My oncologist believes my cancer to be in remission. I’m back to routine CT scans with the expectation that I will not recur.
After three rounds of BEP, my oncologist believes that I am cancer free. While there is unfortunately no test that can absolutely confirm that I have every reason to be optimistic. My initial CT scan (taken while I was still in chemo) came back essentially clean. I have every expectation that this next CT scan will come back not showing any visible spread of cancer.
Apart from the CT scan, the other test I will continue to take to determine recurrence are my tumor markers. The tumor markers cloud the overall image in my case. Embryonal carcinoma has a tendency to not exhibit itself at all in tumor markers, so tumor marker readings of 0.0 are not proof that the cancer has been eliminated. My tumor markers have been consistently very low, but just above what a lab would consider to be normal. They have not gone down significantly during treatment. Despite these elevated marker readings, IU oncology has consistently told me that my tumor markers levels are below what they consider to be relevant. In fact, they’ve said that any increase or decline in my tumor markers are more likely to be statistical noise than a true indication of progress. Still, I’m hoping that my tumor markers drop into the “normal” range in the coming weeks.
I should have my first follow up CT scan in a few weeks. Hopefully it’s the first of many clean readings! I’ve been told that there is no great feeling of closure with cancer, but I’m optimistic that I’m done for good. Right now my plan is to get back in a routine that doesn’t include the hospital, get back in shape, and wait to see if my hair comes back straight and blond (thanks to Ali for loaning me her hair to give you a preview).