Hi all. Yesterday I was kinda tired. But today is great. I’m trying to get my chops back so I can play with a band again. I used to be in a Christian band that played prisons around Washington State. It was a wonderful 8 years with good friends. We wrote and played songs about real life with many different styles from rock ’n roll, to country, blues, and swing. I miss it.

Looks like I will be playing drums again. I got a call from a friend (another member of our former band) to play drums at his church. We will be playing worship music which is a far cry from my other band. I’m not a huge fan of worship music as it can be repetitive and, to me, a bit lifeless. But there are some I do like – e.g., “Your Love is Beautiful.” But having never been to their church I don’t know if that is too ‘rocky’ for them. Well see.

Either way, it gets me back on the drums. They have electric drums which will be a new experience for me. I’ve only used an acoustic set. Oh well, I do like a challenge.

There is another thing… I don’t do the church thing much. In fact it has been a few years since I attended regularly. Perhaps this is God’s sneaky way of getting me back in. Since we will be playing before and after the sermon it will not be possible to leave. So, like those prisoners we played to in my other band, I will be a captive audience.

March 15th will be my first gig with their band. It’s nice to have a project again.

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They’re giving me more blood tests. The doctor was deciding between doing a bone marrow biopsy or the blood tests. Thankfully he chose the tests, blood draws are a lot less painful than the bone marrow thing.

These labs will be more than my usual tests. They include:
• a complete metabolic panel
• a bet2 micro globulin (B2M)
• an Immunoglobulin test (IgG)

The tests are so special this time that they will be sending the blood down to the University of Washington. (I hope it winds up in the right place. If they misdirect it to the English Department the results might come back showing why I have grammar issues.)

They want to measure the level of immunoglobulins, which is their fancy name for antibodies, in the blood.

There are many kinds of IgG’s. Each type of antibody is designed to attack specific bad guys in your blood. For example, one antibody goes after tuberculosis and another chases down cancer. Leuk isn’t too fond of the latter.

And just to add a scary word, they’re looking to see if I have autoimmune disease. Leuk would love that because it would mean the antibodies are having difficulties attacking him.

There is some good news. IgG’s are the ones that can cross into the placenta in a pregnant woman to help protect her baby, so I won’t have to worry about any issues with that.

So now, what about the B2M test? Okay, this one freaked me out. A B2M test is used as a tumor marker for some blood cell cancers. Yikes. Tumors? The doctor said, “Oh, don’t worry about that it’s just the jargon we use.”

Umm, okay…

Well, off I go to get poked again. I’ve had so much blood drawn it’s amazing I don’t look like a dried prune.

I’ll get the results in about a week so you’ll know when I do.

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I dropped all my photography work. I quit doing real estate photography awhile back. But I had planned on keeping my interior design clients because they pay more.

One called just a few days ago. She had a job for me in Anacortes, Washington shooting a new house she’d worked on. I was going to do it but decided to call her back today and cancel. I’m finding Leuk is making me feel more tired.

I’ve done commercial work for a long time, mostly of products, harvesters, houses, and other things that don’t move much. If you’d like to see my site it is at www.jimwsmith.com.

I’m down to one client now – an architect who is also my son-in-law. His projects are usually closer to home. I hope I can keep working for him. We’ll see.

I’m really not too bummed out about this. After nearly 20 years it’s time for a change anyway.

Actually, Leuk is still being fairly good to me; though my oncologist is talking more about treatments. Probably won’t be for a while yet, but he is starting to bring the subject up more.

I hope you all won’t see this as one of those downer posts. It’s not. I’m just learning to let go of some things so I can enjoy others.

I have a loving wife, a roof over my head, no debt (except a small mortgage), creative projects, a great family, and wonderful grandchildren.

Just now, as I was writing this post my wife came in my office to say good night. I asked if she is alright with all this – the changes in me that are effecting our income. “I’m fine with it,” she said. “You’ve just got to stop worrying. We have enough coming in now and I feel secure no matter what happens.”

I hugged her telling her that, considering how this thing is effecting our income, not too many wives would be like this.

“I don’t care about other wives,” she said. “I’m fine with it.”  She has no idea how much that helped me.

In the past there were times when I took her for granted. Not now. I’m finally seeing, really seeing, who she is and how much she means to me. Sometimes love is not a strong enough word. The Bible speaks of a still small voice – the voice of God. More and more that voice speaks to me of her.

So, as you can see, despite the changes that are happening, everything is alright.

All is well.

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After my oncologist appointment today, I had a great talk with my wife at Dairy Queen of all places. Seems we talk more when we’re not home… go figure.

Anyway, I’ve been slowing down and working less. I guess it’s a guy thing, but producing less on the money side of things is a hard transition for me. I used to have a full-time job but can’t seem to do that anymore.

Financially we’re doing okay. It’s just hard for me  to see her going off to work each morning while I am just working a part-time (make that very part-time, no, make that extremely part-time) business.

She reassured me that she is very happy and wants me to accept and enjoy this time of semi-retirement. In other, more direct words, she was saying – get over it!

It’s funny. Over a lot of our marriage I was reassuring and supporting her. Now the coin has flipped.

Sometimes we men think less about relationships and more about our jobs. We do selfish things. We take our spouse and all she gives us for granted. Now the older I get the more I realize just how important she is to me.

I love her.

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Today is my daughter’s birthday. I got to spend most of the day with her from 9:30am to 4:00pm. Just the two of us. We went to a movie, ate lunch, and stopped by Barnes & Noble where I let her pick out a book for her present.

But she gave me a gift too; she asked me to spend this day with her.

Sometimes it aches how much I love her. Jaimi is 37 years old now but when I’m with her I can’t help but go back to those wonderful days when Daddy was the center of her life.

I really didn’t know who I was until she was born. Suddenly I had a purpose. Jaimi gave me meaning. She built a soft spot in my heart that will always belong to her. It’s like a little pocket where I store our memories. On days when I’m down and not feeling worth much, I pull a few out and remember who I am and why I’m here.

Jaimi is smart (graduated salutatorian), beautiful, a great mother to our grandkids, a talented singer, and a hard worker. But most important, she is the reminder of my place in this crazy terrible wonderful universe.

Jaimi is many things to many people. But for me Jaimi is an intrinsic part of my soul.

She’s my daughter.

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