Chat Now!   Member Gallery    Member Articles    Games   Member Groups   Member Blogs   Health News    Bored?

Author Topic: Elevated White Blood Count of 12.1k; fear worst. How to Accept just infection?  (Read 5157 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline AnxietyGuy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Rec's: 0
  • Gender: Male
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
So, I had a routine physical and I feel fine. Blood tests showed a slightly elevated white blood count of 12.1 (range is like 4-11). I panicked and paid online on a Doctor website and asked TWO doctors at about $20 and they both said likely infection.

I asked my own family physician and he said infection. I even said leukemia and he said 'ranges we see with leukemia are 25-35k'.

I'm tempted to ask for more tests, but I've been told by three doctors it's likely due to infection. I had a burn on my arm that was healing, maybe that caused it.

I read the posted thread 'accepting the diagnosis'. What's your recommendation to me everyone? How do I 'LET THIS GO' sort to speak and live my life without constant googling and living in fear. I go back in a month to see if my red throat and nose go away (allergies likely).

Tips? I don't want to bug the doctor and reassurance seek.
Bookmark and Share

Offline vardnas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1679
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 96
  • Gender: Female
    • Poke This Member
I'm tempted to ask for more tests, but I've been told by three doctors it's likely due to infection. I had a burn on my arm that was healing, maybe that caused it.

I read the posted thread 'accepting the diagnosis'. What's your recommendation to me everyone? How do I 'LET THIS GO' sort to speak and live my life without constant googling and living in fear. I go back in a month to see if my red throat and nose go away (allergies likely).

Tips? I don't want to bug the doctor and reassurance seek.

AnxietyGuy,

You've got a pretty good grasp, I think, of what will help you or not help you right now. The immune system absolutely has to work harder to take care of burn wounds. But accepting the fact that it's a simple infection and not something more serious ... that's difficult, and it's not an automatic thing, but you can do it.

Look at it this way:  THREE doctors have already they think you're fine. Do you REALLY think another trip to the doctor is going to make you feel better or reduce your fear? Of course it's not. You ask how you not google and obsess? Well, you CHOOSE not to, but it's extremely difficult to just quit cold turkey or think you can just muster up enough will power to not be afraid. It doesn't work that way.

If googling and seeking reassurance and running to the doctor are all NEGATIVE reinforcement behaviors, then logic would dictate that as you stop engaging in these behaviors, you need to replace them with POSITIVE reinforcement behaviors. This takes a while to learn, but there are a variety of things you can start to do to help yourself down that path. Have you sought the help of a counselor or therapist? CBT is helpful, as is practice distraction techniques when you start to feel anxious. Exercise, meditation, deep breathing—all of these help to take the edge off. But really, you're not going to start to get out from under this until you get to the root cause for what's causing you to fixate on your health.

In the here and now, don't do anything as it relates to your WBC count. Don't go to the doctor, don't PAY MONEY for online services to find answers, try not to google. Just wait until you go back in a month and see what happens. In the meantime, try seeking out some help for your anxiety.
Bookmark and Share
In case anyone is still confused:  googling your symptoms will cause you to remain in a state of extreme anxiety. Stepping away from the internet is the first step toward lasting peace.

Offline AnxietyGuy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Rec's: 0
  • Gender: Male
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
That's a great post Vardnas, I thank you. He doesn't even plan to retest the blood work as he said it's likely infection and 12.1 is just slightly elevated anyhow. I read on here somewhere to let the Doctors lead me, and not lead the doctors; in other words, don't ask for tests unless he wants them.

Accepting that it's just an infection with the 12.1 and higher percentage of neutrophils and lower lymphocytes is really hard for me. I always catastrophize things.

What are the distraction techniques you mention? When I start worrying, how do I turn my brain towards something positive?
Bookmark and Share

Offline vardnas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1679
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 96
  • Gender: Female
    • Poke This Member
I find it best, when I start to worry, to get up and do something. Disengage with the computer and do something like go for a walk, or do some chores, or if you're at work, take a walk to the bathroom or chat with a coworker. Hobbies that involve both the body and the mind are helpful—so cooking, gardening, doing puzzles, painting/drawing, these kinds of thing—anything that distracts the mind long enough so that you don't fall down the rabbit hole of googling. This isn't an exact science or anything, and it doesn't mean you'll feel amazing or that the anxiety won't be there, but it should help you from panicking and running to the internet.

I had one therapist tell me that when I started to get scared, to think about a time in my life that was exciting or I had the chance to do something cool/out of the ordinary. So, for instance, I'd think about a trip I took or a time I had some personal or professional achievement, etc.

Remember, the anxiety you're feeling is just the body's NORMAL reaction to stress. We don't help it by catastrophizing, and we certainly don't help it with the negative reinforcement behaviors. So it will take you quite a while (it was months for me) of doing all the "right things" to really feel better, because those stress hormones that are so high in your body need to be brought back down to normal levels. But, it can be done, as I and others on the AZ can attest.
Bookmark and Share
In case anyone is still confused:  googling your symptoms will cause you to remain in a state of extreme anxiety. Stepping away from the internet is the first step toward lasting peace.

Offline AnxietyGuy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Rec's: 0
  • Gender: Male
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
Wow, great idea about thinking of happy moments or something to redirect the mind. I do CBT, but my therapist uses a lot of exposure therapy that doesn't work for me too well.

He explained something well to me about this situation though, he said with OCD and Health Anxiety we take the .00000001 percent chance and go 'well, there's still a chance'. Instead of taking it rationally that 3 doctors, 2 online, and 1 in person all told me that it was likely just an infection. My Doctor told me that when he see's leukemia it's like 25k-35k, not 1 over the reference range.

Another doctor online said that the range is only good for 2/3 of people, which I think she meant that 12 might be my high/ normal range anyhow. My doctor gave me antibiotics because he said my nose is red and throat shows irritation and I had some congestion. He had little concern over a slightly elevated WBC.

You're right about Google. We can find what we want to find when we try, then it makes our fears worse. I'll try the redirecting.

Health Anxiety is an odd thing. When I read other people's post on here I understand where they are coming from, but realize for them that the health issue they're worrying about is really not remotely likely. I'm sure some of you are reading mine and thinking the same thing, that I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill.
Bookmark and Share

Offline judi957

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 40
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 0
  • Gender: Female
  • Mood: Worried
    Worried
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
I had the same thing happen to me in December.  I had a slightly elevated whte blood count from my yearly CBC from gastro doctor.  I think it was 12.3.  Doctor said it was an infection somewhere-something as simple as an allergy. I know I have allergies so didn't think another thing about it.  A month later, I had another CBC done for another doctor who was checking my lipids, but ordered a CBC again but not at my wanting it.   Guess what.  The white blood count was back to normal.   :yes:  So, yours is probably just from the burn on your arm.  Those white blood cells have to work to make you better.   Take a deep breath.  You are fine.
Bookmark and Share

Offline vardnas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1679
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 96
  • Gender: Female
    • Poke This Member
Health Anxiety is an odd thing. When I read other people's post on here I understand where they are coming from, but realize for them that the health issue they're worrying about is really not remotely likely. I'm sure some of you are reading mine and thinking the same thing, that I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Yes, it's ALWAYS like that. That's why people will be so helpful in their replies to others, but their own posts are panicky and irrational. Go figure.

I think you've got a really good logical grasp on what's going on and I feel confident for you that you'll find your way out from under the scepter of anxiety. If CBT doesn't work for you, try something different. Talk therapy really worked well for me. I hear self-help books can also be beneficial. Are you active at all? Exercise is a BIG stress reliever.
Bookmark and Share
In case anyone is still confused:  googling your symptoms will cause you to remain in a state of extreme anxiety. Stepping away from the internet is the first step toward lasting peace.

Offline dancer67

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1349
  • Rec's: 6
    • Poke This Member
My WBC is always elevated. Runs between 11.1-13.5. It freaked me out of course because it kept coming back high and I knew I wasn't sick. My hematologist told me it was because I was a smoker. I also asked him if I had leukemia, and he said no way(He is also an oncologist), that your WBC is usually 25 or above. I have had elevated WBC's for almost 4 years and I am still here.
Bookmark and Share

Offline mel4962

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 343
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 3
  • Gender: Female
  • Mood: Content
    Content
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
Hi there, neutrophils are usually elevated in bacterial infections or from anxiety, stress, or exersice.  if your heart was beating fast at the dr before the blood draw this can artificially inflate the number of circulating neutrophils in the blood stream which in return will raise your total wbc.  i also have an elevated wbc between 11 and 14 as well.  i was sent to a hemotologist, and he tested me for leukemia and all sorts of other things. i had so many crazy blood tests...a FISH test, brcbar chromosomal test, LAP score test, c reactive protein test, and perepheral smear.....  all tests came back normal. thank the lord.  he said it is almost certainly from being anxious during the blood draw and from smoking.  he also said some people just have a :normal: higher blood count. 
Bookmark and Share

Offline AnxietyGuy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Rec's: 0
  • Gender: Male
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
My WBC is always elevated. Runs between 11.1-13.5. It freaked me out of course because it kept coming back high and I knew I wasn't sick. My hematologist told me it was because I was a smoker. I also asked him if I had leukemia, and he said no way(He is also an oncologist), that your WBC is usually 25 or above. I have had elevated WBC's for almost 4 years and I am still here.

