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[cancer|personal] Still tired - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2011-11-23 05:38
Subject: [cancer|personal] Still tired
Security: Public
Tags:books, cancer, health, personal
In the home stretch here, two more chemo sessions to go. On the plus side, my lower GI has restarted after five days of silence. On the minus side, my lower GI has restarted after five days of silence. Also I have leveled up (or down?) on fatigue. Slept nine hours straight last night.

The fatigue is going to be killer for the next 4-5 weeks, I think. I can still wake up and function, it's not quite thoroughly overwhelming, but it's definitely showing every sign of being a constant companion. And it's not just physical. Even my strategy of re-reading old favorite books is wearing thin.

The recent scan was clean, but my CEA levels were up to 2.0 on the last bloodwork. My oncologist isn't worried about this, but I can't help but be. So I continue bedeviled.

Not too tired to plan, though. Some things are coming together for the first quarter of next year. I'm going to leverage whatever health I have to move forward. For now, I yawn a lot.

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User: cathshaffer
Date: 2011-11-23 13:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Trust your oncologist, Jay. If there were any significance to variations of CEA within the normal range, the test would be designed to take advantage of that. Protein blood biomarkers are notoriously difficult to pin down, because the relevant physiological abundance of proteins can vary over 12 orders of magnitude. From a cursory internet search, it looks like CEA levels can rise exponentially above the normal range cut off with active cancer, registering values in the hundreds or thousands. That is the typical behavior of a protein biomarker, so small variations below the threshold for elevation are truly not significant. I also see that chemo and radiation can cause transient increases in CEA, even above the normal range, so even if it were to trend somewhat above the cutoff for normal, that would probably be attributable to treatment.

I can't emphasize how unreliable almost all protein biomarker lab tests are. They suck in both specificity and sensitivity and are very difficult to interpret. There can be significant error in the test itself, adding to the uncertainty.
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User: keikaimalu
Date: 2011-11-23 14:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You could try lining up a simple and mildly amusing TV series on Netflix. That gets me through the worst of my brainless, energyless days. That or old black-and-white screwball comedies.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-11-23 14:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Been watching Star Trek: Enterprise lately on Netflix, actually.
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User: deborahjross
Date: 2011-11-23 16:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've been thinking about you in light of a friend with a new diagnosis of cancer and a poor prognosis. He's starting chem and radiation simultaneously. I think of your honesty and your fortitude as an inspiration. Although when people say that to me, I never know who they're talking about, surely they can't seriously mean me. I think our outsides inspire other people on the inside. Or something like that.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-11-23 16:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If you think it will be any help at all to your friend or their caregiver(s), do pass on this link:


It's an index to my cancer blogging, with some key posts highlighted.

Good luck and good health to them.
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crows o'clock: Breathe-Life
User: sheistheweather
Date: 2011-11-23 18:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keeping you in my thoughts, good sir. Strength to you, enough to do what you need to do and hopefully some leftover for more optional things.
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User: vicki_rae
Date: 2011-11-24 05:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Still keeping you in my good thoughts.

FWIW, the first time I spiked on a CA125 was soon after I finished chemo and my oncologist was also not concerned at all despite my fairly ... intense... reaction. Holy shit I just realized something. I've celebrated November 1st as a second birthday ever since my surgery. Totally forgot to this year.

/signed/ 17 year survivor of a rare type of ovarian cancer that still has a crappy survival rate.

Edited at 2011-11-24 05:57 am (UTC)
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