Thursday, February 5, 2009

Attitude Really Makes the Difference

I was talking with my therapist today and we got on the topic of personality and attitude. Now not attitude in a bad way but the outlook and attitude that allows you to overcome major obstacles. I have thought about this very thing a lot in recent months. It never fails, at least once a week and sometimes more, I will hear someone say, "I don't know how you do it. I don't think I could have the outlook you do if I were in your shoes." Most don't believe me when I tell them I used to feel the same way. I fully believed that when faced with something like brain cancer, I would curl in a ball and turn my back on the world. Just the thought of cutting my hair shorter than my shoulders would almost put me into tears. So what changed? When you are given no other choices you have to make the decision or in some cases die.

So much for trying to make that a small introduction. LOL Anyway, our conversation continued down that way and I voiced something that I have only thought about until now. I'm sure everyone knows someone who is or was a survivor of cancer or some other "terminal" illness. So let me ask you... What Who is a survivor? A survivor is someone who looks at the odds then chews them up and spits them out. Sure, they may still fall victim to their element but it wouldn't be due to a lack of fight. For those that fight to the end, we don't believe in saying they lost the battle, instead we say that they won and are now in heaven and are healthy again.

Besides the obvious things of when it was found, type, etc... The obvious difference between those that survive and those that don't is attitude. Seriously. How many survivors do you hear utter the words, "After I was diagnosed, I quit my job and just sat around the house waiting to see what would strike me down next"? How many survivors do you know who found a corner somewhere and curled into a ball for days at a time? How many survivors say "When they wanted me to walk around the hospital wing, I told them I hurt too much"? The answer is not very darn many and possibly even none.

A survivor might have bad days where they don't want to get out of bed, but they do anyway. A survivor stands up and takes what comes their way and researches for the future on their own time. A survivor takes that extra lap around the hospital wing even though they are tired and their whole body aches. A survivor knows that the most powerful of treatments are meaningless if you do not have a positive attitude and a will to fight and live life. A survivor knows that if you are going to sit around feeling sorry for yourself while life passes you by, why live?

I would also bet that a vast majority of survivors didn't think they had it in them before the doctor uttered the words, "You have... I'm sorry." It railroads them just as any bad news tends to do to a person but they reach within themselves and find that will to live. Some do it for their spouse, some for their children, some for our family, and others our friends. No matter where the motivation comes from, we all find it and soon we know that WE want to live.

Before long we find ourselves comforting others, telling them everything will be fine. Before long we are presenting the doctors with clinical trials we want to look in to and treatments they haven't mentioned. Then we have the doctors telling us that we have made a wonderful recovery and that we are handling things well. We have friends and acquaintances telling us that we are an inspiration and that our outlook has changed theirs. I don't know about others, but I don't wish to be anyone's inspiration but if my journey can help someone else through a bad situation... then it is all worth it.

I may not see my 100th birthday, dance at my 50th wedding anniversary, or possibly even reap the benefits of retirement. However, I know I will live my life to the fullest, will be fighting to the very bitter end, and will be looking to the angels to heal me on the other side.

Remember Attitude is Everything!!!


  1. Okay, so if you don't want to be an 'inspiration', how 'bout an 'example'? I love you and agree with you. I'm so proud to call you my friend and "fearless leader" lol

  2. You are truly an amazing person!