Trying to make sense of lab results (or, what I do for fun)

Thinking about my various lab results (bloodwork done every chemo day), I was wondering if there were patterns between Week 1 and Week 2 that I wasn’t seeing, or patterns that would explain the bouncing of my red blood cell count.  It didn’t seem predictable at all, though I would have predicted something like: best on Week 1 (after 2 weeks without chemo) and worse on Week 2 (only 1 week after a dose of chemo).  But then blood cells have their own life cycle.  So I wanted to see if anything made sense.  AND our mathematician friends were visiting.  The result: some amusing geeking out in Excel and then Google Charts at the dining table, and this:


WBC=white blood cell count, RBC=red blood cell count, HGB=hemoglobin, AST & ALT are liver enzymes.  Values for Week 1 and Week 2 of the chemo cycle are shown in matching pairs of colors–bright and lighter.  (Values were normalized so they would all show nicely on the same graph.)  Pretty, huh?  Next it would be fun to graph them all in relation to their normal values, somehow.

3 thoughts on “Trying to make sense of lab results (or, what I do for fun)

  1. Steve Sawin

    Ellen I think if you had the normal range and the data for all 10 variables the graph would be too crowded to get info out of. If you just want to look at one variable at a time we should graph the original variable and the max and min without normalizing. If you wanted to compare two or three variables to each other and their normal ranges, we should normalize it to fit them on the same graph. Let me know what seems most interesting to you and I would love to help set you up.

    • ekhb

      Ah-hah, 50% of my mathematician friends out themselves! Half outs himself? Anyway…yes, of course you’re right. Next time we need a project, let’s map both liver enzymes with their ranges of normal, both of which would fit on the same graph. Or, we could bake cookies.

  2. David

    That’s cool and interesting, Ellen!

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