Quote for October

A Prayer for the Ephesians Eph. 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy New Year!


I have added an update near the bottom from my birthday, January 7th.

I haven't said much this month because I've been busy creating another blog about my McDowell ancestors. Remember the big photo of Fallingwater River that was at the beginning of this blog? It's decorating the "McDowell Family of White County Tennessee" now.

The new picture on this blog is from the Mission Inn in Riverside, California; it seems evocative to have my journey symbolized by a stairway and a door. (LOL. Don't read the sign at the bottom, or you will find out the door doesn't lead anywhere. Just pretend there is still a garden at the top of the stairs.) The photo is from our anniversary dinner at the Mission Inn in 2009.

I am doing well. My next oncologist appointment is not until February. I am convinced that the tumor in my liver is smaller than several months ago. I had a little Chardonnay with a Christmas luncheon on December 21, and it became a demonstration of how small my tumor had become.

In January 2010, on my birthday I drank one inch of Reisling (a white wine) with my dinner. I knew there was a possibility of having a reaction to the alcohol with a carcinoid tumor in my liver. I wasn't sure what was going to happen, so I drank just a small amount of wine. I have read of every reaction to alcohol from turning red to having a carcinoid crisis.

In the middle of the night I woke up drenched in sweat. My hair was wet and my pillowcase was wet. Somehow the alcohol in the wine stimulated the carcinoid so that it poured hormones into my bloodstream that produced excessive perspiration.

Last week on the 21st, I drank about one inch of white wine from a white wine glass. I slept through the night just fine. When I woke up in the morning a single trickle of perspiration ran down my chest. That small reaction tells me that the cancer has shrunk; it was too small to produce much hormone, so my reaction was less than 11 months ago.

January 7: When I went out to eat on my birthday, I tried a glass of Reisling with my dinner. This was a larger glass of wine, probably because the restaurant was charging $7.25 for it! Since I don't drink very often, I can feel the effects after only a few ounces, so I stopped at half a glass. That night I had no unpleasant reaction to the wine at all!

So now my scans, blood tests, and my body's own reactions match! The tumor is smaller than it was at the beginning of 2010. That's a good way to end the year! Thank you, Father. I love you.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chromogranin A and Octreotide Scan Results


Here's a recap on how I am doing. After becoming sick from Carcinoid on an increasing basis from August 25, 2010 through November 14, 2010, I am now doing much better. Much of the improvement is due to using Welchol almost daily in addition to Octreotide. Prior to the Welchol I was sick every day and had many activities cancelled. I also believe my tumor has gotten smaller; I don't know how else my Chromogranin A values could be below 5!

However, I have been flushing more often for two weeks. Almost every time I walk past a mirror my face is pink. This is another symptom of hormones being dumped into my bloodstream by my tumor. My oncologist, Dr. Z, says the flushing can be caused by serotonin, histamines, or several other chemicals. We have never checked for histamines in my bloodstream; that's one we can check next. I may be flushing more because I was giving myself shots at home every 8 hours for one month instead of getting one long-lasting shot every 28 days. Also, I went off Octreotide in order to have the scans done last week.

I went to the oncologist today. I had an Octreoscan done on November 29-30, then my blood was drawn on December 3. Usually, after my scans are done, my blood levels of my cancer markers are high because I have to go off my usual cancer medication. Please see the previous post for the explanation.

Chromogranin A (CgA) and gastrin are the two cancer markers for carcinoid that sometimes show up in abnormal amounts in my blood tests. [I am trying to type this in columns, but blogspot doesn't seem to do that, so I am working on something that will be organized.]

Here are some past numbers:

Normal Range FASTING CgA : 0-50 ng/mL; Gastrin < or ="100">

[Right here I had 2 paragraphs of data showing my cancer markers for 2009 and 2010. After a few weeks they disappeared. I don't know how I did that! However, in general the numbers for Chromogranin A were varied from 162 to about 50 ng/mL during 2009. For 2010 the numbers began to drop down from 40 to 20 to 15 then 8, 7, 3, 2.8 and 1.5. So praise the Lord! My cancer markers dropped precipitously!]

The great news is that last week, after going off of Octreotide for my scans, my Chromogranin A was down to 1.5 ng/mL. No new tumors were found in the scans, so that for once, my scans and my cancer markers match! The tumors are small and the production of the hormones is down.

Thank you, Father. I know how you love me.

I looked back at the blog I wrote after my pastor prayed for me on October 24, 2010. Possibly this good result from my scan and my blood work is from that night. God began shrinking my tumor down so that the hormones in my blood return to normal even when I wasn't on my medication.