Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blood Counts, Vitamin D

I went for my herceptin infusion yesterday. I am 3 weeks post chemo. My blood counts are still very poor. They said it may take some time for them to get into the normal range and up to a year for them to get where they were before I started chemo. They also told me it will take at least 8 weeks for the chemo drugs to clear out of my body. It makes me feel a little better that there is a reason I feel this way and my lack of energy is not just from being lazy. They said it is surprising I am doing as much as I am. That makes me feel a bit better too. I am working, taking care of Julianna and trying to walk as much as I can.

Yesterday after work Julianna and I walked up to the duck pond. She was in the stroller. It is a little over 2 miles for the round trip. She loved it! The geese went after her and then the swan went after the geese. They all wanted the stale saltines we brought for them. I was a bit wiped after we got home but I know I need to keep doing the walks.

I was also told that my vitamin D level is extremely low. It was also low before I started the chemo. They do not give supplements during chemo. My level was 14. The normal level should be between 30 and 100.

There is a high correlation between low vitamin D levels and breast cancer. Almost all pre-menapausal women with breast cancer have very low vitamin D levels. I knew this and had been taking vitamin D before I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was taking prenatal vitamins. They told me it has nothing to do with the foods or supplements I was taking. The issue is that my body is not metabolizing it correctly. The normal recommended daily allowance for vitamin D for adults is 200 iu daily. I will now be taking 1000 iu daily and 50,000 iu once a week. They will continue to monitor my levels and if it doesn't go up they will give me intravenous vitamin D.

Breast cancer recurrence is much more likely if vitamin D levels are low. They will try to keep my level up to reduce my risk of the cancer coming back. My chemo office said all women, especially those at high risk for breast cancer, should have a blood level done for vitamin D. It isn't enough to just take an over the counter supplement. If it is low because you are not metabolizing it correctly you need very high, prescription only vitamin D.

I wish I had known my level a few years ago, maybe this whole thing could have been prevented. Obviously this is not the only thing that caused my breast cancer. They are not really sure exactly what does. But, it was surely a contributing factor. Maybe someone reading this will find out their level is low and prevent it themselves. If you google vitamin D and breast cancer you will find tons of informative articles.

Thanks everyone for all the support. My hair is still doing great. My eyebrows are pretty bad. I may draw them on like Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest. LOL!

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