Nearly normal -- again.


I am so lucky. I’ve been reflecting on the fact that two years ago tomorrow, I heard the well-intentioned gastroenterologist say over the phone, "Adenocarcinoma, stage IV."  It took a few more days to establish the precise location—primary peritoneal carcinomatosis—and another day or so to start treatment, which fortunately has been effective and mostly well tolerated. Furthermore, unlike many people, I haven’t had to undergo extensive surgery—yet. And though I’ve been on chemotherapy for most of the last two years, I’ve only lost my hair twice and can even contemplate growing it longer than I have for years. Small vain victories mean a lot.

Saw the oncologist yesterday and learned that the Aranesp® hit of three weeks ago did its job—my hemoglobin is normal. I had hoped for more Aranesp yesterday to forestall any anemia from yesterday's chemo. The doc tried to do it, but the money ladies said no way—insurance won’t pay for it when hemoglobin is normal. We had previously discussed that this round of chemo might end this month; but the doc said, and I agree strongly, that since my blood numbers generally turn bad as soon as I get off chemo I should continue it as long as it's tolerable. So I can look forward to at least several more months of chemo. As the surgeon did last month, the oncologist said yesterday I have no clinical symptoms, which simply means that when he pokes my abdomen he can’t feel any nasty hard masses.

OK news came today when I was on my way out the door for the day-after Neulasta® shot for white blood cell production. The P.A. called to say the benchmark CA 125 blood test result “leveled off”—to 54. It’s a few ticks higher than last time, when it was 52; but it has been explained to me in the past that small changes like that may simply be due to the vagaries of testing. Disappointing not to be in the normal range below 34—maybe next time. 

Between the time of my initial diagnosis two years ago and the start of treatment, I'd had ample opportunity to search the web for sources good and bad. Apparently because PPC is so rare, up-to-date info was hard to come by. But mainstream sources said median survival was 12-24 months, and that still seems to be the typical prognosis.

So, having lasted two years, I feel I've beat the odds and each additional day is a bonus. Just yesterday, I heard yet another story about someone diagnosed with cancer—in this case liver cancer—who was dead in six weeks. And two years ago I was told I had a lesion on my liver, among a bunch of other places. Now worries about the details of my symptoms then, and all the fears that went with them, seem like ancient history.

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Comments

8 Replies

Mary Kramer
By Mary Kramer
Congrats on the good numbers. You are a strong lady.
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Esther Staubus Strom
By Esther Strom
Good news - and what a good positive attitude. I think that has done a lot to contribute to the success of your treatment!
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Judy Meyer
By Judy Meyer
Again, good news! Each day is a blessing and your positive attitude keeps it going.
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Eunice Ailts
By Eunice Ailts
You are a strong woman. Keep fighting! Enjoy each day. Six months ago, I had surgery for breast cancer and just finished my first round of chemo. Will start my second round of chemo next week and then radiation. We need a cure for cancer!!
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Barbara Barish
By Love, Barb — last edited
whoopee, you did it once again! Hope you continue to do well with minimal side effects. Hugs...
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Patricia Nutt
By PNutt
Congratulations on all the successes....big and small!!! No one can keep a strong women down for to long. Keep running the good race!!!! Love and prayers!
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Virginia Towne
By Virginia
Yes, Mom got the diagnosis of stage IV cancer and she galloped away in about four months. From perfectly healthy to the end with her wasting was hard, she was ready but I couldn't catch up. Her's was a different type of cancer but we never had hope, what a difference a few years make in the care and treatment of this horrible condition. You are doing so well!
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Carol Haywood
By Carol Haywood — last edited
So happy to read this Journal Entry!! You're amazing and so is your 'Soul Mate' -- Doug that's you!! Now you two can put together that Euro-vacation scrapbook with no regrets! Now aren't you glad you made that trip??
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