I’ve just visited a good friend at the hospital. He had an A-Fib (Atrial Fibrillation). As it turns out, he will be fine. Despite his delay (he actually played golf first!!), they got him in soon enough to prevent a stroke or other complication.

It would have hurt big-time to lose him. He’s one of those friends that seem more like a brother. (Albeit an insane, I’ll-smack-you-if-you-ever-play-golf-again-during-heart-palpitations, type brother.)

We imagine we’re attached to a strong cable, but it’s moments like these, when we find ourselves at the hospital, wearing gowns which continually fall open in the back, that we are reminded of the thin thread we all dangle by.

If any of us dealing with Leuk think we have the corner on tough times, we need only look around us to see the truth.

Everybody’s terminal. So get over it.

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Some of us are lucky enough to have a few friends whose absence makes no difference in our relationship. My cousin, Jan, is one of those.

I hadn’t seen her for over a decade. We talked non-stop the whole 3-1/2 hours we were together. It was good to bask in her smile again.

Thank you, Jan, for reconnecting me with family. Thank you for your friendship and love.

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Had a great family get-together. It was a combined birthday for my aunt and uncle. (Actually they are my cousins, but since they are considerably older than myself I call them aunt and uncle.)

Anyway, there were lots of family and friends there. Some I hadn’t seen for years. It was a great time.

And here’s the coolest part. Although they asked about my condition, it didn’t make a difference. They treated me the same as always. We teased and joked like we always have.

I felt like the real me there.

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I should have caught onto this sooner. Being somewhat dense is my best excuse.

When you have an issue you live with, such as leukemia, you come to think of it as just part of your life. The rest of what you are is still there. Your dreams, your laughs, your hobbies, your life still remains intact.

But your friends who don’t live with you start thinking of you as their friend who has leukemia. It sometimes puts an odd sort of wall between you. It’s not a solid wall. It allows passage but there is always some resistance that tends to keep people away.

I don’t say this as an indictment of my friends. If matters were reversed, I’d probably allow that wall to exist too.

There’s an easy solution. You must make the first move. Invite your friends over. If they want to talk about your disease then talk about it. But as soon as you can, make their visit a fun one. Talk about regular life stuff. Do the activities you used to do with them; a bonfire, a dinner out, a movie, or just get together for a lot of laughs.

Show them that your normal side is still intact. Show them you are still you. Help them, teach them, to see you are not consumed with your disease. If they see you as their friend again – the one they use to visit a lot – then perhaps the wall will disappear and you can enjoy the relationships you’ve missed.

In other words, be a regular guy.

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Yesterday a lone gunman shot 70 people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve dead and 58 wounded.

A witness saw a man next to him die. A decision as simple as choosing a seat meant death for one and life for another.

It is too easy for those of us struggling with a life-threatening disease to get focused on ourselves. We forget that life is transitory for everyone. The families of those victims know that all too well.

Having a terminal disease doesn’t mean we know our fate. I think we presume too much.

Despite all our worrying, our anticipation of an early demise from our disease, we might be wasting our time fretting. Our disease may have nothing to do with it.

It might just be a matter of sitting in the wrong seat.

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