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We've all heard it, and probably said it - The book - Bright-sided:

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PhillieG
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We have all been told to think positive, look on the bright side, there's a bigger meaning behind our cancer...whatever. I saw her interviewed on some show (The Daily Show?) and it cracked me up yet struck a chord with me. Sometimes I want to feel like crap and I don't want to cheer up. Things COULD be worse but they certainly COULD be a hell of a lot better. This sort of sums up (to me) the American concept of everyone feeling they deserve everything just for having a face.

Bright-sided:
How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America

~ by Barbara Ehrenreich

Book Description:
A sharp-witted knockdown of America’s love affair with positive thinking and an urgent call for a new commitment to realism

Americans are a “positive” people—cheerful, optimistic, and upbeat: this is our reputation as well as our self-image. But more than a temperament, being positive, we are told, is the key to success and prosperity.

In this utterly original take on the American frame of mind, Barbara Ehrenreich traces the strange career of our sunny outlook from its origins as a marginal nineteenth-century healing technique to its enshrinement as a dominant, almost mandatory, cultural attitude. Evangelical mega-churches preach the good news that you only have to want something to get it, because God wants to “prosper” you. The medical profession prescribes positive thinking for its presumed health benefits. Academia has made room for new departments of “positive psychology” and the “science of happiness.” Nowhere, though, has bright-siding taken firmer root than within the business community, where, as Ehrenreich shows, the refusal even to consider negative outcomes—like mortgage defaults—contributed directly to the current economic crisis.

With the mythbusting powers for which she is acclaimed, Ehrenreich exposes the downside of America’s penchant for positive thinking: On a personal level, it leads to self-blame and a morbid preoccupation with stamping out “negative” thoughts. On a national level, it’s brought us an era of irrational optimism resulting in disaster. This is Ehrenreich at her provocative best—poking holes in conventional wisdom and faux science, and ending with a call for existential clarity and courage.

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
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Hubby likes to say 'If you can name it and claim it, how come Benny Hinn has a hairpiece and thick glasses?'

I am cheerful, optimistic, and upbeat by nature, certainly not bred and raised that way....

:o)
Diane

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Diane, I had no idea who Benny Hinn was until I looked him up, I've seen him before but I'm not really familiar with him. I love your husbands saying though.
(if that's a rug is a darn good one!)

I'm not trying to say to everyone that we can't be positive but I've had times when I've wanted to floor someone after hearing that or something similar. Next time I will use the Benny Hinn quote
;-)

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2bhealed
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I'm sorry and I don't mean to offend......but Benny Hinn totally creeps me out! EEEEW! I'm with your hubby!

Yeah, if attitude and positive thinking were everything my sister would not have died. :-(

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AceSFO
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It sounds like an interesting read - I like Barbara Ehrenreich, but I hadn't heard about this one. I'll look for it. John has ideas about the pitfalls of positive thinking and serious illness - specifically how it puts the blame on the person with the illness 'if they don't get better it's their fault" etc but I'll let him speak for himself.
Thanks for the tip -

Adrian

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PhillieG
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First, I'm sorry to hear that your partner has cancer, that just stinks. He should just be positive!!! Just kidding. I don't see how it can hurt to try to be positive but one thing I got out of hearing her briefly was that people often don't know what to say so they feel this "being positive" is always a good thing to say. Jon Stewart compared it to saying "Hi, how are you?" to someone when you really don't give a rat's hoot. I don't think it's good that John had the idea that if he doesn't get better that somehow his lack of positive thinking is somehow the reason. I mean, if he's all droopy bummer dude then that's different but we all should be able to be pissed or whatever and not always keep our chins up. There was one part of the interview where she talked about how we, as Americans, feel entitled to prosperity. It's as if we don't need to work hard and do well in school or anything, we just deserve it somehow. I think that attitude has caused a lot of the world's problems but that's another post on a different site!
Hang in there.
-phil

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AceSFO
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Hi, Phil,

No, he's not blaming himself or anything like that - he thinks that that is one of the problems with the positive thinking approach. I think he's got about the same mindset as Ehrenreich. He never said "why me" and was never angry about the Dx - we've always approached it as a way to grow. He always thought that telling people they can cure themselves by positive thinking is bad. That's what I was trying to convey. It's such a complicated topic though - of course we are hopeful and focus on living really well, but we don't really believe that a positive attitude in itself can be a miracle cure. I find it can be a really annoying thing to hear over and over "think Positively!! It's SO important!!" arrgh. I think we're all on the same page about it.

