If you are looking for a “Best of” or a “Wow, What a Great Year” or even a “My Favorite Thing in 20167” kind of post, keep looking. There are plenty on my feed in WordPress, but this isn’t going to be one of those posts.

This year was NOT a good year, period. I generally try my hardest to look at the positive side of most situations, and while there were a few glimmers, this year a whole was a downer, not like any I’ve experienced.

If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that health-wise, this was a hard year for me. In May, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and went from diagnosis on Tuesday to surgery and done with school the following Wednesday. Standing a school hallway, a teacher working with your students is a tough way to find out that you have cancer. Telling your wife and kids, your parents, brother and close family, that’s tough too. However, I caught it early enough that the cancer had not gotten into my blood stream, thus right now I’m on a regiment of blood work, chest x-rays, and an occasional CT scan. No chemo or radiation, just “surveillance”.

In October, I suffer what the doctor called a “minor stroke”. Two times, I was left unable to talk or to form words. We had an MRI, a ultrasound of my carotid artery and heart, and another round of blood work, all to tell me I have a partial blockage in my brain and there’s very little treatment that can happen, only prevention. So, I became part of the millions of Americans who now take an anticoagulant and a statin drug for cholesterol. I’ve not had another “event” and I’m thankful for that, but don’t like taking drugs for my health.

And finally a new one, but relatively minor. In October, we started basketball, and we had nine girls and the time, so I scrimmaged with them. The day after, my heel just throbbed, and it’s been in varying degrees of pain every since. As I met my deducible a LONG time ago, I made an appointment to find out that I’m suffering from plantar fasciitis, or minor tears in planar fascia, the tissue the connects the heel bone to the toes. So, I’m on an anti-flamatory that doesn’t interact with the cholesterol medication, and currently have my foot taped for a week. My family is not happy with this, because I have smelly feet to begin with, and I cannot take the tape off or shower my foot. The nurse told me foot powder is my friend.

There have been issues with our youngest daughter and grade and boys, issues with the vehicles we owe, issues with money, issues with family, it’s just not been a good year.

The only two things that come to mind on the positive side: two graduations. First, in May, my oldest daughter graduated from high school, and is actually home with us, finishing her first semester at Iowa State. She’s working on a degree to be a software engineer, and finished with a 4.0, so I’m pretty proud of that. Plus, the things she talks about and the job opportunities she sees in front of her make me really jealous. The world is wide open for her, and I’m excited to see where she goes with it.

The other graduation, my wife graduated with her Masters degree. Unfortunately, this was not a good experience because the way she was treated by the college. She was told “you only need one or two more classes” which turned into three classes, was forced into student teaching (don’t get me started on student teaching, as my daughter talks about possible $20 an hour internships and we pay thousands of dollars for the “opportunity” to learn the trade), and when “all” her classes were done, suddenly, she had to take one more. There were so many things that didn’t go well, when the diploma showed, it was just a sigh of relief more than anything else.

So, as you look back, I talk about attitude and what it takes to be positive, but sitting here, finishing this up, I’m not real positive about 2016. I am positive about 2017 brings because it’s a new year, a new outlook, and what else can I do?

My wish for you in 2017: happiness, good health, and positive attitude.