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Keeping a positive outlook

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, as I get further into my post treatment for this and then a subsequent, cancer. I really believe that our outlook and attitude have a great deal to do with how we handle treatments, how we heal, and how we live life fully, despite the ever present possibilty of recurrence.

We all bring our own beliefs and personalities into the cancer treatment with us. I think that it is so important to stay positive, a huge challenge. For me, I am ever vigilant of my own thought processes. . When I start slipping into a fearful place, I remind myself that I am alive today and I don't want to waste a day with worry. After the initial diagnosis, we can either tell ourselves that this is the beginning of the end, or we can say, I will beat this and live a happy and full life for every day we are given here. We can think of every single worse case scenario, or we can tell ourselves that this is a battle, it may be tough, but we are tougher. We can look for every single twinge of pain and focus on it, or we can think about all the things that are going well. It may sound simplistic, but I think we must tell ourselves that we will handle the treatments well, we will be cancer free, we will not suffer severe after effects. I think that if we think we will not do well, we most likely will not. Self fulfilling prophecies........

For me, I have a solid Christian faith, so I relied heavily on the knowledge and belief that God was with me, and would heal me. We can think about our future in bleak terms, focusing on incontinence, sexual dysfunciton, and even death, or we can look forward to more time with loved ones and be willing to do what it takes to stay well for as long as we can.

I think that keeping a positive attitude, by whatever means, is just as important as the physical cancer treatments. The doctors do what they can do, but we have to work hard to heal ourselves. For me this is the biggest personal challenge. Maybe we can share ideas on what helps us to stay positive throughout this cancer journey?

islandgirlculebra's picture
islandgirlculebra
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2012

I loved your post. I guess we all go through this, trying to keep negative thoughts out of our mind; I know I do. I share your Christian faith and believe that God is with us, especially when times are tough. I think that cancer can make us better people, less self-centered and more patient, with the thought that God is keeping us here for a reason - to help others as much as we can, once we are feeling good enough to do so. For me personally, being out in nature as much as possible lifts my spirits. I think having a dog is a wonderful thing, cuz those big brown eyes will FORCE you to go out for that walk which you would never do by yourself, and that wagging tail and joyful spirit will make you smile when nothing else will! The sunshine, breezes and the smell of the earth are all indications of God's love (to me anyway). As you say, being vigiliant of your own thought processes is a powerful thing. When I was going through a rough time with treatment, I went to a hypnotist and she told me to get those negative thoughts OUT as soon as they come into your mind, and replace them with visualizing a white healing light coming into your body, and your body being healthy and cancer free. I can tell you also that this website is a God-send, it has helped me greatly with the worry about all those aches and pains we all have post-treatment. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO POSTS HERE. I think we are a great asset to each other....

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2947
Joined: Jan 2010

It can be a challenge at times, even being out of treatment over 4 years. But I always try to give negative thoughts only a moment, then move on to more positive thinking. Since June 2008 when I was diagnosed, I have cut ties with some people in my life who were negative and unsupportive. I have become more spiritual and I do believe in the power of prayer. I believe what has helped me more than anything is being a member on this board and a couple other sites where I can communicate with others who have been through the same treatment. I thank everyone for contributing to this site. It has been invaluable to me and many others.

selena123
Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2012

I have always been a super positive person but this cancer and treatment really kicked my as*. I believe it has to do wth the fact that I had my first treatmenr on the 1 year anniversary of my sister's death by pancreatic cancer. I was her caregiver and helped her in the final weeks of her life. It was the most wrenching experience of my life and did not feel fully grieved when I got my diagnosis. And so I find myself stuck and unable to get out of my own way. I cry a lot. I feel like a weakling. I have had a terrible time post-treatment and I'm sure it's because I can't find the positive. I am going to resolve to do better in the new year. I know I have to choose to get better. Thank you all for being here.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I am so sorry for the loss of your sister. You are grieving, of course. I will be praying for you that you believe in your own healing and cure. It is so hard to understand when a loved one is taken from us so youngl Your sister would want you to be well. You have been through so much and you are probably emotionally exhausted.

You need to take good care of yourself and allow yourself to get strong and well. Have a peaceful and restful Christmas.

