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How to keep a positive attitude?

dana-mihaela's picture
Posts: 39
Joined: Sep 2016

Hi Everyone!

I would like to know how everybody keeps a positive attitude in front of all the treatments and specially the tests? I am terrified always with every little ache and pain that the cancer is back and I don't know how to deal with it all. I know all the theory behind positive thinking , low of attraction but how do you specifically do it?

I was diagnosed with MZL this June and I got R-CHOP treatment 5 rounds. My tumor was on the pelvic area around the spinal cord lower S1-S3 pressing on the sacral nerves termination and causing a lot of damage, pain and loss of sensation in my right leg. Feeling a lot like a bad case of sciatica. Because I had back problems and surgery in the past at L5 level I thought that all the pain was from another bout of sciatica. I ignored it for some months and when finally I went for MRI the tumor was discovered. Size was over 6 cm. After 4 rounds of chemo it was gone. Now I am very scared that it would come back and I live with this feeling all the time.

I see a lot of survivors here that went many years without reccurences and I hope that I would be one as well. I would like to know how you all manage to take one day at the time and keep the fear in check without taking antidepressants.

Thank you for any advice,


Posts: 315
Joined: Jul 2016

Hi Dana,

I can relate to all you're saying... Distinguishing "ordinary" pain from cancer recurrence is at the top of my current preoccupations. Keeping calm during the long wait after each test is getting increasingly difficult - not easier - for me every time.

Anyone who has ever burnt or cut him/herself with a pressing iron, knife, or other instrument becomes wary and extra-cautious, as no one wants to repeat the experience. So some amount of fear is to be expected in our situation, and since the harm came from within, we have got to learn to trust our bodies again.

I don't believe there is any recipe for sailing gracefully through cancer and its treatment and knowing that a recurrence is always possible. There are "tricks" though, such as attending a yoga/meditation class (for the long-term management of those emotions, and also for regaining control of your body), seeing friends, watching a movie - anything pleasurable that will shift your focus - when the wait/worry becomes more difficult to deal with.

I am sure that simply posting a message here can provide some degree of relief.

Talking about your fears with your doctors may also enable you to get clear answers that could help put those fears at bay. You say that your cancer was all gone after your fourth infusion. Now, that is an encouragement to have a positive outlook for the time being at least!

And if the anxiety is too difficult to manage, there are medications that can help. Antidepressants are just one other way of helping you go on, if your doctors find that your mood is durably or significantly affected. It seems to me that in the end, only the result counts. It doesn't matter if you need some chemical help to get through a rougher bit, so long as you keep going on.

Have a very happy and serene Christmas.



Anonymous user (not verified)

I got rid of many of my fears and anxieties the day I got mad about it All. My initial widespread small tumors were around my aorta but not inside any vital organ. Shrinking them could cause them to pull away and tear the aorta. Ended up with surgery followed by 26 Rituxan infusions. Very stressful. My company fired me for "business reasons". So I was totally upset at losing my dream job and facing an almost imminent relapse. Despair. Then one day I just got totally pissed about it. Fortunately I did not have chemo (yet) but am in "active surveillance" due to faint PET glows in the same locations so I feel mostly good despite the 6 month scan regimen. The dragon is at the door but if he breaks the door down I will fight him. Until then I am doing as much of the bucket list as possible and enjoying life, flaunting death. I am on the offensive against despair, refusing to play the role of victim. Works for me but we are all different. Hope you find what works for you.

Thinking of you and wishing you the very best This holiday season.



Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3659
Joined: May 2012


 How does everyone keep a positive attitude ?  Many people don't.  Only a tiny, tiny fraction of the lymphoma patients in the US use these Boards. A strong percentage of the people I meet with serious cancers (of any variety) are bitter, angry.

People approach cancer with the same values, beliefs, and world-view that they approach everything else with.  People with strong views on life have a strong reference; people without values have none.

I was crushed essentially to death in a car crash years ago.  People asked me all the time thereafter, "Did it make you value life more?"   I tell them, "No. I was a student of philosophy (B.A. degree) and the ultimate questions before the crash.  If anything, it made me more like I already was. I always valued life as sacred, and sacred things cannot become more sacred."  I also was quite religious, but this is a secular forum, and I will not share that aspect of things.

When asked the other most common question, "Do you ask 'why me ?' "  I respond with: I ask instead:  "Why would it not be me ? Why would it be someone else instead ?"  Is it better for it to be the guy down the street ?

Clinically, you have a very treatable disease. Decades ago, it was not.  MCL has more new effective drugs than any other form of NHL in the last few years.  You very likely have a long time left, most of which, likely, will be good and comfortable years.   I hope that helps some.

Crushed like road-kill on the highway, two cancers behind me.  I recall the state motto of SC (in Latin):  Whilst I breath, I hope.   I feel good today, and if another malignancy presents itself, I'll spit in its face and begin to get about the business of fighting it.

Bless your holiday, and bless you,



po18guy's picture
Posts: 1187
Joined: Nov 2011

I believe that I am struggling toward a next life. As such, what occurs in this life is of far less improtance. We have heard that we should "keep our eye on the prize." Exactly. Oh, there are days when I am sorely tested, but the end of the day and the arrival of another relieves that. I find that, if we do not believe in something greater than oursleves, life can become a bitter joke.

Yet, through all of this, we can still choose to love, and that is no joke.

