I saw my oncologist today for what I thought was my last pre-treatment visit. For me, a round of chemo is three treatments over the course of three weeks, with treatment on Days 1, 2 and 8. And I always see my doc on Day 1. My CA-125 levels are also checked every three weeks, on Day 1. You may recall that the last time I saw my oncologist, three weeks ago today, I got a bit of scary-ish news (See my “Wake up Call” post). And was by myself. Today I didn’t make that mistake.
My husband went with me, and we brought the Maggs along too, to meet all of the wonderful nurses and staff who have taken such great care of me during this process. Again, we thought this was the beginning of the final round. First, the better news: after hovering at the 39.5 to 41.0 level for the past 12 weeks, my CA-125 finally made a move – in the right direction – down to 32. I was soooo relieved. It’s an incremental move but movement nonetheless. The goal is to be in the low teens or single digits by the time treatment ends. And I had been getting nervous about the plateau, after having such dramatic drops in the beginning. So I was pleased about that.
Then I learned that my doc had been planning to have me do TWO more rounds (of three treatments each, for a total of six) rather than just one. Her rationale was that because I had missed all or part of at least two of the IP sessions (due to leakage), these additional rounds would fulfill her originally treatment plan for me and then some. Now, you’d think I’d be disappointed or frustrated in this further delay in the conclusion of my treatment. But I wasn’t. Not in the least. I’d actually been a bit anxious about the treatment ending, as much as I dreaded it in the beginning.
You see, there’s something comforting in taking pro-active steps week after week in the fight. The fight to best the cancer, for good. Going to chemo is DOING something. The thought of doing nothing made me a little uneasy. My doc says this is normal. And she says that most people find security in checking in with their doctor every three weeks. It means someone who knows what they are doing is keeping an eye on you. This does indeed make me feel safer.
She asked if I minded doing an additional round. I did not hesitate to say hell yes. Let’s keep going. Let’s add a few more liters of cancer-fighting fluid. Why not? Bring it on. So….my last scheduled treatment will now be in mid-June rather than mid-May. Then, about 30 days after my last infusion, I’ll get my CA-125 levels checked to see where they are – which will become my new baseline. I’ll also get post-treatment scans on my chest, abdomen and pelvis. These tests are the big daddies of all the tests I’ve had. They’ll basically tell us if the treatment has worked. And I am oh so hopeful that it has.
Until I know though, I’m focusing on positive visualization of the chemo drugs sweeping out all of the bad cells like Mickey Mouse’s wizard character in Fantasia. And trying to stay out of fearful speculation. As always, my stinkingly adorable family makes it much easier to stay positive.