Journal entry by Abigail Johnston —
Every month, my doctor looks at my tumor markers. These are protein levels in my blood that can indicate growth or proliferation of cancer cells. Each different marker can indicate different types of cancer cells growing in various sites, like, for instance, in my bones. As soon as I started treatment, my tumor markers have come down from the crazy high numbers at the beginning towards the normal range. One marker came into the normal range pretty quickly. The others continued to come down. Until last week. The marker my doctor likes to follow is CA27-29. Normal for this marker is under 38. Last month, the value was 54 and this month, it is 56. Not the direction we wanted to see. My doctor isn’t concerned in light of the results of my most recent PET scan which shows a positive response in all tumor and lesion sites to the medication. 2 points isn’t statistically significant either. Yeah, tell that to my emotions. I didn’t realize how much I’d been holding onto the fact that all my markers were marching downwards like good little soldiers. Nothing to be done but continue the treatment and all complimentary efforts and wait to see the numbers next month. And continue to pray.