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Round Six: Progress!

I’d mentioned before that my CEA levels went up when I started chemo, but didn’t really explain. On the scale my lab uses, over 2000 is an indicator of metastatic disease (I think; I’m not quite clear on what they’re reporting). My initial level was 2194, meaning I had metastatic colon cancer (regardless of the right threshold level, that’s really high). Yeah, I already knew that by the time they did the blood test, but it’s also an indicator of treatment efficacy.

I also mentioned here that I was briefly panicked when my CEA went up to 3987 after the first round of chemo, but both my oncologist and my own research reassured me that this was common, and believed to be due to the chemo killing cancer cells. CEA is an inflammation marker, and cell death releases a lot of it. I trusted this information, and didn’t fuss about it too much.

I’m getting CEA done every month, so that high number was just before Round 2. The Round 4 number was a bit lower, down to 3106. Still way into “evidence of metastatic disease territory,” but a bit improved.

But as I go into Round 6? It’s down to 871. FUCK YEAH! This poison shit is working!

I have a CT scan scheduled for a week from tomorrow (yay oral barium goop), but I’m hoping it confirms this good news.

I technically should have failed my blood tests today. My liver function is a bit better, and while not great still manageable. But my platelets were at 95,000, and if they’re below 100,000 the official guidelines say to wait a week. But my oncologist is fairly aggressive, and I’m younger and healthier than the representative colon cancer patient, so we went ahead with chemo, but with a slightly reduced dosage of the aptly-named FU. I just have to be careful about cuts and bruises (and yeah, the boxer bruises I’ve already accumulated are rather spectacular).

I was hoping to get a break around scan time, but I’ve already been scheduled for the next two rounds, continuing the every-two-week plan. If my platelets stay low, I probably will end up putting that off by a week.

Other than that, I feel kind of lousy today, queasier than usual, and the cold sensitivity is at least as annoying as ever. But it was a good weekend, with weather warm enough that I could go out without pain or tingling in my fingers and nose, and the throat sensitivity reduced enough that I could eat ice cream for a couple days. And I went kayaking! Just have to get through the next couple of days, then I’ll start to feel better again by Friday.

And with a 357% drop in CEA to motivate me? Die, cancer, DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE!