Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lowest CEA level ever...

Karen's had a terrible time this chemo round but there is good news to share. Her CEA is down to 2.9, a record low. One of our nurses (Kathy) called especially to tell us.

When Karen was first diagnosed, her CEA was 628 [LINK]. It declined on 5FU + Avastin to roughly 40. After surgery and being off chemo for a while it had gone back up to 200+. Now it's practically normal. (normal range is 0-2.5). We'll TAKE it.

This is fantastic news and signs that all the hard work Karen has put in is paying off. I am sleepless due to the wrong timezone and figured I'd be productive and share.

Thanks to all those who've emailed and sent words of encouragement. It's hard to convey without going into gory details but chemo is brutal. Brutal is not the word. And we both want to just pack it in, but random emails of encouragement and good news like this help keep things on track.

Friday, June 20, 2008

3rd Chemo (of 4) & Camping

After a wonderful break camping in PA, Karen's back in chemo again. Today she had her 3rd treatment of CPT-11 since the last scans. As you may recall Karen gets CPT-11 every 3 weeks and Erbitux every week. She's having some "toxicity" to the Erbitux and so was given a break from that this week.

The CPT-11 is causing slurred speech and so the treatment was stretched to 5 hours instead of 3. Despite the slower IV, Karen got extremely nauseous and experienced some gagging and dry-heaving. Some heavy anti-nausea meds were added to the protocol and a big bag of fluids. All-in-all we got to the hospital at 9AM and left at 5:30PM.

As I mentioned we had a really great few days away with the kids. We chose to rent a cabin and didn't rough it too much. The trip included stroking a frog, waking a butterfly, feeding some goats, an underground cave, a trip to the Zoo, the Science museum, swimming, paddle boats and a beautiful sunset. The kids did great and it was terrific to spend the time with them and share in their fun.

I'm traveling on business this week from Tuesday which is not great timing. Karen will have her sister Sarah as company. As with all chemo weeks, we hope the week goes quickly.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Going Camping

Karen's doing better, still very nauseous after a typical chemo week (tough weekend then gradually come back to life through the week). We are playing a man-down this week as Sarah is in Florida. Sav if you're reading this we're doing ok!

We are going camping soon. Either next week or the following week. Not exactly "Into the Wild" but close.

In reference to the ASCO conference, not much came out of it other than some more data supporting the efficacy of Erbitux. Still, we'll take it.

Life is good.