Friday, August 22, 2008

Clarification on Neupogen

I had a question this morning on Neupogen and my counts, so I'll try to add a bit more information here. Neupogen, also called Filgrastim, GCSF, or simply G, stimulates the bone marrow to produce more white cells. It is frequently used as a supplemental therapy for chemo patients because of the way chemo attacks the body. Cancer cells are fast-multiplying, so chemo is designed to attack fast-multiplying cells. This includes, in addition to the bad guys, hair cells, fingernail cells, inside-of-the-mouth cells, and bone marrow cells. A couple decades ago, were I to be on the same chemo protocol without the benefit of Neupogen, I would probably have to be hospitalized because my white cell count, and therefore my immune system, would be so compromised. My experience with the Neupogen has typically, both this time around and last time, seven years ago, given me a hugely high white cell count—26,000-76,000, when normal is 4.5-11 or something like that. So when I saw my blood test results yesterday and, even with the Neupogen shots every day, it was normal, I knew that it was clear that the bone marrow stimulation was necessary. Now, does bone marrow stimulation mean that chemo is attacking the bone marrow all the more? Maybe, I don't know. But nevertheless, the stimulation is creating enough white cells to keep me at home. And since the insurance company is paying the $1700 per week, I'm happy to take it as long as I need to.

No comments: