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A scary day: tumor markers and scan results

Posted Jan 10 2012 7:26pm
January 10, 2012 - Posted by tamilb

Picking up the phone can be hazardous to your mental health!

Not to scare all of you with the title, but for me, this was indeed a scary day.

I was heading out the door, all dressed up and ready to go to a networking function, when I received a call from my doctor at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment. He told me, with alarm in his voice, that my tumor markers were off the charts. Usually counts should be no more than 38; mine was almost 1,800!  They took a lot of blood when I went Friday and unbeknown-st to me, they did a tumor marker test. They didn’t do it the previous time I visited their Chicago center, and my oncologists here never do tumor markers.

Needless to say, I was a wreck! I did some Internet searches on tumor markers and that helped. But then I just sat down and had a good cry and had a begging fit with God. I released the problem to God and admitted my powerlessness. Then I picked up a spiritual book that helped me in the past. As if an angel came to my rescue, I received an email from my fabulous cancer/life coach Flo Singer about a payment matter. I responded with the news. I immediately received a call from her.

Flo gets it. She’s a 10 year survivor of stage IV rectal cancer, and has shown no evidence of disease since she completed treatment back then. You might remember the post I did about Flo . On our call, Flo talked me down so I was calm and helped me strategize how I was going to handle the situation and take better care of myself than I have been. She even made me laugh with her bawdy humor. I decided one way to take care of myself: get the facts. I called the PET scan place, which is located only about a mile from my house, and asked if I could get my scan results a day earlier than they promised. (I’ve been picking up my scans myself rather than wait for the doctor) They complied.

I had visions of my body being eaten up by tumors. Thank God that wasn’t the case. There might be a slight progression on one of my spots, but nothing new to worry about. Of course I need Dr. Sledge to explain it to me when we go to Indy on Friday. I mean, how can the average person understand all the medical mumbo jumbo they put in these reports?

So this just may mean I need to change treatments. We already discussed what we’d do if the Xeloda stopped working. I’m going to see if they can do a biopsy to see if the cancer has changed (which sometimes happens once breast cancer metastasizes). That way, we’ll have more info to go on. If it hasn’t changed and I’m still ER/PR positive, I might see if I can get on a clinical trial that is testing a drug that reverses hormone medication resistance.

Knowing that death is not imminent, I was able to take my beloved daughter to Michael’s to buy beads (her new hobby), take a walk with my husband, and finally eat a decent meal. This stress totally and remarkably killed my appetite!

I thank all of you for your prayers and positive vibes. You know who you are. And I’ll let you know more after my visit with the doctor on Friday.

I’d be curious if any of you have had experience with tumor markers blowing off the roof like mine did. I still don’t understand the discrepancy. Please comment and share your experience!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 at 8:26 PM and is filed under , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the feed. You can , or from your own site.
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