You were referred to a Hematologist for such a low WBC? My Doctor doesn't seem at all concerned about my WBC, prescribed me antibiotics in fact.

Also, he did test my C-Reactive Protein as the OP mentioned and that was perfect. I guess I shouldn't freak out over this... sounds like my high neutrophils and elvated 12.1 blood coun't isn't leukemia ranges.
Bookmark and Share

Offline AnxietyGuy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Rec's: 0
  • Gender: Male
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
The hematologist referrals you both mentioned for a WBC under 13 is concerning. Was there other circumstances?

In a panic  :traurig001:
Bookmark and Share

Offline AnxietyGuy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Rec's: 0
  • Gender: Male
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
Mods; can you delete my account? 150 views and a few replies. 

Thanks
Bookmark and Share

Offline AnxietyGuy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Rec's: 0
  • Gender: Male
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
Disregard thread all
Bookmark and Share

Offline sixpack

  • no illogical conclusions please
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16405
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 214
  • Gender: Female
  • Mood: Thoughtful
    Thoughtful
  • anxiety lies, don't listen
    • Poke This Member
Mods; can you delete my account? 150 views and a few replies. 

Thanks

you want your account deleted because you haven't had enough replies?

that is a bit over reactive, imo.

remember people don't always post as the don't have anything to say--like they don't have any knowledge on the subject. 
some people look at all post and just don't respond.

AND the most important:  only members can respond to threads.  There are often 200 or 300+ "guests" viewing the hypo board.  If they read your thread, the post count will go up.  So you may end up, at some point, with 300 views and maybe only 30 were members.  Then again you can not expect every member to answer a thread.  Holy cow, if I answered every thread I read, I wouldn't do anything but sit at my computer all day responding to people.  IMO, you need to get a bit more realistic here.



now onto our minorly elevated white count.    you have some sort of infection or were anxious or had any other number of things that other members have mentioned.  You've consulted three doctors---two online which looks very HA-like  :winking0008:--and got the answer infection.  another poster had a doc that sent the person to a hematologist and this has sent you into a panic.  WHY did the doc do this?  Likely  for one of two reasons.  1. the person insisted on it (the good ole peace of mind)  or 2. the doc was being horrendously over cautious.

you don't need a hematologist. 

piece of advice that will do you a world of good----------next time you have bloodwork done, don't get the results sent to you and don't look them up online.  when you see the doc to get the results from the doc----   SAY:  doc I tend to catastrophize things.  So please only tell me things that YOU are concerned about.  Minor blips in my bloodwork will only set me off on disease fears. 
Bookmark and Share
MOST anxiety occurs on a subconscious level.  JUST because you don't feel consciously anxious or had a day or two of calm doesn't mean your mind & body are relaxed.  It can take months of reduced anxiety before a body goes back to a more non-reactive state

Offline vardnas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1679
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 96
  • Gender: Female
    • Poke This Member

piece of advice that will do you a world of good----------next time you have bloodwork done, don't get the results sent to you and don't look them up online.  when you see the doc to get the results from the doc----   SAY:  doc I tend to catastrophize things.  So please only tell me things that YOU are concerned about.  Minor blips in my bloodwork will only set me off on disease fears. 

Very good advice from sixpack!

Yes, AnxietyGuy, I'm curious too as to why you want your thread/account deleted. I think we're trying to help you as best we know how. It's difficult to attend to everyone as much as they want to be attended to, unfortunately.

Who knows why the other poster was referred to a hematologist. The point is YOUR DOCTOR has not expressed concern. Plus you have some kind of respiratory infection and a burn wound that's healing. There's NOTHING in your test results that are pointing to anything sinister. The problem here is that you are CHOOSING to continue freaking out about it.

So the real question becomes:  what are you willing to do about that? Getting your anxiety under control is entirely up to you, but catastrophizing not only your symptoms but how you're responded to on here is NOT helping, I can tell you that much for sure. We feel for you, though, we do—we wouldn't be posting if we didn't—but at a certain point, YOU'VE got to take responsibility for how you respond to your own anxiety, full stop.
Bookmark and Share
In case anyone is still confused:  googling your symptoms will cause you to remain in a state of extreme anxiety. Stepping away from the internet is the first step toward lasting peace.

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
9 Replies
3202 Views
Last post August 14, 2007, 06:40:20 AM
by Eva62
16 Replies
8499 Views
Last post February 05, 2011, 09:29:23 AM
by Miffy Monster
5 Replies
4739 Views
Last post February 25, 2011, 03:23:31 PM
by floridaguy65
7 Replies
20846 Views
Last post June 02, 2011, 01:03:52 AM
by smithduke
2 Replies
1999 Views
Last post July 12, 2011, 11:06:28 AM
by mrmanic

anything