Today begins a challenging month. Challenging in a good way… sort of. I need to double my business income during April to cover upcoming expenses in May. That means lots of phone calling and hand shaking.

Hopefully, I have a good start. There are potentially three jobs this month that I generated last month; but they are only promised and depend largely on my client’s schedules.

I’m hoping to build my business into a flexible income source that I can do when Leuk makes it harder to have a full-time, tight-scheduled job.

So after I publish this post its cell phone in hand and shoe leather on pavement.

Wish me luck.

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Here’s one Leuk is really good at dogging you with:

“When will I die?”

Hey, no one knows when their time will be up or how they will go. So you have leukemia; it doesn’t mean its your only ticket outta here.

People with CLL can live 10 to 20 years and longer. And even if your time is shorter than most, take this advise from an old guy I found on a CLL discussion group:

Hi: I am 80 years old and have been living with CLL for 12 years. It is a wait and see kind of cancer and my feeling was that I was not going to worry about something I couldn’t do anything about. So I enjoyed these years and have been doing pretty good so far. I had a treatment of ritaxin/bendamustin in 2008 and showed good blood tests for 18 months. I repeated the treatment for 4 sessions in 2010 and again showed good blood tests and CAT scans. However, now I have a lumph node in the chest that developed into a Large B Cell lymphoma and am receiving R Epoch treatment. I am told this is a very curable cancer. My advise to you – enjoy your life, live it to the fullest, and if the CLL needs treatment, by all means get it. Until then, good luck and God Bless you.

Leuk can overpower your thoughts with worries of when you’ll be pushing up daises. But you could waste all your time worrying about loosing your life to Leukemia and then wind up getting creamed by a drunk driver. I guess St. Peter would have to forgive the profanity when you look back at those wasted years and yell “Holy Crap, what was I thinking!”

CLL has a better survival rate than most. The treatments can be tough, but it’s worth it to get the better hand over Leuk. Just remember, whenever and however you go, he can’t kill your hope if you never give it to him.

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We stayed at our son and daughter-in-law’s house a couple days this week. Our son took the day off and we took in the Seattle Art Museum and the Ballard locks. It was good to spend time with him.

The last night there, while everyone else was in bed, I had a great conversation with him. We sat in the living room. A faint light from the kitchen filtering in from the hallway was our only lightsource.

There’s something about talking in a dimly lit room. All the destractions light provides are hidden and so your attention is completely focused on the conversation. Your thoughts are more focused. You listen. Your words have more meaning.

We talked of his job and his hopes for the future. He spoke of the challenging test he’d taken at work and how surprised he was at placing so high.

Though he is a grown man now, there in the dark, for a brief moment, I heard my young teenage son talking about his high school studies. But mostly I heard my adult son talking about his new life.

In that very short time we shared a lot. I got to tell him how proud I was of him – not in a perfunctory way, but in a way that showed him I really meant it.

Sometimes darkness is a blessing.

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Here’s a poem I wrote for my wife. All the events mentioned (including the dolphin) actually happened.

Remember when we danced all night
I’d never held you so tight
T’was then I knew we fit just right
Remember when?

Remember when we walked down the isle
The life before us shown in your smile
It all was perfect for that little while
Remember when?

Twice you endured the pain of birth
You made me more than I was worth
Our daughter and son you brought forth
Remember when?

Remember when she walked down that isle
And held her husband in her smile
You and I cried all the while
Remember when?

Our son took his love on a sail that day
While the sunset glowed across the bay
And proposed to her where the dolphins play
Remember when?

I once said I’d love only you
But with our children my love grew
And even more with grandkids too
Remember when?

Now we’re old, but our hearts are light
And it all started that first night
When we knew we fit just right
Remember when?

copyright 2012 Jim W. Smith

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Here’s another nagging question Leuk throws at us:

“Why me?”

Asking why will drive you nuts if you let it. Of course we all wonder what the medical cause is, but that’s different. “Why me?” implies a cause beyond science; why did God allow this?

Though there can be a medical reason, I don’t believe there is a metaphysical reason, except, possibly, the seeking of an opportunity.

Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Instead of “why me?”, maybe we should be asking “what is my purpose now that I have leukemia?”

I gotta tell you, facing a life-threatening disease has a way of making you focus: the importance of family and friends, the sudden urge to help others, and the desire to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren.

Sure, if I could wave a magic wand and suddenly be healthy again I’d jump at the chance. But maybe, just maybe, I can find a hidden blessing in all this.

Suddenly life isn’t about what you’ll get around to tomorrow. It’s about what you can do Today.

There’s one thing positive I can say about my new house guest, Leuk. He’s doing a pretty good job of kicking my old friend, Procrastination, out the door.

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