May 21, 2013
From the Rat Race to the Waiting Game
This is a weird feeling. I have nothing to do today but clean my house. How does that happen? We have spent the last month in a cancer diagnosis rat race, running to doctor appointments, scans, blood work, and the biopsy; then traveling for more scans, more blood work, more doctor appointments… Now Trav is at work, and I have nothing to do but clean my house. Well, and catch up on bills and laundry and phone calls that have been set aside. But, we don’t have any doctor appointments today.
Trav and I were saying this morning that since we don’t have chemo this week it feels like we are doing nothing. That feels both strange and not good. It gives me too much time to read the message board on Cholangiocarcinoma.org and feel slightly envious of the people who caught the disease before it spread out of the liver. Isn’t that crazy to be envious of someone else who has CC? I am actually happy for them, but I’m being honest in saying that my happiness is combined with a bit of envy. Why couldn’t Trav have gotten the kidney stones one year ago when the CT scan may have only shown a tumor in the liver and no enlarged nodes? Why couldn’t we have caught this disease before it left the liver? The whys only waste time, but I can’t keep them from sneaking into my head from time to time. Then I read about other people who were diagnosed because they were becoming jaundice and starting to itch. Their bilirubin numbers were already out of control at their diagnosis, so they have to wear drains and have stints put into their bile ducts. Wow, aren’t we blessed! Trav is symptom-free. Outside of the effects from chemo (so far tiredness and a headache), Travis is feeling good. That is so amazing, and we are beyond grateful.
Sunday night a friend came into town, Jason Mashburn (Mash). We are so happy that he is here. We have all been friends since middle/high school when Mash was Trav’s main partner in crime. Trav broke his anti cancer diet Sunday night so that we could go to the hole in the wall Mexican restaurant that Trav and Mash went to when they were skipping school back in the Wheeler High School days. We even sat at their booth. Well, at dinner Mash asked about the blog. He was wondering if it would be updated as much now that we don’t have new things going on every day. That is a good question. Probably not. Simply because we don’t have as much to report now that we are in the waiting game.
The first date that we are waiting for is a blood test that Trav will get in about four weeks. This blood test will look at his tumor marker which is called CA19-9. It is the blood marker that points the doctors to his diagnosis of Cholangiocarcinoma. Trav’s CA19-9 level is insane. It is 91,000. Normal levels are between 0-37! You may be wondering if that was a typo that you just read. That is what we asked the doctors. Are you sure it is 91,000? Dr Hamrick assures us that it is nothing to worry about. Everyone has his own starting point, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. The only thing that matters is that it goes down. In approximately four weeks, Trav will have his blood drawn, and we will be on our knees praying that his CA19-9 level is lower than 91,000.
The second date that we are waiting for will be in about two months: the CT scan that tells us if the chemo is helping. When I set the date for the CT scan, I will let everyone know. Like I have said before, two months isn’t really long enough to have amazing results, so stable or slight shrinkage of the cancer will be a win.
So… even if you go days without hearing from us, please don’t stop praying. The waiting days seem harder than the busy days. You all know how that is. It is nice to be busy and productive. Please pray that the meds are hard at work and killing each and every cancer cell. Pray that those lymph nodes respond to the chemo. Pray for our strength and our patience. Pray for our three little ones. Trey and Pippi know that daddy is sick, but of course they don’t understand cancer. Please keep joining us in prayer while we are waiting!!!