Game on

18 Sep

We’ve had a busy past few weeks. Since I last blogged we: celebrated our first wedding anniversary, Nick decided to head back to school to pursue a Master’s degree in Sustainability, and we received news my cancer has progressed.  Ugh. If you haven’t noticed already, the ride on this emotional roller coaster is still in progress. So, how did this happen?  Throughout the past few months, I have been on Avastin, an antiangiogenic drug that starves tumors from their oxygen supply by preventing them from growing new blood vessels – thus killing them (in theory).  Although this was the intended effect of the drug, my tumors proved a bit more ‘resilient’, in the tactful words of my oncologist.

After my last heavy duty round of chemo this past spring, the lesions in my lungs had completely disappeared and the lesions on my liver had significantly decreased in both size and number, marking tremendous progress.  My latest PET scan, however, showed the lesions in the lungs were back and the liver lesions had increased in both size and number.  Follow up blood tests (via measurement of a CEA level) concluded that the cancer had, in fact, progressed, however my doctor was quick to point out that while my CEA registered at a 9, last February – prior to the rigorous chemo – it had reached a level of 15.  A healthy person has a CEA of 1-3.

Obviously this was not the news we were hoping for, yet my oncologist remained very optimistic that this was all treatable and that remission was still a viable and realistic goal.  He proposed two different treatment plans – both an aggressive and a conservative approach.  The aggressive plan entails another round of a new chemo drug, while the conservative plan involves treating with an antibody that would attack the cancer cells. As of now, we are inclined to lean towards the more aggressive plan – if these tumors want to play hardball, then game on!  Before we begin the next course of treatment though, we’re in the process of seeking a second opinion; nothing wrong with confirming we are on the right track to beat this once and for all.  Stay tuned, as more updates will be forthcoming within the week.  In the mean time keep us in your thoughts and prayers…and keep your seat belts fastened at all times on this emotional roller coaster!

13 Responses to “Game on”

  1. Danette Jaeger September 19, 2011 at 5:52 am #

    Once again Emily your attitude is contagious!! We are ready to fight right here beside you through prayers and anything else we might be able to do. You just give us the word and we will do what we can to help! Stay strong Em – you are going to beat this cancer regardless of how tough it wants to play!

    Love ya!

  2. Barb Wollak September 19, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    Sending you lots of love and prayers.
    Barb Wollak

  3. Kathleen September 19, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    We are lighting candles for you and sending you lots of positive wishes and thoughts.

  4. Rita Hartert September 19, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    My first thought was, ‘How can this be?’ You did everything right, followed the rules, get a wonderful ‘reprieve’………and then a kick in the gut! We all feel that kick, and will hang in with you and pray for the day when you can proclaim, ‘Cancer free for five years now.’ Love you, Em!

  5. Karen Moger September 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    There are so many things to admire about you, and one is you don’t believe in the “no win scenario.” Right on!!! Soldier on dear one.
    Much Love,
    Aunt Karen

  6. Brad & ann ihrke September 20, 2011 at 3:57 am #

    You go, girl! Remember that you have all the Ihrkes in your corner.

  7. fabs September 20, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Em, im sorry to hear the news….. You are always in my thoughts and prayers….. You are very strong, and this ’emotional roller coaster’ will be over soon… Love fabs

  8. Suzanne Svoboda September 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Praying for you and your husband, good luck with the treatment and if a positive attitude is half the battle you are in a good place. You have been such an inspiration to me and for this I thank you. Will continue to follow your path to recovery.

  9. Mary September 26, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    Lighting candle at church and keeping you in my prayers!

  10. Bonnie Hughey September 29, 2011 at 11:04 am #


    I am soooo inspired by you! You and your family are absolutely in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless you!

  11. Ariana Davidson October 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    More updates forthcoming in a week?

  12. stacey smith October 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    I can now call you a neighbor, and a friend…
    Need sugar?? come over!
    Thanks for keeping your many many friends and love ones informed.

  13. Susan Lutes October 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Hi Emily from one of your childhood neighbors!
    I’ve read your entire blog and have offered up many prayers on your behalf. What an intense journey you’ve been on! My heart aches for you. I thought you may be interested in tuning into “The Healing Cancer World Summit” online that begins on Oct. 25th. It will be 5 nights of the world’s foremost cancer experts speaking about various treatment options. Here’s the link:
    The recordings will be available for 24 hours after each night for replay, or you can purchase mp3s. I think it will be super informative and you may hear some new ideas.
    Here’s hoping that God will grant you complete and victorious healing!
    Susan Lutes

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