Data Next GenerationNow that my daughter’s family has moved into their new home (they stayed with us for a year and a half while their house was being built) we are moving our stuff back in from storage.

I moved most of it yesterday and have a bit more to do today. I am doing the moving by myself. It’s mostly boxes. It’s nice to know I can do it. I had to rest a few times but this old body is still operating.

I’m so lucky that Leuk hasn’t brought me down yet. Though I get tired sometimes, I am still “functioning within normal parameters” as Star Trek’s Data would say.

It’s strange having this invisible thing inside me. Leuk is lurking somewhere in there. He’s not too strong yet but I know that could change. Hopefully not for a long time.

My biggest worry is that I will become a burden to my wife. She is strong and would make it happen but still I don’t want to make her life harder. She is such a blessing to me and she doesn’t deserve this.

Oh well, I might be worrying about a future that will never happen. I am 65 years old after all. CLL can be a slow moving type of leukemia so as long as it doesn’t speed up I might make it to old age just fine. It’s not really worth worrying about.

In fact, I should take my own advise about worrying. God knows I’ve written enough posts about it.

So I’ll shut up and live for each day.

Am I the only one that isn’t freaking out about Trump? I didn’t vote for the guy but geez, give him a chance. I’ll be the first to protest if he screws up but all this posturing won’t mean anything.

Maybe it’s my leukemia that gives me this perspective but I really don’t think all this panic is worth it. And the protests planned for Trumps inauguration… what’s that all about. He’s the President for god sake. Show some respect. I don’t recall anyone protesting or rioting any of the times that Democrats took the office.

Chill out people. Take it from me and Leuk, life is way too precious to be letting worry and fear take hold of you. Sure I’m worried about what a Trump presidency will be like but I’m not letting it ruin my days on this planet.

For crying out load, give the guy a chance before you start crying out loud.

People say I have a good attitude about this leukemia thing. I try too. And most of the time I succeed. But, to be honest, down deep inside there is more going on than I show the world. I’m guessing this is true for most of my fellow CLL’ers.

It’s not so much fear, though that is one of the tricks in Leuk’s bag. It’s more a feeling of being out of control.

Leuk has suddenly jumped into my life. There is no way to understand why it happened. He just showed up uninvited. If I had a broken leg, I would know the cause, could blame myself for being careless, bind the leg, and let it mend.

But there is no magic pill to mend my blood. I often speak in this blog of beating Leuk and I truly believe that is possible. Beating him, though, means putting him to sleep. It’s called remission. For many that remission sticks. Leuk doesn’t wake up and they live a long life. But, even so, he is still there, asleep, dreaming of the fight he had with them.

So, when we are in remission and feeling well, there is one last battle to fight.

It is important to realize that remission gives us our life back. Leuk no longer has control over us. No control, that is, except our own worry and fear.

I hope, and honestly believe, that I will beat Leuk and shove him into remission. And I have another hope: when that day of freedom comes I hope I will not focus on the sleeping giant, but instead on the gift I’ve been given. A gift free of worry. The gift of peace.

The gift of Life.

One of my goals for this blog is to show people with CLL that they can have a somewhat normal life (see my About page). Since ‘normal’ is a relative and hard to define term, I thought I should clarify.

Our ‘normal’ is certainly different from those without CLL. We’ll often be more tired and not able to do as much as we did before. If we are having chemo treatments, we’ll be dealing with some not-so-fun side effects. And, of course, there is always the possibility that Leuk my take us out earlier than planned.

But despite all that, we can have a mentally healthy life. A line from the book How God Changes Your Brain reads “Only human beings can think themselves into happiness or despair, without any influence from the outside world.”

The way we think has a profound effect on our experience with Leuk.

I write this blog as if leukemia were a person named Leuk. This gives me a concrete idea of an otherwise quiet, hidden disease. It makes my CLL more real. I have something to fight against. I see Leuk as someone separate from myself; someone I can fight and maybe even conquer.

A war is made up of many battles. Each day Leuk and I fight a battle for my mind.

For me, the first and most important step in fighting Leuk is to keep him from invading my everyday thoughts.  I admit that some days he gains ground, giving me nagging thoughts that bring me down. But mostly I only allow him time when I have to deal with him, then as quickly as I can I push him out of my thoughts, winning that day’s battle.

I strongly believe we can have a normal life if we don’t let Leuk creep too deeply into our minds. Leuk wants us involved in fearful thoughts. But instead, we can live our days involved in life.  We have the choice. We can give our minds over to him or build a protective wall against him. He may be affecting us physically, but we don’t have to let him infect our mind.

It may not seem like it at times, but you really do have a choice. So fight the good fight. Win as many battles as you can. Guard your thoughts. Leuk may be elsewhere in your body, but he has no business treading on your mind.

I just heard that a childhood friend, Shelly, passed away. She had cancer. I’m not sure which kind.

I haven’t seen Shelly since we were kids; her daughter wrote me with the news.

I remember Shelly as a happy girl. Not the kind of silly giddy happy of most teenagers, but a calm, peaceful happy. I don’t know if that calm happiness carried into her adult years. I hope so.

My parents had a resort when I was a kid and her parents would rent a summer cottage from us every year.  I have good memories of playing with her and her brother.

She was taken too soon. Way too soon.

It hits home pretty hard when someone near your own age dies. It makes the whole dying thing more real. I’m reassessing my life and how I’m living it. It’s time for some changes. I don’t know what they will be yet, but I can sense the need for adjustments.

I’m not feeling down or afraid, and I’m not whining. I’m just introspective right now.

Last week I had an ‘episode’ from another health issue I have unrelated to leukemia. It wasn’t life threatening, but it was serious enough to grab my attention.

Some of my priorities need shifting.

If you’re one of my readers who lives with Leuk I hope you aren’t afraid of him. Don’t forget that you have strong allies in Hope and Faith.

Oddly enough, I’m finding that Leuk can be helpful too He helps me focus on making my life worthwhile. I hope he’s doing the same for you.