Anonymous user (not verified)

I can't argue with either po18guy or certainly not Max in their points of view. I have great respect for both of them.   I believe its important to "hate" (for lack of a better word - my vocabulary is limited) cancer and your situation. In warfare, people find comfort in hating their enemy. They could never do those things they are required to do otherwise. You must want to kill the cancer and change your situation. Be the hammer, not the nail. Certain philosophies enable people to become comfortable with and justify any situation. I am not like that. I am also not religious  -not anti religious - . I just don't seek eternal life or use the promise of such to help me tolerate a given situation. I accept my mortality. In any case, we lymphomaniacs, as one person on here called us, have to find comfort wherever we can. It will take time but you will find what works for you. 

catwink22's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Sep 2009

Your words just changed my life. "Be the hammer, not the nail" I can envision it and I already feel stronger. I admit up to this minute I felt just like the nail - blow after blow after blow. Now I can see the treatments as a hammer, my hammer. Amazing what a change of perspective can do. I will be eternally thankful for your post.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3659
Joined: May 2012


The following song is probably where GKH got that line, since he was a learned man of great depth and feeling.  The whole LP is one of the great pop albums ever recorded...   If you click the  "show more," a drop-down gives all of the lyrics of this song.

I hope you enjoy,



po18guy's picture
Posts: 1187
Joined: Nov 2011

Our very DNA turned against us. Our evil twin, if you must. Yet, it goes against the life we were blessed with, and that calls for a fight. We can hate the enemy, or choose to know him. Knowledge is power and we can use that power to fight for the life we love. For example, in the last two weeks, I have been diagnosed with both hypertension as well as diabetes. Two more potentially fatal conditions. But, they are not cancer, and if they kill, they generally do so slowly. So, I am on BP meds and measuring my blood sugar 3X daily. We do what we have to do. Life is too short to spend it being angry.

Sten's picture
Posts: 162
Joined: Apr 2013

I am now NED (no evidence of disease) since more than four years.

Thinking of my family helped me through with the disease. I wanted to keep my spririts up for their sake, so they would feel as OK as possible.


Rocquie's picture
Posts: 855
Joined: Mar 2013


Like dealing with many other tragedies that have happened in my life, time has been a soothing factor. Four years ago, for Christmas, I was on chemo. 

After I completed my treatment with "full response" I continued to fret and worry. I feared having to go through such treatment again. 

As time went on, I realized that even if I did relapse, there are many treatments available.

I go to a monthly support group. I also go to a retreat for cancer survivors twice a year. I have met so many survivors of all types of cancer. I have listened to their stories. I have been inspired by them. I have hugged them and cried with them. I have listened to so many oncology nurses speak of their inspiration from cancer patients. 

Get involved. There are many opportunities for cancer survivors. Being involved in this forum has been so helpful to me. Every time I try to encourage another survivor, I realize I have helped myself too.

Be kind and patient with yourself. You have been through a lot. The more time goes by, the more confident you will become.




illead's picture
Posts: 874
Joined: Aug 2012

....for using your space, I just want to say that Roquie, you are are a beautiful, caring person who is still suffering from very personal issues, I think about you all the time and and pray for your peace.

     Dana, sorry again for your space.  I think you pretty well answered your own question without realizing it, you asked how we take one day at a time and that is the answer, we literally take one day at a time, which becomes a few days and then weeks, then months, and hopefully years.  It works very well for us until something pops up then it comes flooding back.  Then we  usually get another hope and go on.  I think the secret is you live in the day but keep the future on the back burner so that you are always prepared.

Hang in there, you have a friend in each one of us,





lindary's picture
Posts: 709
Joined: Mar 2015

I was told 2 years ago that I had FNHL. The first thing my boss told me was to think of what I was going to be going through like a project. (I work in IT as a programmer/analyst.) She said that I was entering the analysis phase. Having been in IT for like 40 years I am used to dealing with problems, minor and serious, finding a solution or work-around to keep things moving forward. So with that experience and what my boss said I gathered "data", talked with my Dr/nurses and stayed involved with my treatments. I had some bumps in the process. If they got me feeling down I let myself be pissed for a while and then got back to fighting the beast. I know that my research did not make me better but it did keep my mind occupied. I also was able to work during my treatment time which also helped keep my mind occupied.  Sometimes at night the fears and doubt would creep into my thoughts and I would end up crying myself to sleep. For whatever reason I usually woke up in the morning feeling better. I just did not worry about those episodes and looked at them as a neccessary release of tension.


Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2015

i so understand your question...I was driving myself crazy and depressed worrying about very little thing..I just could not get out of it so I went to my gp and just laid it on the line and that I needed help..I know you said you don't want to do antidepressants,but for me they have been a blessing..I'm not going around every day thinking I'm going to die, and for the time being I am not worrying and it has been wonderful...I hope your able to get some peace back ...blessings to you hon.

OO7's picture
Posts: 282
Joined: Sep 2014

It can always be worse, at least this is what I tell myself.  I have often wondered about this especially because I feared from time to time my well of positivity would run dry.  As life, lymphoma and the complexities of my journey challenged me, I wondered how I was going to cope. For me I had no choice.

As you already know, we're all different but it's great to feed off others to better arm ourselves on bad days.

I became a warrior almost literally, my father was diagnosed three weeks after I was.  I hid all of this from my family.  That said I couldn't be down, tired, absent or sick.  I was master of ceremonies of all the holidays, caregiver to my father and mother, mother of two and wife.  It was hell but the devil and cancer never met the likes of me before.  I dug deep, then deeper.  Surrounded myself with all things positive and eliminated toxic waste.

You have to be good to yourself, slow down and breathe.  Some days I just give myself a pass.  I hope this helps and good luck.



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