After treatment six, I got some encouraging news. My oncologist informed me that my blood-tests showed that the level of CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) in my system was going down. CEA is produced by colon tumors. A steadily dropping CEA level was a good sign.
We would get worse news in about a year, but at the time it seemed that a cure was possible for me. I wrote to friends and family:
Sent: December 18, 2013 3:35 PM
I have good news! My oncologist has been tracking a particular protein in my blood that is associated with cancer. Last week, she cheerfully reported that the values are dropping significantly. This protein (CEA) is used as a tumor marker, and the fact that the value is going down is an indication that the cancer probably hasn't spread. Yay, hooray!!! It dropped from a high of 19, to its current value, 0.9. Woo! Stay low, CEA. Stay low.
Also happened: Patrick got trained on how to safely remove the harpoon and pump from his dear wife. The pump will need to be removed late in the morning on Christmas day. I laughed when the nurse explained to him about containment. "Remember," she cautioned, "even though we're dumping this directly into your wife's bloodstream, this stuff is poison to you and me."
Um, Hello? It's poison to me, too. Just ask my liver. But! It's poison to cancer, too.
My head knew that chemo was my best chance at a cure, but I couldn't keep from thinking, "There's got to be a better way."