Sunday, January 16, 2011

... These Go To 11

The title there is a little homage to any Spinal Tap fans out there. Such a hilarious movie, I highly recommend it.

Spinal Tap clip to give a chuckle

It is also a bit of a clue into some great news I've been keeping close to the vest over the last few weeks. My recent CEA has come in at, you guessed it, 11!

My previous number before the sir-spheres procedure was around 160. Then it went to 180 then to 227. Then Kathy called me about 2 months ago to tell me it was 51! I said to her "can you repeat that?" I genuinely thought she must have said 151, but she said, "five, one." I was elated. That was the first drop we had seen in my CEA since October of 2009. Then she called about a month later and said we were at 11! Well, it is actually 11.7 but I figure I'm not in school anymore so I don't have to round up, do I?

So this news is very encouraging. Numbers dropping indicate the tumor is dying. I have a pet/ct scan scheduled for February 2nd (happy bday Jen) and will meet with Dr. Moriarty on the 4th. I am optimistic and hopeful, but I have to add I am cautious as well.

I don't really know what to expect to happen after this. Nobody knows. This isn't a cancer where doctors tell you it's "very treatable" and "we expect you'll do well."

Now in all fairness Dr. Moriarty doesn't tell me the opposite of that but at the end of the day it's a stage 4 cancer. It's very easy and good to hear/get good news, good results. I don't, have to prepare myself for that, or the miracle we are all praying for. But I do have a parallel line running through my head right next to hope and faith that says "just prepare and brace for a long future with this or for things to turn the wrong way."

I think that's normal right? What more can I do?

I guess what I am driving at is that if we have the scans and the tumor is dead, or gone, then there will be no words to describe that joy. However, it doesn't mean it's gone for good. Having the recurrence post surgery keeps me grounded in that reality.

But at the end of the day my life is good. I haven't been on any chemo since mid-August, and let me tell you that is NICE! That can change too at any moment but Dr. Moriarty is trying to hold that at bay, while killing this thing with more local treatments if he can and if he thinks it's the best treatment to do so.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. They mean SO much to me. And please let's continue to pray for those who continue to get diagnosed everyday. The shock is mind-numbing. We recently had a friend diagnosed with breast cancer,and within weeks she has had a double mastectomy and now after recovery faces chemo and radiation. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

I really do continue to pray for all who pray for me especially those who are going through cancer, and keep me so strong by their examples of bravery, good humor, and faith. Faith can be a toughie and I admit that I have been flailing a bit over the last year with it all. But for me at the end of the day, it is Jesus who keeps me calm when I am terrified, brings me comfort when I feel alone, and I know when you feel stripped of it all, I know He is there, and He brings me hope.

I think I have mentioned I hate cancer, I hate having it, and I hate it for everyone else who has it. But life is here in my face saying "live me girl!" And I say back to life "will do...word!"



Francis Shanahan said...

great post honey, I am smiling with pride.

Anonymous said...

Great news Karen, glad to see you are doing so well :-)
James S.

Anonymous said...

Such great news, Karen! "Word," indeed! ~Tara B.

Don MacLeod said...

Hey Karen...

"Be prepared" isn't just for Boy Scouts, it is also a cancer patient's painfully gained wisdom from the hard lessons of recurrence. Inspired by your wonderful news, I'm going out to play in the snow.

Hold Fast
Don MacLeod

K.M. Camiolo said...

: )

Good news is good news, so a big hooray for you!
We know that tightrope walking thing you have to do between very real hoorays in a context of yikes; know that we are so inspired by you and we continue to pray for a big fat number Zero, ye olde NED (no evidence of disease). We've only heard of NED, but we hear he is awesome if you can get him to hang around. ; )

The Cams crew

teresa loughnane said...

Live life to the full girl! You continue to be an inspiration to us all.We're all behind you. Best of luck for your scans and meeting with Dr Moriarty this week. Can't wait to see you this side of the Atlantic.
All our love,
The Loughnanes xx

Anonymous said...


I had a similar diagnosis as you (diagnosed Nov 2008) and I always check your blog to see how you are doing. What great news that your CEA is dropping! I am so happy for you and I hope that you are enjoying beautiful snow days with your children.