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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #1 
I finished chemo for stage 2 breast cancer in Dec. 2005.  My blood counts have never returned to normal, and my oncologist first said (about a year ago) that perhaps I was one of the 5% whose counts would be permanently affected or that I could be developing myelodysplastic syndrome.  In Dec 2007, my wbc were 3.0 and my abs neut were 1.21--I developed shingles. Now my wbc has climbed to normal for the first time since chemo--at 4.4.  My rbc is 3.7; however, both my hgb and hct are low normal (12.6 and 36.4). My mcv has been as high as 105, but is now at 98.4. My platelets are at 153. My reticulocytes are .2 and abs retic are .0076--both very low.  I have had awful, incredibly deibilitating fatigue.  I am 54 and I have one child (now 7) still at home.  I am so tired....

My oncologist has been talking about doing a bone marrow biopsy for a year, but she has always said that my counts weren't low enough, to wait and see.  However, this last visit, she suggested we do one in Oct.  She has checked my iron B12, ferritin--all fine.  All other counts are ok except my glucose is58 and my calcium is low at 8.3.

So, I wanted your opinion...are these counts anything to be worried about?  Could they just mean normal low counts?  My onc says the retic counts isn't important, but that one worried me the most--she accuses me of trying to diagnose myself.  Really I just want to feel better. Of course, mds (myelodysplastic syndrome) scares me, but the people I've known who have had it as a result of chemo had much lower counts, so that they needed transfusions.  Do you think I should just wait it out, and see if I either feel better or eventually accept this weakened state?  My onc has also given me a 2 week reprieve on tamoxifen, to see if that was causing the fatigue.  I just started that.  She also mentioned chronic fatigue syndrome. 

Also, whatever info comes from the bmb, is it better to go to a mds center of excellence for the biopsy?  I am really dreading the whole procedure, because she is unable to sedate me.  Maybe I should just wait....however, I'd like to know why I am so tired and frequently ill.  Any light you could shed on this would be so greatly appreciated.



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Posts: 7,476
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi there Coffeepot- I am so sorry you are going through this.
One of our members here just had a BMB and I will send her a PM so she can check this post out and maybe help you.
((Big hugs))




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Afghan Goddess
Posts: 913
Reply with quote  #3 



I had a bone marrow biopsy in August.


I am two years out of treatment....lumpectomy followed by radiation.   I was ER+ and am in a clinical trial (either Tamoxifen or Anastrozole).


My counts continued to fall even two years out of treatment.   I was very anemic.

My onc wanted to do the bone marrow biopsy to get a better idea of what was going on with the blood count.


The bone marrow biopsy was not painful.   My onc put a huge ice pack on the area, started an IV and gave me strong pain and relaxation meds before the procedure.   Please ask your onc, or whoever does the biopsy, to make sure you get enough meds before the procedure.   My onc doesn’t believe in putting his patients through any unnecessary pain.


It took a few weeks to get all the result back.   There was nothing found to be alarmed about.  I see my onc next month and want to review all result with him.


I did switch my vitamins to one that has Iron.   I am post menopausal and the vitamin I was taking did not have enough iron.  I am also guilty of not eating when I am upset…….well, this journey is unsettling.   I am trying to force myself to eat.


Our bodies go through so much in this cancer journey.   I think it takes a while for out bodies to re-adjust.


Good luck, and please let me know if I can be of any more help.



Edge will probably have some technical information for you.  He is wonderful and helps us so much.



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Queen Blue Sky & Golden Light
Posts: 1,681
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Coffeepot,
I love Coffee! 
My bloodcounts have been all over the place, especially during chemotherapy treatment.  I am anemic, but it goes up and down; the lastest was asking for a Vitamin D count, and much to my surprise, it was a "l", one....
I don't know if you've had your Vitamin D checked recently; but below normal is 37; Normal is (I think) between 80 and 135.  It messes up the body regularities, including the blood chemistry.  Be sure to have it checked, and our remarkable Constantine, as G mentioned, will be sure to give you the best possible advice regarding your other concerns.

I have begun a program to raise my Vitamin D level; still, I continue to feel fatigue; but it apparantly takes some time to bring things up to a normal level before the body chemistry and blood levels return to normal.  I don't know much about BMB's, other than my sister's experience with having pernicious anemia and having many difficulties with fatigue.  There are so many new tests and remarkable therapies available, it might be worth getting a second opionion from an Oncologist specializing in blood disorders.

(((hugs))) and I hope you feel better soon.

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