Only it didn't go that way. While my red cells are doing fine after last weeks transfusion (I ended up going in on Friday) and while my white cells are holding steady, my platelets are dropping at a somewhat rapid rate. They are too low for me to start another chemo cycle, in spite of having a week off. We're waiting another week to see if they rise on their own, otherwise, I may need a platelet transfusion.
In the midst of all this confusing blood stuff, I've actually been feeling better than I have in a while. I do get tired ... by the end of the day, I'm quite ready to crash and relax ... but overall, I'm feeling more "normal." I asked the oncologist if the blood issues were cancer related or treatment related and she couldn't give a definitive answer. We just don't know.
As you know, my cancer is tracked by both scans and tumor markers. The tumor marker that measures for my cancer detects a protein released by the cancer into the blood stream. The normal level is below 3.8, although, we'd be pretty happy with anything below ten. My tumor marker has been rising for months, along with pain levels and general malaise. I changed treatments from Xeloda to Ibrance/Femara to Aromasin/Afinitor to Doxil, all to no avail. In fact, my tumor marker tripled from 92 to 275 after one cycle of Doxil and then rapidly rose to 302.8 a few days later.
I was switched to my current treatment, Abraxane. After one cycle, I'm feeling much better and my hope was that the tumor marker remained stable, or at least dropped 20 points. I told the oncologist that I didn't really care what the number was since I was feeling so much better.
The results came in today ... they dropped by almost 2/3 to 116.4.
Wow. Just, wow.
I spent the holiday weekend (and my 53rd birthday, woo hoo!) in the mountains and I was reminded of this verse:
"I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains." Psalm 121:1-2 The Message
I still have cancer, but I'm feeling better. I am grateful. That's good enough for now, although, I'm still very willing to admit that I want more. I want the cancer to be gone, or to be so minuscule that it has zero impact on my health. I want my blood to be back to normal.
The current chemo is fairly easy to tolerate. I have lost my hair and this time, I actually have a wig. I've only worn it once as most of the time, I wear hats. The wig has a bit more gray than my natural hair, but it's pretty hard to find salt and pepper wigs. I'm pretty satisfied with it.