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I HAD A LYMPHOMA/6
SOMETHING NEW TO WORRY ABOUT!
Since my lumbar puncture a week ago ,as readers will be aware, I have been generally lacking in energy and suffering quite nasty headpains. On Monday afternoon, I decided enough was enough and rang the Hospital. Sometime later, Avril Bunker, the admirable Clinical Nurse, rang me to discuss matters. A short way in she suggested that I may now have NEUTROPENIA, a condition new to me that I will explain here later. Avril suggested that It ake a blood test asap and this was carried out yesterday morning. At around 4.30pm that afternoon, she rang to say results confirmed I was NEUTROPENIC and the steps I needed to take. To concentrate my mind she told me that, whilst not wishing to alarm me, that the condition COULD BE LIFE THREATENING if not watched carefully. Mind fully and duly concentrated!
Firstly, I was to take my temperature, which registered at 36.9 degrees. She told me to take it 4 hourly and if it was 38 or above to go at once to A and E. There I would receive high dose antibiotics by drip and be admitted for further monitoring! The situation was quite clear, I may have ,or be incubating, an infection and my Neutrophil Count was way too low to deal with it. Normal is 1.7 to 6.1 and I counted just 0.6. Enough to be considered serious. This was confirmed as my wife took important action. She brushed her hair and applied lipstick, "In case we need to go to Hospital"!
At 8.45pm my temperature was thankfully unchanged and eventually, I repaired to bed where again,thankfully, no illness symptoms showed overnight. This morning my temperature is near normal 35.8 and my head better than before if not right. It may be that things are levelling out. I report by phone today, for further advice and information.
So, what is NEUTROPENIA? It is basically a blood disorder which is a side effect of the drugs , for example in my Chemo and could be incited by a virus. We think I may have been chilled at the funeral we attended last week for example but this is not certain.
Basically, the white blood cells that protect the body from infection are in different types and each has a different function.The most common are:
NEUTROPHILS. They destroy bacteria by surrounding it
LYMPHOCYTES. The key of the immune system which defend against viruses.
Being Neutropenic means being low in Neutrophils and thus susceptible to bacterial infections.Examples incude,mouth ulcers,earaches and gum infections. I have all of these at low level I think. My Neutrophil register of 0.6 is classifed as Moderate Neutropenia. It may be short lived, which is good to know at least. Chronic cases last more than 3 months and there are different classifications, but hopefully ,they will not be a source of concern to me. Full information is available from Neutropenia Support, should you wish to delve further.
For me and for now, the position is to continue to monitor temperature 4 hourly, liaise with the Clinical Nurse and to confirm with her CHOP 6, due Friday, and Lumbar 2 due next Tuesday, as well as keeping warm and away from infection as far as possible. You will find out what occurs here later on Lymphona/7. It is never dull recovering from a Lymphoma, I can tell you.