Treatment 12 of 12 (12/13/12)

Christmas Tree 2012Treatment 11 of 12 went as planned.  The blood platelets were down but not under the “do not treat” threshold.  This treatment was uneventful and there wasn’t any new news to report so I decided to wait for the final treatment to do an update.

I arrived at U of M a little ahead of schedule today, at 8:05am.  The lab was super busy this morning (probably due to holidays).  After waiting a little longer than normal I was called in for the blood draw. The nurse accessed the port but failed to get a blood return from the port.  So, instead of using the port for the blood draw she used a vein n my hand.

The next stop today was a doctor visit.  The doctor arrived for my appointment a little after 9:30am.  The doctor gave the following update. My CEA level from the 11/29 test was up to 24.1 (I’m still waiting for today’s test result). Regardless of today’s test, the doctor recommended cancelling today’s chemo treatment and scheduling another chest and abdominal CT scan.  He felt that the climbing CEA levels were an indicator that the chemo was not working.  And even though the 10/1 CT and PET scans were clean he wanted to do additional scans to see if there are any signs of Cancer growths. He also felt that the risk of permanent neuropathy was not worth the additional chemo treatment.

CEA Rollercoaster

The CEA level of 24.1 is higher than the CEA level from pre-surgery testing. Again, the CEA is used as an indicator of cancer activity; however, it is not a 100% reliable indicator (it can increase due to non-cancer activity as well).

The doctor also prescribed an additional medication that will help open up the port so they can get a blood return. So instead of receiving chemo today I’m waiting for the medication to take affect so they can make sure the port is working as expected.  So far I’ve been waiting for a few hours but still no success???

Another CT scan is scheduled for Sunday 12/30.  We’ll meet with the doctor on Thursday 1/3 to get the results of his scan. If the CT scan doesn’t reveal any possible cancer nodules and the CEA levels continue to climb the doctor will recommend additional tests to look for hidden signs of cancer growth (e.g. MRIs).  If cancer is revealed in the CT scan then additional surgeries and chemo will be considered.

So more waiting and uncertainty…  And disappointment if I truly underwent 11 treatments of chemo that didn’t actually help me…  A marathon???  Cancer truly does SUCK!

On the good side I don’t have fight through the side-effects of another treatment today.  And I will be able to attend Anna’s college graduation ceremony on Saturday.

Yes, Anna is graduating from College!!!  She will receive Bachelors of Arts in Business Communication on Saturday evening.  We are very proud of Anna!!!  And we are looking forward to Tony and Alexis graduating soon as well.

I thank you all for your continued Prayers and I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years!



Phil and Connie