Rats, both literally and figuratively. When we built our house at the edge of the desert a year and a half ago, we incorporated an outdoor spa into the landscaping. The drain hose for the spa is located behind the access panel which is secured with something like five million screws. I may have exaggerated that number just a touch, but it nonetheless presented a pain in the butt for me to remove the panel every 60 days when I change the water. So the landscaper simply drilled a hole in the access panel allowing the hose to “hang loose” outside the spa. The hole was covered up by the steps, it was a perfect solution…..or so I thought. One evening while scurrying in the adjacent desert, Mr. Pack Rat decided to check out our spa. He discovered my drain hose, but decided that the hole needed to be enlarged so that he would have access to the inside. What a fine job he did!
I put out a “contract” on packy, so he should soon be gone, followed by a thorough cleaning up the mess under the spa. Fortunately it does not appear that he did any damage, he was using it to store all the stuff he picked up around the hood, including bait from a neighbors trap! My friend Jeff, aka the Magical Metal Man, has constructed a metal shield that will fit very tightly around the drain hose. It will be installed after the cleaning. Solution is in process.
I began my third treatment today. I reviewed the results of yesterday’s blood work with my PA. My blood counts are normal, my kidney and liver functions are right on, my immune system is taking the treatments in stride……but the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) test shows elevated numbers (not good). The CEA test detects protein associated with the growth of malignant tumors. A normal CEA number should be less than 2.5 for a non-smoking adult. My CEA number after surgery was 9.3, just before my first chemo treatment began four weeks later it had increased to 10.8 and now, another month has gone by, it increased again to 11.5. Rats! Rats, I say! It’s like I’d been given a placebo chemo regimen resulting in no side effects but no tumor reduction either. A sugar pill infusion? “Don’t get excited Mr. Asbell, the CEA marker is not definitive.” It is true that you can have a low CEA number and be riddled with cancer. Also some initial chemo treatments can cause the number to rise temporarily due to the death of tumor cells and their release of protein into the blood stream. I have only had two treatments and just one with Avastin. Avastin, the drug that starves the tumors, often takes about three treatments before the results show. So it’s time for Jimmy to chill. I will have a CT scan in mid July after my fourth treatment, the CT scan is definitive.
But since my body is doing so well processing all the chemo drugs, I am allowed to have glass of wine with dinner every other day. That’s ONE 6 oz glass of wine. Well, at least it’s a start and we’ll see how it goes. Tonight it will be a 2010 Atalon Pauline’s Cuvée from Napa Valley. Chef is preparing filet mignon, with brussel sprouts bathed in Crumpy’s butter sauce and a blend of brown rice and quinoa. Life is good.