Scan results received yesterday were very favorable – clear again for the third scan in a row. In other words, although we know by other means that there is cancer in my body, you can’t tell it by my last three scans. The tumor marker number is continuing to creep up, however, now up to 7.5 (the last three test results being 7.4, 6.8, and 7.5, and gradually increasing from the 3 range before the 7.4). The oncologist takes that to indicate cancer growth, but just not enough to show up on a scan.
In more good news, tests on biopsy material taken back in February indicated that I am a good candidate for an immunotherapy called Keytruda (you may have seen advertisements on TV for it), but the doc does not want to switch to it until we get all the mileage (time) we can out of the present strategy of Herceptin and the chemotherapy Xeloda. The Xeloda is wearing me down energy-wise, but I’m not having the intestinal issues I had back in March-April with almost the present dosage. Dr. Devore is amazed, but that’s been one of my prayer requests – that I’d be able to handle the increased dosage without a return of the awful side-effects.
So there is a good immunotherapy Plan B in place, but Plan A is to remain in place as long as my scans continue to show clear and I can live with the side effects. Should the tumor marker numbers continue to climb, the scan schedule will be accelerated a bit, and if they go down we will return to the original scan schedule of every 12 weeks or so. Tumor marker numbers going down again would be nice.
All in all, however, it was an excellent report. My good wife took off from work to go with me to yesterday’s appointment, because with the bad trend in the tumor marker numbers I was steeling myself for a setback, and feeling anxious about whether immunotherapy would work in my case.
I know, I know, “be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6). It’s a command, I know it well. But I fight these battles of the soul on the same plane that you do. Thank you so much for your prayers for me. I have no doubt that they are weighing strong in my favor, and that the Lord is being good to me because of you.