Hi all,

I keep this blog as upbeat as possible. I don’t want it to be a downer – especially since I feel pretty good most of the time.  But this is kind of a downer entry. It’s not meant to bum you out, I just need to write about it. Writing is a relief for me.

So, you might want to ignore this entry and go to one of my more humous, older ones that you haven’t read yet. Or just take a break and read tomorrows. I should be up by then.

I’m at Disneyland with my family. The grandkids are very excited. This morning we had breakfast at our hotel before heading out for a full day of fun. Then, at the breakfast table, the dizzies hit. Hit hard. I ate protein because that usually works. But that won’t help until this afternoon.

So I sent them off without me. I hope I’m not disappointing my grandchildren. Their mom, dad, and grandma are with them and Mickey Mouse and his gang, plus a bazillion rides; I’m sure they’ll have a great time.

I just wish I was normal. You know, normal in the healthy sense. It’s not Leuk – at least not for now. I probably won’t have any serious struggles with him for some time. It’s this damn dizziness. The doctors say it is unrelated to my leukemia. But they don’t know what’s causing it.

So far I’ve been looked at by my family doctor, a physical therapist, an ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor), and a neurologist. A test was done where they hit my legs and feet with a series of low voltage zaps. It indicated that I might have a peripheral neuropathy. That means a few nerves down there are not up to par. But I don’t have most of the symptoms.

So, I’ll be going down to Seattle for more tests at University of Washington.

It’s hell feeling like an old man when you’re not really all that old. I just want to feel normal. Hell, even with the tiredness that Leuk gives me from time to time, I feel pretty good. I have lots of days where I feel lake a normal, albeit tired, person. But when this dizziness hits I, well, frankly it pisses me off.

Sorry for the pity party.

There’s something about writing. It’s like I’m sharing with a good friend. Even if no one is there. Even if I don’t publish it in my blog and just write for myself, it helps.

I’m sure I’ll be back tomorrow feeling much better. I’m going to try and get some extra sleep today. That usually helps.

Blah, blah, blah. Bitch, bitch bitch. I don’t like being a complainer. I don’t like being down and grumpy. I’d rather be my happier self. But today I’m just not up to it. I’m glad my personality is more up than down, otherwise this blog would be useless to those who need encouragement. But maybe it will help others know that it is okay to feel down sometimes.

I hope you don’t linger there, though. Please find a reason to stay up. Too many days like this will give Leuk a foot up in your thoughts.
It’s okay to have rough days – just try to not waste more of your time than necessary. After all, time is not something we have a lot of.

Godspeed to all of you.

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Today I’ll be running errands, unclogging a drain, processing photos for a client, sending off invoices, doing some banking, and attempting to fix an outboard motor. (see “On the High Seas – Part II“). At the same time, I’m a bit dizzy and a little tired (nothing major).

It got me to thinking… sometimes, in order to enjoy life, we have to push through our problems. I remember when I had to learn the drums fast – I mean really fast – because our band was already recording and until then I was only playing a djembe.

Anywho, there were times during my practice when I thought I couldn’t get it. It was like running up against a wall. But I’d tell myself to push through it. When I did, I was able to ignore my discouragement and accomplish something.

Now, I’m not a perfect drummer. In fact, I have a lot to learn. But I was able to get back in the studio and lay down the drum track. Problem was, the band had already recorded a few songs without a drummer. Usually it would be my job to lay down the rhythm before the rest of the band records. But since the band had no drummer, their timing often slowed down and speeded up. This required me to follow the awkward timing they had set. I pulled it off.

So here’s what I’m trying to say, in a much too lengthy way: when you try to accomplish something, you often run up against a wall – a moment of discouragement. That’s when you decide; are you going to quit or push through it?

Okay, so we’re sick. We get tired or weak. As time passes we might find limitations on how much we can do in a day. Leuk will try to discourage us and make us feel like it’s not worth trying. But we can make the choice; give in or keep going.

I choose to push through it.

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I just had a visit with my oncologist. (Geez, I never thought I’d have the words “I” and “oncologist” in the same sentence!)

As my Score Card shows, my white blood cell count (WBC) has steadily climbed and is now at 54.6 (normal is 4 – 11). He doesn’t see a reason to treat yet. He says treatment is not usually considered until the numbers hit 400,000 to 500,000. (My 54.6 represents 54,600.)*

The doc told me that treatment can start earlier if I’m having problems with fatigue or other symptoms. He also reminded me that chemotherapy treatments are not a cure. They simply attempt to lower the WBC and relieve symptoms.

Yeh, like I really wanted to be reminded.

The really fun news is he wants me to have a bone marrow biopsy next year – oh joy. I’ve heard those are a bit painful. When I asked him, he wryly replied, “well, they’re really no problem for the doctor – just the patient.” (Just my luck, a comedian for a doctor.)

They can anesthetize the flesh, but not the bone. I wonder which of the 206 he’ll be drilling into.

So, anyway, that’s the latest. As I see it, I’m still walkin’, talkin’, smiling’ and above ground.

All is good.

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(continued from my last post)… Okay, so… We’d dropped our sails and were motoring into port. Close to the entrance, our outboard motor decided to get stuck in forward. Suddenly we had no neutral gear. My poor seasick crew had to handle the boat, sailing in circles, while I tried desperately to fix the motor. But the fates were against us.

So we headed in with a motor we couldn’t stop or even slow down. Luckily our speed wasn’t too bad.

Just as we were entering the harbor, we had a near-miss with another boat as it shot out from the entrance and crossed our bow. It’s captain, realizing his mistake, waived sheepishly.

Taking a deep breath, we motored through the harbor, dodging the docks in search of our birth. Taking a guess at the timing, I killed the motor and we drifted around a corner and into our slip. Sean, at the bow, stood ready with an oar to push us away from the neighboring boat should we drift into it.

We tied up and took our food (and more food) to the park. Somehow a picnic in the park seemed like a much better idea than sailing to Sucia.

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Well, it sounded like a fun idea…

We planned a family sail to Sucia Island last weekend. The whole gang went -my wife, my daughter, her husband, and the grandkids. The boat was stuffed to the gunnels with food, firewood, more food, clothes, more food, camping gear, and more food. We headed out with high hopes.

Inside the harbor the water was smooth and the wind light, but once we cleared the point that all changed. We were headed south but the strong winds, fast current, and 3 foot choppy seas were headed north against us. We tacked back and forth against the wind. I manned the sails while my son-in-law and daughter took turns at the tiller.

We had several hours of this mean weather between us and Sucia. The trip would have taken a lot longer than planned. That was bad enough, but some of the crew made the mistake of going below deck – in rough water that’s a sure formula for motion sickness. So…

I watched as faces started turning green; three of the crew were seasick.

It was time to head back. Sucia suddenly seemed not such a fun idea after all. But for the poor crew our return meant another hour of sailing.

As we approached the harbor we dropped sails and prepared to motor in.

Then the outboard motor decided to threaten us…

To be continued in my next post…

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