Hugs.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2947
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm so sorry for the loss of your sister.  To have to bear that then get a diagnosis of your own cancer is a very heavy load.  I know time doesn't heal those kinds of wounds, but it helps.  I hope 2013 will be a turning point for you. 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I don't have a dog, but I have been thinking of getting one. When I was in the hospital for surgery for my second cancer, they had a comfort dog that visited with me. He was so cute and he jumped right up onto my bed, careful not to rip out all the tubes I was hooked up to. He made me smile and I looked forward to seeing him. He surely lifted my spirits! I am thinking about it. Great idea.

geneviasue's picture
geneviasue
Posts: 89
Joined: Oct 2012

You're right..sometimes those negative thoughts creep in but staying positive is what prevails in the end.

I needed this tonight Mary.

God bless

Gigi

horsepad's picture
horsepad
Posts: 84
Joined: Apr 2012

In July 2011 I retired after 30 years at my job. Retirement was something I looked forward to for many years. I live on a 70 acre farm with horses and wanted to breed my horses and enjoy life on the farm. Also, I have 2 grandchildren who live with me and the stress from working full time at a very stressful job, raising kids again had taken a toll on me and my marriage. I kept telling my husband how much better things will be once I retire. He begged me to quit my job but I wouldn't do it, I was to close to retirement. One month after retirement I was diagnosed with stage four anal cancer. I didn't do well with the treatments and was hopitalized a few days after treatment ended. My husband now had to do everything for me and the girls. My promise of things getting better once I retired went out the window. Two weeks after I was hospitalized my mother died. She was upset with me at the time of her death because I didn't visit her much in the nursing home, I couldn't because I was so sick and she didn't know I had cancer-I didn't want her to know. Three weeks after my mom died, my husband committed suicide. He never knew I went into remission. Also during this time my daughter (whose children I am raising) was sent to prison for drugs (she is still in prison). Many people asked me how I could still believe that God is good after what he put me through.

I guess the point of my story is I NEVER blamed God and always tried to remain positive. I am grateful that God has gotten me through all this. He didn't cause everything that happened to me but he was there beside me the whole time, carrying me when I needed it. I am a better person because of these experiences.

Do I ever worry about the cancer coming back? YES! Do I dwell on it or let it limit me in anyway? NO!

Although, I have put breeding horses on the back burner, I just added another horse to my herd. I do volunteer work at my granddaughters school, our church, I represent abused, neglected and dependent children in juvenile court. I am a volunteer for a theraputic horse riding program for disabled children and a respit program for disabled children. I work at the food bank and just signed up to provide transportation to cancer patients. I feel more fulfilled than I ever have. Doing volunteer work was something I wanted to do when I retired and now I am. I realize now more than ever to be grateful for everyday. I pray God will spare me and allow me to remain here to raise my grandchildren but I have also come to an acceptance that when the Good Lord calls me home, it is his will. That doesn't mean I don't do everything I can to stay healthy and on top of my cancer. Positive thinking and especially gratitude are a must for me.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Thank you for sharinig that. God Bless you. I do thinkmthat being other centered rather than self absorbed is key to happiness overall. You are certainly an inspiration and your faith is so strong.

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

What an incredibly moving story. Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration to us all, horsepad.

pializ
Posts: 270
Joined: Nov 2012

Well what is left to say? You are truly inspirational! May you remain positive & continue to enjoy life!
Liz

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 528
Joined: Apr 2009

horsepad,  you are such a blessing to so many people.  I am sorry for all of your painful experiences.... God is using you to help others....  sephie

Angela_K
Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

Thank you for the post, Marynb. Looking back on my days during and immediately following treatment, it was the closest walk with my God that I had been on. In much solitude I got very real with myself and my higher power and the experience changed me forever.

Staying positive is a choice as is being a victim. I stayed positive through daily prayer, meditation, visual imagery, deep breath work, massage, exercise and being an advocate for others. I asked for prayers. I was overwhelmingly grateful for such a huge network of friends, family and strangers who lifted me up and helped see me through treatment 200 miles away from home, mostly by myself. I prayed for myself and others. I didn't let negativity seep into my life whether it be on TV, the internet, negative people or in my own thoughts. In retrospect, what motivated me the most was not so much to live for my family, but the overpowering feeling that God was teaching me to shine my brightest for them ~~ and for others ~~ and for Him. I am better for the experience and would not trade it for anything.

I did handle the treatment well. I healed well. I won. In part because I chose to.

qv62
Posts: 280
Joined: Nov 2012

You are an inspiriation with your posotive thoughts, thank you for the encouragement and posotive reminder, sending good vibes your way

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