Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blood blood blood

Blood thoughts:
Ages ago, I decided my oncologist was a vampire.
He always wanted my blood, right from the get-go.
He had his own blood testing lab right there in his office.
The cost of blood tests added up and up and up...

Now, with chemotherapy, one of the drugs I'll be on makes you deficient with red blood cells. Oh boy. More blood blood blood tests plus the focus on food, thank goodness I'm used to both.

A good friend reminded me about this and mentioned how she had a hard time continuing chemo because she was low on her red blood cells... so she tried to eat foods that would build them up.

So, what is good for building red blood cells?
I'm not eating meat but that's not necessary. (I really hope.)


They tell me to eat these:
Iron-rich foods include:
Chicken and turkey
Dried lentils, peas, and beans
Meats (liver is the highest source)
Peanut butter
Whole-grain bread

Other sources include:
Raisins, prunes, and apricots
Spinach, kale, and other greens

I do eat beans and lentils a LOT. Salmon is part of my meals. Plus I'm allowed to eat Ezekial bread- whole grains! Woot. Raisins and apricots, can do. Spinach, kale and other greens? Absolutely yes.
Meats? No no no. Peanut butter? No. Soybeans? Well... I've been trying to avoid soy because of the estrogen factor but recently added back in edamame and miso soup, so I guess that'll do...

Next site: of iron include red meat, organ meat such as kidney and livers, beans, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, dried prunes, dried raisins and egg yolks, according to MedlinePlus.
Sounding similar, phew. BUT NO EGGS. (I miss eggs, just avoiding as well because of the estrogen factor.)

Next site:
Ok, this one has an interesting list:
Eating the right foods can help increase the number of red blood cells in your body. Here are a few of the ways you can eat your way to better blood cell health:
Iron. Food rich in iron can help your body rebuild what it has lost. Lentils and legumes are a great way to get the iron you need and they are healthy for you in many other ways, too.
Copper. This vital mineral can be found in many foods, including shellfish, poultry, liver, whole grains, beans, cherries, chocolate and nuts.
Folic Acid. Long known as a great help for pregnant and nursing mothers, foods that contain folic acid include lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, blackeyed peas and cereals fortified with folic acid.
Vitamin A. This very important vitamin can be found in a multitude of fruits, including grapefruit, mango, watermelon, plums, cantaloupe and apricots.
Vitamin B12. Meat, eggs and fortified cereals are a great way to get plenty of B12 in your diet. Since those on a western diet get plenty of this, a lack of B12 is rare.
Vitamin B6. This vitamin is found in a wide variety of foods, including meats, whole grains and bran, nuts and seeds, fish, vegetables and legumes.

Plus I find their supplement suggestions interesting, don't want to take things that conflict with chemo but...

Sometimes diet isn’t enough to increase red blood cells. In that case, turning to supplements can help your body produce the red blood cells it needs. Here are a few options:
Iron. This is a vital nutrient that your blood cells need to function properly. Women need 18 mg and men need 8 mg of iron per day.
Vitamin B12. Derived from mostly animal foods, B12 can be lacking in vegetarians. Everyone needs 2.4 mcg per day, and a supplement can provide most of that.
Vitamin B6. Women need 1.5 mg of this vitamin each day, while men need a bit more at 1.7 mg. A supplement can provide this, and you can boost the intake with baked potatoes, bananas and fish.
Vitamin E. This vitamin is excellent for good health, including red blood cells. Everyone needs about 15 mg of this per day. However, supplements might provide much more than that, so speak with your doctor about whether that is okay for you.

Similar things though to be honest... looks like I can still survive without meat... besides salmon that is... I refused to take iron supplements in the past though as I noticed it activated my arthritis. Hmm.

Other websites I read from repeated the same things... Hmm.

Other thoughts beyond blood...

One friend and I were talking about how Vitamin D deficiencies could also lead to cancer and how I should have my Vitamin D levels checked before I begin chemo. Hmm. I've requested to have this done on my chemo day- when they take blood from me before...

Another friend told me that she was able to avoid Neuropothy - where you get numb fingers, toes, feet that tingle painfully - side effect of chemo- (yuck) by taking these supplements: Alpha lipoic Acid and L-Glutamine and walking a good amount every day... good to know, right?
Information about that:

Interesting video about exercise practice for those going thru chemo/recovering from cancer treatments:

Think this website is worth spending time at for a while. Good interviews with survivors, etc!
My wonderful sister-in-law suggested I visit a few websites that were inspiring, one written by a friend of hers. Appreciated obsessively reading thru all the posts here: and here:

Appreciating advice.
Appreciating online research.
Appreciating experts.
Hoping I'm not going overboard with all of this.
Just want to survive, thrive and feel like I'm dealing with things with information backing me up....
Short hair is coming tomorrow afternoon... glad to have friends around for it.
Starting Qigong on Tuesday night, hoping friends show up and it is worth the energy. (All about energy, so should be a win!)
Looking like a full week coming up... but full of action taking moments, which is good. Very good.


  1. Oh how you amaze and inspire me, Debbie. I just want you to survive, thrive and deal too. I feel in my heart, in my bones, in my blood, that you will. I wish it were easier. I wish the trials weren't so brutal and long. I can't wait until the day when you are past this and doing nothing but healing. I am cheering for you with all my might as you go along. <3

  2. I appreciate how you are turning this trial into a gift. A gift of focusing on the truly important. Your health. Your family. Your friends. Your passions and joys. Wishing you power, strength, health and joy in the coming days