I had my fortnightly meeting with my Oncologist yesterday. I quite enjoy visiting him. He’s a nice guy.
We sit down in his office and he asks me how I’m feeling. I tell him I’m feeling good. He asks about the side effects of the treatment and if I’m having trouble with them. I tell him aside from some hiccups, some reflux on the days I’m still hooked up to the 5FU (my take home drug) and general (heavy) tiredness, I’m not experiencing any noticeable side effects. No vomiting, no nausea and no secondary illnesses.
He smiles. Good.
He then tells me that it’s quite remarkable that my body is doing this well. These drugs are potent and I am getting a heavy dose. He tells me the treatment is an important part of what we’re doing here but equally as important is my mental state, how I view the cancer, and ‘what you have on the inside of you…. what you’re made of.’
I then ask him how my bloods are. I want to know.
As I understand it, the tumors expel proteins into the blood stream that are different to any others. These are my ‘cancer markers’. These numbers let us know how things are progressing and whether or not my body is responding to the treatment.
Before I began chemotherapy my CEA readings (blood stream) were 4058.0 ug/L. A normal, cancer free person has less than 3.0
After my first infusion they rose to 4323.0. This sounds bad but it is not uncommon as the tumors often surge after first being hit. They’re kinda pissed off so they react by swelling. It’s very likely that they surged upwards of 5000 before coming back down by the time of the second blood test.
As of today my CEA markers are 3470.0…. a 20% decline.
My bowel also has it’s own markers… CA-19.9. Pre-chemo they were 88.4 (U/mL). A normal, cancer free person has less than 37.
After my first infusion they dropped to 79.0 and as of today they are 68.9…. a 23% drop.
In short…. I’m a responder.
This is good news. The tumors are taking a hit and are doing so after only two infusions. The blood results also show that my liver is functioning 100%…. perfectly. More good news considering it was covered in tumors last time we looked.
So, after we’re done chatting I get up to leave, shake the Doc’s hand and go home.
It takes 3 hours to wipe the smile off my face.
For those of you that have taken up the call to pray for me, this is for you. You are making a difference. Your prayers are powerful and effective.
Please don’t stop….. my life depends on it.