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blood test results

Posts: 37
Joined: Apr 2004

My husband just had his ileostomy reversed today along with taking out his port a cath. I didn't think that he should take it out since its only been since May for his last chemo treatment. But he wanted EVERYTHING gone. This was suppose to be a "good day" to try to get back to normal. Right before surgery yesterday morning, the dr was going over his blood work that he had done last week prior to surgery, and he asked me is we knew that his liver levels were up. Of course, alarm bells start ringing in my head. We didn't know of course, last month in June he had all of his bloodwork done and cat scans done at MD anderson, everything was clear on the scans. His CEA level was at 2.8 then, higher than 3 months before. But the dr said that could be attributed to the chemo. So anyway, here we are at surgery time, and I was told his liver functions are high and his CEA is now at 3.9. The dr told me that we should be concerned but not overly worried, since it could still be from the chemo. My husband's last chemo treatment was May 22. Has anyone else had this happen to them? I am scared to death because of both levels going up. The surgeon said that the only thing we can do right now, is let him heal from his surgery and get stronger then take it from there. I think I'm about at a breaking point, my husband just shook his head and closed his eyes, he is always the strong one, I feel devastated. I was just wanting some input on this situation and to see if anyone else has had there liver levels go up because of chemo. I just left the hospital, to come home, I stayed there last night. I think I just need to vent. Thank you all so much....

Anonymous user (not verified)

First, congratulations are in order for your husband having completed chemo and for your support given to him through it all. I am not in the exact same position as you are in but kind of similar. My husband was operated July 2003 for stage III colon cancer. His first CEA check, they never did one before surgery as no one really knew what to even expect...it was found in a colonoscopy and there were no other symptoms...was at 0.9. When he started chemo, it remained steady at 0.9 until December 2003, when it jumped to 2.2. He was scanned, and nothing was found...but he did have a severe colon infection with tremendous diarrhea. In January, 2004, we switched oncologists and opted for more aggressive treatment due to node involvement. Oxaliplatin was added to the cocktail and CEA was checked in the beginning of January and it had jumped to 5.5. It has been a steady climb ever since...with PET/CAT Scans done every 8 weeks, bloodwork done every two weeks, and a colonoscopy done two months ago. All are clean with no evidence of disease. CEA peaked at 9.0 in early May....went to Europe, six weeks of chemo, and CEA drops to 6.0!!! Can't be explained...liver functions are fine, PET/Cat continues to remain clean. Today, at his last chemo, CEA up again to 6.5!!! It rose again when chemo was resumed. Onc thinks highly possible that it is chemo combo with meds hubby takes for type II diabetes...he's not sure, but it's his best guess. So your doctor could possibly be right as well. Insist that your husband continue to be monitored very closely, which I am sure his doctor will do. In the interim, please try not to worry to much (I know, easier said than done....I well can relate to having those numbers drive you crazy). Try to keep in mind the CEA levels and Liver #'s are just some pieces of the whole puzzle and their are other things that can make them rise, not necessarily cancer related. Keep your thoughts focused on that.

Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2004

Can't say I know anything about the surgery and CEA levels, but wishing you the best and keeping you in my prayers. I definately have appreciated your encouragement from my first post, so hoping to return some of the positive. I was just told my CEA levels have dropped to 5.0, this despite multiple mets to the liver and no surgery yet, so I have no clue how to take all these readings. I think the CEA levels are just relative indicators and the CAT or other scans are the most reliable. Going in for some of those myself next week, given the low CEA levels my oncologist is really curious as to what is actually going on.

shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Well, I would say that it makes sense that the liver enzymes could be elevated because of chemo. If you think about it, the liver filters out toxins and chemo drugs are very highly toxic. So if the liver is on "overdrive" trying to purge those toxins from his system, the enzymes could be elevated as a result of that........As for the CEA, it is not so high. If it is under 10 I would not be too overly concerned about it, when I had a recurrence mine was up to 40! The only thing that I can say is try not to worry until you have something to worry about. I know, easier said than done, but just focus on the fact that he is getting rid of the port and the iliostomy!! Yea! You have to trust your doctors. I would like to think that they would tell you if you really had something to worry about. May 22 was only a little over 1 month ago. I think residual chemo can stay in your system for quite a while.
Who was your doctor at MD? Just wondering,

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