Did I speak too soon about good results? No such thing as a routine cancer appointment

posted in: Cancer 0

For once I don’t have a sick feeling in my stomach. The last test results were solid – stable proteins at 3.3 and a chart topping 160 for the haemoglobin. In a fit of optimism I book a cheap short haul flight for 2 months’ time since Husband doesn’t need me at the moment. Perhaps having phone appointments makes it seem less real somehow. We run through our usual prep for today’s review appointment: clear space on table, put phone on table, check phone is charged, write a list of questions, have all our notes to hand, make sure we have spare pens. It’s like a little exam. Numbers, dates, as if keeping track will organise the chaos in Husband’s blood.

The doc is uncharacteristically business-like, jumping straight into the blood results. Proteins are now 5.6. Bummer. That feels like quite a hike. The haemoglobin count is down to 152. Mmm. I’m feeling less confident and I can hear from the Doc’s voice that he’s taking this seriously. 152 is great on its own, although of course it wouldn’t be good if the numbers dropped like that each time. The concern is that the drop may be due to the rise in proteins. The doc says he’s going to shorten the monitoring period from 3 to 2 months “to see if this is a blip or the start of something”.

We’d assumed that the docs wouldn’t treat Husband again until his blood numbers were roughly where they were before (120 ish for haemoglobin). That seemed a long way off. It comes as a bit of a surprise to hear the Doc say that if this is the cancer coming back they’ll want to treat him as soon as possible, to put a brake on the cancer. It sounded like they might want to treat him early next year. That rather shook us, although we didn’t say anything.

The Doc explained that there is no magic level of proteins at which they would plan to treat the cancer, just “when they start to knock the haemoglobin”. That, like so much, remains to be seen.

Husband admitted to me later that he wasn’t overly surprised at the possibility of treatment on the horizon. He feels fine but he’s finding that doing things takes a bit more effort that it did.

Of course it’s too soon to know what (if anything) is happening. How often have we had to say that! It makes me even more determined to try to live well and to help Husband to do so. For now I cancel the flight and we remap our plan for the next couple of months. Whatever might be happening at least we have these two months of ‘normal’, some of that stability we keep looking for.

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