Treatment 10 of 12 (11/15/12)

Good News and not-so-good news

Today’s visit started with the good news from the doctor’s assistant.  The CT scan from Monday 11/12 showed that the 3mm lung nodule has shrunk to a negligible size — it is barely visible on this latest scan.  That means I don’t need surgery in the near future. Yay!

The CEA test results were not immediately available when we were meeting with the doctor’s assistant. Then the doctor came in and gave us some not-so-good news.  The CEA Level climbed to 13.3.  He was especially concerned because this climb occurred while taking a break from chemo.  He also pointed out that the CEA level correlates with cancer activity in my case (e.g. the levels were higher pre-surgeries and came down considerably post-surgeries).  Given this correlation, he is concerned that the elevated CEA level is indicative of cancer activity.  However, I have recently completed scans (PET and two CT scans) and no cancer was visible on these scans.  He did say that there could be tumor activity in the abdomen but that is unlikely. His final recommendation was to complete the next three chemo treatments (hopefully with the oxaliplatin drug) and monitor the CEA levels every two weeks.  So that is the current plan.

The following chart shows my CEA levels since they have started testing:

It is important to point out that cancer blood markers like CEA are not 100% reliable.  They have been known to rise and fall related to non-cancer activity as well.  So we need to watch this marker while keeping a proper perspective. CT and PET scans are the more reliable way to find and verify cancer activity and elevated CEA simply means we will watch the scans very closely.

Update on personal items:

Connie, Tony, and I went to Chicago and saw Kinky Boots.  The production was excellent and if you have an opportunity to see it I highly recommend. We had dinner with Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots producer) and Tony was elated to have had this time together.

Connie and I went to Seattle.  I attended PASS Summit 2012 and it proved to be a very captivating summit once again.  The presenters at this conference really make it a valuable learning forum.  Connie and I also enjoyed the evenings as well.  We definitely ate too much good food and the time together was very relaxing and restful.

Bryce started basketball and that keeps us active as well.  So far they have played three different games.  The team is still looking for their first win but they have been improving and learning each week and I’m hopeful some wins will be found soon.

Connie and I have been enjoying a new app on our phones.  It is called YouVersion and it is a free, online Bible.  I highly recommend this app as it includes various plans for reading the Bible.  The plans organize some short readings and include pasture comments about the various passages. I think the plans are a really captivating and educational way to read and learn from the bible.

So once again, I thank you all for your prayers and well-wishes.  And I especially thank my friend Kathy for reminding me that this cancer fight is more of a marathon than it is a sprint.  I think I mentioned this in an earlier blog but the reminder was something I needed.

Thanksgiving is approaching fast! I have so much to be thankful for. I am especially thankful for a wonderful family, excellent friends and awesome colleagues.  I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life!!!  So once again THANK YOU all for being special blessings to me!

God Bless and have an awesome Thanksgiving!!!

Go Lions!

hummm…. I wonder if cheesecake can make the CEA levels go up? 🙂

4 Comments on “Treatment 10 of 12 (11/15/12)”

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you Phil and your family as well..I will be thinking and praying for you..I know some time ago we mentioned about maybe getting together the weekend after Thanksgiving but I cannot make it that weekend, I am truly sorry…as I will miss meeting up with you and Connie….but I will stay in touch for sure…Gods Blessings to you my dear…keep the faith…

  2. Little Brother, Geo says:

    So looking forward to Thanksgiving with you and that weekend with you also. This will be an especially holy holiday because of your amazing example of God’s grace and all the fruits of His Holy Spirit. “Storms make trees take deeper roots” –a favorite quote.

  3. Mary Salens says:

    The bad makes the good so much more miraculous and beautiful. If we continue to keep our focus on the good we will be happier, healthier and richer and your positive focus is a wonderful example that all of us can follow. If we remind ourselves “everday in everyway I am stronger and better”‘ so it will be. See you soon and we’ll have a big, fat, juicy turkey & all the fixins. Love and peace, Mary

  4. Johnny and Lori Scamihorn says:

    We love you very much. Your advice and attitude over the years has always helped me to grow. I can’t wait to see you on Thanksgiving.

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