Hi Marion and PCL...thank you both for the thoughtful responses. It has been a very wild past three months, and I have not been as good at keep my various websites, blogs and threads up to date.
Bruce is now over 3 years since his diagnosis of cc. As you might remember, at the time of diagnosis, Bruce was told that he had 4 months and was pronounced inoperable. Being who he is (the quintessential fighter) he found someone to operate and here is he. His cc came back in August and he has had multiple procedures and chemo's to eradicate the tumors: cyber-knife/targeted radiation; systemic gemzar/cisplatin; chemoembolization (chemo delivered directly into liver); and then a new chemo - Erbitux. His body was basically assaulted. It was so hard to watch him so weak and suffering from the effects of the treatments.
His platelets dropped, causing his exhaustion and weakness, and he has fluid retention (ascites) in his abdomen. The fluid is caused by low albumin levels, which in turn causes the capillaries to leak fluid into surrounding tissues. All of the symptoms that Bruce is experiencing have been caused, we believe, by the chemo (and perhaps along with the radiation.) His platelets actually dropped to 10 (should be 200) - causing him to require 2 platelet transfusions.
We stopped the chemo treatments in order to allow his body to heal & strengthen - which is now happening. His platelets, as of this past week, are 173 - and his fluid levels have dropped some. His blood work was actually remarkably normal and he is beginning to sound like his normal self.
Bruce's biggest concern right now is that his CA199 spiked from the normal range (where it had been for most of the year) to 135. This past week, it dropped to 125. They drew some of the fluid from his abdomen to test for cancer cells, and we are awaiting to hear that news on Monday/Tuesday. The last time they tested the fluid (a month ago), it was cancer-free.
Hence, I was hoping to find out where others' CA199 markers were during their long stretches of beating back this disease. It might ease Bruce's mind a bit to know that 125 is not a horrible number.
I cannot begin to thank you all enough for this wonderful website, discussion board, shared knowledge and support...it has been a bright light in our uncharted navigation through very rough seas! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!
With love always,