Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tumor Markers Going Down, Down, Down

I have had three treatments of the TDM1 now, and this week was our first indication of whether it's doing its job or not.  And I am happy to report that it is!

My tumor markers were taken this week, just a few days before my third treatment.  I now have to go to the hospital a few days before treatment to get my blood drawn, since they need to make sure my liver enzyme levels are good, and that's not something that can be measured with a simple finger-stick before treatment.

So when I came for treatment on Friday, Eugenie (Dr. Sara's nurse practitioner) came by my chair and told us the good news that my tumor markers are down!  And it was clear that she and Dr. Sara were just as excited to hear my results as I was.  She said Dr. Sara had emailed her earlier saying "LOOK AT EMILY'S TUMOR MARKERS!" (complete with all capital letters).  It feels good to know how much Dr. Sara and Eugenie care.

I'm still going pretty strong on the minimal side effects - as I mentioned, after the first treatment I had some achy-ness.  I had that again after the second treatment, but it was less intense (not that it was even that bad the first time) and for a shorter duration.  So far this time, I had a little soreness in my lower back the day after treatment, but frankly, I think that was bothering me before so I'm not even sure it's related to treatment at all.  I feel fine today, two days post-treatment, and even went running this morning.

And, my hair is definitely coming back in!  On April 13th, I had what I like to call my "troll hair" - meaning the wispy, brittle, uneven "chemo hair" I had - shaved off.  I did this to get rid of the crappy chemo hair and make way for the new healthy hair to come in.  I did the same thing last time I knew my hair would be coming back, and it worked out well.

My new hair feels like it's coming in fast - in reality, it's probably the standard 1/4" per month rate that hair normally grows, but it always feels faster when it's this short since it's that much more noticeable.  Last weekend my Dad even swore that I had more hair on Sunday than I did on Friday!

I'm still wearing the wigs most of the time, since it's still a little too short for comfort.  My goal is to have it long enough that you can't see any scalp (which I'm pretty much there now), and long enough that it's not sticking straight up, but that I can have it lay flat on top (even if it takes some product to get there).  I still have a bit of a ways to go to get there.  I'm hoping maybe by Memorial Day it will be long enough that I can ditch the wigs.  It would be coming full circle, since it was Memorial Day last year that I had just started losing it again, and shaved it off since it was getting really annoying.

It will be nice to have short hair for the summer.  And, there was a segment on Good Morning America just this week about how pixie haircuts are "in," so I will be right on trend!