The first two sentences of your reply were great! I cracked up without even getting to the "just kidding" part. We had a crappy day with some less than good news and that gave me a good laugh. Thanks! - you didn't even need to include the "just kidding" - I got it. I'm from northern NJ too and I think that gives us a certain sense of humor that doesn't go over well with everyone.

More later - I'm back at work trying to get caught up so I'll keep this short. Just wanted to clear up what I had poorly stated before. I wrote down the title and I'm going to see if our local library has it. One of those nasty socialist public libraries that plague our country. ok on that note...

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2bhealed
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I got a letter from a zealous Christian "friend" who told me that my sister was dying because she had unrepented sin in her life. Talk about blame the victim. No thank you!

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PhillieG
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is just too weird for me but I've heard it before many times.
How could someone even THINK that let alone let it come out of their mouth?
Was their idiot prevention warning light not functioning?

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luv3jay
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I, unfortunately, have been told the same thing in my "Christian" community. That perhaps because of some things that I am or have done has prevented God from blessing me to the point of healing! It's sad, but true. Christians who aren't "sick" in any way, seem to think they are entitled to throw stones living in their glass houses. As if God understands and forgives their particular "sins"...but not mine. Anyway, I just let it roll off and keep my positive thoughts flowing! :-)

-Sheri

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thready
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Emily,
There is one question you should have had for this "friend". What is she dying from!!! I am not sure quite how far to go here but this person was way off base. (I am also a Christian, basic bible type, nothing unusual.)

I am so sorry, I am glad you have rejected her comment.
Jan

donnare
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Joined: Jun 2009

Emily ...

You should have taken a bible and beat that zealot "Christian" over the head with it!!!
What an un-Christian like thing to say to you!!

Great topic Phil...enjoyed reading everyone's responses too. I try to stay optimistic for my husband and he tries to also, especially for our daughter's sakes, but sometimes I'm just plain old pissed and scared - he is too. The people who comfort us the most just let us have our moments, and then help us get back in the game.

Most days we are fully involved in the business of living life to it's fullest - like Adrian, enjoying a nice dinner, movies, going out with friends and family, etc. We hear "stay positive" all the time, understand the concept, and try to for the most part, but there is grief involved in this hellacious journey also, and sometimes we (he and I - I am not speaking for anyone but myself) need to acknowledge that feeling too.

All the best,
Donna

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thready
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Now positive thoughts and warm fuzzies do help keep my spirits up and they do help me be courages but my fight with cancer is becoming more about having the courage to get through today even when the smile is overtaken by tears.

I am on of those nauseating people who looks at the bright side and I believe that being positive is essential to my well being, but there are times when, at best, the bright side is very dull. If we do not have the courage to face this beast (no matter how we choose to face it) we are doomed. So positive thoughts makes me feel better, but courage is what will win the fight.

The people on this board are the most courages people I have ever seen and it is your display of courage that lets me know I can do the same. Thanks to all of you!
Jan

