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Sam's chemo update June 30, great news!

samzheresamzhere BannedPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
Tuesday June 30

Had my chemo session today, all went well, few side effects compared with the earlier sessions. Chemo doc said that some patients have accumulative side effects and therefore are more pronounced as time goes on, but a few patients’ bodies seem to become “accustomed” to the chemo and the side effects are therefore less. Appears that I’m in that category.

Side effect to me are slight dizziness and disorientation, making it impossible for me to drive back from the chemo session (out on I-10 west). Actually, since I-10 was widened and resurfaced a couple years back, it’s an easy drive. Money talks and western Houston is where the affluent live and commute to downtown, principally on I-10 west, so that got the lion’s share of the highway fund. No complaint here, as this is the most used section of the Interstate city routes for me. Coming back was a nightmare however, a huge gusher of a storm hit and wipers were on high, and a bad accident blocked 2 inbound lanes. Thankfully and for some “weird” reason the drivers around us were going easy and so we navigated the accident area and got home nicely, thanks to my girlfriend's driving.

Back to the chemo -- My side effects are temporary dizziness and that’s about it. Plus occasional diarrhea but that’s typical for a guy my age anyway (73) exacerbated by my lack of a gallbladder. Sigh.

Otherwise my appetite is good, I have no cognitive problems and zero pain at all.
But what made this chemo session so amazing was the blood test results. First of all, my platelet count has gone up from a low of 68 to 98. It’s still low (normal is 140+) but it’s getting better. Platelets allow blood clotting and a very low platelet count means potential hemorrhage and the greatest danger is cerebral hemorrhage (a stroke). The chemo lowers the platelet count, a regrettable side effect. This is because chemo deters new cell formation (so as to prevent new cancer cells from forming) but it’s not cell-specific yet (new drugs may help this) and so ALL new cell formation is depressed, and platelet formation being active and new platelets only living a week or so, constant platelet formation is required for immunity. So chemo had to be postponed a couple weeks till my count elevated again. And now it’s okay, so I got my scheduled chemo today.
But the best news is this: My CEA.

CEA (Carcinoma Embryonic Antigen) levels indicate relative fierceness of the cancer because CEA is prevalent in the blood if ANY new cell growth is present. So, if you maybe have surgery or maybe bust a leg, your CEA goes up as new cells are formed to heal the wound. But without a wound or surgery, an elevated CEA is an indicator of the badness of the cancer.

Normal adult values are < 2.5. Just before the chemo began, my value was 306.6, very high, on Apr 14. By Apr 28 it had dropped to 291.3 and the oncologist told us that this drop was significant, not just statistical variation. Well, May 26 I got 70.1, a HUGE decrease and terrific.

Today? My CEA is 33.8!

My oncologist was elated and said this means that I’m beating the cancer! And for this, the chemo will now be every 3 weeks instead of every 2 weeks.

Celebrating with a Diet 7up. Sigh, no beer during the chemo session. But Friday I’ll make up for this.

Message is clear: Those of you who are facing cancer chemo or other treatment, or have loved ones the same, do NOT despair! There are other good news stories here, as you know, and the new drugs and treatments are far better than even just 10 years ago.

Keep plugging away, gang! You can defeat this. Heck, if I can do it, grumpy and curmudgeonly as I am, anyone can do it.

Replies

  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    This is indeed good news !!!!
    I hope you will have many more enjoyable years left.....
    As an old comedy team used to say, "May you live as long as you want, and not want as long as you live",.. God bless you Sam.....
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,529 Senior Member
    Great news
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,992 Senior Member
    And many more good reports ahead Sam... congrats!!!

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,797 Senior Member
    That's terrific, glad to hear it.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 8,062 Senior Member
    Thanks for the update and the great news!!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Hey, that is good progress keep it up! :angel2::angel2:
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    Hey, that is good progress keep it up! :angel2::angel2:

    Great! Fantastic! Give 'em hell Sam!!!
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 24,183 Senior Member
    Fantastic! :applause:

    This is a divine sign that you need to write that male Belly Dancer into your latest book! :jester:
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • N320AWN320AW Senior Member Posts: 648 Senior Member
    Excellent Sam. I've always kept a good thought about you.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,069 Senior Member
    Way to go!
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Thanks, gang. I'm giving this post mostly to share the news that things CAN be reversed and a cure or at least a change for the better is very possible.

    So those of you with similar problems or for your standing with loved ones who are in the same fix, fight and don't let down. Chemo is far better than ever, so don't fear it. Go stare that crab in the face!
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Not just chemotherapy, focused low power radiation, gene therapy that targets cancer cells specific weaknesses, with all these new treatments, the outlook is better than ever with other therapeutic modalities, cancer can indeed be vanquished as research continues...
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,981 Senior Member
    Great news, maybe there's some truth to the older we get, the tougher we get. Like you I'm not ready to throw in the towel.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Remember that early diagnosis and early intervention is the key for successful treatment and remission.
    Get the needed tests, prostate exam and colonoscopy.....
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,181 Senior Member
    Great news Sam. If I was closer I would buy the beers on Friday............:beer:
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 11,379 Senior Member
    Fantastic news Sam
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Outstanding news Sam!!! There are several drugs that will help with the white blood cell count. Nulasta (sp?) worked very well with my wife.

    They're giving me Pegfilgrastim to boost my platelet count. I get an injection each chemo session.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    orchidman wrote: »
    Great news Sam. If I was closer I would buy the beers on Friday............:beer:

    Well, second best choice, any Kiwi IPAs you might recommend?
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    Great news Sam! Although you might want to rethink the no cognitive impairment assertion. You are, after all, still contributing regularly to this looney bin.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Dr. db wrote: »
    Great news Sam! Although you might want to rethink the no cognitive impairment assertion. You are, after all, still contributing regularly to this looney bin.

    Well, that is true. I always hesitate to let others know that I'm hooked here, and try to pass it off on alphasig and others if I can. Transfer of blame, I'm good at.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    As long as you are alive and well, kicking and ornery as a country mule.....
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
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