Although I had my last chemotherapy two months ago, I am still receiving monthly infusions of Avastin to stop any remaining cancer from growing new blood vessels.
This is an utter blessing as thousands of women are not able to receive this previous drug due to the legislations in their area. I feel very blessed every time I recieve my monthly dose as I am all to aware that it is offering me precious time with my loved ones. An opportunity which is sadly denied to too many others.
Two days before each Avastin dose I visit my GP practice for blood tests to check that I am healthy enough to receive the infusion. Primarily they are checking my protein levels are high enough. In addition, they also check my CA125 levels. This is the cancer marker for ovarian cancer. Although it cannot be used as a screening for whether you have ovarian cancer or not – because everyone’s baseline is different – once you have been diagnosed it can be used to determine if you cancer is active. For example, the CA125 tends to double quite quickly over a short space of time if there are active ovarian cancer cells.
During my Avastin dose I was in discussion with one of my wonderful chemo nurses and she very kindly offered to print out a chart showing how my CA125 levels had changed over the last 10 months, including the month prior to my diagnosis.
This shows that my levels were doubling in December and then started to decline from January onwards as I received chemotherapy and surgery. They are now in the ‘normal range’ which is between 0-35. Even better though, they have come down slightly from 7 to 6 since stopping my chemotherapy.
Here’s hoping they stay there!
Unfortunately, chemotherapy has left my magnesium levels depleted, despite daily tablets, regular infusions, salt baths and a diet high in magnesium containing foods.
For this reason the blood tests also check my magnesium levels. Prior to this test I knew my levels were low as I was becoming symptomatic with aching bones and weakness in my limbs as well as fatigue. I wasn’t surprised then when the hospital said that I’d need another magnesium infusion when I had my Avastin this time.
However, unusually, I wasn’t able to tolerate the complete dose of magnesium. I felt hot and dizzy and my heart was racing. I also felt very sick and like my sugar levels were dropping resulting in me demolishing a tin of sweeties in the ward – very unlike me!
I tried to bear it but eventually I had to ask my lovely nurse to stop the infusion. Since then I have had four days of sickness caused by the mageaium drip – a side affect I get each time I receive a magnesium infusion.
Unfortunately, this time I also still have increasingly aching bones and weakened limbs as well as debilitating fatigue as my magnesium levels remain low. I am feeling very frustrated with this as the side affects of both having low magnesium and the infusion needed to restore my levels are unbearable! On the bright side I’m told that my levels should start to rise the longer I am off chemotherapy.
My next Avastin infusion is not until mid October so I’ll have blood tests in a ten days to see if I need more magnesium before then. Judging my how my tormented body has felt over the last few days I’d say it’s a definite yes!…but hopefully change will happen of its own accord before then. I can but hope.
Love and light, Fi xxx