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eric38
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There is a difference between having a positive attitude and going overboard. I have a positive attitude and a peace that I can`t quite understand given the circumstances. Yes, I am a christian and I believe there is a higher purpose but I do not believe that people die because they are not positive enough. That would be highly offensive to me if somebody told me I was dieing because of my attitude but attitude does affect your over all outlook and allows you to enjoy things more. I believe in being positive but I am a realist. I am all too aware that there is a high probability that I will not be around in ten years. I also believe that there is always hope. People on this board prove that miracles happen. Do I think because I don`t want to die and I believe in God that I won`t die? NO. If I was on a sinking ship would I be so blind as to not recognize that there was water all around me? No. Do I think people don`t have the right to get angry about their situation or get depressed? No. But lingering on it will only cause you stress and pain and giving up will shorten your life span. That is why I believe a positive attitude is key. I also believe if you want to rant and rave and get angry that you should. Those things should not be held in as long is it is not done at the expense of others. Meaning I think you should be able to express yourself but not take it out on your loved ones and make them miserable. For now, I will believe that I can beat this disease until proven otherwise. When and if hospice shows up at my door am I going to refuse to believe that the ship is sinking and I am going to magically get out of bed and be healthy once again or feel guilty that I did not think positively enough to keep myself alive? No. I will keep a positive attitude and enjoy my life no matter how long it may or may not be.

P.s.
When I said I think you shouldn`t take it out on your family that does not mean you should not express yourself and share your feelings. I was talking about being mean or hateful to them. You should express your feelings. That helps them and you. You may be depriving them of a blessing by not allowing them to be a part of the process. Like Emily said , she wishes her sister would have opened up to her. You could leave your loved ones feeling the same way. Don`t let your sense of nobility or bravery deprive you and your family of a blessing. I have to watch that myself because I tend to have a suffer in silence type of personality but I do keep a positive attitude most of the time.

Eric

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dianetavegia
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I think everyone here knows I'm a devout Christian (Southern Baptist). Even so,

Jesus was asked 'Who sinned this man or his parents?' (blind guy) Jesus said 'Neither'. Emily, That friend was way off base! Ignorant, in fact!

I have been called Pollyanna more than once in my life. Ward and June Cleaver. I do think I tend to see the bright sides of MOST things.... but for the life of me.... CANCER???

You either love me or hate me.

:o)

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2bhealed
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when I got that letter. Who was SHE to judge....ok don't get me going! HA!

There are plenty of examples where Jesus was trying to show us to not judge. We just don't seem to get the lesson. I've been there....sitting on the judgment seat, but to tell someone whose sister is dying such a horrible thing as that. I mean, what was I supposed to do with that? Go to Shannon and say, listen sister, repent or die? I don't think so.

Phil, how the heck did you get your phrase to flash and all?? You amaze me.

peace, emily the sinner

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2bhealed
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hey Phil interesting topic.

Yeah, I feel I look at the bright side of life and try to remain upbeat and put a positive spin on bad things happening....but! I also like to remain real about what's going on. If I'm feeling down I don't pretend that life is all hunky-dory. I like to keep it real.

What I struggle with is when people act all happy happy and never allow you to see their "real" emotions so that puts pressure on you to keep it all happy happy and then no one is being real. I went through this with my sister and it drove me nuts. Bless her heart, she was so very brave and in a lot of ways my hero, but I wished she would have opened up and shared her fears before she died. I think we would have had some "real" intimate moments that I could cherish.

When I was dx'ed I tried hard to be more transparent to what was going on with me, but with a bunch of kids, I found it hard to balance that. I came to a greater understanding of what my sister may have struggled with as she lay dying.

I think this Barbara person has many good points to ponder. I have to agree that there seems to be a universal entitlement feeling with Americans.

As for mega-churches, do you wonder if maybe prosperous people are drawn to those types of churches so they can be validated for seeking earthly riches? Just a thought. I wonder what comes first. So the pulpit is going to "sing it to the choir" so to speak? (I happen to want earthly riches myself so I'm not looking down on wealth--not at all- just to clarify).

(I've also been in churches where the focus has been on casting out evil so it seemed like there was a lot of evil lurking around).

But I will say, I am more drawn to people who put out a positive vibe than a negative one though I married a realist and a cynic. HA! Go figure. I guess one Pollyanna in a family is enough. :-)

peace, emily

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dianetavegia
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My hubby, too, Emily. Except when it comes to my health. He keeps saying 'You'll be okay'.

I Hate Cancer

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PhillieG
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Diane, cool ticker. This site will let us do some neat stuff with HTML but we can't post photos or even links to them anymore. When you type in "g if" it comes out as ***, same with "j pg".

