Responding to comments…

For those of you who don’t know, in the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Triology” a super computer was constructed to answer the question: “What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?” As it turns out, the answer was 42. Which, as Aunt Catherine (MaryBeth’s sister) pointed out is also my birthday. I am not sure I agree that I am part of the answer to life, the universe, and everything…but who am I to argue with such reasoned logic??

Rhonda asked, in response to my post about the levels of various biomarkers, about my CA19-9 (carbohydrate antigen 19-9) levels. The CA19-9 test is a blood test from the tumor marker category. Unfortunately for me, the CA19-9 is not a very good measure for identifying pancreas cancer because those of us with this type of cancer have a deficiency of fucosyltransferase that is needed to produce CA19-9. With all that as background, through the 8+ months leading up to my cancer diagnosis my CA19-9 levels were in generally in the 40s (normal levels are 37 and lower). Rhonda, in answer to your question, the oncologist only ran the CA19-9 once since he’s seen me; when he ran it, my level was 58. (One does not get terribly upset until this biomarker is 200+ or more.)

As Cathy mentioned, a friend had ordered me an “I’m Not Dead Yet!” t-shirt from Zazzle. Here is a link to the Zazzle page with that t-shirt. I am partial to the ‘Ringer T-shirt’ (the one with the colored neckline and sleeve bands). While not necessary, please feel free to order your own today. Who knows, perhaps they’ll be worth something some day!

I know I have said this before, but I wanted to again say how lucky I feel to have so many people pulling for and supporting me. Whether it’s just reading my blog and leaving positive thoughts / comments or doing something else, I really want you to know how meaningful your love and caring are to me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Last thing, MaryBeth and I spent some time with an LCSW on Monday to discuss how my cancer is affecting our relationship, as well as the impact it has on our kids and our relationships with the kids. Jean, the LCSW, sent us a flyer yesterday for a program I wanted to let you all know about. The Jack and Jill Foundation for Late Stage Cancer is dedicated to provide memorable experiences for families with young children whose parents have late stage cancer. The foundation is based here in Atlanta and I have volunteered to provide photographic services for families on these WOW experiences. I think this is a great organization and I encourage you all to do what you can. I am not currently eligible for the foundation’s services, so in the meantime, I’ll provide those who are with whatever support I am able.

Until next time…

Merle