OK. I’m back! Told you it wouldn’t take long.

I believe that regardless of the type of cancer you may have, you also have to fight cancer of your thinking. I suppose that’s true of almost any major illness, but cancer is what I have and cancer is what I feel I can talk about.

In less than a week, I’ve gone from I’m OK, to this is horrible, to I’m OK, and the only thing that has really changed is how I look at things. My multiple myeloma is no less incurable than it was, but that giant click you may have heard was my brain switching over to the positive side of things again.

Besides everything else, being negative is boring. You have to go over the same lamentable issues over and over because, we hope, you aren’t adding new ones. Revisiting things that make you sad or unhappy, especially for the gazillionth time? Boring.

Of course, I also have been released from my home confinement and now can go out among the people again and they are glad (The Book of Jim 3:13). Well, maybe.

I was restricted from public areas for about four months. Four months! So, what do I do the first time I’m out? Within an hour, I almost got into an argument with one person and was pretty rude to the person who stepped in to stop the argument before it got fully underway. In my defense… Well, I guess there is no defense. Condescension was in the air, though.

I’m actually driving again, by myself. I did drive down on our last trip to Boston, which was the first time I’d driven in four months. That doesn’t really count as a first drive, though, ’cause Sheri was working her imaginary brake and clutch pedals pretty hard on her side of the car, so I did have some help. She drove home.

Again, on my first day out then, by myself, driving… Huh. Within minutes I saw someone pass another car even though they had a solid yellow line on their side; the same car cut another driver off; and plenty of the general chaos which comes with driving a car these days. Suffice to say, isolation didn’t seem like such bad thing by the time I got home.

But I jest. Isolation is really difficult, not the least because it gives you way too much time to think. Here’s an interesting thing that did come through the muck and suddenly became clear. For years, scientists have been lamenting that humans use only a small portion of their brains. And, get this, they say that like it’s a bad thing. I don’t know what percentage I use, but I can tell you this — it’s more than enough.

If I was going to use the extra brain bits to find a cure for… say… multiple myeloma, I’d be all for it. Pile them on. However, my personal history tells me I would only the overage to think more, and nothing good can come of that. One of the things guaranteed to make Sheri cringe is if I say, “Hon. I was just thinking.” She doesn’t always flee the room, but when she does, you don’t want to be standing in her way.

And then there’s the unidentified stomach pain. It’s still unidentified and it still hurts, only now it hurts almost all the time. As already discussed, I’ve been probed and poked; I’ve stopped taking certain medicines and started taking some new ones. Nothing, except the pain continues to get worse. It is not excruciating pain by any means, but it does hurt and I want to know what it is We all do.

The latest attempt to find out what it is: I had another CAT scan this week. I don’t know how many that means I’ve had, but (sarcasm alert) one of multiple myeloma’s many gifts (bam!) is that you cannot be injected with dye to improve the contrast; you have to drink a liquid and you have to do it over the course of an hour. The one I had today wasn’t as bad as some of the things I’ve had to drink, but, let’s face it — there’s no way a dye of any kind is going to taste good; not horrible is a success, and that’s what we had today. Not horrible.

So, we’re waiting for the results of the scan to see if it can tell us anything. This one was focused on my appendix, which seems to be having some fluid issues, or not. I guess that’s what the scan will tell us. Stay tuned!

Jim Arnold is a former copy editor for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. To read more about his journey through cancer, visit his blog, findingthepony.blogspot.com.

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