My Personal Cancer Journey — Treating Anemia

My anemia has gotten worse. Several years ago, my primary care physician told me that I was borderline anemic. It was quite a surprise since I always considered myself a man’s man and anemia implies weakness. However, the numbers do not lie and I had to admit that my RBC’s and hemoglobin were lower than normal. He recommended that I take a multi-vitamin with iron, which I have done since that time.

Enter chemotherapy. For the first two years of my cancer, my blood was carefully monitored for things such as hemoglobin and blood cell counts. Typically everything was fine, although my RBC’s and hemoglobin tended toward the borderline. Now it seems, with my current chemo regimen, those numbers have dropped considerably. My doctor here in Florida has been considering blood transfusions although my counts have not been quite that low yet.

This week, when I reported for my chemotherapy, the doctor in charge decided that it might be time to try an injection which might stimulate my bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. The chemical is called Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) and I received it for the first time yesterday. Hopefully this will work to keep my blood counts in the tolerable range so that I can continue to receive my chemo treatments without the necessity of a transfusion.

Yesterday’s chemo consisted of one hour of Avastin and a half-hour of Abraxane. Hopefully, the side-effects will not be as debilitating as last time.

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