One of my goals for this blog is to show people with CLL that they can have a somewhat normal life (see my About page). Since ‘normal’ is a relative and hard to define term, I thought I should clarify.
Our ‘normal’ is certainly different from those without CLL. We’ll often be more tired and not able to do as much as we did before. If we are having chemo treatments, we’ll be dealing with some not-so-fun side effects. And, of course, there is always the possibility that Leuk my take us out earlier than planned.
But despite all that, we can have a mentally healthy life. A line from the book How God Changes Your Brain reads “Only human beings can think themselves into happiness or despair, without any influence from the outside world.”
The way we think has a profound effect on our experience with Leuk.
I write this blog as if leukemia were a person named Leuk. This gives me a concrete idea of an otherwise quiet, hidden disease. It makes my CLL more real. I have something to fight against. I see Leuk as someone separate from myself; someone I can fight and maybe even conquer.
A war is made up of many battles. Each day Leuk and I fight a battle for my mind.
For me, the first and most important step in fighting Leuk is to keep him from invading my everyday thoughts. I admit that some days he gains ground, giving me nagging thoughts that bring me down. But mostly I only allow him time when I have to deal with him, then as quickly as I can I push him out of my thoughts, winning that day’s battle.
I strongly believe we can have a normal life if we don’t let Leuk creep too deeply into our minds. Leuk wants us involved in fearful thoughts. But instead, we can live our days involved in life. We have the choice. We can give our minds over to him or build a protective wall against him. He may be affecting us physically, but we don’t have to let him infect our mind.
It may not seem like it at times, but you really do have a choice. So fight the good fight. Win as many battles as you can. Guard your thoughts. Leuk may be elsewhere in your body, but he has no business treading on your mind.