What Should Be Down Is Up

Posted on July 18, 2017.

Not many weeks ago, it was good news that my CEA tumor marker had declined to something in the neighborhood of 6.  After all, it was over 15 when I was first diagnosed in February.  But that was before it declined to a spectacularly low 0.6 (zero to three being the normal range even for people without cancer).  Now the decimal point has slipped to the right, and the marker stands at an even 6.  It was expected to go up – where else could it go from 0.6?  But the amount of increase is concerning.  Blood taken yesterday will also be tested for the marker, so there will probably be another CEA number before I start another round in August. 

I’m also coughing a little bit, which is haunting since a cough (albeit a worse one) was the precipitating condition that led to the discovery of my esophageal tumor. 

Since I’ve done so well side-effect-wise over the past few rounds of treatment, I asked about increasing my dosage of Xeloda, the oral chemotherapy I take daily for two weeks before a week off.  Dr. Devore agrees that we should try that, and has increased my daily dosage by 25%.  The doc estimates that the risk of the gastro problems that near about did me in back in March/April returning is probably 50%.  Still, he thinks increasing the dosage is worth the try, given the sharp increase in my CEA number, with strict instructions to go back to the previous dosage if the side effects return before Day Seven, and to stop taking the Xeloda altogether if the side effects return on or after Day Ten.  I guess I’ll call and see what to do if I run into trouble on Days Eight through Ten – I didn’t think to ask when I saw him.  Today is Day Two of the current round.  So far so good. 

My original requests for prayer still stand – I still want to be healed by the Lord, I still want to be strong in faith no matter what, I still want to hate sin as much as I hate the disease, I still want to prove an example to the flock, etc.  But in the short term, please pray that my body will be able to handle the increased dosage, and that my cancer will NOT be able to handle it, and get back to shrinking instead of growing.  Thanks for your prayers.