Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Results Are In

Today was chemo day and I had an appointment to see my doctor. Things started off well. My nurse took the blood tests quickly once I was brought back to the infusion cube. She began my pre-meds, and as soon as the results came back, she started the treatment. My hemoglobin was 10.9. It seems to hover around 10.8-11.3; lower than the bottom of the normal which is 12, but still good - I think; especially considering that anemia seems to run on my mother's side of the family.

They were expecting over 90 people in the infusion center today - they said it would be a record high. Usually they see numbers in the high 70's, maybe 80; highs are in the 80's. Happily for me the expectation of a busy day meant that they sped things along.

I saw the doctor around 11:00. She literally flew into the room and began her review. Her hours have been cut to two days a week as she recently received a large grant to study triple negative breast tumors. She told me that there are no new metastases. The liver tumors have all reduced in size. The largest of them has reduced by about half. In fact, the tumors (not sure how many there are, but there are a lot) did not show on the PET scan like they had back in July, but did show on the MRI. The tumor in/on my hip is gone; the tumor in the breast lymph area hasn't changed. The cancer markers are down to 28.

I don't know what a lot of this means. I didn't ask. I realize that that was kind of a stupid thing to do, just sit there and not ask. What I want to know is given that there is still tumor/cancer, what does the cancer marker test indicate. I also want to know what it means that there is no change in the breast lymph area. I DO plan to email her with my questions, and I will get the printed version of test results and compare the old and new.

The doctor was quite pleased. I was kind of in a daze. Maybe it was because of the Benadryl shot I had received earlier - which makes me feel like a zombie! I did ask what the treatment plan would be, and she said that I will continue as I have been and have another set of scans in 8-10 weeks. Then we'll see.

I guess I was looking for her to say that it was all gone - or maybe that I would stay on the plan for one or two more cycles, then change. I don't really know, but intellectually I realize I will always have cancer in my liver, and possibly in the breast wall, and that drugs will keep me alive.... for a while.

I really am pleased that the tumors are responding and that this should all help extend my life a bit. And I'll just have to hang in and continue to kill cancer cells three weeks out of the month, and refocus my healing meditation to include the breast (I was way concerned about the liver), and thank god, earth, moon and stars that I am alive another day.... and that every day is a good one because I am alive to live it!

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