My white blood count (WBC) registered low in my recent blood test so I’m grounded for a few days. No meeting friends at restaurants. No church or grocery shopping this weekend. No wedding tomorrow night. Too many germs about for someone in my state of caducity.

The normal range for a WBC is from 3.5 to 10.6 K/mcl – whatever that means. My count is 3.3 – that means my immune system is in the crapper.

The technical name for white blood cells is leukocytes and a low WBC is called leukopenia, which in my case is caused by chemotherapy. I’m right on schedule in that the WBC usually tanks between 7 and 14 days after treatment, referred to as the nadir.

Wikimedia Commons
A scanning electron microscope image of normal circulating human blood. In addition to the irregularly shaped leukocytes, both red blood cells and many small disc-shaped platelets are visible. Source: Wikimedia Commons


Blood Test (sans needle) – True or False

1. There are half a million white blood cells in every drop of human blood.
2. White blood cells live a few weeks but red blood cells live about four months.
3. Your white blood count is usually lower in the morning than the afternoon.
4. White blood cells are formed from bone marrow stem cells.
5. Smoking may cause an increase in white blood cells.
6. White blood cells are colorless because they don’t contain hemoglobin.
7. About 7 % of your body weight is blood (7-9 quarts in the average adult).
8. When white blood cells die they are destroyed by other white blood cells.
9. Dr. Spock’s blood was green because it contained copper.
10. There is no blood in Blood Pudding.

3 thoughts on “Grounded

  1. Yo Mike!

    Let me give you a heads up. My WBC gets down to 0.8 one week after chemo and I feel like you know what. I am fatigued, and dragging. Because I work in a hosp I cannot work when the WBC is less that 3,000 cu/mm, or my neutrophil count is less than 1500 cu/mm. I get a prescription for Levaquin and by the next day my WBC is up to over 3,500, and neuts over 1500. This past round I didn’t call the oncologist, so didn’t have the WBC done, but it took longer for me to feel better without the antibiotic. I also ran a low fever, and took tylenol. Also I hope they told you when you have neutropenia to not eat fresh veggies, and fruits, undercooked meats, raw eggs. This time I’ll call the Dr. when I feel like the WBC is dropping. That should be Wed 9/3- the same day as my chest CT. Getting the WBC back up is crucial, ever since round 3 I have had to get a shot of Neulasta the day following chemo. TAke care, and don’t forget to challenge the Dr. it keeps him/her on their toes.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing and your wonderful writing ability to make it rich and riveting. So much to learn about cancer and the journey with Jesus followers is precious to me. I pray for you, complete healing, your family and for God to receive all the GLORY!
    Jan (Exec. Dir. Glenwood Springs PRC)

  3. 1. T
    2. F for WBC and T for RBC
    3. T
    4. T
    5. T
    6. T
    7. T
    8. F – they become snot
    9. T
    10. F
    Recipe from a forum


    * 1 quart pig’s blood
    * 12 ounces bread crumbs
    * 1/2 lb. suet
    * Salt and pepper, to taste
    * 1 quart milk
    * 1 cup cooked barley
    * 1 cup dry rolled oats
    * 1 ounce ground mint

    Mix all ingredients together in a bowl; pour into a large kettle or Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Pour into a wide shallow bowl and season again if necessary. Chill thoroughly, until firm. When cold it may be cut into slices and fried.

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