I think my message or the authors message wasn't posted clear, I'll try again.

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lesvanb
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is a useful responder though I try to only say that to folks who get it because those others know not what they do (I'm a buddapelian- a cross between an episcopalian and a buddhist)

My question to you Phil and Diana how do you get those banners and flashing sentences come up? I can't even bold or italicize my posts!??!

Leslie

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Shayenne
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...I'm one of those people you want to floor when someone says "Stay Positive" sorry, it isn't because we don't know what to say, I just am always trying to focus on positive energies, and not the negative energies, like Eric, it's bad for stress, and I sure don't want to bring a room full of people down. I am a realist as well, I know I may die even TOMORROW. This disease may be the end of me, I think of myself when my time comes in hospice as well, how my family will be, how they will react, just because one says to stay positive all the time, doesn't mean they are, us positive people do die of cancer, but I won't let it change the way I act, or my disposition on anything, I am usually an upbeat person as well, and wish to just cheer people up as well, I like to put smiles on faces when I don't see one, I don't like to depress people, I refuse too.

I thank God everyday I'm here for each day, but if people are getting annoyed by a nice phrase, then fine, but I sure won't slam people for doing it.

Hugsss!
~Donna

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AceSFO
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Hey Donna,

I'm very positive and optimistic by nature also, but, and this is kind of hard to put into words, I think what it comes down to for me, is hearing people whose only experience with cancer is friend-of-a-friend-type stuff, say "think Positively!!!" with this hollow ring to it, vs. having it come from someone like you or anyone else on this board (caregivers too) who really know what this is all about. Hearing you say "keep your chin up" is a boost because you know what that means. To get it from someone on the outside, it almost sounds dismissive, like "oh snap out of it - it's not all that bad." I know they mean well and don't know what else to say, but sometimes it's hard not to feel that they're spouting platitudes.

We stay focused on what's good rather than what's not going right, but I think what Phil and the book are trying to convey is the way that strong-arming people into sweeping any negative emotions under the rug isn't constructive or healthy. I think it's important to acknowledge the dark side of this journey and at the same time you can stay focused on everything that's good in this life.

Did that make sense? I hope so.

We got some less than good news this afternoon and decided the best way to deal with it was to go out to a really nice restaurant, have some champagne, laugh, have some amazing food, laugh some more, and focus on the good stuff. It's not denial by any means, just enjoying life, and sucking the marrow out of the bones.

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Shayenne
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I don't like bad news, and sorry you and John got some :( if you need to talk, I'm here, but glad you didn't let it stop you from having a good time, you only have one life, so live it to the fullest and best! You live in an area that has some awesome restaurants, and food, and I really miss that in the city, living here in the rural areas, we can only hope to celebrate with some good lean chicken fried steak (ewww)

You did make sense, I just took it alittle personally I guess, as someone who chooses to think positively, but yes, have come across the people who just don't have cancer and say those things. I think they mean well, and are well-intentioned, but yes, have looked at them like they have 2 heads as well, especially when they say "You've gotten so skinny"...well, cancer does that...DUH! I just say, "Are you kidding? I'm back to my high school weight BEFORE I had 4 kids!!!!" There is usually no more replies to my answer like that.

I'd rather dismiss them stupid comments, there are just things I wouldn't say to someone with cancer, unless I been there, done that, but my life is usually full of positives, especially because God has blessed me with 4 beautiful children, and I hate to complain about much, I do feel guilty when I do, when I see what's around me, usually snaps me out of it, hell, this could have happened to one of my kids, but it happened to me, and am thankful everyday it isn't one of my kids, I just have learned to shrug off what people say now, or dish it back, depends on my mood and how they say it.

Maybe next time they say I look too skinny, I should just say "WOW!! looks like you gained 30 lbs since I seen you last!!" and see what they say, that might shut them up.

