So, a mere two weeks after his appointment, Derek finally got the results of his first post-op bloodwork. There are two key markers they watch post-op: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). These two numbers can be indicators of cancer. I say can b/c, as with many things, it's not guaranteed that an elevated number really means anything.
So his hCG is back in normal range (on the very low end) and the AFP is REALLY close. Normal AFPs run from 0-6. Pre-surgery his AFP was almost 13 (more than double for those of you not inclined to the do the math). His four-week levels came back at 6.55. This week's bloodwork will mark the six-week levels, and he'll have another round of bloodwork at his regularly scheduled oncology appointment in two weeks, marking the eight-week levels. Taken in sum, we should see a trend. We fully anticipate his AFPs being back in normal range when it's all said and done. However, if they are still a touch above normal by eight weeks, this does not necessarily mean that there is cancer running around throwing a party. There are people whose AFPs normally run a little above normal. Because Derek's never had these numbers run prior to discovering the cancerous lump, we have no way of knowing what a "normal" AFP is for him. Whether they come down or not though, his doctors plan to run these blood panels every two weeks for at least 2 more mos. just to be certain we keep the status quo. (But don't tell Derek that b/c I'm not sure he got that memo. *wink*)
All in all, it was a very good report. Not necessarily what we were expecting, of course, but his numbers were SO HIGH prior to surgery that it stands to reason it would take a bit longer for them to come down.
This weekend he's off at the races with "the boys" enjoying a respite from work & worry. And I know he's taking full advantage of it!