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Ominous figure whispering into a man

Leuk’s Nightly Game

Do you ever find yourself lying in bed late at night, staring at the ceiling, and saying out loud, “WTF? I have leukemia?” (By the way, that stands for What The Fooey–this is a family site after all.)

Now, I’ve known about my CLL since September of 2009. I’m lucky enough to still be in the Watch-and-Wait (or is that Wait-and-Watch?) stage.

I get a little tired now and then but that’s pretty much my only symptom so I sometimes go all day without thinking of my leukemia. (Well, that used to be the case until I got this writing gig with Blood-Cancer.com. Now even if I’m feeling great I’m reminded of my cancer whenever I’m thinking about, or planning, or writing posts.)

Sometimes leukemia keeps me up at night

Still, it’s in the quiet of the night when Leuk really smacks me in the face. “Look,” he says, “I’ve had it. You’ve been ignoring me all day and I won’t stand for it. So let’s play a little game I like to call “Oh Sh*t”. (Again, for my sensitive readers, that means “Oh Shoot.” I just forgot about the second ‘o’.)

“Look. It’s two in the morning. I don’t have time for this. I need my sleep.”

“Yeah, sure. Like that’s going to happen.” Leuk grins a Leuky grin. “Now here’s how the game’s played…”

He doesn’t have to tell me. We’ve played the same game many nights before. If I manage to fall asleep, I win. If Leuk gets me to say “Oh, sh*t” and stay awake all night, he wins.

I close my eyes and start slapping my tummy. If I hit just the right spot it sounds like a bass drum and another spot has a higher pitch: boom-boom-slap, boom-boom-slap, I sing “We will, we will, rock you” boom-boom-slap…

Just when I think Queen is gonna save me Leuk whispers, “Will your wife have enough money to live on when you’re gone?”

“Shut up!” boom-boom-slap, boom-boom-slap.

“What about your grandkids? Will you even get to see them grow up?”

Say goodnight, Leuk!

Okay, forget Queen. Maybe another song. “I’m too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy…”

“Have you really made a difference? Will anybody even remember you?”

I push those thoughts out of my mind. He’s not going to get to me this time.

“She wore an Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka-dot Bikini…”

“I wonder what chemotherapy’s gonna be like for you.”

Hey, I think I’m doing it. I’m getting sleepy! I squeeze my eyes tighter. Maybe Janis can send me home. “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive Porsches I must make A-mends…”

Finally, Leuk pulls out the big gun. “Hey Jim, I hear chemo can cause erectile dysfunction.”

“OH SH*T!”

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Shane.Lee moderator
    3 months ago

    My biggest worriful question that plays mind games with me is “Ok, I have AML at 57 yrs old. How long do I have even though I’m in remission? Am I going to fall out of remission in a year or two? Will I survive it like this time or will it take home before my time would have normally come?” Then the “what if” game starts to play. It’s just crazy I tell ya…..

  • Jim Smith moderator author
    3 months ago

    @shane-lee Perhaps the hardest thing about cancer is the unknown. I guess the best we can do is focus on today and let tomorrow take care of itself. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Try not to let the “What ifs” haunt you.

  • Shane.Lee moderator
    3 months ago

    The “what if’s”…lol. A little history there. Years ago I was in law enforcement as both a Deputy Constable, as well as worked at the Texas Prison System as a guard. In law enforcement they train you to play the what if game all the time so your basically training to never let your guard down for any circumstances that may arise. Now years later the training is still there. But how do you, even after all these years later with all that training and preparations, do you prepare yourself for when you get the news “You have Leukemia (AML)? You fight and do what it takes to defend yourself and the public against the bad guys everyday. But what about when the bad guy becomes no longer a person or even an animal. The bad guy becomes the critter called Cancer. All that trading now how’s right out the window.

  • Denny
    6 months ago

    Hi,Jim it’s Denny. Glad to read you’re article on Leuks nightly game. I wake up at 2:00 seems like it’s 4:00am before I get back to sleep.Watch and wait for 4 years now go see Dr. July24th. Last visit I got an A+, hope to get another. Talk to you later.

  • Jim Smith moderator author
    6 months ago

    Hi, @denny it’s good to hear from you again. It sounds like you and I are on the same track. I also had a good report last time and am looking forward to another. I wish you the best. Please let me know how the July 24 check-up goes.

