Blood Transfusion or Blood Confusion
BEFORE you read this post. GOOGLE the words, blood transfusion symptoms. You can read some OTHER people’s information about this topic first. Some have indicated that we have other things to worry about. Blood transfusions are big deals. The Jehovah Witnesses will not accept blood even if it means death. They take Blood and blood products very seriously and SO SHOULD YOU.
Last week, we had the option of postponing Isa’s transfusion of packed red blood cells. (The packed RBC has no plasma included, which contains most of the proteins that could lead to a problem, but not all, the red blood cells alone can create reactions.)
Thursday March 19
- Hgb 7.8
- RBC 2.57
- ANC 950
Hemeglobin is a red protein that carries oxygen. Each of its four subunits contains to an iron atom bound to a heme group. The Cincinnati Children’s hospital has a good description of transfusions and the risks involved.
Monday, March 23
- Hgb 7.8
- RBC 2.53
- ANC 600
Thursday, March 26
- Hgb 7.7
- RBC 2.52
- ANC 848
- Allergic Reactions—immune related reactions are caused by a patient’s immune system AGAINST the blood OR the immune system of the donated BLOOD against the patient.
- Fevers—could be caused by a reaction to the donated blood’s proteins found in the white blood cells or plasma. Most often these fevers can be treated.
- Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury—happens quickly either during the infusion or within six hours afterward.
The SUPER DOOPER important number to worry about is around Hgb of around 4. That being said, the amount of oxygen in the system helps fight the cancer cells. Remember CANCER HATES OXYGEN.
At this point, we have decided to wait again on any transfusion. The more of other people’s blood that she gets the greater the risk . Because we have declined the transfusion we will have an extra blood draw to watch her hemolobin. If it drops to about 5, the doctor recommended that we get a transfusion on Tuesday. If not then we will wait until Thursday, the next day that they access the port. From now until Monday we will research alternatives.
In addition to the blood transfusion Isa has received Zofran—an anti-nausea drug, Cytoxan (cyclophoshamide) a bunch of fluid, with potassium and glucose, Mesna—a drug to protect the urinary bladder from the Cytoxan, and Ara-C. We will give Ara-C at home for the next three days along with 6-MP for the next two weeks.. Her port will remain accessed.
What the doctors don’t tell you, there are alternatives to blood transfusions, but they come with their own risks, and sometimes insurance won’t pay for them. They also won’t tell you that you don’t HAVE TO take the transfusion, and they can’t tell you of other non-allopathic alternatives.
Although some may feel that blood transfusions are the least of our worries, there are those who have seen that blood transfusions have an unexpected effect on people. Check out this Time article.
This study describes the usage of transfusions in one oncology practice. Basically the transfusions in the institution studied gave blood around 7.9. Isa was at 7.7 on Thursday. BUT, it was stressing the use of a preemptive medicine to boost red-blood cells Procrit. The drug the doctor mentioned to us was called, Aranesp. We decided against using that medication. One it is not covered by insurance, (so we didn’t really have access to it then did we?) and two, it required many many shots.
RBC are produced based on the amount of oxygen used by the body. The greater the demand for oxygen, the greater the demand for RBCs to carry oxygen. Interestingly the kidneys play a huge role in making this happen.
Another interesting thing, is how the government agencies, like Medicare and Medicaid set standards that can not be met. For example, this article details how medicare states that the medicines that stimulate blood can only be used when the Hgb <10, BUT, YES THIS IS A BIG BUT, the product labeling says that it shouldn’t be used when the Hgb is <10. Hmmmm… Do you see what I see?
And just for fun…click on this link for a surprise.