the other is called beta. Beta does not appear until after birth. During the pregnancy, a protein called gamma functions in its place. A normal HGB is 12.0 - 16.0, Liz has fallen to 10., when diagnosed she was at 5. They usually transfuse her between 8. and 9. When her HGB is low it causes a lot of body aches, labored breathing and fatigue. She said it feels like the flu.
Platelets are fragments of cells in blood that are another important part of the clotting process. They work with the clotting factors in plasma to help prevent unwanted bleeding. Platelets come from special cells called megakaryocytes. Like other early (immature) forms of blood cells, megakaryocytes are mainly found in the bone marrow. A normal platelet count is 135k -466k, Liz is at 88k. When she was diagnosed she was at 17k
So as you can see the body is complicated and Liz is complicating it even more; I am sure she would stop if she could :-)
Liz will probably remain neutropenic, ANC below 500, for the rest of this DI 2 phase. We are praying that she will be done with this and into maintenance by Christmas.
This is an extremely difficult phase and Liz and the Lothrop's need all of the prayers you have to give. Please pray for her health, that she does not come into contact with anyone who is ill. Liz, at the moment, she can not even fight off her own bodies bacteria. Pray that Jim and Randy remain healthy. They both are going to school every day and coming home to her. It is a true answer to prayer that they have remained flu free given their circumstances.
Thank you to everyone who has sent me verses and inspirational sayings and quotes. I will arm myself with them when Liz goes back on the steroids tomorrow.