I knew it had been a while since I updated this site, but I didn’t realize it had been 6 months! The reason I haven’t updated in the past 6 months is there hasn’t really been a significant change….. which isn’t a bad thing when you are stage 4!
This past week, Steve had his last follow up for the year so I thought it was a good time to share how he’s doing.
His CEA number is holding at 11, which is low and good. He had a bone scan earlier this month because he was having some back pain and his last scan still showed a spot on his vertebrae. I won’t lie, this scared me. I was more worried than Steve was. The bone scan did show that the spot is indeed cancer BUT the doctor isn’t worried about it. He believes it’s been there since the middle of the year but is now ‘stable’.
Let me explain that a little more…
Earlier in the year, his scan showed a bit of growth in his lungs. His CEA number was also rising. So the doctor put him on a different chemo. You can read more about that in the previous post titled “Making some changes”. The doctor believes that at the same time that there was growth in his lungs, it also moved to his bones. Since that change of chemo was made, his CEA is staying low so he doesn’t believe the cancer in his back is new or even moving for that matter. This makes TOTAL sense to me from everything I’ve learned and I also believe that’s what’s happening.
That is all good news. Since everything seems to be “stable” the doctor is keeping him on the same chemo he’s been on since June which is just one day, every 2 weeks. It’s so much better than being attached to the bag for 3 days.
He is due for another scan and that is scheduled for January 8, 2016. At that time he’ll also check his CEA number to see how that’s going. As long as it’s staying around 11, we’ll keep moving forward with the same chemo.
The side effects of this chemo are more ‘manageable’ for Steve so he’d prefer to stay on it for as long as he can. He does get nausea and issues with his digestive system, but it’s better than not being able to eat due to painful mouth sores and being sensitive to the cold… not that any of the side effects are fun. But if he has to have some, he’d prefer the ones he has now.
He’s manage to put on about 20 pounds which is a good thing. He had lost so much weight that they had to adjust the dosages of all his chemo meds and he’s almost back up to where they’ll have to readjust them back to the beginning measurements. At this point, the doctor would rather see the weight on him than off him.
While his hair seems to have stopped falling out, it’s breaking instead. So if you see him you may notice his hair is uneven in places but whatever. it’s only hair! I also noticed the other day he is getting grey hair again – all of it had fallen out. LOL
He’s been receiving chemo for 18 months. Some people with his diagnosis don’t even make it this far and he’s doing so well. As hard as this has all been, We are very thankful for that. When Steve was first diagnosed, before we really knew what was going on, he thought his time was VERY limited. Since June 2014 Steve has …….. celebrated 2 Thanksgivings, (almost) 2 Christmas & New Years, 2 Halloweens, 2 summer pool parties, 2 4th of July’s, Holly has turned 2 years older, Allison has turned 1 year older, we’ve gone on 2 Disney family vacations, a trip to Washington DC, he’s traveled for business about 6 times (in state and over seas), he’s worked almost everyday minus chemo days, weekends, vacation days and a handful or 2 of sick days…. So much has happened since that day, and he thought he’d never do any more of these things.
And me??? Well lets just say that friends, family, therapy and (temporary) medication has helped me to move forward every day. For those of you that don’t know, I’m back in school and just finished my first class (waiting on the final grade but I believe it’s an A!) and next semester I’ll take 2 classes since that went so well. I’m hoping to be able to apply to the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at CCRI next fall and within the next 3 years be back to work full time doing something that I never imagined doing… but life has a way of putting us in different directions at time, that just seem right.
The girls are doing great in school and make me proud every day.
We are hoping that in 2016 we get to celebrate together more birthdays, more holidays and hopefully more family vacations together. Only God knows what the year will bring and I leave it in his hands.
Happy Holidays and I wish you all a very happy and healthy New year.