The Stacey Report

Suck on THAT, cancer!

Posted in Stacey Updates by dbancroft on October 28, 2009

So how much do YOU know about liver function values?

Here at the Stacey Report, we pride ourselves in knowing every single thing about liver function values. Also we fly. And poop pixie dust.

So we had to look up all this stuff and now distill it unto you:

Liver function values are the values that one obtains when one performs liver function tests on Stacey’s liver (well, and yours too, but are you having liver function tests today? No you are not. So sit down and listen.) In Liver Function Value Land, up is BAD, down is GOOD.

<all kinds of potentially boring science-y stuff>

There are two values we care about; they’re both enzymes made in the liver, also called transaminases (as in, amino acids):

  • SGPT  (aka ALT, Alanine aminotransferace. What SGPT astands for, and why they don’t just call this ALT, I do not know.) This one appears in other places in the body too.
  • SGOT (aka AST Aspartate aminotransferace. see above, re: wtf?) This enzyme is found in the liver only.

The liver uses this stuff to metabolize; when liver cells are damaged or dying, the enzymes leak into the bloodstream, so more enzymes in bloodstream = higher liver function value = BAD. More enzymes being used efficiently in the liver = lower liver function value = GOOD. You with me?

The normal range of ALT is between 5 and 60 IU/L (international units per liter).

The normal range of AST is between 5 & 43 IU/L.

The numbers aren’t proof of disease, they’re just indicators that indicate indications of disease, but they’ve proven to be reliably indicative.

Learn More!

</all kinds of potentially boring science-y stuff>


OK, so here’s the report from Stacey by way of TFDB:

Before starting on Navelbine…

(snork snork, Naval Bean! snork)

You are a fourth grader. ANYway… before starting on Navelbine my level was 30. Last week it was down to 20.

(remember, up is BAD, down is GOOD)

That was after only 3 rounds of the Navelbine. I confirmed with TFDB that it was not just good, it was “jumping-up-and-down” good.

Suck on THAT, cancer!


Suck on that, cancer. Suck on that indeed.


Liver sucks.

Posted in Stacey Updates by dbancroft on October 9, 2009

Here is the latest report from Stacey herself.

(Warning: it kind of sucks.)

(Except for the part where my sister is a really good writer. That doesn’t suck)

(The rest? A veritable surfeit of suckiness.)



Time to whack another mole.

I hate liver. I have vivid memories of being served liver for dinner as a kid, and they’re not good ones. The only way to get it down was to drink lots of milk: bite, sip, chew, chew, chew, swallow, repeat. Lots of whining, complaining, and faces so horrifying it might get stuck that way if I’m not careful. All so very traumatic. Of course, a few years ago my mother confirmed that she made liver, like, once, maybe twice. Apparently, childhood memories are not to be trusted.

Liver still sucks, though. A few weeks ago I decided to suck it up and try Auntie’s chopped liver. She makes this by hand for holiday dinners and it is beloved by the menfolk. Even the cranky teenager (who will be 17 in a few weeks and how the hell did THAT happen?) loves Auntie’s chopped liver. So, after knowing this woman for 23 years, I finally decided to try it. Well, my apologies, Auntie, but it was disgusting. The same gritty, chalky, pukealicious mouthfeel that I rememberd from my youth. Yuck! I really hate liver.

So, it comes as no surprise to me that it is my own liver that has decided to betray me now. I’ve been betrayed before by my body: my left breast is now so much medical waste, but one can’t do to a liver what was done to my breast, so it’s back to the Carnival for another round of Whack-a-Mole. Yipee?

The details: about two weeks ago I had a PET/CT scan. TFDB does these about once a year, just to see what’s going on. Well, what’s going on right now is that there is progression of the disease in the liver. Where there were once two lesions there are now five (the two old ones, plus three shiny new ones). This means that my time on Xeloda has come to an end. It was a pretty good run; the average treatment time with Xeloda is 8-9 months, I was on it for about 16 months. It did well by me, so I can’t really complain, except that I totally complain about it all the time. Such is life. Anyway, I WILL NOT miss the effect it had on my feet, my hands, my stomach, my lower intestines, etc. I also will not miss the side effects that have been cropping up only of late (the longer you’re on it, the more it messes you up?) such as the increased sweating. Xeloda: you’ve been good to me, but I’m happy to see you go. The newest player is Navelbine (generic: Vinorelbine). It’s an intravenous drug that is given on days 1, 8, and 15 (rinse and repeat). TFDB assures me that my hair won’t fall out, but that is one of the possible side effects. The common side effects are nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. A less common one, but one which they worry about most, is low blood counts, so they test before every treatment. As I write this, I am at MGH preparing for the first treatment. I arrived at 7:30 to be hooked up and have blood drawn (after the usual vitals taking, of course). It’s 8:45 now and the results are back, but it sounds like they’re having an issue with the date of the order and that’s slowing things down. Sigh. The plan for the rest of the day is to get out of here, go home, then work the rest of the day from the couch. I’m assuming that there will be nausea at the least, so that should be fun!

By the way, there was about a week between when I had the test and when I got the results and this was due solely to me being a giant chicken. I could have called for the results the day after, but I conveniently forgot to bring the number to work with me. In the days after I just kept finding reasons not to call. I had a feeling that the results would be just what they were, as did TFDB, as did anyone who knows that I was way past the expiration date on my Xeloda trip, so I put off the inevitable. Getting bad news isn’t fun, as I’m sure you know, and I knew that it would put a crimp in my otherwise positive attitude. Who wants that? But, you can’t deny the truth for too long, so I did finally call and now I’m here. I’m feeling good about the whole thing; can’t let those cancer cells get TOO complacent, after all. So, get your whackers ready and let’s get to some mole whacking. Everybody with me?


Needless to say… yes. Yes we are.