3 Ways to Be Grateful (That Don't Involve Gratitude Lists)
Be Honest, Be Grateful: 5 Tips for Staying Positive When Cancer Comes Calling
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A cancer diagnosis often wells up emotions of fear, anger and depression. These are completely normal. I felt mostly anger after finding out that breast cancer had come back after almost ten years cancer free. I am determined however to battle cancer with the best attitude I can. For me this is part of being triumphant. I used some of the time in the hospital to develop principles that would help me have the best attitude and make the most of this new breast cancer diagnosis. These are my principals and so far they have been successful. I have been able to sustain a pretty good attitude – I’m winning!
1) Be grateful:
I made a decision to thank everyone for my care and all they did for me. In the hospital being thankful included the house keeping staff, transporters who took me to tests and staff who delivered meals. I thanked every nurse and aide that came into my room for whatever they did. I would grasp the hand of my doctors to convey my gratefulness for their dedication to making me better.
2) Be honest:
Friends kindly wanted to visit but often I didn’t want any visits. I was exhausted, felt sick and looked awful. I would honestly tell my friends that I wasn’t up for a visit but would love one later. I couldn’t be responsible for hurt feelings, but I had to be responsible for me. It took courage, but I got better at it.
3) Accept any help offered:
I have learned that little things people do can make a big difference. When a friend offered a meal, I asked for chicken pot pie. Sister hired a house cleaner. I asked for magazines and French fries from a friend who asked what she could bring to a visit. These things were a real blessing.
4) Look your best when it counts:
There are days when I don’t care what I look like and don’t even look in a mirror. There are other days though when I have visitors or go out and I really want to look pretty. Those days I doll up with make-up and tie on scarves – or stick on a wig. It’s a real perk to be told how nice I look and keeps me going through days when I don’t do anything.
5) Put yourself first:
This should be the first principal, but like me, I thought of it last. Like a lot of mothers I put my family’s needs and wants ahead of mine. My boys are grown and my husband is a huge help. These are people who know how to take care of themselves. I need a hands off approach to their lives and more hands on with mine!
The results have been wonderful. People I showed gratitude to often stopped by to check on me just because. Friends are happy to know what I really want and I am stress free. Hopefully I will keep this up, and cancer won’t get the best of me – I will instead be the best me.
Video: Dr. Maya Angelou's 3-Word Secret to Living Your Best Life | Oprah's Master Class | OWN
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