CA -125 Ovarian cancer blood test

Last week, was my OFF chemo week. I felt somewhat like I was playing ‘hookie’. I felt pretty darn good, well except for the bum leg but even that one is improving. For the first time, in many months (nearly a year) I walked 25 min. I had my old camino poles and set out for a few blocks because I was ‘lazy’ and then I rememberd how, only a short few weeks ago I had to lay on that couch, not being able to walk at all and I pushed myself onward. Ended up going longer. I was pretty proud of myself.

I visited friends and did some ‘normal’ stuff. I went to second hand shops to find a lamp and night stand for Cameron. I cooked and baked. A friend of mine had a yard sale and I put some things in it but hardly anyone came. I think, she sold a few of my books. Not enough to help with costs.

A lovely surprise was the visit of my long time friends Garwen and Garci. Have not seen them in several years. Had a nice few hours. Always too short but better than nothing.

Also trying to stay cool as temps are up in the 90’s and the daily hot, strong  winds are a great fire danger. Very low humidity makes a tough job for forefighters in Eastern Colorado and trying to contain the “Black Forest Fire.”

As the day to another cycle of chemo came closer, I also became more anxious as I also had a CA -125 scheduled. This is a tumor marker and stands for : Cancer Antigen, which is measuring the protein in a cancer cell to determine how much is floating around. This test is NOT an exact science and it has its faults but it’s the only one we have. Different cancers have different numbers. Beast cancer has CA-138.

My whole system had just returned to normal. Everything was working well. But… I had to go back on Tuesday. Cameron came from Telluride, Monday eve and we took off at 8:00 A.M for that 1.5 hr drive. At 9:00 A.M it was already 90F. Another hot, dry day.

I had baked a dozen Muffin shaped, little white-chocolate-raspberry cheese cakes for Oncologist and nursing staff. They said, it was more than delicious.

I put the Lidocaine cream on about 1 hr before we got there so it can really numb my port entry. Most cancer people are not that worried about chemo, since it does not hurt going in (side effects later) but the needles going into port causes anxiety. My blood pressure, which is a nice 120/78 most of the time, went to 147/94. Anticipation. Even though outwardly, not even I can tell.

I requested that they would call me as soon as they had the result as last time it took several days of nail biting worry and phone calls before I found out it was 116. Not as bad as some but not as great.

As I sat in the Lazy boy lounger attached to the IV’s, the nurse came and handed me the result. (Oncologist had rushed it through). She also came by my station with a big grin. We had made a little bet. She had said, it’s probably around 50 and I had said 45 (well, a little more hope.)It was a LOVELY, lovely 59. Normal range is 0-35. Next time, next month there will be another one and GOD, let it be 30! or, lower. There is an end in sight. Later on we will also have a CT scan (racking up those test costs) to see what the tumor is doing. I am envisioning that it’s dried up, shriveled and useless, even to the ’emperor’, hanging by a tiny thread.

I also asked Dr. M. to check on CT scan picture to see if there’s anythting left of the small lung tumors, which I had called ‘seedlings’. None there as far as she could determine. Ohh, a pocket full of miracles.

So. This morning, I have to go for a little finger prick to check on slow moving blood. Professionally, it’s known under: prothrombin time test, PIT for short. It is reported as an International Normalized Ration (INR).  Hopefully, this too has improved and the blood clot is disappearing.

I have also ordered a ‘Cumadin cook book’. It’s annoying having to consult the Internet each time I want to prepare food, to see how much ‘K’ Vitamin is in stuff. All these numbers, what a crap shoot.

I am not complaining at all. This gives me renewed energy and hope and strength to think, that this is NEARLY over. Only a few more months before I want to go to Europe. Use up my frequent flyer miles and staying with relatives and friends. I could not afford this any other way. I will have to go to a medical facility to have my port ‘flushed’. It’ll have to be in there for several more month, just to be sure. I am not sure if I’ll have it removed, which would be another invasive surgery and then the worry, “What if IT comes back?” Then I would have to go through all that again. I would have to have it flushed once a month though. I’ve had 10 years of remission ( very rare with ovarian cnacer) but also know that each time there is a recurrance, time is getting shorter in between. But, I’m not thinking about that. I’ll have at least another 10 years.

I am very grateful again. Not getting caught up with superficial stuff. Thanking my friends, who go through the hard stuff with me, as well as Cameron. Never complaining as he drives 6 hrs round trip.

Also, my support group ‘Teal Warriors.’ A fine group of ladies with some bad, crappy cancers and side effects, many far worse than mine. We lost a dear ‘sister’ a couple of weeks ago. They are there when I want to whine and complain because I KNOW they understand. That’s one place we can unload, ask questions, get great, joyful Hurrah’s when tests go better and each tiny improvement is celebrated. Thank you, dear sisters.



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