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Author Topic: how long post chemo for immune system to be ok  (Read 3026 times)
wikey
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« on: December 06, 2012, 04:00:03 PM »

hi  
i am 3 weeks post chemo , mono treatment of  capecitabine 5000 mg per day  for last 4 and half months.

i am wondering how long i need to wait before risking being around people that might have colds coughs and sneezes etc

my bloods were good the last few cycles, and already in normal limits for white blood cells etc  although at bottom end i think.

so will i have recovered my immune system in 3 weeks post chemo or not i wonder.

thanks

mikey wikey ...
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chools
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2012, 05:10:55 PM »

It's a 'how long is a piece of string' question Wikey as there are so many variables which will apply just to you, but I very much doubt that your immune system has recovered in just three weeks. I seem to recall that you're fairly sociable anyway or have you been avoiding people/events? It's not always apparent that someone carrying cold/flu germs etc so just being with a group of people increases your chances of catching something even if they appear ok, and I would suggest that you're probably quite vulnerable at your current stage of recovery

Chools
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HeatherL
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2012, 05:19:43 PM »

After I had had surgery for breast cancer I was told that my immune system would always be compromised as I had had all the lymph glands removed from my right armpit and that I must take care never to cut or injure my right hand as the risk of infection spreading was greater with their removal. Also never to have blood taken from the right arm, nor IV given in that arm.
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Brian
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2012, 05:22:06 PM »

Mikey, I'm a bit further on than you post-chemo and my immune system remains compromised.  I was told to wait at least a month before having the flu vaccine, which I did. However, I have been beset with lots and lots of little episodes of coughs and sneezes, etc over the last few months and it has taken very little to sap my energy.  My tongue keeps breaking down when these incidents occur, much the same as it did on the Cap. As chools suggests, every one of us is different, and my thinking on this is that you give yourself much more space to build up a stronger immunity, perhaps by gradually increasing your visits to public places over time. It would be such a shame to undo everything you've achieved on your journey so far. The only way you will really know how things are is when you succumb to your first virus and learn how your system copes with it.  Happy days, eh?  Good luck anyway. B
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2012, 06:51:16 PM »

I dunno what your own situation is, mikey, what does your GP think of your blood readings?

My white cell counts only ever hovers just above the minimum these days, after two cycles of chemo it probably will always be rubbish, sometimes it even dips into the red zone on one or other of the readings they do

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« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 07:12:56 PM by suze » Logged

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wikey
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 12:18:12 AM »

well the first cycle  back in july my white blood cells count dipped just below normal level but cycle 2 and 3 it recovered to within normal range and has stayed that way through  to cycle 6,

so it seems i am one of the lucky ones that just glides through  this , even though i did get and infection i could not shift and was in hospital overnight on anti biotic drip.

i rang the nurses here earlier  today and they said i should be ok, given that my blood counts were good and ok to carry on with the chemo  pretty much up to the end on full dose.

 i had a dozen folk round this evening and it all went well. and i am the last one up and active......

cant keep a good guy  down as they say

mikey   
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Shirley
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 09:00:07 AM »

I took Capecitabine for 5 weeks pre-surgery (combined with radiotherapy) and had the surgery about 5 weeks after that - and ran into all sorts of problems despite my blood counts appearing reasonably OK on all accounts.  It seemed that I just couldn't mount a normal immune response to what should have been a minor infection on ITU and that's when all the problems started!  At the time, they said they couldn't have told from blood counts alone that my immune system was still compromised.  I think everyone (including me) just wished we'd waited a bit longer - but there was a huge bad luck factor as well because during the period between chemo and surgery I never succumbed to one single cold or cough! 
I guess your immune system needs longer than you'd think before returning to firing on all cylinders?
Shirley
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wikey
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 09:18:17 AM »

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and experiences
Shirley sorry to hear of your difficulties and it makes one think that things are always more complex than they seem at first
I think my skin is a good indicator of where things are
It is getting better but still has some way to go so I shall assume that applies to my immune system too
Best wishes
 mikey
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2012, 09:58:10 AM »

It might well be Wikey that many of us will always be compromised with regard our immune systems post treatment, I'm afraid you can't use your skin as an indicator

A good diet is all important with regard to trying to build your immune system.

You can also take certain hygiene measures to try and limit your vulnerability to certain germs. Washing your hands seems obvious but if you can have your own hand towel not used by other members of your family. Try not to touch your face especially your mouth and eyes, if you do use a clean tissue. There are many other such practices that will help you avoid the 'coughs and sneezes'.

I note you've had a gathering of folk anyway so hope you've not caught anything from being in close proximity!

Chools
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 10:08:54 AM by chools » Logged

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wikey
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2012, 10:03:58 AM »

thanks for ideas Chools

will implement

mikey
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