Yesterday I went in for chemo. This was week three in my cycle so I really wasn’t expecting to get chemo. I was surprised last week when my numbers were really unchanged and I did get chemo so I assumed that this week my numbers would drop due to two weeks of chemo. Well the only thing that really dropped were my red blood cells, however they were not really that low. I had to promise to come in next Monday so they can check my red blood cells (If this round of chemo makes them drop any more I might have to have a transfusion next week). So I was approved to receive chemo.
Ok so that was good news but I have even better news. You may want to sit down (really for two reasons- it is really good news and it may take a while to explain- but worth it in the end!)
There are two tests that have become very important in this fight. The CTC and the CMP. I will try to explain each and give you a little history and update on each.
CTC- this measures how many cancerous cells are in my blood. While this test helps my doctor keep tabs on what is going on in my body, it isn’t “The Test” to determine 100% what my cancer is doing. (That would be the scans I do every three months). The CTC for me has been a good predictor of what is going on. This test is done once a month on the first weekof treatment and I usually get the results on the third week of treatment. If you score anything less than 5 you would be considered in the normal range. I thought I would share with you what my scores have been so you can get a good picture of what has been happening.
10/1/2012- This test was done when I first moved to Savannah. I scored a 1 which is in the normal range
3/1/2013- This test was done after a scan showed that my cancer had started to grow in several new places. I scored a 196 which confirmed that this test did show when my cancer was growing. At this time I was placed on Affinitor (oral chemo) at the highest dose possible.
3/29/2013 – This test was done to check if Affinitor was working. I scored a 17 so the thought was that it was working. Shortly after this test I started have issues with a cough, and my liver enzymes started to go through the roof (more on that later) so we cut back my dose.
(5/1/2013) I did another CTC but somehow the lab messed up and they were unable to give me any results.
6/1/2013- This test was done while I was at the lowest dose possible of the Affinitor (oral chemo). I scored a 209 which meant that the lowest dose of Affinitor wasn’t going to work for me. During this time I was admitted to the hospital for my persistent cough.
6/21/2013- This test was done while I was in the hospital and I had been off the Affinitor for almost two weeks. I scored a 861. WOW!! The cancer was really growing while I was doing nothing! To put it into perspective, my doctor said they have seen patients at 3,000 but that didn’t really make me feel better!
7/27/2013- This test was done after only two treatments in June of the Abraxane. I scored a 21. That’s right, a 21. We are praising God!!! This is awesome news. Since this last test, I have had three more treatments and will get tested again at the beginning of August (won’t learn results till the end of August) and we are hopping for even better results. I will also be getting scans sometime in September to get a picture of what the cancer is doing in my bones.
OK now for the other test- CMP. This has just become important due to the damage that Affinitor did to my liver. I also get this test during week 1 of my chemo cycle and get the results on week 3.
There are two numbers they look at to check for damage to the liver. They are AST and ALT. Normal numbers for the following are:
3/27/2013- This was the first test that showed that the Affinitor was causing damage to my liver and boy was it shocking. My numbers were:
Over the last few months we have kept an eye on these numbers to make sure they were going back down. Since I am no longer on Affinitor the thought is that my liver can repair itself. I am happy to report that my numbers are now down.
This means my liver is slowly fixing the damage done!! All around it was a day of good news.
Well that was a lot of numbers and I hope I didn’t confuse everyone but the only way to explain the good news was to give a little history.
On a lighter note I thought I would share a picture of you. Yesterday I had my wig fitted and the bangs cut. I am still working on the bangs. They stick out really far from my forehead and it makes it look like a wig. Because it is synthetic, you can’t use any heat on it- no curling iron, hair dryer, or steam rollers. The hair dresser suggested using those pink foam rollers and dampen the hair and leave overnight to give it a little curl under effect.
Here is a picture of the bangs. Also in the mirror you can see the back which is cut in a short bob.