Dealing with a major medical situation is a roller-coaster ride. When test reports come back with a glowing doctor report, the world looks rosy. When the doctor comes in with bad news, things tend to crash. It took about 5 weeks for me to realize that I had to stabilize and stop being a piece of refuse floating in and out of the surf. Buffeted by changing views or situations.
I met a person at the hospital that became a source of inspiration to me. His name is Randy. Good looking guy, jeans, and always smiling. I saw him repeatedly, and he was always smiling as he walked the hallways of our hospital floor. Finally I went up to him and asked what his child had? He told me that his daughter was actually dying from the end of a four-year battle with cancer. He then said “I’ve cried so much in the past years that I finally learned I have to smile and keep on smiling.” This was one of the most defining moments of my life and I keep his image in my mind when things get tough.
Attitude is really the secret in a battle of any kind. If one looks at the negative and does not turn it to a positive, then the battle is already lost. There is always a positive and negative in any given situation. Even when things seem completely negative it takes grit and determination to FIND the positive, or somehow turn the negative into a positive.
“Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful.” Norman Vincent Peale
When my daughter was first diagnosed and the subsequent weeks that past, I kept hearing about different risks from the medical staff. Then she was moved into a higher risk category which meant three times the chemo and six more months of heavier treatment.
I went nuts regarding risks but in the end, it is still the same. She has cancer and we have to fight it. I also realized that she could also pick up on my vibes, I am sure of it. Once I completely changed my own attitude towards this whole situation, things got easier. If I get afraid (death, loss, illness, more illness…) I force myself to say to myself she is getting stronger, she is healthy, it will be okay and I imagine her at the age of twenty and the two of us doing things together. She is beautiful, strong, capable and happy. This is done until the fears dissipate. Sometimes it takes a sort of mental force to make myself think these “happy thoughts”. But, the more I did this, the easier it got. I now live in this frame of mind and life in general is much better. Nothing really changed except my attitude.
The other thing that I did was to accept that she could die no matter what I did. So I decided that if she was going to die, it would be on our terms and not anyone else’s. This decision brought me peace and removed the fear, which had quite a hold on me.
Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Finding What works for You
There were several things that helped me during my daughter’s long treatment. This one sounds strange but I would go to Walmart late at night to pick up items and just look at people. Sometimes I would be there for hours. I found it very helpful to just watch people. Yes, some were in pretty bad condition and this would remind me that things at home were not that bad.
Stargazing in the middle of the night always made me relax and feel better.
Weightlifting was actually necessary because my daughter had a broken leg with a cast from toe to thigh. Many times I would have to carry her and she was four feet tall and 60 pounds at the start of treatment. I on the other hand am 5′ 4″ tall and 120 pounds. Try lifting a dead weight like my daughter from the floor and you will get the idea of some of the daunting tasks I had to do. Lifting weights every night burned a lot of stress for me and helped relieve the constant pressure I felt.
The first step is a positive attitude followed by affirmative action. For every problem there is an answer somewhere. Looking inward and worrying with out any action will not get a result. I do not know where this useless habit comes from but it is one of the most destructive things people do. Sitting and worrying gets one nowhere. Finding answers to the problem you are trying to solve is affirmative action.
Here is how I broke down problems during treatment.
- Carry a note book at all times.
- When the doctor speaks and uses large words make him spell the word so that you can later define it. This is especially important with medications, chemo, painkillers, and all classes of drugs. If drugs are being used right away make the staff print out information for you from their computer. You have rights – use them.
- Research the medication and learn all of the risks and side effects associated with it.
- Look and see if vitamin deficiencies cause similar effects as the drug. If a deficiency is caused by a drug then trying to give that nutrient may lessen side effects. Try to find research regarding this. In other words track down symptoms that the medication causes.
- There are a lot of answers out there and some are really nuts. Ignore any that tell you to spend/buy our stuff and get cured! Write down the rest that seem possible. Research those further both medically and nutritionally if at all possible.
- If you have narrowed down possible solutions then take them and put them into a document. Try to find medical data that supports these answers. Your doctor will appreciate much better if you have medical data to support the nutrient or other solution that interests you.
- Meet with your doctor for medical consultation and show in detail what you are interested in and why. Most doctors really appreciate patients that take responsibility for their care. If they do not, they may not be the right doctor for you.
See how this is a series of actions carried out to a particular result? Pretty much any problem in life has to be taken apart and handled in this way. Once you get the hang of this pattern – implementation will bring you success and with successes you will feel like a winning prize fighter when done!
Once you get the hang of it and implement to success you will feel like a winning prize fighter when done!
www.livestrong.org Lance Armstrong, cancer survivor, Tour De France seven time winner, excellent website with great video and text of survivor stories. His book, It’s Not About The Bike is highly recommended.
http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/multimedia/randy-pausch-lecture.shtml Randy Pausch, author of the book The Last Lecture and also video of his Last Lecture. Six million people have watched his video. His battle was with Pancreatic Cancer. He did pass away but left such an incredible message.
We all need inspiration at times throughout life and this little book is one of those keepers. Available through Amazon in various formats here.
We all have incredible untapped reserves of strength and fortitude. Underneath these things is the ability to force yourself to have a good attitude by deciding that you will solve the problem at hand and not get sucked into a morass of negativity.
This is how attitude sets the stage of a game.
Now go out and kick some butt!