About The Canswer Man:

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A simple man with a simple plan: Kick the Big "C" with a cocktail of family/friend love, unapologetic laughter and a dash of Nat-titude.  And if I'm lucky, maybe even one of my odd-servations will help with YOUR situation.

Please join me on my selfish/selfless journey --- to infinity, and beyond!

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I have professed before that I love a good metaphor (I think I also have said that I love a good analogy, so I wonder if that opens some tiny fissure into my dark psyche that bears examining?  I'm not really psychologically ready right now to explore that).  Anyway, I also love a good adage.

Cancer is an interesting disease in so many ways.  One of the less obvious idiosyncrasies about cancer is that in general it does not hurt.  You hear of people who are walking around with grapefruit-sized tumors in their body but don't feel it.  Other signs of medical change can be more obvious, but for many of us, it's not that clear what they might be foreshadowing.

Looking back on my symptoms, now they make perfect sense that there was something awry.  But at the time, the collection of seemingly unrelated, disparate life changes that I was experiencing didn't overtly add up to cancer to me.
  -  I was tired.  Well, I have been tired for the past 30+ years so that didn't really stand out as extraordinary on its own.

  -  I seemed pale.  If you know anything about my melanin-enhanced my family, I am the pale one, so here too - nothing particularly noteworthy.

  -  I was losing weight.  I've always been a touch zaftig, and the slow drop of a few pounds here and there didn't seem life-threatening; if not welcomed.  I was in a busy stretch at work and so I might have missed a lunch, and then maybe another day missed lunch and dinner.  So shedding a couple of pounds didn't raise a red flag.

  -  My hemoglobin was down.  Here I will admit to a medical mistake.  I had learned that my hemoglobin was 10.1  I mistakenly thought that normal for a man my age was 12 (it's actually 13.5 to 17).  So when I was told at a blood donor clinic that I was too low to donate at 10.1, I thought I was a little off and they were just being extra cautious.  (FYI: when I finally was diagnosed with MM, I was down to 7.6 - currently back up to 12.3; with a bullet)

  -  My back was hurting.  This was a strange one.   Who ever heard of "back cancer?"  I had been doing a series of back-straining activities which could have contributed to my discomfort.  And at our age, it takes a little longer to recover.  Each time I should have started to feel better, I was involved in more back-stressing activities.  But after 3 months of no exertion and still feeling pain, I thought - this isn't right.  (Thank goodness).

That's what ultimately drove me to my GP for an annual physical and blood work.  The tests revealed many things (not MM immediately), but the back pain ended up being renal failure because my kidneys were overworked, straining to keep up with processing all of the excessive amount of cancer-produced protein built up in my blood system.

So of course now, in hindsight, it seems like anyone would have put 2+2 together to get 4-warned.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not advising that you jump to any conclusions about your health, but don't resist getting it checked out either.  A lot of little medical changes could mean nothing - but leave it to your health care provider to tell you that.



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