"Miracles sometimes occur, but one has to work terribly hard for them." ~Chaim Weizmann, Chemist, First president of Israel, 1874-1952
Today was scan result day for Les. I stayed on the boat and kept myself busy washing four loads of clothes and drying them before he came home, cleaning up the boat, filling the coal bucket, bringing wood in to dry, answering emails--anything to keep my mind occupied so it couldn't play the game "What if...?" I haven't had a decent night's sleep in a week between the pain in my knees and the thoughts I've evaded going 'round in the back of my head.
Les called me this afternoon to say that the spot they found in his lung six months ago, and which had grown from 4 to 5 millimeters as of three months ago, has not grown since then. The scan found no other lesions in his thoracic or abdominal region or in any of his organs in these areas. They are mystified though as his PSA blood cancer marker test has risen although they cannot find any reason for it to do so. After review by a medical panel they may recommend a PET scan.
I know from all the research I've done--especially regarding alternative cancer treatments, that stopping a treatment or going back to one's old diet can cause cancer markers to rise in the blood stream. We've been naughty eaters this holiday season, imbibing in alcohol, salt, dairy, red meat and sugar. Come January 2nd we will be back to our regular anti-cancer regimen again.
I also know that there are many, many non-cancerous things that can also cause one's cancer markers to rise. With respect to colorectal cancer, smoking is one of them. Les doesn't smoke anymore however we do stay warm with a solid fuel stove and it is powered by a combination of coal and wood. It is impossible not to inhale the smoke as one checks the fire, feeds it, rakes out the hot ash, etc. It could definitely be a valid reason for Les' PSA markers to rise.
Finally I know from my own experience as an ovarian cancer survivor, just how imperfect PSA tests can be. They present false-positives and negatives frequently. Some research indicates that PSA test results can be incorrect at least 50% of the time. While cancer was colonizing my right ovary, my ovarian PSA marker test came back as nine. Zero to 35 is considered within the normal range. This innocent number nine led my ObGyn surgeon to believe I had nothing to fear. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
On New Year's Eve we will celebrate that our journey together has carried on to this point of quiet optimism. We will lift a glass of Asti Spumante to toast all of our friends and loved ones far and wide whom we miss; we will lift our glasses with tears in our eyes for those of our Best beloveds who died this past year. We will toast to each other, our steadfast love, and the chance for one more trip around the sun together. Blessed Be...