Ever since my mom had a double mastectomy for lobular cancer, we’ve had to do a cancer marker test at least once a year. Essentially, a cancerous tumor will usually produce a specific protein in the blood that serves as a marker for the cancer. With breast cancer, a cancer survivor is tested for two different kinds of “blood marker tests”–CA 15-3 and CA 27-29. This is a really good page located at cancer.org about cancer marker tests. Well, the last time we had a marker test, back in June of 2012, my mom’s tumor marker test CA 27-29 came back borderline high, which kind of freaked us out, though we tried to keep a good perspective on it. For one thing, tumor marker tests are not 100% accurate. For another, having a high tumor mark does not mean you have a tumor. The test can be affected by any number of cancerous and non-cancerous causes.
Basically, it’s one of those situations where you really shouldn’t worry too much, but you do, especially when you have to wait almost seven months for another test to be done. So you forget about it, but then you remember it. You play games in your head, telling yourself that worrying is pointless and useless (and completely unproductive) but you do it anyway. In any event, lo and behold, the big day arrived today where we got the results on my mom’s latest blood test.
It came back within normal range, which means there’s no tumor. It was a really great moment, knowing my mom was well, that she was still in remission, and that she continues to be a cancer survivor. It’s been hard for her, and for me. Sometimes I think it’s far more painful to go through the suffering of someone you care about than your own. No, I know that. It’s far easier to control your own suffering than to stand helplessly by and watch, unable to do anything but worry.
So for those who are going through something similar, I want you to know I know how you feel. I’m suffering alongside you everyday, and you are far from alone. Hang in there and please know that sometimes there is hope. 🙂