Staying Positive In Spite of a Cancer Diagnosis
Living with cancer can be a difficult situation. Emotions can fluctuate from moment to moment. I recently learned of an interesting concept known as “radical acceptance.” It can be described as accepting life on life’s terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change. For me, radical acceptance is about saying yes to life. Accepting does not mean agreeing. Acceptance meant turning my resistant thoughts into accepting ones such as, "I have cancer, I don’t like it, it is what it is, and I cannot change it.”
So often I would like to deny or ignore this cancer diagnosis and its implication on my life. In order to deal with cancer, I realized how important it is to remain positive. The following strategies have and continue to be helpful in promoting my positive outlook.
How I stay positive after my blood cancer diagnosis
A long sleep is a good cure for anything.
Fortunately, this is my ‘go to strategy' when dealing with any concerns. After a good sleep, I feel more relaxed and can deal with my worry or concern.
Avoid overthinking, which leads to excessive worrying.
Unfortunately, this is a strategy that I need to work on. I still tend to worry and, at times, look at possible negative consequences. Always wanting to be in control forces me to consider all options. This hit home this week when, during a conversation with my teenage granddaughter, I mentioned that should my upcoming CT scan show growth of my non-Hodgkin cancer, I would need chemotherapy again. I suggested that she could help me select a wig, as hair loss was probable. My astute granddaughter told me that I was very negative and should not worry. How right she is!
Positive thoughts have a solution for a problem
Negative thoughts have a problem for every solution. This is so true and, for me, a challenge but very worthwhile strategy.
I try not to let anyone’s negativity ruin my day or let people get to me. My happiness belongs to me. I will focus on what matters.
Time with the right people
Spend more time with people who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you. I am fortunate to have a very loving family and a circle of wonderful friends. With my diagnosis of cancer seven years ago, I made a promise to never miss an opportunity to spend time with my granddaughter.
Quit worrying about how everything is going to turn out
Live one day at a time. Better yet, make the most of every moment. The summer of my cancer diagnosis, at a friend’s suggestion, I went parasailing. It was so unlike me. I loved it! To celebrate the end of my chemotherapy, we enjoyed a wonderful cruise with my family. I decided to make memories.
Laugh a little louder
Laugh a little louder, smile a little wider, and love a little deeper. Walk through life a little slower. Again, I now appreciate each day as a gift and try to make the most of it.
Do not get upset with people or situations
Both are powerless without your reaction. This is another area that I need to work on. My wise son reminds me not to react.
Rebuild your life from within
Love yourself unconditionally. Release your bottled-up emotions. I have found that journaling or expressive writing helps me relax. When I actually write, I can identify my feelings and develop a plan to address.
Smiles are contagious and kindness is free
Life is too short. I am focusing my time on me by improving myself to be a better person - physically, mentally, and spiritually. I am trying to sweep my life clean of sadness, pain, anger, resentment, lies, tears, hate, and all the terrible things that have hurt me in the past.
I am blessed. Today, I will focus on all that is right in my life, I will forget what is gone, appreciate what still remains and look forward to what is coming next… maybe parasailing with my granddaughter this summer! We will see. I will keep you posted.
Have you met another blood cancer patient?