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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Medical Update --Markers

I haven't quite figured out the marker thing yet.

CA 125 seems to be "my" marker.

CA 125 is often linked to ovarian cancer, but not exclusively.

When I was diagnosed with mets, in the summer of 2007, my CA 125 was 56.7 (high).

Five and a half weeks into treatment, my marker dropped to 32.2 (normal).

Two months later, at the end of October, it was down to 23.7 (normal).

At the end of December, it was 26.1 (still normal).

Then, in February, the numbers began to fluctuate:
5.2.08 -- 35.6 (high)
4.3.08 -- 32.5 (normal)

Then, in April, the numbers slowly and steadily began to climb up:
29.4.08 -- 47.0 (high)
10.6.08 -- 68.7 (higher than when we started)
1.7.08 -- 71.9
19.8.08 -- 102.1
2.9.08 -- 120.9

The diagnostics seem to indicate that my treatment is effective.

So why has my CA-125 count has been rising for months now?

No one knows why.

We have done all the tests:
CT -- everything looks the same
MRI -- we really needed to check my liver, and discovered that it looks even better than expected.
Ultrasound -- a few months ago, there was something strange near my left ovary. It did not "look like cancer," but I needed to follow up on it. I did an ultrasound this past Tuesday... there is nothing there anymore.

I met with a gyno-oncologist. (I bet you did not know there was such a thing! I sure didn't)

My gyno-oncologist (GO) only has clinic hours on Tuesdays, so I waited for a "free week" to go spend the morning at a different hospital, Hadassah Har Zofim.

Moshe came with me.

The GO was present for the ultrasound (as was some other woman, in addition to the technician). I might have minded the "invasion," if it weren't for the fact that I was anxious about the growth and the fact that all three agreed that nothing was there anymore. I mean, if something was still there, one of them would have seen it, right?

Anyway, after the ultrasound, we had to go to the GO's clinic.

Moshe had an important meeting at work, but he wanted to be at my meeting with the GO, since I don't remember anything these days.

Even though the doctors were running a bit late (because the department who schedules these appointments seems to be unaware that there is a staff meeting every Tuesday morning....), we (read: I) thought Moshe could still make it on time to his work meeting.

I was supposed to be the first patient to see the doctor.

Moshe, being infinitely more pessimistic, expected something to come up. It did. The doctor took another patient in before us, because they had a brit that morning.

By the time we were inivited in, 45 minutes later, I was completely anxious, and knew that Moshe would be late. The doctor, sensing my anxiety (you'd have to be blind to miss it), offerred to meet with us later, at our convenience. I was so aggitated, that I was ready to come back another time. Luckily, Moshe was cool-headed and assured the doctor that it would be alright, and we should meet now.

The GO suggested that we leave the tension outside, so that he can give me all the time and attention that I needed.

It was hard to release the tension, because my rising markers made me tense to begin with, and that was why we were there!

But I was impressed, yet again, with the doctor's gentle and concerned manner.

In the end, we also spent at least 1/2 an hour with the doctor. He spoke with us in detail, and also consulted with my oncologist.

The bottom line, there is nothing to do at this time.

Neither the GO nor my oncologist recommends checking out my ovaries laproscopically. There is no indication that the GO would find anything. And, given my weight and medical history, including 6 abdominal surgeries, resulting in a lot of scar tissue and adhesions, the surgery would not be simple. Not to mention that I've had 3 serious post-op infections in the past....

So, what do we do about the rising markers?

Nothing.

Just "wait and see".....

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,
RivkA

3 comments:

Robin said...

Sending you much love my friend.

Lena said...

I knew that there was such a thing as a gyno-oncologist. I had to see one once...scared the hell out of me.

muse said...

Oy, G-d willing. Cancer is a very busy job for you guys. It's so great that you do lots more than go to dr's and treatments. To look at you and sit next to you, nobody would ever suspect...

Refuah Shleimah