I’d like to write a bit about my last post. Some would, I suppose, consider it dark humor… making jokes about dying from leukemia.

We all have different ways of facing our possible demise, whether or not it is via leukemia. For some, especially those who have the acute forms of leukemia (I don’t – I have the more docile CLL type), my humor might seem inappropriate. But, for me, whatever my future holds, I choose joy over sadness.

In my past, before Leuk showed up, I dealt with depression. Its a hard thing to climb back out of. Life hit me a bit hard back then and, even though I was physically healthy, it dug me a deep hole. Well, I don’t intend to let Leuk pull me back in.

To borrow a quote from Stubbs, the second mate of the Pequod in Herman Melville‘s book Moby Dick:

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.

Back in college, a roommate of mine had a poster of a cat furiously flying through the air, fangs bared and saliva splashing from his mouth as he is about to pounce on a mouse. The mouse, instead of showing fear, is defiantly giving the cat the finger.

I think that’s a perfect image of how we should react to Leuk. He may kill our bodies, but its up to us whether he kills our spirit.

So stand your ground, give Leuk the finger, and laugh.

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12 – You’ll get to heaven before your mother-in-law so you can warn everybody

11 – You won’t have to watch Obama screw up another 4 years

10 – You can go early and beat the Mayan Doomsday rush-hour traffic

9 – Your wife can buy green bananas again

8 – You won’t have to listen to rap music (it’s all gone to hell)

7 – No more taxes (the IRS man was told to go to hell too)

6 – No more lawyers (neither place wanted them)

5 – You can tell your dead neighbor to return the damn lawn mower

4 – You’ll see your dog again and explain why you kept the cat

3 – You’ll get to go to Hell just long enough to beat up that 3rd grade bully

2 – You can find that dead fish and prove once-and-forever it really was THAT big.

And…  the number one advantage of kicking it with Leuk…

1 – Steve Jobs will give you an i-Harp !!!

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I’ve been doing some leukemia research on my specific type. (This particular research was from Wikipedia so needs to be cross-checked.) As I recall from a previous doctor visit, I have B-cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (B-CLL) which is the most common type of leukemia. It is a cancer of the white blood cells. CLL is definitely NOT B-cell lymphocyte friendly.

As I understand it, normal B-cells (I’ve always been an abnormal person and used to like it that way; now I’m not so sure!) are born in the bone marrow and develop in the lymph nodes producing antibodies that fight infection. (This is based on what I’m learning from my web research; do your own research too… remember my Disclaimer Page?)

But with CLL, the B-cell DNA is damaged and cannot produce the antibodies. The damaged B-cells decide they need a lot more friends and grow out of control. Those damn, dumb, derelict, damaged cells (good alliteration, hugh?) crowd out the healthy cells.

My type of CLL is negative for the DNA marker ZAP-70 (that means I don’t have it). That’s a good thing because, according to Wikipedia, CLL that is positive for ZAP-70 has an average survival of 8 years. Without ZAP-70, my average survival is 25 years. Of course, there can be complications with liver or spleen issues and anemia and infections which could lower that survival time but I’m choosing to ignore all that for now.

Since I’m 60, with treatment, if I wind up needing it, I could live out a normal life span. No guarantees though. Remember, in order for 25 years to be an average there has to be people on both sides of that bell curve. I’m hoping I will at least be in the double digits!

So, except for possible swollen lymph nodes, spleen, and liver; and of course anemia; oh, and vulnerability to infections of all kinds (one hell of a common, ah, not-so-common, cold or flu for example), I’m just fine!

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If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ve noticed that not every entry is about me and Leuk. That’s because I keep my spirits up by not focusing on him every single day.

But those posts about my regular life – the ones marked “Just Me” – still qualify for this blog. Two reasons for that: (1) It’s my journal and I can write anything I care to, and, (2) Leuk is always with me; always in the background of my thoughts. He’s become a part of my life – like  brushing your teeth, or eating dinner, or jogging (oh yeah.. exercise… don’t look at my exercise page. I’ve missed a few days!).

Those, of course, are mundane things. Leuk is far from mundane. He’s more like a heavy, daily burden. Eiher way, breakfast or leukemia, its something you know you need to deal with each day. You don’t always think about it, but you know it’s there; a task needing attention.

I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone out there, but it does in here. In me.

That doesn’t mean I’m an ostrich with my head in the sand. (By the way, do they actually do that?) I read about my condition and keep notes of questions I’ll have for my next doctor’s appointment. Leuk deserves just enough attention for me to be prepared, but he will never earn the right to bamboozle me. (Now that’s a great word… bamboozle… sounds like what you’d call Bambi when he’s closed down the bar.)

Well, those are my thoughts for today. Leuk is always lurking there among the synapses of my mind; I just don’t always give him time to play.

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Good day today. I called a Real Estate client; had a good meeting with another client for the prospect of a potential job; and then I received a phone call for more work. It looks like I might make this month’s quota after all. It still depends on client schedules, but things are looking up.

Yesterday I didn’t accomplish as much as I’d hope to. I was either tired or lazy. My red blood cell count is normal so I guess I can’t use Leuk as an excuse. Do you suppose it might be because I’ve been up ’til 1:00am a lot?

Anyway, I’m much more positive today. I’m loath to admit it, so don’t tell her, but I think my praying wife may have something to do with this.

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