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Anemia -- how have you dealt with it?

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:07 pm
by hopefulandstrong
several weeks ago I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my leg and small pulmonary embolism. I spent a week at MSK feeling that absolute garbage. I've been on blood thinners for a month, and things are stabilizing. However, 'm also anemic, bad enough to have a transfusion in early October but not bad enough to have another one. That's a relief. Trouble is, I'm still relatively weak and short-of-breadth. It's much on chemo weeks, but still noticeable on off weeks.

Wondering how others have handled this.

Re: Anemia -- how have you dealt with it?

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:14 am
by Dionca
It was severe anemia that led to my diagnosis (It got so I could hardly walk a few feet without getting winded), so I was given a couple of blood transfusions at the ER, which helped a lot. On my family doctor's orders, I also started to take iron tablets. After surgery, I had a bleed at the incision which lasted a few days, so I was given another couple of transfusions. I continued to take iron tablets for a while after chemo, but discontinued when I felt like I was back to normal (and so was my blood count).

Chemo also make me weak, low energy and out of breath at times, but not as bad as when I was severely anemic.

Maybe bumping up your iron-rich foods would also help, but let your doctor know how you have been feeling - there maybe something else that can help you. Good Luck!

Re: Anemia -- how have you dealt with it?

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:21 am
by NHMike
My onc said that I was anemic during Adjuvant Chemo but things weren't bad enough to do anything about it. I didn't know that transfusions were an option.

I would see if you could remedy it with food for now.

Re: Anemia -- how have you dealt with it?

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:12 pm
by J-man
There are also bone marrow stimulants which you could discuss with your doctors( Eprex, erythrpoietin ) which act on red blood cell production the way neulasta acts of white blood cell production.

Iron and B vitamin injections may be needed but only if you are deficient in them to start with.
You issue is likely due to the chemo effects on your bone marrow, so is there any option to change the doses lower ?

Please talk with your doctors and explore all options for your well being.

Best of wishes to you.

Re: Anemia -- how have you dealt with it?

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:01 pm
by wwroam
I am currently on Alimta and Carboplatin for recurrent Non Small Cell Lung Cancer ( my Colon Cancer memories are safely deposited in the forgettery).
My 1st line treatment for NSCLC was Gemcitibine + Carboplatin and Taxol + Carboplatin. The Gem destroyed Haemoglobin and it took 18 months to recover. I had 10 units of blood.
For Alimta, it is recommended B12 injections and Folate. At my last blood test Neutrophils, Haemoglobin and Platelets were all very low. On this regimen I have already had 3 units of blood and a 1 week chemo deferral. I'm not sure if there is anything els that can be done. My recurrence is cancerous nodules, Classified as Stage 4 ( for tactical immunotherapy reasons).

Re: Anemia -- how have you dealt with it?

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 7:32 pm
by boxhill
I've been anemic while on chemo and while having extreme bleeding due to uterine fibroids. Although I was tired, breathless, etc, no one ever suggested a transfusion. It is my understanding that the red blood cells infused in that way only live for 3 days?

Anyway, the things that worked for me were time and eating a rare steak periodically.