So, I had my first cancer screen test. One was PSA, and the other was CEA. PSA (a Prostate-specific antigen) is made by the prostate and is usually found in semen, with a small amount also detected in the blood. CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) is a protein usually found in high levels of colorectal cancer patients. Most men without prostate cancer have PSA levels under four ng/mL. CEA is generally one or lower.

My PSA was .65 (should be less than <4 ng/mL) and the CEA was 1.0 (should be less than <2.5 ng/mL) “We don’t believe the problem you are experiencing (the improper manufacturing of red blood cells) is likely to be either colorectal cancer or prostate cancer,” the doctor informed. “So, something else is causing your problem. That problem might be multiple myeloma, but we’ll need to perform some further testing.”

If you’re thinking of running out and getting a CEA/PSA test, forget it. The tests are too unreliable as a diagnostic indicator for colorectal cancer. Some may have elevated CEAs but no cancer at all. Others with more advanced cancer may have lower CEAs, even normal levels.

I never thought my blood would suddenly whack out in my journey with arthritis, the neck tumor, or Parkinson’s. Like why now? What happened during October 2021 that caused all this fuss? And more importantly, why are doctors so dismissive about sudden anemia, “Ah. Just a little Anemic.” It’s like suggesting no big deal, nothing to it. Just take an iron tablet, eat meat all day like a predatory tiger (my interpretation) and call in three months. However, one cause of anemia can be from cancer itself (or maybe a cancer complication).

In general, cancer can wear out red blood cells faster and may not be replenished as quickly. Additionally, cancer can slow the body’s ability to make red blood cells, even interfering with the body’s ability to use stored iron. My blood tests indicate that I am not producing enough red blood cells or dying quicker. While I have iron, my body is not keeping the iron, and the body’s supply is depleted. As an old boss once said, “It is what it is.” And there it is. ‘It is what it is.’ And only my body can experience what I have.

As terrifying as it may sound, anyone with a terminal illness is on an individual journey. Sure, many have supportive parents, friends, or coworkers. And while these momentary companions help separate our internal mental chatter, the time between birth and death (and the living in-between) is a series of isolated events. Experiencing arthritis is no different. Sharing Parkinson’s is no different. Experiencing a neck tumor is no different. 

Sure, I share my journey on this blog as best as possible, but are words ever enough? No matter how much I would like all to join my trip, I cannot. Of course, I’ve prided myself on being independent and knowing I found peace in being alone. Yet, the master solitary traveling throughout the world as a consultant finds this newest journey sometimes tricky. When am I being an asshole? And, when am I not?

I had a profound meditation several weeks ago. Awoken from pain at about 2:15 AM, I moved to the recliner and began to meditate. Instead of asking for pain relief, I asked God, “How can I walk like Enoch?” What’s always intrigued me about Enoch is that the text in the Book of Genesis said Enoch ‘was taken by God’ (meaning he didn’t die). (Neither did the prophet, Elijah.) So I keep thinking, “What was that like?” 

A profound deep inner voice began speaking. For forty-five minutes, we conversed on many subjects. What happens just after death? What are our jobs? Do we see and stay with relatives gone by? (By the way, yes, yes, and sometimes, but most likely, no.) The conversation was so enlightening, I forgot all about my pain and all that bothered me in this world. Now, as I think of it, the nature of my conversation is why Enoch ‘was taken by God.’ Enoch was able to have that type of conversation with God every day.

So, even though I physically walk alone, I don’t. God is my actual pain management. And every day I wake up, I ask, how can I walk like Enoch? How can I walk like Elijah? And just by asking these questions, I seem to feel better.