Last summer I wrote about my rising CEA levels as I searched for the best treatment option:
Those fiendish cells
Now that I've finished another round of radiation and had some time to heal, I have another update on my CEA timeline.
My CEA fell after radiation, but not fast enough to suggest that it was heading back down to normal levels. Now it looks like it's rising again, indicating growth of tumors somewhere in my body. As usual, variability in measurements and benign conditions could also cause a rise in CEA. But it's enough to put us on closer watch for any bad guys.
My scans in December were too messy to declare anything definite. The masses in my pelvis showed elevated metabolic activity, but that could be from the radiation itself. The best news was that nothing new was showing up there. My lungs, however, showed some nodules that could become problems in the future.
Overall I'm feeling pretty good. I have a variety of nuisance symptoms including lingering bone pain, fatigue, urological misbehavior, and a fussy tummy. But I'm trying to press ahead with normal life and hoping that I can avoid or overcome any further problems.
Planning for the future is tricky with such uncertain health. As long as my body keeps running my mind must find ways to keep it fed, sheltered, and repaired. Financially, I'm faced with two choices: find a way to earn enough money to live where I have professional, social, and medical opportunities; or give up work completely and find a quiet place to retire and expire.
I am heading down the first path, committing myself to be productive and engaging in the activities that are sensible if I have a long future. But I am becoming familiar with a stress that's characteristic of chronic cancer – the knowledge that disaster could strike again any day and spoil my best laid plans.