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Louise Sivak, M.D.
Louise Sivak, M.D., Doctor
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3499
Experience:  Pediatrician, Board-certified in Ped Hematology/Oncology
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MY 16 MONTH GRANDSON HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH OPTIC NERVE LYM

Customer Question

MY 16 MONTH GRANDSON HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH OPTIC NERVE LYMPHOMA. TREATMENT IS CHEMO FOR 10 WEEKES ONCE A WEEK THEN 2 WEEKS OFF AND 4 WEEKS ON. HE BEGAN TREATMENT IN FEBRUARY. SO FAR HE HAS HAD 3 TREATMENTS. WHEN HE WENT FOR HIS REGULAR TREATMENT WE WERE TOLD HIS WHITE BLOOD CELLS WERE TOO LOW AND HE WOULD NOT RECEIVE CHEMO THAT WEEK. THE NEXT WEEK, IT WAS THE SAME. WHITE BLOOD CELLS TOO LOW, NO TREATMENT THIS WEEK EITHER. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? ARE THE TREATMENTS DOING WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO? HIS EYELID IS NOW OPEN, BUT HIS EYE IS PERTURDING JUST AS MUCH NOW A IT DID BEFORE. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON. PLEASE GIVE ME ANSWERS AT TO WHAT IS GOING, WHAT THE DOCTORS ARE EXPECTING TO HAPPEN WITH THIS TREATMENT AND WHAT ARE WE TO EXPECT. I WANT AN UP FRONT ANSWER NO SUGAR COATING.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Louise Sivak, M.D. replied 6 years ago.

Hello,

I am very sorry your grandson has lymphoma.

It is not unusual for chemotherapy treatments for lymphoma (or any cancer) to have to be delayed due to low white blood cell, red blood cell, and/or platelet counts. Chemotherapy medicines kill rapidly dividing cells in the body, including tumor cells, normal young cells in the bone marrow, and the cells that line the GI tract. If chemo is given when the blood counts are too low, the risk of infection or severe bleeding is extremely high. All protocols (treatment plans) have specific guidelines as to what the normal blood counts must be to give the next round (doses) of medicines.

This lowering of normal blood counts does not mean the treatment either is or is not working for the lymphoma. The fact that your grandson's eyelid is more fully open is a good sign. His doctors will probably do another scan (likely an MRI or CT scan) after his first 10 weeks of chemo to see how much the tumor has shrunk.

I hope this helps to answer some of your questions, and please tell me if you have additional questions.

I do wish your grandson the best.

Louise Sivak, M.D.