Specimen: 0122:R00048S      Collected: 01/22/24-0849 Status:  COMP    Req#: 14396143

                            Received:  01/22/24-0901 Subm Dr: M, BLANCHE H MD

Ordered:  CHROMOGRAN31911

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  Test                              Result             Flag    Reference      Verified

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  CHROMOGRAN31911      |                              |     |

    CHROMOGRANIN A     |             516              |  H  | ADULTS: <311 ng/mL

As you look at that number, you can see my “result” is out of bounds.  Adults are supposed to have fewer than 311 nanograms of Chromogranin A per milliliter of blood and I’m at 516.  If I’d included all of the rest of my tests, you’d have found a few others that are equally out of whack.

When this all started, the word “Chromogranin” wasn’t even in my vocabulary.  Now I know that it’s the gunk that cancer cells spew out into the rest of the body as a reminder that they’re around.  If your Chromogranin count goes over 311, the oncologists will want to have a chat.  But let’s look at that number from a very different perspective.  Three years ago, I had the same test, but wildly different results:

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  Test                              Result             Flag    Reference      Verified

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  CHROMOGRAN31911      |                              |     |

    CHROMOGRANIN A     |             42,600           |  H  | ADULTS: <311 ng/mL

Drink that number in.  42,600.  That’s a much bigger number than 516.  Most of you would get 516 and freak out entirely.  I get 516 and celebrate.  That’s the lowest my count has been since I started getting tested.  It means my chemotherapy is working.  It means I have enough energy to walk the dog twice a day.

How often does that happen to us?  Throughout life, we encounter the old axiom of “one person’s floor is another person’s ceiling.”  I learned that the maximum Chromogranin count is just over 52,000.  I had no idea that I was near the ceiling.  Now, as my numbers are veering near normal, I celebrate the floor that most people would panic about.

Lesson Learned: Every time we consider our condition (health, financial, relationships or otherwise), we should search for the floor and ceiling.  In high school, I had trouble getting a date, but I had more friends than I could count (Blessing).  In my jobs, I have largely done what I like to do, even though it barely paid the bills for the first 15 years of my adult life (Blessing).  I’ve been in multiple car accidents, but have always walked away (Blessing).  I have cancer, but I’m trying to figure out where to find logs to split (by hand with a maul) for the spring and summer ahead (Blessing).  It would be easy to focus on the inability to get dates, the low pay on the job, the accidents or the cancer.  And that would be a mistake.  Any time we’re war-weary from our experiences, we should look for the blessings, and be sure to share them with anyone who will listen, rather than the challenges. 

I have been looking for ways to bless myself with better health wherever I can.  As such, for 2024, my New Years’ resolution was to hit 10,000 steps a day.  Many of you have jumped on this bandwagon.  It’s easy to look at it as a chore. 

A UK website (Nuffeld Health) cites all the blessings, instead:  Getting your 10,000 steps done outside can help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Reducing knee and joint pain in individuals with arthritis. Research published by the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal explored the possibility of a lower risk of premature death for every 2,000 steps walked in a day.

As this is being written, it’s late February.  Day 52 of 2024.  I have, thus far, walked over half-a-million steps in the new year.  That’s roughly 260 miles.  I wear a pedometer constantly to remind me of the blessings of my walking life. 

Lesson Learned:  Find the “pedometers” for aspects of your life that can evolve into a blessing.  Even if you simply create them yourself with a checklist, log or gratitude jar, find them.  If you are compiling your blessings for any aspect of your life, you win. When you can discover metric evidence that you are happier, healthier or wealthier, it’s a powerful reminder of how many wonderful aspects of your life are manifesting themselves.   If you don’t keep track, you’ll never realize just how far you’ve come.

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Carl Pritchard, PMP, PMI-RMP is an anal-retentive zealot who is wearing his pedometer as he types this.  (10:10am – 4406 steps so far today) He is surrounded by metrics that affirm him and counts himself truly blessed just for breathing.  He welcomes your e-mails with questions or comments at carl@carlpritchard.com. And consider the rest of the story in his new book…now available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Stage-Four-Project-Managers-Dealing/dp/B0CSV5N8D4/