My Happiness List

I’m a planner. A list maker. The queen of travel research. Hell, most of my professional career has been in the realm of legal and tax research. It’s what I do, what I *think* I really enjoy and love. But, is that really true?

Overnight I was, shockingly, making a list. I was trying to focus on the things that make me happiest. Great idea, in theory. But what happens when the list is as far as you go? It’s so easy for me to blame leukemia. In all ways my life has pretty much been on pause for almost 2 years. I received my official diagnosis on a Wednesday night. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. I kind of knew, we all did. A few days earlier my doctor asked me to repeat some blood work because the results were atypical. But, I had all the symptoms. I hadn’t been myself for years, really. But now the there were the bruises. And fatigue. And…everything.

My life has been on pause since that moment. I haven’t been able to work. I’ve spent a solid month in the hospital. I’ve lost my hair. I had a fucking bone marrow transplant.

I know how to be sick. Sure, for me, at this point, it’s pretty easy. Lots of pain, grief, whatever, I’m not going to say it’s a complete cakewalk, but I know how to do it. I can convalesce with the best of them. The couch is my home, often. Even now, honestly, I have more bad days then good. More days where my legs hurt so much I can’t walk. Days with my eyes swollen shut. Plus, with little immune system, I get sick. A lot. I’m a toddler in her first year of pre-school. I want that cold. Oh, and that flu. You have a stomach bug? I’m jelly! I often feel like my cells, blood are simply mocking me, mercilessly.

But, that’s irrelevant, right? The fact that I have any good days should be celebrated. I know, I know. I went through that phase last year. So thankful for each moment. That’s where my heart really is, it’s just underneath another year of shit. I’m positive, but tired.

But, I need to hit the play button. It’s been paused, though, for so long I’m not sure it even still works. I’m envisioning my junior high boombox. Maybe I dripped honey on the play button. It’s so stuck. What will it really take to get it working again? I have so much I want to do in life, hence my list. How do I take that list and start making it happen again? How do I go from pause to play? This really scares me. Can I really do it? Or will I, again, just let myself be sick? The path of least resistance.


The next night: Some things are looking up. Yes, rough news today, but I’m staying positive. Plus, a little jaunt back in the legal research realm really invigorated me. That’s something. But, even more, I have some BIG plans in the works. I’m pressing play even if I have to pull out a damn knife, chisel, hammer and force it to work again!


The Happiness List – in no particular order (2/7/18)

  • Darian, Kelly, Chris, Maddie! My Loves!!!!
  • Dogs – mine, especially
  • Family and Friends
  • Traveling
  • Singing – opera, belting, in the car, to annoy others…
  • Voting
  • Succulents (even though I am utterly lacking of a green thumb…)
  • Cross-body Bags
  • The Bengals – Who Dey!!!
  • Explorations
  • Flowers
  • Spontaneity
  • Invigorating conversation
  • Politics
  • Driving – windows down, music blaring!
  • Combat Boots
  • Reading
  • Topography
  • Making Lists…
  • Cannabis
  • The ocean
  • Makeup
  • Concerts – specifically my favs: The Killers, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga
  • Road Trips
  • Sweater Weather
  • Living in California
  • The Olympics (and not just b/c the Opening Ceremony is going on as I type. Trust me. Ask any of my people)
  • Writing


Random Thoughts:

We are experiencing a pretty epic heat wave in the bay right now. Our version of winter here is typically 50s-60s temp-wise. Plus, this is our only time of year we really get any rain. I love that I’m talking like I’m so knowledgeable about bay area weather. It’s my third winter here, but I watch the news. 🙂

It’s about 8pm and it’s still almost 70 degrees. Today was the best day ever. This is my Ice Cube “Good Day”. I understand his motivations. Sitting outside, jamming to Joni Mitchell, and having an absolutely perfect California evening.

Also, I’m back into my favorite show of last year. My 600-lb Life. I don’t know why. I don’t get it. But, I’m obsessed. Last year, during my 100 day house arrest, Dad, Jerry, Darian (my incredible caregivers), and I watched EVERY EPISODE OF THE SHOW EVER. I might have even paid for a season on Google because it wasn’t on demand. No one else enjoyed it nearly as much as I did, but were they really going to deny me? Hell, they were allowed to go outside and I couldn’t. I think I earned it. 🙂

Also, we went through a pretty solid Cops phase, too. I WILL NEVER WATCH THAT SHOW AGAIN. The smaller your world, the shittier the entertainment you’ll accept. Oh god, I just had a terrible flashback about Jer’s then favorite show, Family Feud. Yeah, fuck me, I know. Even with the well-coiffed mustache, I’ll never be able to look at Steve Harvey again.

But, 600, hilariously made Dad SO FUCKING HUNGRY. Every episode. Without fail. I have the opposite reaction and feel like I’ll never eat again. But, I love it. I don’t care.

I’m trying to figure out what’s really going on up there that connects me so deeply with this stupid show. I’m not crazy, I see the parallels too. They are fighting for their lives. But, it worries me that this is just my own self-satisfaction. If they can make it, so can I. But, if they can’t well then obviously I’m better than them. I know there are so many varying levels of physical and mental illnesses going on with all of these people, but it’s still so easy to see this as a will-power issue. I know it’s wrong to think that way, but we all do at first, right? So if they fail, I can still make it. I didn’t do anything that made me get leukemia. Mine is a weird chromosomal issue – the Philadelphia chromosome. Not my fault. I can still do this. But, I’m no different. I struggle with so many aspects of my life, my recovery. So, I’m no better than anyone. I know that now. I think I just get it. I understand a lot of their plight. I’m just hidden behind illness instead of 400+ pounds. Hard to admit, but we’re simpatico.

I don’t mind that the show makes me want to do crunches. 🙂 Already did mine tonight!!!

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