“I read your last post, but what does it mean?”

Dave has blood work done the day before he is due to go in for chemo.  This allows the doctor to check his blood counts to make sure that his body is ready to handle the next round.  In addition to the standard blood tests, they will check his CEA level periodically.  Your CEA level can rise if there is tumor growth or metastasis.  It can also rise if you have an infection.  As tumors die, they can cause the CEA level to rise.  So, is a rising CEA level something to worry about?  We don’t really know.  The last time Dave’s started to “trend upward” was after he had his colon and liver surgeries and had completed his 12 rounds of Folfox.  At that point, as far as we knew, Dave was tumor free.  But when his blood work came back showing his CEA level had risen, he went in for a scan and we found out that he had multiple new tumors and some of them were in his lungs which was a new location.  The slow rise in his CEA over the last few months from 8 to 12 to 22 to 39 may be an indicator that his current chemo regimen is not as effective as we need it to be.  So, the best we can do is see what the scan results show on Tuesday.  It might be time to explore different chemo options.  In the meantime, I am going to think optimistically and keep Dave doing the same.  All prayers, good vibes and positive thoughts appreciated.

xoxo

Robyn

In the Beginning

As we near the one year anniversary since Dave’s diagnosis, I thought I would share how our journey began.  I promise not to get too graphic, but if you are easily grossed out, then you may want to skip today’s entry.  I think it is useful to know what symptoms he had, so that you can be aware of what to look out for or mentally check off with relief that you are not experiencing the same.

In June of last year, Dave mentioned that he had been noticing some blood after he went to the bathroom (enough said).  We both thought it was worth getting checked out, but we weren’t overly alarmed.  He made an appointment to see a gastroenterologist a few weeks later.  The doctor told him that it could be anything from hemorrhoids to cancer and that he would need to have a colonoscopy to find out.  That was scheduled for mid-August.  In the meantime, Dave started having pretty severe abdominal cramping so his appointment was bumped up to early August.

We got up bright and early on Wednesday, August 3rd.  I was struck by how many men that looked to be Dave’s age were also at the center for colonoscopies.  Why is testing not started at an earlier age?  Dave’s doctor came out afterwards and explained to us that he saw a tumor on the scope that was all but blocking Dave’s colon and that he had been doing this long enough to know it was cancer.  I appreciated that he already had an appointment set up for Dave to see a surgeon that Friday.  He also had all the paperwork so that Dave could have a CT scan the next day.

I can’t say that I was entirely shocked at the news.  I had done a quick google search, and the only diagnosis that matched Dave’s symptoms was colon cancer.  I hadn’t shared my internet research though since I didn’t want to stress Dave out with my armchair doctoring.  He was floored.  It was too much to comprehend.

We were both stunned the next day when his CT scan revealed that the cancer had already metastasized to his liver in two or possibly three spots.  Suddenly we seemed to be moving at hyper speed.

xoxo

Robyn