Hugsss!
~Donna

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eric38
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I know what you mean. I look at my family sometimes and I think I am glad I do not have to watch them go through this. It is tough but sometimes I think it would be tougher to watch it from the outside. I wish it had never happened but if it had to happen to somebody in my family I`m glad it was me and not them. Quite frankly, I am a tough Texas boy and I think am more equipped to handle it than any of them would be.

Eric

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eric38
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That is a great way to describe it. Keep it simple. I had a wordy reply and you said it all in 3 words. Ain`t dead yet. Love it.

Eric

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PhillieG
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I heard her talk about when she battled breast cancer and how everyone kept telling her to "be positive". At times she did not want to be positive yet that's all she heard. She came off (to me) with some sarcasm in her comments. She was not saying "Do not be positive" but it was more of a statement on how people, who had absolutely no idea of what she was going through constantly telling her to "be positive". It seemed like they were not allowing her to feel like crap at all for having cancer and going through chemo.

So, I am not, nor did I feel she was saying "it's bad to have a positive outlook". It seems by many of the responses that some of you think that was her view (or my view).

I don't think I presented this post well...
Can't get them all right!
-phil
(can I feel bad about it???)

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eric38
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I see your point and hers also. Noone knows what it is like to be in our shoes until they are and it easy for them to talk when they don`t have to deal with their own mortality daily. It does bother me when people who have no concept of what it is to be in your shoes try to tell you it is somehow your fault that you have cancer or that you can`t receive healing because you are not allowing it to happen. Compassion is what people need more than pointed fingers.

Eric

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Mike49
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When I got my diagnosis I was Mr. positive, bring it on I'll be the best patient you ever saw. Walk after surgery? how far and how often? lets go. Chemo, work, kids, life, cancer don't define me. Now somedays it does and that is a good thing. I remember a post a few months ago when somebody was finally mad at it all and had a bad day. It stuck with me somewhat that yes in many ways cancer partially defines me, and I can accept that. I fight hard, I have mostly good days, although this cetuximab has me feeling a bit rash, I look like the Thing from Fantastic Four, "It's clobbering time".

I am very positive, but I have become more willing to let some thoughts creep in that are little like self pity, then I put that back away and find some of that courage we all have in us, and go on living, fighting, dreaming and healing. Phil, luv ya man, you make us dig inside and think about the larger life issues, what better time. Now with that said I am going to go ice my burning face and read what my friends think.

Peace

Mike

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eric38
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I was on the erbitux for a while too and the rash was not only on my face but all over my chest and stomach and even my legs. They had to put me on antibiotics because I developed bad sores on my right leg and it became red and swollen. I joked on one of my posts that I was mutating into some toxic super creature and while I was waiting for the transformation I`d just be content to scare small children so I can completely relate to The Thing comment. Thank God I am off of that stuff and my rash has cleared. Now I`m just on stuff that can damage your heart or give you a stroke. Did I say I was relieved about not taking erbitux anymore?

Eric

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Shayenne
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...are always good for a laugh, just when I needed it!

Hugsss!
~Donna

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Mike49
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Don"t want to read any of that drug info prior to chemo. Side effects from loss of hair, control of bowels, sudden death. All stated in a line. Xeloda makes my feet fall apart, Oxy makes me tingle hands and feet and "no cold stuff". I need the regimen that makes me want to watch silly movies, oh I just don't have the right anti-nausea preparation. Then when I say "its clobberin time, look out cookie isle at the store.

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dixchi
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just like walking, positive thinking and being able to laugh
releases endorphins and all the other good stuff that helps
our immune system.....so instead of getting pissed next time
someone says "stay positive" or "keep your chin up", believe that
they are wishing for you all those endorphins etc. that help
the immune system....i know that when i am thinking negative
and being anxious, my whole body feels it, so it ain't good....
as far as the bigger picture, us Americans may not have
done ourselves a favor by dwelling so much on the "pursuit
of happiness" part in the Consitution at the risk of damage
to others and the "just dreaming will make it come true"
and "you can get anything you set your mind to" and "you
can be anything you want to become" may have been taken
way too far.....a positive spin on the topic of positive
thinking lol......

