Feeling kind of tired and a bit weak today. But I’m still able to function. Unfortunately that means I still have to vacuum and do the dishes. Dang.

I just got an email from a real estate client wanting me to do more photography for her. I’m still thinking whether I want to continue the business. Some days it’s hard to get going. That’s mostly in the mornings though, so perhaps I can schedule all my jobs in the afternoon. I’ll have to decide soon.

Leuk can certainly get in the way sometimes, but I am so fortunate that my CLL is developing slowly and letting me live a relatively normal life. I know some of you are struggling with more advanced symptoms and some have much more serious types of leukemia than I do.

All I can say is keep the hope. You can beat this thing. Leuk may slow us down, even put some in the hospital, but he can be beaten. Hope, Faith, and the Love of others are strong adversaries against Leuk.

Keep up the good fight and live your life as fully as your strength allows. Even your weaker days can have meaning if you look for it.

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Here’s a little rhyme to lighten the load:


there is more to this life than a spit in the eye
the misery melts when you look to the sky

and see like a child the wonders up there
the magical mysteries that fly on the air

birds and bats and bugs of all kinds
and clouds that twirl, twist and unwind

remember looking through your own young eyes?
every new thing you saw was a sort of surprise

a caterpillar crawling across your palm
wasn’t just a bug, but a new friend you had found

your life can be more than a spit in the eye
the wonders, still there, wait for you to stop by.


© Jim W. Smith

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People say I have a good attitude about this leukemia thing. I try too. And most of the time I succeed. But, to be honest, down deep inside there is more going on than I show the world. I’m guessing this is true for most of my fellow CLL’ers.

It’s not so much fear, though that is one of the tricks in Leuk’s bag. It’s more a feeling of being out of control.

Leuk has suddenly jumped into my life. There is no way to understand why it happened. He just showed up uninvited. If I had a broken leg, I would know the cause, could blame myself for being careless, bind the leg, and let it mend.

But there is no magic pill to mend my blood. I often speak in this blog of beating Leuk and I truly believe that is possible. Beating him, though, means putting him to sleep. It’s called remission. For many that remission sticks. Leuk doesn’t wake up and they live a long life. But, even so, he is still there, asleep, dreaming of the fight he had with them.

So, when we are in remission and feeling well, there is one last battle to fight.

It is important to realize that remission gives us our life back. Leuk no longer has control over us. No control, that is, except our own worry and fear.

I hope, and honestly believe, that I will beat Leuk and shove him into remission. And I have another hope: when that day of freedom comes I hope I will not focus on the sleeping giant, but instead on the gift I’ve been given. A gift free of worry. The gift of peace.

The gift of Life.

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I’ve been reading about vitamin D3. It looks like it may help with the fight against Leuk.

Researchers are taking a look at vitamin D3 to see if it has a positive effect on CLL. Our bodies produce the vitamin with moderate exposure to the sun. But since most of us are indoors all winter, nearly everyone in the U.S. is vitamin D3 deficient.

Here is an excerpt from what appears to be a reputable study titled “Vitamin D insufficiency and prognosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.” It’s a bit verbose and technical, but the bottom line is D3 looks promising but further study is needed.

In conclusion, our data provide the first direct evidence that 25(OH)D levels may be an important host factor influencing prognosis in CLL patients and, to our knowledge, it is the first study evaluating the effects of 25(OH)D insufficiency on cancer outcome to include a validation cohort confirming the results in an independent patient sample. The effect of 25(OH)D insufficiency on cancer outcome may be particularly relevant in CLL because it is a disease with a long natural history and patients are often observed for years prior to the initiation of therapy. Future studies dissecting the mechanism(s) through which the vitamin D pathway influences leukemogenesis, host immunity, and leukemia cell biology are needed and may provide insight into the mechanisms of disease progression that identify potential therapeutic strategies. Future trials evaluating the impact of vitamin D repletion in CLL patients with documented 25(OH)D insufficiency are needed to determine whether this strategy improves outcome in patients with CLL.

As for me, I am taking 10,000 units of D3 just to see what happens. Remember my Disclaimer though before you jump onboard with this. Your doctor should have the last word on how much, if any, you take.

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Are you like me? Do you enjoy movies? Are they as good an escape for you as they are for me? When I watch one I like to turn up the sound and completely give myself over to the world of film.

I might as well get this over with right now… I’m a Trekkie (or, as some prefer, a Trekkor) which means I’m a Star Trek junkie. I’m also a big fan of superhero movies… Superman, Spidey, Batman, Daredevil, Thor, etc. etc. etc. – oh and of course Electra… for obvious reasons, she’s every man’s favorite superhero. Heck, us guys would watch even if she didn’t have any powers… the costume is enough!

But I like other movies as well, like Apollo 13, Titanic, Avatar, Frequency, Cast Away, Bourne, and Matrix. I also like classics like Mr. Smith goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz, Harvey, It’s a wonderful life, Casablanca, The Day the Earth Stood Still (The 1950 version, not the 2008 one), Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and more.

My favorite actors are Tom Hanks, Jim Caviezel, Jimmy Stewart, Emma Thompson, Humphrey Bogart, Kathryn Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, and actually so many that this post would be way too long.

My favorite directors: Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, J. J. Abrams, and Ron Howard (remember “Opie” on The Andy Griffith Show?).

I recently saw Saving Mr. Banks… it’s a great true story of the 20 year challenge Walt Disney had to convince the author of Mary Poppins to release the movie rights to her book. It’s not as dry as it sounds. You’ll laugh and cry. If you’ve ever seen the movie Mary Poppins (who hasn’t), then you must see this. It’s worth the price of a theater ticket.

Anyway, what I’m getting around to is this. Movies are a great way to inspire, pick up your spirits, enthrall you, and put Leuk away for awhile.

Sometimes escape is a good thing.

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