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Avatar universal

Low Platelets

My brother, 51, went to the clinic for what he thought was a uti..blood in his urnine.  Later that day, he got a call from the clinic saying his WBC was 121000 and to go to an ER in a nearby town.  Long story short, he was diagnosed with leukemia, type is still unknown to us.  He had his first round of chemo last week and it ended Friday.  He is having a hard time getting his platelet count back up.  He said they want it over 50 and his is around 37, and they are giving him platelets daily.  Are they just being slow to rebuild on their own, or could it be something more?  He's very frustrated...and still stunned.  How do you go for what you thought was a UTI and end up in a cancer institute?  He was supposed to start a new round of chemo this week, but not sure if they will do it if his platelets aren't coming up.  We are very new to the whole leukemia scene.  He's 3 hours away, so its hard to know 'first hand' whats going on there.
3 Responses
907672 tn?1381025723
Hello and welcome.  I'm sorry to hear of the predicament your brother is in.  I guess I'm a little confused though.  How can they start treatment if they don't even know yet what sub type of Leukemia he has?  Maybe it's different with Leukemia, but I know with Lymphoma, it is imperative to have the sub type diagnosed before starting treatment because treatments are customized to the type of disease you have.  

I'm not sure what other reason besides chemotherapy that would cause his platelets to slowly increase.  If the platelet transfusions aren't working fast enough, he might want to ask about the possibility of taking a platelet stimulating drug called Neumega.  This drug stimulates the bone marrow to produce more platelets.  Perhaps this could help to get his numbers up enough for his next chemotherapy session.

I would also like to suggest that he get a second opinion on the diagnosis and treatment at a larger, cancer research hospital like MD Anderson, Sloan-Kettering, or Mayo (just to name a few).  I'm assuming he lives in the U.S?  It may require some traveling if he doesn't already live close to one of these hospitals, but it is well worth it.  If you need help finding a hospital closest to him, let me know and I'll see what I can find.  

Avatar universal
ALL/MLL... it is a leukemia, that is certain, but he's not sure of which or if its both.  I haven't talked to him to see how his platelets were today.  The place he's in is in the top 10 and has excellent reviews.  Travel isn't an option at the moment.  We have a cancer center right here in town where he could get his chemo once his platelets recover...this is just so frustrating...but I will definitely tell him about the Neumega and see what they say.  Thanks so much for your input!
907672 tn?1381025723
You're very welcome.  Hopefully his doctors are aware of what exactly he has (ALL or MLL)  but maybe treatment is the same for both and it doesn't matter anyway?  It is good news that he's being seen by one of the top 10 cancer centers...I'm sure they will take good care of him.  As a lymphoma survivor myself, it gave me great comfort knowing that these larger research hospitals get lots of grant money to extensively research cancer and cancer treatments.

I wish your brother luck on his treatments and feel free to come back to the forum anytime.  

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