The Decision to Make a Difference

I have five blogs in draft form. I could publish them today, but for the past week I’ve wrestled with which direction I want to take my blog.

When I originally decided to build my own website (way back in 2003), I intended to share anomalies like the horror of finding a plain M&M in a bag full of peanut M&Ms. I loved the creativity of capturing funny, observational humor for posterity.

Then there was CML.

After I was diagnosed, I made a conscious decision to move forward with my life. I wanted to do what I had to do to overcome cancer and get back to my prior life.

I documented that struggle.

Throughout the process, I started paying attention to the things around me. I processed feelings more intentionally and became more mindful of my writing.

The response has been overwhelming. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from you all. Some have written and encouraged me to continue telling my story, while others have shared their own. It has been a blessing to hear how my story has impacted others.

Now that the dust of a tumultuous season has settled, I’ve struggled with the direction of this blog.

I’m an introvert at heart. Opening up my world isn’t easy.

I’m at a point where I need to start thinking of ways for life to get back to normal. I’ve been blessed with the time-off of work for appointments, trips to Houston, and to manage the ups and downs of life within a clinical trial.

I’ll go back to work and school soon, and will need to carve out an unknown path littered with doctor’s appointments and lab visits.

I’ve had to make a decision about whether it would beneficial for me to continue to think, read, and write about cancer or if I should focus on a life outside of it all.

For six years, I’ve walked the thin line of leukemia. There have been some ups, downs, but most of my experience has resided somewhere in the middle.

I’ve fought for six years against a “new reality.” I wanted to return to a life free of cancer, far from the unpredictable, safe in the arms of an all-forgiving youth.I wanted to be somebody who merely talked about having overcome cancer instead of living it.

Two months ago, I learned the minor vision impairment in my right eye was likely permanent. The effects of fighting a physical battle within my body had produced its first casualty, and all I had to do was open my eyes to understand a new reality. Even if I want to return to a carefree world, the affliction of a protocol called DCC-2036 has left its mark.

I’ve shared all of this with Katie. I’ve shared my fleeting desire to get involved with the world of cancer one minute, while fighting the reservation and fear of embracing a new reality the next.

Much like a student walking onto an intimidating, exclusive college campus for the second or third time, I’ve been reluctant to stay long enough to find my voice.

She’s reminded me of the natural tools and abilities I’ve been given to make a difference in the world of somebody who’s experiencing an equally challenging period of their lives. She says I’m too humble, and that I don’t give myself enough credit for the way I make people feel.

She’s right.

Then it hit me. If I stop sharing my story, my fears will come true. If I allow myself the opportunity to use my story, mishaps, strengths, and gifts God has given me for the cause of cancer, then I may impact, or even save, at least one person’s life.

To care about other people is to press on and press in, to get involved and impact lives. The best thing I can do is embrace a movement to empower, encourage, and give hope to those living with cancer or any of life’s challenges. Instead of using my energy to outrun my circumstances, I want to embrace all that has led me to where I am today.

So that’s what I will do. I’ve realized the books marked three quarters of the way to the end are the ones I still have to finish. My story just so happens to be one of them.

I’m going to continue to write about all kinds of things, but cancer will still be one of them. I never intended for this to be a cancer blog, I just wanted to share my personal experiences.

Now, my vision is to make it a blog of hope, humor, and inspiration. If my story happens to be a part of making that happen, then it was never really about me to begin with.

“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4 MSG)

8 thoughts on “The Decision to Make a Difference”

    1. Thank you, Carrie. As a blogger, I know you can appreciate how enjoyable it can be to write every once in a while. 🙂

  1. Please don’t stop writing, I know that most folks that relate to your wiritings are people that have cancer or somebody in their family has the disease, but let me tell you what it has done for us. Even though, we lost our son to another disease, you have touched us with your words. It is as if we hear our son in your words. God has given you a gifts that is touching so many people. We love you. And our prayers are with you.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing those words of encouragement, Aunt Lou. It’s truly inspiring and quite humbling to hear that my words and story help people on any level. I’m honored to do my part as an encourager, and I’ll continue moving forward, writing, sharing, living.

  2. Justin- I think writing and inspiring others with your story IS on your path! Keep going, you are doing a great job!

  3. Buna- I need to subscribe to this. Ever since I met you in 5th grade you had somethig special about you and I love reading your thoughts. Still the same shy, yet hilarious kid. Thanks.

    1. Thank you, Bina. That’s so nice of you to say. I enjoy reading your writing as well. It’s really engaging and funny. Having said that, write more!

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