CA-125 Blood Test – Ask for them ladies.


Disclosure: if you are a dude and not comfortable with lady talk, navigate far away from here. I totally understand.

Big Inhales, Big Exhales.

I am less than 24 hours shy of surgery. This somewhat explains my absence as of late. I’ve been getting my business in order.

Are you ready for this? There is still time to click away.

Alrighty then, grab a seat.

Last May before a Napa trip, my back was causing me grief necessitating a trip to the local Doc. She gave me pain meds, but also wanted blood work. You know, to be thorough –  it’s a good practice. With the phlebotomist ordered up, I requested my usual add-on service of a CA-125 screening.

What is a CA-125 screening you ask? It’s a screening for ovarian health; cancer and/or other benign tumor conditions. I ask for this test because infertility and all its potent IVF drugs dominated my life and ovaries back in 2003. Being on all those infertility boards taught me to ask the necessary questions, before and after infertility. A CA-125 test was one of them.

You guessed it, I failed the screening test.

No worries, upon return from wine country, I had a date with the Ultrasound Tech. To take a look-see at my harmless over-sized visitor, along with a peek at the other lady bits. The good news was the ole fibroid visitor had won the Biggest Loser competition. It was only the size of an orange now, no longer a grapefruit (bottom pic). Due to it’s location, it was determined to be the source of my pre-Napa back pain. Thankfully so, since this back pain precipitated the tests which bring me to today’s news.

But before we get there, let’s fill in the gaps.  I was told to come back in 6 months for a re-check. Fast forward to December. Post holidays, the next round of blood draws occurred. Me and the phlebotomist were on a first name basis. The results? Phooey, an even larger CA-125 number decorated my chart. In six months it had doubled. Doctors were contacted and high-tech ultrasounds were ordered. See those two dark martini olives stuck together in the top photo? That is what all the fuss is about today.

My hopes in sharing this with you is that you are now “in the know” to ask for a simple CA-125 whenever blood work is ordered. The CA-125 is in no way foolproof, but it is a good marker for undercarriage issues, much like prostate marker testing for the fellas.

Do I have Cancer? I don’t think/hope so. My close friend says, “honey, it’s nothing, until it’s something” thanks Michelle. Those words have been my mantra, keeping my compass pointing north even in my darkest of moments.

Surgery is set for Saturday morning with my OB-GYN and his Oncology BFF. Gone will be my troubled ovary and baby carriage. I am scared but know this is for the best.

No matter what the news, I am resolved to remain positive.  Come Monday, I’ll be resting and hopefully very bored. So expect daily, if not hourly updates. Until then, send up some sparkly thoughts. I’ll hear them and be appreciative.

kat elevator 2-20-13

Big Inhales, Big Exhales,



  1. I’m praying for you Kathleen! Thanks for sharing the great advice! If we don’t advocate for our own health then nobody else will.

  2. Good luck! Most of the time these things are nothing–just scary. I’m sending warm thoughts your way and hoping you have a quick recovery.

    Every little thing is gonna be alright.


  3. Sending sparkly thoughts and prayers. You have a great perspective. Thank you also for sharing your story. I had no idea about that blood test.

  4. Coby Dahlstrom says

    Oh Kathleen! may the surgery be easy and your healing be fast honey. love to you <3 C

  5. Jen (Tiny Oranges) says

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers…

  6. I’m so sorry to hear this. But I’d never heard of a CA-125 so thank you for making me aware. Everything will go great and you’ll finally get to catch up on rest. Right? 😉
    Kristin A. recent posted..Fun & Easy Treats for Valentine’s Day

  7. Praying for you to have a fast recovery and everything to go as the doctors plan. I did not know about this test so thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Thank you for this. Like Kristin, I had no idea what the CA-125 test was before reading this post. I’ll be thinking all kinds of good thoughts for you this weekend.
    Jessica recent posted..New Year, No Excuses Weight Loss Challenge

  9. Kathleen! This is a topic near and dear, my friend. I’m very familiar with the CA-125 test (in my community – the breast cancer one – we call this a tumor marker test). I’m sorry you’ve had to experience so much worry about this!
    You’re having your uterus and only one ovary removed? Well, at least you won’t be menopausal — because that, my dear, is the pits. I had my ovaries removed and the surgery was pretty easy in terms of recovery. The uterus might be a little bit more difficult – from what I understand. Please, please let me know if you need any help or have any questions.
    And your friend Michelle is right – you will tackle whatever necessary when you get there. Hugs.
    Wendy recent posted..Friday Take Over // It Sucks Being a Woman

  10. Oh my goodness, girly! I was just thinking about you last week and almost wrote on our FB group wall “KATHLEEN ENGE WHERE’VE YOU BEEN?!”

    I had to have most of both ovaries removed, so I just had a conversation with my OB-GYN that it’s only a matter of time before I will most-likely need the same type of surgery. You’re not alone and there are so many of us you can talk to and depend on! Just make sure to ask or we’re going to think you want your space.

    I’m so close, so please LMK if there is anything you need, food, flowers, company, anything – ping me!
    Nicole recent posted..The Academy Awards: Live from The Red Carpet!

  11. Thinking of you and saying a prayer that everything will go smoothly in the morning. I’m going to make sure my SIL knows about this test after all the infertility treatments she’s gone through.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Julie recent posted..Political Divisions…

  12. Kendel Pink says

    It’s awesome on the other side!!! Keep your chin up-take good care of yourself-it takes a while to truly be healed but its so liberating!!! You’ll be handing out your old box of tampons like cigars at a bachelor party-

  13. Thank you so much for sharing this. I only wish I would have read it a week earlier as I just had to do blood work twice this week! 🙁 I appreciate you sharing your story in the hopes of helping someone else out. And I am also sure that no matter how many people tell you it is nothing, there is a stress you carry around that can’t be lessened until you have the final word. So stay strong, stay positive, but you are allowed to be worried too. I hope you have a wonderful recovery and come back stronger than ever!

  14. Wow! That’s a lot for one person to take on. I’m so glad you shared, as I think it’s so important for women to share their stories, even when they are personal like this. I admire your attitude and hope that you get nothing but good news. Keep us posted and I’ll keep you in my thoughts this weekend! <3
    Natalie C. recent posted..Sand Art Kits from Creative Adventures Kits

  15. Totally thinking of you. Somehow, despite all sorts of infertility issues, IVF, etc. I still was not familiar with the CA-125 test. Thanks for making me aware. (Sending you some sparkle – it will be fine!)

  16. Sending “sparkly” thoughts your way! And thank you for sharing this info. I’ve never heard of it. Now I’ll be sure to ask for it the next time I go in for my annual check up. Hope to hear good news from you soon. 🙂

  17. 2012 was kind of a roller coaster wasn’t it? Here’s to evicting everything that causes you pain and cramping in your life. 2013 will be a year of healing and new beginnings. Lifting you up in prayers and healing love my friend.
    Lindsey G recent posted..A Little Housekeeping Help

  18. I am so glad I am reading this tonight. I have never heard of CA-125, so thank you for enlightening me on this. It just so happens that I am going in for blood work tomorrow morning. I’ll be asking my doctor about it.
    Heather recent posted..Gatsby Collection: Celebrating the Roaring Twenties with Coloring Pages

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