I have a person in my life, someone important to me, who is angry with me. I found this out in a terse text message from him saying “never contact me again”.

His anger was born from a misunderstanding of the facts. I want so much to clear the air between us.  I would like him to know the truth about what happened and how I tried to make things work properly but was thwarted in my attempts by someone else.

I’ve tried to make contact but his text message put an end to that.

I believe I have many years yet before Leuk takes me and I hope that time will give opportunity for reconciliation.

Having a life threatening disease makes you focus on what really matters. For now, for me, I need peace and less stress. I wish I could take away his anger but I can’t control him or anyone else for that matter.

So I love him from a distance and focus on my immediate family: my wife, children and their spouses, and my grandchildren. There is so much love to nest in here. I thrive with them.

It would be sad if I die without seeing him. If that happens, though, I want him to know I understand his feelings and I really did mean him no harm. I forgive him and I hope he will forgive me.

If you have leukemia try your best to make repairs to damaged relationships. But if you can’t, don’t let the stress eat at you. Love them and move on. But never forget the good times and what that person means to you. Because getting right down to it, love is what matters.

When I kick the bucket I want to go out the right way, the only way: with love.

When I received the news that Leuk had come into my life, I was hesitant to introduce him to anyone. I felt that if I told my friends I had leukemia they would treat me differently. I even thought I would lose some.

But my attempts to keep it a secret made it difficult for my wife. She needed to be able to talk about it to others. I realized I was being selfish in not admitting I had CLL (see my first blog post, Coming Out).

This doesn’t mean I felt compelled to announce it to everyone I met. But my closest friends needed to know.

So what happened? Was I treated differently? Did I lose contact with friends?

Well, in a way, yes.

But it wasn’t my friends. It was mostly me. I became more reserved, more reclusive. I’ve never been a social butterfly. I’m more of an introvert. My circle of friends has always been smaller than most because I choose my friends carefully.

But my natural introverted nature feed my desire to hide. I’m not saying I became a hermit. My wife would never put up with that. But I found myself spending less time with friends.

It turns out my friends did treat me differently. Not for the reasons I had anticipated, but because of my own reactions to Leuk. Sure, some had difficulty talking about it with me, but mostly I was the one with hangups.

When Leuk intrudes in your life, it is important to do two things: (1) acknowledge him, admit that he is real, that he will cause changes in your life, and (2) determine to not let those changes and the threats Leuk makes effect who you are as a person. Your friends need to see you are still you. This can only happen when you see yourself for who you really are.

You have leukemia. But you are not the disease. You are more.

The road to beating Leuk begins with choosing one of two paths. On the one path Leuk is your master and he makes you into his image. On the other, Leuk is invasive but you are the strong, valiant fighter and your first battle will be to reclaim who you are.

There will be times when you feel you are out of control, that Leuk has the upper hand. But deep inside there is a place he can’t touch unless you let him. He has no power to go there unless you open the door.

It is your moral and emotional nature. It is your sense of identity. It is your soul.

Build a safe wall around your soul by staying in contact with your friends and family –  smiling, laughing, singing, and crying with them. Loving them and reassuring them. Staying active. These are the things that feed a healthy soul.

Your body may be sick. You may be having a difficult struggle with Leuk. But that secret place inside of you can be kept healthy. That part of you, the most important part, can stay strong and alive. It all depends on the path you choose.

Choose wisely.

Yesterday we had a short visit with good friends. They live in another state so we only see them when they travel north. That means a lot of years between times.

It seems though that friendship isn’t based on how often you see someone. Real friendship isn’t hindered by distance or time.

We had lunch at a quaint cafe in old town, then spent time at the local seaside park. It was non-stop talking until the very few hours had pasted and they went on their way. We probably won’t see them for another 5 years or more.

Their vacation took them from Martinez, California to Seattle, Washington. We live almost 2 hours north of Seattle. They drove the 90 miles to see us for only three hours then drove 90 miles back to Seattle.

It was good to see you guys. Next time we see each other we’ll be a little older, a little grayer, but still good friends.

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.

Having leukemia is not fun. In fact, let’s be honest – it’s scary.

As worrisome as it is for us though, it is even more so for our family and friends. After all, those of us living with Leuk know how we feel each day. He has become a regular part of our lives. We naturally worry about what Leuk will mean for our future and even wonder if he might kill us. But if you are like me, you deal with Leuk differently on different days. You worry less on some days and more on others. You feel better on some days and worse on others. But you always have a gauge for how you are doing.

Not so with the other people in your life.

It is often thought, and rightly so, that the person with leukemia needs encouragement and prayer. But not much is said about what our loved ones need. They can’t know how we are feeling or what we are thinking.

To those you know, you are their friend who has leukemia. To your children, you are their parent who has leukemia. To your spouse, you are her lover who has leukemia.

But none of them, even those closest to you, can know where you’re at in your head. They have no way of knowing how you feel. If you tell them you’re having a bad day, they tend to think every day after that is bad for you. It’s good to be honest about your days with Leuk. When they ask, it’s okay to tell them if you’re having a rough day. But it is also important to let them know when you are doing well.

I tend to make light of it when my friends ask how I’m doing. I try to alleviate their worries by seeming to not be worried myself. In most cases I really am not worried, but other times I am. Maybe this is not the best way to handle things. I don’t know. Maybe it’s not completely honest. I’m not saying you should take this approach. I’m just saying to be gentle about it.

What do I mean by ‘gentle’? Well, think of it this way: If your wife asks you if she looks fat in that dress, do you say “Well, honey, it really doesn’t flatter you” or do you say “Oh my God! It makes you look huge!!”

Think of them as worried, hurting people. After all, they are. They love you and often have more fear about it than you do. They need your encouragement.

And also, if you are a praying person, pray for them. They are, after all, praying for you. It might be nice to return the favor.