To start with…..I have to correct myself from the last update. I stated that the further away from chemo, the higher the chances for the cancer to grow. I actually believe that this still may be true, however according to Dr. Einhorn, Kevin’s tumor markers were never at a point in which he was eligible yet for surgery. So with the tumor markers moving down, but not yet plateaued or to normal, they could not yet determine if the first series of chemotherapy actually had the cancer under control. So even though we felt like things were slow based on our battle with insurance, in reality, he wasn’t yet eligible for surgery.
This week has been full of emotion. Ups and downs. Though things haven’t yet been finalized with Kevin’s employer, the independent medical evaluater’s report came in and according to him, the causation of his cancer is occupational. This is what we were hoping for and changes the picture for many things, including his options for doctors for future treatment (once his employer accepts this finding).
So Monday evening….we celebrated!
We were looking forward to seeing his tumor marker numbers on Tuesday since the ‘goal’ for HCG was to be in the single digits…and the prior week he was at 11.3. We thought this might be the week. At least it could get to 9, right?
Unfortunately, however, the tide turned. Instead of another celebration…we got a punch in the gut. HCG = 19. Do you know how many times, I logged out and back in to double check? How many times I went back to look at the prior weeks progressions just to be sure I was seeing what I was seeing?
HCG = 26…..20.7…..17……11.3…..19 I believe I said a bad word. It might have started with F.
I saw this in the parking lot alone in the car with one kid, waiting for the other two to do a return at a store.
That evening a birthday celebration was planned for Kevin’s youngest brother, Matt. So, I decided to sit on this information and not share it with Kevin because I wanted him to enjoy the family and the celebration. Nothing would change if he didn’t find out until the morning. Plus, he usually doesn’t ever ask me. He doesn’t look up the numbers and doesn’t ask. He diligently goes each Monday to have the blood drawn, and then I check (obsessively) until I see the report come in usually on Tuesday. He NEVER asks.
This time, he asked. At dinner. Seriously? What could I say? Did the numbers come in? Yes. Did they go down? No. Did they go up? Yes. Which ones? All of them. Oh. Shit.
So I think I’ve mentioned before – there are 3 numbers that they monitor weekly. HCG is his tumor marker that was out of this universe, so that is the one that we watch the closest. But the other two are also indicative of cancer activity. Currently the other markers (AFP & LDH) are still in the normal range. But they both were elevated from the previous readings, and both of them have been in a downward trend for weeks. This is the first up. So AFP from 3.6 to 6.3 and LDH from 146 to 174.
What does all of this mean?
Well, it means that more chemotherapy is in Kevin’s future. It means the surgery we thought would be the next step, will not be happening now. Over the course of the next few weeks there will be repeat marker levels each week, as well as repeats of the imaging early next week and then a new plan will be put in place. We have been prepared for the next steps to include High Dose chemotherapy with Stem Cell Rescue. I kind of outlined this in a previous post if you want more information. I will keep you posted as we know more.
We continue to raise our hands asking to get off this ride….but the ride operator must have taken his break.
Yesterday, Kevin and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. You still make me feel complete. And I am so God Gave Me You! Happy Anniversary to the love of my life, my best friend, and my partner in all things.