Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

MBC and lowered immunity


My white blood cell count is down, neutrophils are down… not that I am sure what that even means, but I do know that my immune system isn't doing so great. Three head colds since December, and they linger and get harder to shake. I now mask up everywhere I go where I'm going to be in crowds. I take public transit to get back and forth to work, work in a large office building… it is difficult not to fret about picking up more viruses.

How do the rest of you find your immune resilience? Up and down? Does it ever improve? What are your coping strategies?


  • vlnrph
    vlnrph Member Posts: 493

    Neutrophils are infection fighters. They recognize invaders, inactivating them by eating their nasty little “bodies”. I avoided COVID until Christmas 2022 by isolating myself and masking when leaving the house which I still do. With college kids home for the holidays and spreading viruses, I think my husband picked it up at the gym probably through his eyes.

    Then I got it. We took Paxlovid so the illness was not too bad. Both retired, it’s easy for us to shop when crowds are lighter mid-week. We watch church on youtube. Some chemotherapies allow your bone marrow to recover and produce an adequate amount of red (relieving anemia) and white cells+platelets. Those should be measured via periodic blood draws.

    Another way of controlling exposure is frequent hand washing (when did we hear that before?). I keep a small bottle of antiseptic gel in my purse in case soap & water are unavailable. You can also support your immune system by consuming healthy meals. Perhaps taking certain vitamins and/or supplements might help but check with your MD or a dietitian first.

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,145

    Doodler—- When I saw the topic of this Thread I had to respond. I am the germaphobe on this site.

    A little history…. I started Ibrance/Letrozole in 2017. I see you are on Kisqali, a sister of Ibrance. My white counts dived (I was on the highest dose of Ibrance). My MO at the time freaked out. I don't think he was used to the medicine Ibrance. He immediately stopped the Ibrance for a month (if I remember correctly) and put me back on at the LOWEST dose. He told me to be VERY careful of any illnesses. The entire time I was on Ibrance (4 years, at the lowest dose) my white counts stayed low— WBC 1.0-2.0 and ANC around 700-800. Of course, I was cautious— masking before masking was a thing. Then came Covid and I stayed in my house.

    Fast forward to now…. I am on Lynparza. My WBC's stay around 2.0 and ANC around 1400. I still mask in public, have been attending church via watching online during the winter months (I will go back to church in the summer, but maybe still mask), do not go to restaurants, pretty much VERY cautious still. I wash my hands as soon as I get home from being out. I have hand sanitizer in my purse. Unlike you, I do not work anymore (retired in 2019), so I don't HAVE to be on a job.

    But… I have only had Covid once (Dec 2023), and I don't have colds or sicknesses.

    I take being immunocompromised very seriously. Maybe too seriously. Maybe I need to throw caution to the wind and live more. But I don't want something like RSV or Influenza to take me out when I fight so hard against the cancer. And I just don't want to be sick, as I feel bad enough with the side effects of the meds.

    So there is my 2 cents worth, as a major germaphobe. LOL.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,207
    edited March 8

    doodler, I imagine it’s tough to keep germs at bay when you take public transit to work and work in a large building. I agree with vlnrph that hand washing is important. It is the first thing I do when I walk in my house, and I wash until I’m done saying the full alphabet in my mind.

    Also, do you get enough sleep? I think that helps our immune system, and not just sleep but taking breaks and resting. I saw another post where you just had five rounds of radiation, and that will leave a person extremely fatigued. Please give yourself time to recover, and I’m not saying a day or a weekend, but it may take weeks to fully recover. Allow your body to heal. Self care is important.

    I also learned to start keeping thing simple and look for ways to eliminate stress. One of my favorite sayings is “Work smarter, not harder.” Don’t try to keep doing all things the same way as you did before your diagnosis. Take time to assess your lifestyle, see what works, try to eliminate some things that are no longer necessary. and see if you need to make some adjustments on how well you take care of yourself. Practice self kindness. Often as women we are too busy taking care of everyone and everything else and shortchange ourselves. It looks like you are very newly diagnosed with mbc, so take extra special care in treating yourself well. It doesn’t all happen overnight, but making small daily changes can truly make a difference.