  • Catmom23
    7 months ago

    Watch and wait and worry. Is pretending there’s nothing wrong and planning for retirement as though I’m still going to be around in 20 years a folly, or optimistically realistic? The oncologist assures me that my labs are good and I shouldn’t worry. There are some good medications available when the time comes… but not to worry…

  • Jim Smith moderator author
    6 months ago

    Planning for retirement is excellent, not folly. Continue being optimistic. It’s the most realistic thing there is. It’s easy for your oncologist to say not to worry, he/she doesn’t have the disease. Still, if your labs are good count it as a blessing. Worry creeps into all our lives even though we know it is a waste of time. Take care and Godspeed.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    7 months ago

    None of us know when our time will be up. I say enjoy and plan. Don’t let cancer take anymore than it already has.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    6 months ago

    @annharper Yes indeed, it already robs so many as it is.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    7 months ago

    @catmom23 I definitely get what you’re saying. There’s no pretending, this is about continuing living life. It’s okay to continue things that are part of your life, like planning your 401k and retirement. The hope is to make it to eventually spend that retirement of years of savings at some point. I know it’s hard to move forward in not worrying, but you mustn’t worry all the time. Embrace the news of goods labs and new options in meds, and look forward to those 20 or more years. Best!

  • Rose
    7 months ago

    Ha – you really DID make me LOL. When my next wee hour WTF moment comes I’ll think of this piece and hopefully laugh myself back to sleep, thank you!!

  • Jim Smith moderator author
    6 months ago

    @rose Good for you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. The songs I chose probably reveal my age. Hopefully, you’ll have some better ones to distract you.

  • Rose
    6 months ago

    Jim, your list is perfect! (Hey, we’re still youngsters!) 😆

  • Dan122
    7 months ago

    Jim,
    She might be a bad girl but she didn’t take your humor. So you win big time.
    When I listen to people with multiple myeloma, many of them here, I stop complaining about my FL. But those indolent B*tch are psicologicaly other kind of beast, because they will be always waiting for us. We are in fear, like humans at night before fire.
    Now I take slipping peals.

  • Jim Smith moderator author
    6 months ago

    Hi,@Dan122. Fear and Worry can be tough enemies but they have no business taking up our time on this Earth. We need to enjoy the life we’re given instead of fearing the night. So light that fire you’re talking about and stay warm without worry. Godspeed.

  • Joyce
    7 months ago

    I too am in Watch and Wait only I call it Watch and Worry! Worry about most of the things you mentioned. My brother died from the same cancer I have Follicular Lymphoma (a good cancer to have LOL)

  • Jim Smith moderator author
    6 months ago

    I’m sorry to hear about your brother. That must have been rough for you. I looked up Follicular Lymphoma on the WebMD site. It says that the disease grows slowly and there are new and better treatments now. I wish you all the best. Please keep me informed on how you are doing.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    7 months ago

    I try not to worry about my watch and wait status. I do everything I can for myself and also listen to my doctor. I feel that I’m doing all I can and so feel the rest is out of my hands. I’m sorry your brother didn’t win his battle, but that doesn’t mean you won’t. Good luck to you.

  • Ann Harper moderator
    7 months ago

    Lol, but not really. I too am in watch and wait mode and I also think about all that stuff – well most of it. Then I put that out of my mind, remember I got this and, well after that depends on the night. Truthfully, I hardly ever think about the what ifs. I’m following a pretty strict diet and lifestyle. It’s helping. But I definitely have those nights occasionally.

    Your posts are great! Thanks for always putting a humorous spin on the realities of some of our lives!!

  • Jim Smith moderator author
    6 months ago

    Thanks, Ann. I’m glad the “what-ifs” aren’t getting to you. I try not to focus on them either. Wasting time worrying is time I’d rather spend living.

  • Racheli Alkobey moderator
    7 months ago

    Thank you so much for sharing this insight of yours. These are such important details that go through a cancer patient’s mind that most people don’t even realize.

  • Jim Smith moderator author
    7 months ago

    Thank you @radiant-racheli. Yes, those are some concerns of my fellow leukemia patients but this post was mainly meant to be humorous. Hopefully, that got through so readers didn’t take it too seriously.

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