I did my second day of shoots. Three apartments this time. They were college student apartments and man, the first one was definitely a bachelor pad. Bags and bags of trash, clothes everywhere, and a nice, apologetic resident. I managed to photograph the kitchen and bathroom. The bedrooms we’re useless. One had a sleeping finals-week fogged-out-student in it and the other was trashed. The other apartments were empty and relatively clean.

The shoots went quicker than yesterday but I was still pretty tired afterwards. I still need to photograph the outside of the buildings from yesterday and today but I couldn’t hack it right now.

I guess I’m a bit bummed out. Tired of being tired. Sitting down and writing helps though. Especially the sitting part.

I hope my last two posts haven’t gotten any of you down. As you know, Leuk looks forward to these days when you let your spirits drag.

I don’t have too many of these moments and I hope my new readers will go back to my earlier posts and realize I am mostly upbeat. But today, not so much.

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I did a three hour photo shoot today. I photographed two apartments. It took about four hours and I was pretty wiped out when finished. But at least I completed the job.

I don’t like shooting apartments much; they’re spaces are too crammed up. They are seldom as open as a house. I think it went well though.

Anyway, I was supposed to photograph the outside too but I was too tired. I can do it tomorrow. I have two more apartments in the morning but I hope to have enough energy afterwards to go back to the first building for the exterior shots.

Leuk hasn’t stopped me yet.

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I don’t talk much about politics on this blog. It is, after all, supposed to be a journal about my life with leukemia.

But I do talk about family. The reaction of the RNC delegates to Ted Cruz’s speech last night was deplorable. That idiotic crowd booing Ted’s speech wanted him to put politics above principle – even to the expense of his own family.

It’s not often you see a politician risk damaging his own career in defense of his family.

Well, that’s all I have to say about that here, but if you want to see how I really feel about all this you can read my rant at www.nonlinearbrain.com.

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compulsion to writeWell, after that last post (The unspoken temptation) I thought a less heavy one would be in order today.

Somewhere in this blog I wrote a post about having a purpose. If you find something you are passionate about and work towards it you will find your attention taking a 180 from Leuk. It helps to get your thoughts away from him and your brain back in gear.

My passion, or at least it’s more than a favorite hobby, is writing. I write two blogs, this one and another that has nothing at all to do with Leuk called NonlinearBrain. I don’t do posts every day for either of them but I do try to keep them as fresh as possible.

I am also working on a novel. Most of my adult life I was “writing a book” of some kind. I started several ideas for several novels but never got more than a few chapters in on each of them. I guess I thought I was too busy and couldn’t find the time. More often than not I just felt discouraged and quit.

Funny thing though, when Leuk came along I was suddenly motivated. It’s the one good thing he did for me. I’ve completed my first draft. It is very rough and full of holes as first drafts often are, but the concept is completed. That’s further than I’ve ever gotten before. Now I am diving into the challenging task of writing the second draft. This one is a lot more work for some reason, but I’m plowing ahead.

I’m not saying I ‘love’ writing. Sometimes writing can be very hard work – oddly exhausting for a project being done from a chair. I guess you could say I have a love/hate relationship with writing. Actually, I can’t say I love writing at all. It is more of a compulsion really. Something I am driven to do. If any of you are writers than I’m guessing you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Now, I’m no where near as prolific as Hemingway. I’m also a whole lot less talented. But that doesn’t matter. The important thing is I am doing something. I have a long-term goal and it is keeping me a lot more positive and less involved with Leuk.

So, let me suggest, what ever you’re interested in doing, do it.

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Those of us in the cancer club sometimes face a temptation that’s seldom talked about. It doesn’t affect all of us but possibly more than care to admit it.

Even though blood cancers are more survivable than ever before, we are acutely aware of Leuk’s death threats. This possibility of a shortened life can get our minds cranking in a direction we’d not considered before, or if we had, it was something we rejected as fool hardy, morally wrong, or even dangerous.

Ideas that once played out in fantasies start becoming possibilities. Let’s call it the “I’d-like-to-try-that-before-I-die” syndrome. I’m not talking about your usual bucket list stuff like hang gliding or deep sea fishing. I don’t have any statistics but I’m guessing the problem is more common among men.

Okay, so I seem to be dancing around it. If you have this issue than you know what I’m talking about: the desire for a brief dalliance or even a full-blown affair outside of your marriage.

Now, I have friends and relatives who read this blog so I want to be clear here. I am talking about temptations and close calls – not actual actions. But when I started this blog I promised to be as honest as I could with my readers. If my goal is to help and encourage those struggling with leukemia I can’t BS them. I have to be real.

In the early stages of leukemia, especially with CLL, Leuk is invisible. You still feel pretty good and to the outside world you look quite normal. But you don’t know how long you will still have the energy needed to remain active. You don’t know, especially in the beginning, what will come of you – what sort of life you will be living, or even how long you will be living.

During this time of inward (and frankly selfish) brooding, that little dark spot in your soul, the secret place that everyone on the planet has and tries to keep under control, starts weaving through your mind like the threading tendrils of a parasitic plant. What was once a faint, empty whisper barely heard, becomes a slowly growing chant pushing you towards compulsion. If not checked, you will act.

This is not a battle with Leuk. It is a battle within yourself. So how do you beat this thing? What tools are there to resist these dark thoughts?

Here’s seven to consider. Keep them in your tool bag at all times:

(1) God. If you have a faith in God than use it. Put Him to work. You’ve already been praying about your fight with Leuk and maybe, just maybe, the fight we’re talking about here is even more important.

(2) A Friend. Not just a beer drinking, Monday night football friend. I mean a real Friend – the one you trust, the one you can open your soul to and know he won’t judge you but will hold you accountable. If you are lucky enough to have such a friendship, reach out for help. You may have noticed I capitalized ‘Friend’ just like I capitalized ‘God’. Why? Well, I have such a friend and he deserves the same kind of respect. I don’t see him often but I know I can rely on him. My faith in God often falters but my trust in my friend never does.

(3) Your legacy. Think about what you will leave to your family. I don’t mean any inheritance of wealth. I mean the legacy of who you were and what you meant to them. The desire to build a legacy, a reputation if you will, before you die can overpower any compulsions that might destroy it.

(4) Your mind. Keep guard on what you put into your head. Avoid pornography completely. Even some television shows can lead you in weird directions. Get rid of Cable and check out movies from the library or rent from Netflix.

(5) Read. Read. Read. Soak your soul with the bracing magic of good writers.

(6) Don’t spend too much time alone. Stay involved with your family. Just being with your spouse, your kids, and especially your grand-kids puts your mind right as to what is really important.

(7) Your roots. There is a beach grass that grows on the beaches here. Though it grows in the gravel and sand it is almost impossible to pull out. Each plant joins its roots with every other plant forming a strong underground web structure that holds the beach together confounding the erosive efforts of the winter storm waves . By applying the above suggestions to your daily habits you will grow stronger and find that your dark desires become less important.

Writer’s, all writers, whether writing non-fiction or fiction, put a piece of themselves in their work. It’s not blatantly obvious but it is there, hiding between the lines.

That’s why today’s post is a difficult one for me to write; a part of me is lurking in it. I don’t know if this will help anyone out there or if it’s just me unloading. But it needed to be written.

I wish you the best hope in your fight with Leuk and your struggles within.

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