Just to lighten things up a bit, here’s a children’s story/poem I’m working on….

Animal Wisdom by Jim Smith © 2013

I saw a crazy bird flying’ upside down.
I said, “Hey, aren’t you worried you might hit the ground?”

He said, “No, cuz I’m looking up at the sky
and I like to look where I like to fly.
And who says I’m the one that’s upside down?
I’m lookin’ On High, you’re starin’ at the ground.

Then down the road a little bit later
was a laughin’, splashin’ alligator.
He made so much noise all the fish swam away.
I said, “Hey, aren’t you worried you won’t eat today

He said, “Naw, I’ll have dinner a little bit later
Ain’t you never seen a happy alligator?”

And then I saw a big woolly lion
He was flappin’ his arms and tryin’ to fly.
I said, ‘Hey crazy lion you know you can’t fly?”

He said, “Maybe not, but I’m willing to try.
You know, man thinks he knows what can’t be done
so he never tries, and that’s half the fun.

An elephant was sittin’ on a log
Just starin’ at the stars and talkin’ about God.
I said “Hey, how do you know God is real?”

He said, “I’ve got a big heart and I know what I feel.”

He said, “The gator and the bird and the lion too
They all had something to say to you.
You’ll be full of joy if you look On High
But you’ll never know, if you never try.”

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I want to write a note to the spouses, partners, parents, siblings, and children who live with, care for, and love us.

It’s true we live with the possibility of death, but you are facing the possibility of loss. Some of us will beat Leuk and some won’t. Death is frightening but at least it has an ending. Losing the one you love is not so easily blotted out.

Some of my readers, like Darla (she sometimes makes comments on this blog), don’t have leukemia but are the loved ones of someone who does. It’s not quite correct to say they don’t have the disease because when Leuk is in the home he, in some ways, infects everyone in it.

Their white blood cells and bone marrow remain healthy, but their souls are fighting for sanity. Their hearts are beating for answers. They struggle to make sense of a senseless situation.

We carry the disease, but our loved ones carry us.

So I hope we would all say this to our lovers and family:

It is okay to tell me you are afraid. You might be holding back, stoically thinking you have to be strong for me. But, my love, I won’t break. I won’t get more sick if you cry in front of me. I know you are even more afraid than I am. You have a right to be afraid.

You are doing so much, giving so much, and I feel like I give so little back. Yes, I’m sick, but I am still in love. In love with you. I know how hard this is for you and I love you all the more for sticking with me.

But go and take some time off for yourself. Find moments away from the house. Unload your burdens to a friend. Breathe fresh air so you can come back to me all the stronger.

I know you pray for me. What you may not know is I am praying for you.

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PearlHarbor2web  We took our grandkids to Pioneer Park in Ferndale, WA where you can see several renovated buildings from the early 19th and 20th centuries. We saw homes, an old postoffice, a store, and a printshop. But there was one building I lingered in much longer than the rest of my family. The VFW had filled the building with displays of relics from WWI and WWII. There were German, Japanese, and American rifles. Canteens, uniforms, helmets, Nazi arm bands and so much more.VEpaper2web

This building was an emotional experience for me. During WWII, my father was a prisoner of war in Germany for over 2 years. Most of that time was spent in Stalag 17b. [Note: a movie about the Stalag was made in 1953.] Dad told us about the few funny things that happened, but he seldom spoke of the sicknesses and deaths and deprivation he’d seen.

Hitlerpaper2webNow, in this room, surrounded by the tools of war, I felt like Dad was somehow there with me. I could almost feel the fear, courage, loneliness, and loss his generation experienced. So many never came home. So many came home broken.

My Dad nearly died over there. The man who would eventually adopt me might never have been a part of my life.JapanSurrender2web

He has passed now, but I will never forget what he and his generation did for us. They were a special breed.

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Today is my birthday. Since 1951 I’ve  been taking birthdays for granted. Just another year, no big deal.

Then all of a sudden I’m 62. How the heck did that happen? Wasn’t it just a few years ago I was raising my children? Now. all of a sudden they are adults in their 30’s.

And what happened to college? Were did the 1970’s go? My wife now works at the same college I graduated from so I often find myself walking the red bricked paths that wind between the buildings I studied in. Those buildings are the old ones now – old relics among newer structures.

And all the trees are taller.

But it gets worse… obviously the student population wasn’t born yet when I attended college, but yikes!… even some of their parents were’t born then either!!!

My baby-boomer experiences are studied as history lessons. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Reagan; Vietnam and Kent State – it’s all just old news hidden in some history book. What about music? Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Simon & Garfunkel, The Doors, Cat Stevens and the Beach Boys are found on very few iPods.

Oh well, I guess its the way of things. Though my life continues to become a history lesson, I’m still around and making history. (Key words being ‘still around’.)

Ah, if only I was dyslexic. Then I’d be 26 instead of 62.

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I have my latest Labs (blood tests) now. The White Blood Cells just keep on multiplying. Looks like white blood cells have something in common with white rabbits.

My Red Blood Cells are hanging in there in the normal range. Platelets too.

My Lymphocytes are higher than normal but have dropped down since my last test.

So far I’m doing okay. The WBC count, at 61.3 thousand, is higher than a healthy persons would be, but still lower than Leuk wants them to be. Eventually he’ll be bumping things up into the 100’s of thousands range – that’s when things might get dicey.

But for now things are relatively fine. So I think I’ll focus on the Now and not the When.

For more info you can check out my “Score Card” page.

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