July 1, 2012
The CA-125 is the tumor marker test for Ovarian Cancer. Portland Firefly has Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma, the aggressive, deadly sister to Ovarian Cancer.
Firefly has been doing great and her spirits are high. I still feel good, have very few symptoms, have some energy, my color is pretty good (not ashen grey). My hair has grown back to below my ears! My dark blond locks are now a stunning grey which my family and friends refuse to allow me to color! The problem is that this cancer continues to grow ~ yes, even while I have been on chemo these last 5 months.
But… do not be dismayed by this news; Firefly is not dismayed and shall explain the reasons to you now.
A normal CA-125 is 35 or below (0 -35). Firefly’s CA-125 in March, 2009 (three and a half years ago) before my first chemo was 3000. Currently my last result was the highest it has ever been 4854. Again, be not dismayed. Read on….
8/26/11 CA-125 was 19
11/28/11 jump to 668 Chemo/ Carboplatin
12/29/11 down some to 263 Chemo/ Carboplatin
1/26/12 142 Chemo/ Doxil
2/23/12 up again to 529 Chemo/ Doxil
3/27/12 422 Chemo/ Doxil
4/27/12 430 Chemo/ Doxil
5/28/12 skyrocket to 1153 Doctor ill til September; no chemo
6/11/12 tripled again to 3231 New Doctor, new chemo Gemzar
6/28/12 up again 4854 Chemo next week
Some of those numbers look scary but Portland Firefly is not disheartened. (Remember, I look good and feel good). Now I’ll explain while you look at the numbers above.
The CA-125 has been a VERY GOOD indicator for Firefly in the past. Doxil ( a drug that I was on last summer and again January through May of 2012) can change that indicator to being less reliable.
The 2/23/12 jump (from 142 to 529) was very disconcerting for Firefly, because it went up while on chemo, something that I had never experienced before.
Then the rise on 5/28/12 to 1153 indicated the Doxil was not working anymore and it was time to change Chemo drugs as the cancer had obviously changed. My Doctor became ill at this point and I had to wait almost two weeks to see another Doctor and schedule my next chemo.
We drew another CA-125 just before the chemo poison started flowing into Firefly’s Warrior Body on 6/12/12 with the result of 3231. This Cancer wants to devour my body!
Now, three weeks later, after the chemo Gemzar, Firefly’s Ca-125 has reached an all-time high of 4854!!!!! But wait, that is good news! Good news??? Yes, good news. This WAS an increase, but only a slight increase… not a double or triple as it had been in the past few months. And that means that the Gemzar is slowing the growth of the cancer! See? Good News!
So we will continue to pray that the chemo continues to work magnificently because I want, no, I need to have at least another 3 years. I want my precious Grandbabies to know me well enough to hopefully remember me. I never told anyone this before, (not even their parents) but they both have my eyes…
March 15, 2012
I seem to be having minimal side effects from my combination of Carboplatin and Doxil. The biggest side effects for the latter half of the month is extreme fatigue. The first week I stay close to home, the second week, I try to get to the grocery store and the last two weeks before chemo, I try to get caught up from the first two weeks!!!
But I can only do one big errand a day and then I fall asleep during the evening news!
Let’s pray that this drug combo is working for me and killing the cancer, with God’s help and mercy.
September 19, 2009
The waves that I’m writing about have nothing at all to do with the ocean. They have to do with Chemotherapy side-effects…. and not good ones.
Do you remember that I told you that you would have to wait until Thursday for me to let you know how the new Chemo protocol was going? Well, I was so toxic (read that as sick) that Saturday is the first day that I felt like writing.
On Monday, I had five drugs, the Carboplatin being the big cancer fighting drug. The other four support the Carboplatin and help alleviate some of that powerful drugs side effects.
Since I have been taking some strong Chemotherapy since March now, (6 months!) I am well aware of the side effects. The one thing that I don’t like however is the fact that the drugs toxicity becomes cumulative in my system. That means that every time I have chemotherapy, my body becomes more and more toxic. You can read that as ~ the side effects become more severe. This week hit me hard.
As I mentioned, I felt ok on Monday and Tuesday. But Wednesday about noon I started “going downhill” and feeling very “”unwell”. But I sucked it up and took a 20 minute walk hoping that would help. I don’t know if it did or not, because that is about the time the waves of nausea started.
I have three very good anti-nausea drugs to take. I took the “big-guns” Zofran first off about noon. After my walk and ginger ale, I still felt nauseated, so I took the second drug, compazine. Both drugs make me sleepy, but the compazine really knocks me out. So, after my 4 hour nap, it was time for dinner and a little TV and more anti-nausea drugs. I had a very good nights sleep Wednesday night as I ignored the waves of nausea.
Thursday, the same scenario, except I took two – two hour naps that day. Even with the anti-nausea pills, I was still fighting the waves of nausea off and on. This continued through Friday night. Saturday morning I decided that I should be able to stop taking the anti-nausea drugs and get by on just the ginger ale. As of Saturday evening, I still have some slight queasiness, but not enough to want to deal with the side effects of the anti-nausea drugs. You see the anti-nausea drugs have some strong side effects in addition to the sleepiness. And I am tired of dealing with those other side effects, too.
Along with the waves of nausea, I was experiencing waves of cold sweats and hot flashes. I would just about get cozy with my blanky and then I’d get all hot and clammy. I’d take off my scarf or hat, throw off my quilt, get up and get a drink of water, feel a little unsteady and then start to get chilled! I’d be all hot and cold at the same time. This continues even through Saturday night and I expect it will last for several more days.
In fact I made myself go to the Saturday Farmers Market and I had to sit down about five times during the short hour I was there because of the waves of hot flashes/ cold sweats /icky feeling I kept having. But the bounty of fresh produce I acquired was worth the outing!
Waves of nausea, waves of hot flashes, waves of clammy cold sweats, waves of feeling icky~~ these are not the waves I crave. The waves I crave are ocean waves!!!!!
September 16, 2009
As I indicated in one of my recent posts, Portland Firefly is getting tired of chemotherapy. I expressed this to my Doctor at Monday’s visit and she felt that it would be OK to revise my Chemo schedule.
On Monday, I received only one big Chemo Drug, the Carboplatin. She withheld the Taxol this time as that is the one that has the most undesirable side effects. She would not have changed the schedule if she felt it would compromise my winning this war. Monday night, I felt pretty good but we have to wait until Thursday, because that is the usually the worst day for me.