The “on one foot” version for anyone new to my blog: In February I will be an 11-year breast cancer survivor. Three years ago this month my CA 15.3 tumor marker (a controversial blood test used as part of my follow-up studies) started rising. And just over a year ago my cancer showed up in my bone marrow. I now have incurable, metastatic breast cancer.
I’ve made my peace with MBC, at least for now. And in fact, I’m one of the profoundly lucky ones – we caught it “early,” before it had done significant bone damage or spread to any other organs. I am back on tamoxifen, as well as injections of Xgeva and Lupron, and while I’m not lovin’ them I DO know it could be much, much worse! And most of all, it seems to be doing the trick.
That call three years ago, the Monday of Thanksgiving, my marker was at 79. (Normal is 29). Over the next two years, while we opted for “watchful waiting” it rose to an astounding 491. Today I got a call from my doctor’s office and we are finally back in double digits: 88.
I am thrilled. Really! The pace has slowed down considerably in the last few months and it’s had me secretly worried. Down is good, but dropped a few points a month wasn’t what I wanted. So 13 points has me very happy!
I was texting out the good news when it hit me: I could be metastatic AND NED (no evidence of disease). I don’t even know what that looks like.
Treatment, or no treatment? More scans to be sure? And will I sleep at night?
NED is a wonderful problem to have, no doubt. But then it’s back to the “you should be so happy” edicts from those who don’t understand that NED is just a holding pen.