Barbara

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Mike49
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Don"t want to read any of that drug info prior to chemo. Side effects from loss of hair, control of bowels, sudden death. All stated in a line. Xeloda makes my feet fall apart, Oxy makes me tingle hands and feet and "no cold stuff". I need the regimen that makes me want to watch silly movies, oh I just don't have the right anti-nausea preparation. Then when I say "its clobberin time, look out cookie isle at the store.

dianetavegia's picture
dianetavegia
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I do really, really well until those 'statistic' posts appear and then I start to worry about 'what if it comes back'....

Adrian, are you an artist as a hobby or a profession? Do you have pictures of some of your art? My favorite cousin and her partner, April, are both artists. Bridgette has an art gallery in Mobile. Her partner also has a house painting business called 'A Girl with a Brush'. I have some of their art. :o)

So, that being said... Let's all sing... Ah 1, Ah 2...

♫ The Sun'll come out tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow ♫

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thready
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Diane,
la la la la. I like singing virtually because no one can hear me. Love the tickers!!!! Also remember that figures lie and liars figure. We are all individuals.

I like everyones humor. Have you ever wondered why people buy percsriptions after watching a commercial about them espeically when they hear things like "can cause serious liver, lung and heart problems or even death". Wow sign me up for some of that!

On getting P'ed off. We all know that a good laugh and fun thoughts can make us feel better, but when we have those times of fight or flight kick in- going outside and beating the fence with a 2x4 also helps get rid of a lot of tension and anger. It is not good to hold on to the anger, so slug away, (or for some of us a major tear fest helps). A friend had a "damn it doll" given to her during a messy divorce, going to spend some time this week making one. It is a pathetic looking thing, and can grab it and beat the __, well you know-oh stuffing, out of it. Pictures to follow.
Jan

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PGLGreg
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If life seems jolly rotten,
There's something you've forgotten,
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps,
Don't be silly chumps.
Just purse your lips and whistle.
That's the thing.

--Eric Idle

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PhillieG
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Life's a piece of sh it
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

And always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the right side of life...
(Come on guys, cheer up!)
Always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the bright side of life...
(Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
Always look on the bright side of life...
(I mean - what have you got to lose?)
(You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!)
Always look on the right side of life...

DennisR
Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Phil,
Usually when people say things like that to me, I assume they mean well. I'm always amazed at just how many people do indeed KNOW exactly what I'm going through either through their own personal experiences with Cancer, or because of people close to them who have struggled with this disease.
I guess I just tend to look on the Positive side of things, shame on me, at least according to Ms Ehrenriech.
DennisR

DennisR
Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Geez Phil,
Most of the people I know and associate with work very hard to stay positive, raise their families, provide food and shelter, keep their marriages together, pay their bills, and generally enjoy the time they have on Earth as best they can. They neither expect, nor recieve any so-called handouts or special favors and most definitely do not think the World owes them a living. They work for it. That's hardly the same as your picture of EVERYONE feeling that they deserve everything just because they have a face.
You really need to find a better class of friends, try talking to real working people sometime, perhaps even try reading something that hasn't been written by someone who's associated with nearly every organization that has an "ist" or "ism" attached to it's name and can't even be sarcastic, (the lowest form of wit), without punctuating it with some negative reference to Christianity as Atheists are wont to do.

DennisR

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PhillieG
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I've tried to be as clear as I can with this post but it really seems to have been misunderstood or something.
I did not say that it is bad to be positive or that it isn't good to hear people tell you that you should try to be positive. Most everyone I know and associate with are as you say, they work very hard to stay positive, raise their families, provide food and shelter, keep their marriages together, pay their bills, and generally enjoy the time they have on Earth as best they can. There is a sense of entitlement in America but not EVERYONE feels that way. I wrote that, I apologize, there is never a scenario where EVERYONE does anything except that we all were born and will die (and most of us will pay taxes - I hope).

My point is that if someone wants to feel like crap, it's OK if THEY do. THEY don't need people telling them the HAVE TO BE POSITIVE, it's their choice.

