After a while, you go crazy looking at numbers: lab results, survival rates, syndrome-symptom percentages; yet none of these numbers ever unlock any absolutes. When you have a rare disease, it's largely guesswork - and you just have to hope that your doctor is a good guesser.
Because the doctors are really shooting in the dark a lot of the time with carcinoid cancer, I've learned that it's important to become an active participant in your own medical care, rather than a passive recipient. This is why I get copies of EVERYTHING and spend the time going over the reports - to help me better understand and see my condition more clearly. I know my latest lab tests are only guideposts and not definitive answers, but right now I'll take any guidance I can get.
Lab ResultsThere were only 3 minor "flags" on my recent lab work up: low hemoglobin, low MCHC, and high neutrophils. None of these "abnormal" results are off the charts - so I'm not going to read too much into the results, but I am not going to ignore them either. I think more useful than the raw numbers may be to compare my results from this last set of blood work to my 2/19/10 lab results (pre-tumor removal).
Low Hemoglobin Count2/19/10: hemoglobin 11.6 g/dl
Hemoglobin measures the concentration of the oxygen in our blood. Low hemoglobin numbers can be caused by a variety of things including anemia, thyroid problems, an enlarged spleen or cancer. Generally, it's primary cause is anemia. It's important to note, however, that some healthy women have naturally low hemoglobin counts - so a slightly lower hemoglobin count may mean absolutely nothing at all. "Low hemoglobin" is anything lower than 12 grams per deciliter for women. (Mayo Clinic)
3/8/11: hemoglobin 10.7 g/dl
Low MCHC Count2/19/10: MCHC 31.9%
MCHC stands for "mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration), and it measures the amount of hemoglobin in red blood cells, and uses both HGB and HCT to calculate its range. Low levels of MCHC indicate anemia. "Normal MCHC" is anything in the range of 32.0-36.0%
3/8/11: MCHC 31.4%
High Neutrophils Count2/19/10: neutrophils 64
Neutrophils are made in the bone marrow, and are mature white blood cells. An abnormally high concentration of neutrophils can be caused by an acute bacterial infection, inflammatory disease, or spread of cancer in the body."Normal neutrophils" is anything in the range 40-74
3/8/11: neutrophils 76
So in total - nothing earth shattering or ground breaking; just a few more little pieces to a massive puzzle.
* On a positive note, since Gary and I changed our eating habits, we both lowered our LDL cholesterol from "high" to "ideal" levels.