Posted by: Jenn | February 1, 2009

Neutropenia and Alopecia (translation: No white blood cells and my hair is falling out)

Every Thursday, I go to the University of Michigan clinic around the corner from my house and have my blood drawn. I have a standing order for a CBC (complete blood count). The chemotherapy kills rapidly dividing cells, including the ones in my bone marrow that make blood cells. Last Thursday, I reached a point where I have almost no white blood cells, particularly neutrophils. This means that my body has no way to fight an infection. I’m supposed to avoid crowded places, sick people, anything that could give me an infection. If I have a fever over 100.5 degrees, I’m supposed to proceed immediately to the Emergency Room to be admitted for IV antibiotics. I’m going to be this way for a few days during every chemo cycle. It’s going to be hard to avoid infection with a 3-year-old in the house!

The other recent development is that my hair has finally started falling out. This is bothering me more than I thought it would. I ordered some hats and stuff the other day, they should be here early next week. I didn’t think that a wig would be a good idea because Ethan is just starting to grab things, but I’m reconsidering. I work with a girl who has alopecia and she has offered to take me to a couple of her favorite wig shops. I think I’m going to take her up on it next week. It can’t hurt to try a couple on, right?



  1. I think taking our work pal up on her offer to shop is a great idea! She’s wearing a curly red one today and looks quite sassy!

  2. Hi Sweetie, hang in there. I’m worrying for you, and praying for you. Stay strong. We’re all hear when you need us.

    love dad

  3. Dear Jenn,
    You are an amazing women. I know that you have the strength and incentive to beat this as you have 2 of the most beautiful children ever.

    Prayers and a big hug from Japan!

    Odaiji ni (Take Care of yourself)

  4. Your boys are adorable – (I haven’t met the baby, yet!) and you look great in this picture… If you like a hat, wear a hat. If you like scarfs, wear scarfs. If you like the Sinead look go for it, but I was on an advisory board for several years for a woman owned business — a wig salon in Needham (who knew?) — and I can tell you that for MANY folks — wigs are a great option, too. You are in my thoughts every day… Be good to yourself!


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