Spike, in her gentlemanly way, failed to point out that I was all bright and cheerful in the doctor’s office, and I then made it *almost* out of the building before having a tremendous weeping fit, and soaking Spike’s shoulder rather thoroughly.
You see, the thing about cancer is that it can be slapped down, and still come back and bite you on the ass on the second round. And the thing about ovarian cancer is, it’s worse than many. The official statistics are something like a 25 – 30% survival rate, for those at Spike’s advanced stage. I don’t think I’ve taken a single breath free of terrible, choking fear since April.
But what the doctor and our chemo nurse were saying, in a completely gleeful way (really, I’ve never seen them so gleeful) was that the way Spike’s blood tests read was indicative of the very best they could hope for, giving clues that the cancer had been completely excised. The lower the CA-125 goes, the less chance that there’s sneaky cancer cells waiting to come back.
Normal healthy human CA-125 (stands for Cancer Antibody) range is 1 – 10 (never goes to zero, even in cancer-free people).
Spike started this journey at a CA-125 of 150, which dropped radically with surgery (to 60-ish), and then dropped another huge drop at the onset of chemo (to 8-ish)… then took little steps down to its current level of 2.2.
So. One more round of chemo. Spike gets her eyebrows back. And then we spend seven years peering ’round corners, waiting to see if the monster is gonna jump back out at us. But we’re starting from a really hopeful place. And, I’m not feeling quite so scared any more. But I sure am weepy…