Over the last 6 months, the most common feedback received from family and friends is my positive attitude. Though at times such as after each chemo session where I am sick and lethargic for at least a week, the positive attitude comes to a halt. There are times that I tell ask myself, I don’t like being sick every few weeks. However, I kept reminding myself that this one week is temporary and that it will get better. As you’re reading this, you must be thinking “How can you have the courage to keep up that positive outlook all the time”. To me, there are two choices available. The first choice is to take each day in stride and knowing things will get better. Second choice is expected failure and nothing will work.
Well, for me I made the conscious decision to choose the first option. During my many visits to the clinic, I do see some other patients who has share the same chemotherapy schedule as myself. We do have small chats with one another for a few minutes and had the opportunity to meet another woman who is in her early 60’s diagnosed with breast cancer. I am going to call her “my cancer buddy”. Her daughter openly shared with my sister and I about her mother has coped with the big C. My cancer buddy has been crying everyday since her diagnosis. She even cries when visitors’ pay her social visits. She prefers to stay home even if she is feeling well. I completely understand how she feels. I have shared with her how I have dealt with the cancer and chemo. Despite the strong encouragement and support she receives from her family together with my stories, it seems that my cancer buddy has predetermined herself to allow the cancer become the focus of her life and how she choose to live with the cancer.
I am by no means a psychologist or psychiatrist nor am I trained as one but I believe that each of us has the innate ability to program ourselves to possess a positive attitude regardless whether you have cancer or not. When I’m starting each chemo session, I visualize that the drugs entering my body are attacking killing all the cancer cells. I also tell myself after the 1 week of being unwell that I can go out and do what I want to do. Simple things such as catching up with my friends dinner/coffee, and resume my swimming. I am planning to reward myself for completing the chemotherapy with a trip somewhere. Not sure of the destination yet. These are the simple things that motivates me from one chemo session to the next.
There are so many ways positive attitude can be manifested. I tend to use visualization, hearing/reading inspirational stories as my motivation. But my best motivational tool are my family and my closest friends. They are my foundation block and they are the ones who keep me sane and a good part insane too! For now this works for me. Maybe I will find something new and I can incorporate that too. I just take day to day right now.
The best way I can summarize is with a quote from Bill Clinton:
“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit”