The last time I posted here, my CA-125 (the blood marker for Ovarian Cancer) was up to 19, from its usual awesome 3. Anything above 35 is bad, but for ladies who are in remission, single digits is the goal.
Last week, we found out my number is 353. Yikes.
D was in Europe on business when I emailed him the news from the parking lot of the doctor’s office. It was one a.m. where he was, so I knew it would be about five hours before I could talk to him. I felt like I needed that much time to gather the strength to hear his voice on the other line, to tell him we had to start chemo again.
I drove the twenty minutes home thinking about how I was going to break the news to my mom who was at home with little J. I couldn’t think of the right words. As it turned out, I didn’t need to say anything. She knew the minute I walked in the door, as moms do. We sat down at the table and looked at each other in shock. The same table, by the way, where she helped me with my math homework, served our family the best dinners imaginable, and planned my birthday parties. We cried a bit, discussed logistics, then got dressed up and took little J out for a burger at our local favorite pub.
While we’d been talking, D’s Blackberry had beeped him late at night in Stuttgart. He packed and gotten in a cab. Before we’d walked out the door for Finn’s Pub, his assistant had gotten him on the next flight for SFO. (Thank you forever, Amy.)
Since then, I have been scanned (again!) and am now assuredly visible from space: a warbly green radioactive glow in the outline of a woman’s body, her two hands held by the bravest guys on the planet, an army of friends and family behind her.
The scan showed a little tumor on my left lower inner side and a “sprinkling” of ditzels of disease on my lower inner right side. The pain is worse than when I was first diagnosed for some inexplicable reason, and the rogue cells are more aggressive than they were the first time, which is hard to fathom given how fierce they were before.
But, as Ms. Miller says, they are a house of cards waiting to be toppled. Treatment starts tomorrow. I’ll be getting a powerhouse combination of cisplatin and gemzar. I’ll get another dose the following Tuesday, a week off, then start again. This will repeat for six to nine sessions, depending on how quickly the house of cards falls.
I know. I can’t believe I’m typing these words either. But here is the silver lining (and it is a thick and shiny one). Because of my BRCA-1 gene mutation, the combo of chemo drugs I’m getting has a very high chance of working. In my mind, it will absolutely work and has, in fact even started to work. The rogue cells are shaking in their boots and stomping in protest. Also, it’s not going to be cold and flu season. And finally, we are all determined to have a lovely summer in spite of this slight inconvenience.
We won’t be setting up a CaringBridge page. We’ll be posting here about our lovely summer: swimming lessons, trips to the beach, and with occasional updates on that other thing.
Love and hugs,