Hands typing at an ipad with a smiling face on screen

I Feel Good?

Yes, the title is a question. Don’t get me wrong... “Do I continue to have chronic pain?” Yes. “Do I sometimes want to stay in bed because I’m too tired to get up?” Yes. “Does diarrhea often control my schedule or the trip route when I’m traveling?” Yes. “Do I have days where my mental abilities leave me?” Yes. Does any of that make me feel good? Hell, no! But darn it, I think I feel good?

I'm an engineer - I analyze stuff

I’ve been part of the Blood-Cancer.com community for almost 3 years. During that time, I’ve submitted 25 articles. Not a lot, but significant for me since I had never written anything creative until I started documenting my multiple myeloma journey. At the same time, I also wrote 27 blogs on my own site, effcancerblog.com.

I recently got a little nostalgic for the good old days of treatments, spine operations, and a bone marrow transplant (NOT!). So, I decided to take a look at these 52 articles and figured I could loosely group them into four categories. The categories were 1. melancholy with the goal of inspiring someone, 2. melancholy and spiritual with the goal of inspiring someone, 3. informational, and finally, 4. uplifting with the goal of inspiring someone. I hope it’s evident that no matter my mood or emotion, my primary goal when I write, is to create a sense of inspiration or a smile.

So how did the numbers work out? Drum roll... 45 articles, or 86 percent, ended up in the first three “non-pleasant” categories, while a whopping 14 percent, or 7 articles, ended up in the final, but “pleasant” category. I know there is probably a better synonym for “pleasant,” but I’m sure you catch my drift.

What a downer

At first, I thought, “Dude, you are a real downer. You need to pick up your happy game.” But, after more reflection about these past four years, I realized 14 percent in the “pleasant” category may be as good as that number was going to get. But attitudes and perceptions can change, sometimes for the better.

The past four years have changed my thoughts considerably on the meanings of “happy” and “good.” They have also added to my never-ending question list. Some of the questions to follow may also be on your list and believe me, they only scratch the surface of mine. “Do I fear a relapse every time I get my blood tested?” Yes. “Has my life the past year been measured in ten-day increments, starting over and over every time I put myself into a risky COVID-19 situation?” Yes. “How much more pain will I experience as I age, and do I think my quality of life will get worse?” Yes. “Does any of that make me feel good?” Hell, no! But damn it, I think I feel good?

Now we get to the inspirational part (wink). With all these dreadful questions and affirmative responses, why should I feel good?

Taking inventory

First, if you go back and read my article titled “The Wicket List” (Wise Bucket List), you will see two goals I needed to accomplish before the inevitable end. The first was to see the last season of “Game of Thrones” (another wink, and accomplished). The second was to hold my own grandchild in my arms. I now have two beautiful granddaughters I couldn’t love anymore. I really yearned for the grandchild goal. Accomplished!

In addition, I’ve also been able to achieve things I never would have if I hadn’t gotten sick. They include writing and publishing two books, and writing 52...er...53 blogs. I also founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that advocates for the immunodeficient community and trademarked a symbol I hope will one day be the identifying symbol for those who are immunodeficient.

Last but not least, I’ve had four additional years with my loving and supportive family. I’ve been able to watch my wife and children continue to grow in so many beautiful ways. I’ve grown closer to God and have experienced so many other positive things and people, pandemic notwithstanding.

What is the answer?

I am not writing this article to boast. I simply decided to take a complete inventory of my life with cancer and these things rose to the top. If I had continued measuring my years by the content of my articles, I know I (and many of those reading them) would have an entirely different perception of my life, a perception missing some beautiful things.

I believe we all have beautiful things in our lives we should recognize often and name them, but we don’t because of all the misery that seems to rain down regularly. We need to take our inventory. Hopefully, we will see love at the forefront, and some of the beauty is possibly because of our sickness. (That’s the inspirational part... third wink), which brings me full circle back to the question...

“Do I feel good?”

Answer: Hell YES!

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