Sunday, August 3, 2008

The City of Blooderly Love

Quick: Name the three primary components of the blood.

If you said white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets, you've been paying attention. If not, you may need to pick up a copy of Blood for Dummies.

I'll bet most of you didn't know (and probably don't care) that the white blood cells have six major components. Here they are, along with their usual percentage composition in the WBCs:

  • Neutrophils 50 - 70%
  • Eosinophils 1 - 3%
  • Basophils .4 - 1%
  • Bands 3 - 5%
  • Monocytes 4 - 6%
  • Lymphocytes 25 - 35%
(Totals should add up to 100%.)

What I love about these names are the three "phils," or the Three Amigos of the white blood, as I like to call 'em. The "phil" comes from the Greek "philos" (not to be confused with phyllo dough) for love. It's the same root as in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.

Now, if you're still awake, let me review absolute values, a number derived by multiplying the percentage times the total WBC, which is normally between 4,500 and 10,000.

Just to give you an idea about how high my eosinophils have been, the normal absolute value is between 100 and 300. My percentage has been as high as 55% with a total WBC count of nearly 20,000. That means that my absolute value has topped 11,000, about 36 times the norm. A count of 1,500 is considered a red flag, and mine has been seven times that high.

I'm not exaggerating when I talk about my whacky eosinophils being out-of-control. Studying the Greek origins and understanding the terminology is my simple way of restoring a little order - and a little love - to my baffling counts and symptoms.


Nancy said...

WHAT THE HECK??? Your numbers are really out of whack. I'm so sorry Susan. I wish there were something I could do to help out!

Any word on the Bronchoscopy? I guess you'll find out tomorrow. I'm sitting on pins and needles. Please give me a buzz if you get some downtime tomorrow while waiting for appointments. Actually, I'm pretty free tomorrow. I'd be happy to take you to COH!!! Please, please let me! You have my number. Or better yet, I'll call you in the morning. I could even accompany you to your appointments. It's good to have a second pair of ears and a shoulder to lean on!! : ) (or someone to push a wheelchair!)

Take it easy... talk to you in the a.m. love, nancy

Mrs. Duck said...

I second Nancy -- in fact, I'm sure we're all on pins and needles. I hope you find out today what's causing your eosinophilia, and how to fix it.
Love, Mrs. Duck

Susan C said...

We may not have any more meaningful data until the lab biopsy returns on Tuesday. So keep sitting on those pins and needles with me just a little longer. : )

If it's hypereosinophilia, we'll probably never know the why. As a matter of fact, the long name for the disease is preceded by "idiopathic," meaning unknown origins.

Mrs. Duck said...

I'm still sitting on them with you. Are you back on prednisone?