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

7 Comments on “Treatment 12 of 12 (12/13/12)”

  1. Scott Duncan says:

    Strong = Phil, we are hoping and praying for the best!!

  2. jlbolhuis says:

    Cancer most certainly does SUCK! However, it has also afforded, forced, and blessed you with the opportunity to cherish what most people overlook. You walk the walk of a stronger man, you see the world through different eyes, you are blessed to know not just what family is, but what family really feels like. Continue to identify your strengths in your times of adversity – and when that doesn’t seem possible, rely on the INCREDIBLY strong support system around you. There’s plenty of love, light, and laughter around you to allow you to “coast” when you need to! 🙂

  3. Linda Sult says:

    “On the good side…”, Phil you are always such a positive, upbeat person with that amazing smile and attitude. I’m believing that God has allowed those levels to be a false indicator so that you can attend that graduation and can go through the next week without the affects of the chemo treatments. God certainly has had His hand on your life and your family’s lives. He put you all together to help you through this difficult time. You are an inspiration to all you meet. Have a Blessed Christmas with your family. Continuing to pray for God’s will for your life!! Linda

  4. Peggy Guriel says:

    You are in all our thoughts and prayers. And yes I agree cancer SUCKS.

  5. Little brother says:

    “Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
    let your heart be light
    from now on our troubles will be out of sight…”

    ….here we are, as in olden days
    happy golden days of yore
    faithful friends who are dear to us,
    gather near to us once more”

    Don’t be disturbed or dismayed when you see these signs, for God knows the plans he has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

    Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God” Isaiah 41:10

    I had so much fun working with you on projects last Sat. I look forward to our Christmas party and I’m secure that God has things well in hand and we shall look back many years from now in amazement on how God worked a miracle this day my brother

  6. Tim Dechant says:

    Keep up the fight my friend! Our prayers continue for you daily.

  7. Mary Salens says:

    Well dear brother, we continue the journey day by day and do our best to discover ways to learn and contribute and appreciate all the joy we have. It’s hard to understand some things. It’s hard to find peace when the body is in turmoil. Our bodies are such an intricate and delicate machine. I hope and pray our researchers figure this out. Are there clinicals that you can join if they discover the chemo did not work? The CD47 protein blocker seems promising on paper. Can’t wait to see you all on the 22nd. If you need anything …just call. Love you much and will always be with you now and forever.

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