This was a book written by someone else, not by me. I really feel you totally missed the message of my post, I even wrote partway though this post that it was being misunderstood. I guess you didn't read that. I also don't think I attacked Christianity either.

There seems to be some major sarchasm between us.
Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

Lighten up Dennis (but only if YOU want to)
This post wasn't as serious as it was taken.
--phil

DennisR
Posts: 148
Joined: Sep 2009

Lighten up yourself, Phil, it ain't personal
I don't believe I posted that you had personally attacked Christianity, however Ms Ehrenreich has a long Biography of doing so and nearly all of her writings and Associations most definitely do.
Incidentally, the US doesn't have a monopoly on citizens that feel a sense of entitlement, in fact most of Europe has a population with a far greater sense of Priviledges and freebie entitlements than Americans have ever had. Take a look at Germany, France, or Italy, just to name a few notable Countries whose citizens demand more Socialistic benefits than the Countries can financially sustain and which has caused them to import workers to pay for it all that are in turn denied the benefits they're working to provide.

Of course, we all like to have our Bad days, unfortunately we aren't wise enough, or unable to avoid other people when we're enjoying them.

I have a customer I see every few months, a Poet Lauteate from Alaska, actually. Every time he comes in, I always say, "Good Morning", He always answers, "No Thanks, I've got other plans for my day", (with a wry grin and a chuckle).

DennisR

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4888
Joined: May 2005

"That's hardly the same as your picture of EVERYONE feeling that they deserve everything just because they have a face.
You really need to find a better class of friends, try talking to real working people sometime, perhaps even try reading something that hasn't been written by someone who's associated with nearly every organization that has an "ist" or "ism" attached to it's name and can't even be sarcastic, (the lowest form of wit), without punctuating it with some negative reference to Christianity as Atheists are wont to do."

I won't take it personally at all :-)
-phil

~ It seems it's more about Ms Ehrenreich than about me.

just4Brooks's picture
just4Brooks
Posts: 988
Joined: Jun 2009

Some days I have them down days. I truly think it's the bad days that make you stronger person. It everyday was a positive one how wourd we learn to get through the tough days? Live is for learning,

Brooks

Hatshepsut's picture
Hatshepsut
Posts: 340
Joined: Nov 2006

Hello Phil:

I was reading an article in the magazine "In These Times" today with an interview with Barbara Ehrenreich about the "Bright -Sided" book you mention in your post. I found it interesting that the interview focused on the political and economic use of "bright-siding" to discount people's misfortunes by just telling them (us) to "buck up" because the problems they (we) face are rooted in our own failure to perform up to par. (Performing up to par includes having a positive attitude in this context.)

Like you and Dennis, I hang around regular working people. Heck, I am (or was until my husband was diagnosed and needed me as a caregiver) a regular working person (a high school teacher) who was raised in a decidedly lower-middle-class household. I remember that my family lived in constant fear that my father (an oil worker) would lose his job. And, there was a self-inflicted stigma to being a family with no job and no means of support. This brings back bad memories.

As far as colon cancer and "bright-siding" goes, I think positive thinking helps one to cope with the awful realities of having cancer and facing the unknown. I certainly appreciate the intentions of the people who have stepped forward an tried to give us comfort during difficult times. I know that I feel better physically and emotionally when I approach the health challenges my husband has been given with a positive attitude. On the other hand, mindless positivity is a no win game. More than once on this board I have stated my belief that knowledge is power in fighting cancer. Having information about this disease gives me the strength to face it down and the knowledge to ask for the best treatments for my husband.

In the interview I referenced above, Enrenreich is quoted as saying (in reference to societal problems): "What could be more irresponsible than to say, 'If we just think it's going to be alright, it's going to be alright.'" Similarly, I think it is irresponsible (or at least very foolish) to approach this incredible challenge colon cancer has thrown into our lives with anything less than a total commitment to understand our enemy and fight to win every step of the way.

My husband and I intend to be bright but we don't intend to be "bright-sided."

Hatshepsut

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