September 22, 2016 at 9:42 pm #714
Having R CHOP for nonhodgkins lymphoma. Had 2 sessions and on day 12 of my second session. How close to medical help would you need to be. Is it safe for me to go say one and a half hours from medical assistance. My sisters say I should stay close to home and hospital. I want to travel for a whitebaiting day. I feel fine. My last bloods taken four days ago are good.September 23, 2016 at 11:32 am #715
Hello Tree. Thanks for your question. It’s all a bit of a balance, isn’t it, trying to get on and do the things you enjoy but staying near assistance and also keeping those who care about you happy! If you have a cancer community nurse or a liason nurse, check with them. The main time that your immune system is lower is Day 7-14, the week in the middle of your treatment cycle. Without knowing any specific information about you, general information would include timing your trip to be when your blood counts are good, checking your temperature to make sure it is normal, having a plan for if you feel unwell and maybe staying in cell phone contact and going with mates. But all in all, with these things considered, it should be possible for you to whitebaiting.
I hope this has helped.
Kind regards, Anna.September 23, 2016 at 6:44 pm #720
Thanks Anna for your reply. I have had numerous discussions with specialists and nurses who seem to give me conflicting answers. One specialist said that from day 16 to 21 would be my safe time. Another specialist said from day 1 to 7 is my safe/good time. I asked what “could” happen to me. Nobody gives me any answers. Just that it is different with each person. I know bleeding could be a problem, but I don’t know what else could happen. All a mystery. Have you had any experience with people who have suffered illnesses during their low blood count period. Thanks for your time. TreeSeptember 26, 2016 at 11:35 am #721
Hi again Tree,
I’m sorry you are getting so much varying information about the effects of your chemo. It makes it so much harder for you to help plan your life and what to watch out for in looking after your health. I spent 8 years as a cancer nurse giving chemo including R-Chop. The information I will give you is general to anyone going through chemo- yes, it does vary from person to person a little, but this is the main pattern.
As well as affecting cancer cells, chemo affects your bone marrow, where your blood cells are made- the red and white blood cells and the platelets (which are for clotting). This means that temporarily your blood counts will be lower than normal in the middle of each chemo cycle. The main one affected is your white cells that fight infection, especially the neutrophils, one kind of white blood cell. So from approximately Day 7-14, your immune system wont work as well as usual and you are more at risk of infection than at other times. This is the time that you should check your temperature if you feel unwell in any way, and go to hospital straight away if it is 38 degrees or above, as your body won’t kick in with your normal infection fighting process.
So the first week after treatment (Day 1-7) and the week before treatment (Day 15-21) are times when your counts are more normal, so good times to plan to do things.
Bleeding can happen if your platelets get very very low and you can feel tired with low red blood cells, but the infection risk is the most common one.
Here is a link to our booklet about chemotherapy- it might help too
I hope this is useful- you are welcome to ask more questions or call us on 0800 226237. There will be a local Cancer Society near you too.
AnnaSeptember 26, 2016 at 11:51 am #722
Oh and just to add:
Not everyone has problems with infection during their chemo. Your counts may be lower but that doesn’t mean you will get sick- you just are more at risk and need to do something about it if you are unwell.
It is sensible to avoid sick people or sharing cups etc. There isn’t anything you can eat etc to increase the counts- just time.
Anna.September 26, 2016 at 1:51 pm #723
Thank you Anna for your great reply. It sets out the answers to the questions I had. Thank you for taking your time to fully explain how the ‘time frame’ of 21 days goes. It is so helpful to me and to my sisters when I print out your reply and show it to them.
Regards, TreeJanuary 1, 2017 at 2:18 pm #863
Happy New Year to everyone. Finished my last session – session 6 – of R CHOP four weeks ago and due to start radiotherapy on 10th of January. However I feel absolutely exhausted. Most days I sleep for a few hours and if not sleeping lying on bed/couch. I feel absolutely zonked. Even put off going to see grandchildren today. Believe me that is a biggie and I must bbe feeling unwell to do that. How long will this feeling of utter exhaustion last. I did not experience tthis degree of exhaustion at the end of my other R CHOP sessions.January 1, 2017 at 5:09 pm #864
Kia Ora Tree,
sorry to hear you are very fatigued after your last Chemotherapy Cycle. As one goes further into treatment often fatigue does increase.
You may like to check out our fact sheet on managing fatigue, attached below.
Thank you again for your best wishes.Happy new year to you all.
Cancer Information Nurse
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