Help finding a positive attitude

Posted by emmae @emmae, Feb 7, 2019

Hi all
I am new to this site and this is my first post. I am having A/C chemo for Triple Negative breast cancer, stage 3. I just finished 4 rounds and am due to start a different chemo drug next week.
I am really struggling with finding a positive attitude. I seemed to have slipped into a dark place that I having trouble getting out of. I know that a positive frame of mind is a huge part of the battle and I want to be able to have that but for whatever reason this feeling of depression is completely overwhelming me. I would be so grateful for thoughts on how to tackle this from anyone else who has experienced it. It seems like cancer is robbing me of who I am, what I look like and taking my personality.
I am hoping when I move o to my new chemo drug next week this may improve but 12 more sessions of chemo, then surgery and radiation feels daunting to say the least. I have a supportive family and I the hear the positive messages they are giving me, however I am having trouble believing them.
Any ideas on how to push past this would be gratefully received. Emma

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Cancer: Managing Symptoms Support Group.

@yalhsa

In order to believe them you have to believe in you and have faith. Do you really know what faith is….
"Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking an sings wile it is still dark."
The bird much like you sits in the dark with only it's feelings and instincts. I'm sure the bird feels the day will never come, yet the birds instincts tell him different. Let not your feeling of dispare an defeat lead you but let your instincts, have faith that you no with out a doubt that the dawn is about to break for you. I'm not sure if you believe in God and I'm not here to tell you how to or you have to, although you do not have to in order to believe this verse from 2Corinth. 4:8-9
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
As for your looks well there going to fade no matter what but I know this does not help so just remember that, 'Every great creation first went threw mass destruction.'
You are simply on your way to being a Great Creation. My friend she always wanted curly hair hers has always been straight plain Jane. But not after her chemo. Her hair came back so beautiful and so curly. She had prayed our whole lives for this curly hair an well God gave it to her but not with out a little destruction. I hope this shines a light an helps you to see all the things that are so hard to see in the dark.
Lots of love,
Ash

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I love your comments above on what faith is, can I share it? 🙏

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In order to believe them you have to believe in you and have faith. Do you really know what faith is….
"Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking an sings wile it is still dark."
The bird much like you sits in the dark with only it's feelings and instincts. I'm sure the bird feels the day will never come, yet the birds instincts tell him different. Let not your feeling of dispare an defeat lead you but let your instincts, have faith that you no with out a doubt that the dawn is about to break for you. I'm not sure if you believe in God and I'm not here to tell you how to or you have to, although you do not have to in order to believe this verse from 2Corinth. 4:8-9
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
As for your looks well there going to fade no matter what but I know this does not help so just remember that, 'Every great creation first went threw mass destruction.'
You are simply on your way to being a Great Creation. My friend she always wanted curly hair hers has always been straight plain Jane. But not after her chemo. Her hair came back so beautiful and so curly. She had prayed our whole lives for this curly hair an well God gave it to her but not with out a little destruction. I hope this shines a light an helps you to see all the things that are so hard to see in the dark.
Lots of love,
Ash

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@gingerw

@mir123
Blank paper black pen
Tempting me to write it out
Any words will do

I have been a writer by passion since a young girl, and have had poetry and essays published. The seeming endless ways to combine 26 letters and grammar has always fascinated me. Beyond that, creating in fabric and paper draws me in and turns my energy inwards. I gift out my quilts to those in the foster system and NICU.
Ginger

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Beautiful!

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@mir123

Thanks for checking in! I have a rare NET in my breast, along with kidney disease, diabetes, a missing lung, and many other co-mordibities. I was very ill when I was 21 (now 69) and lost my lung and mobility to swine flu. The kidney disease comes from decades of pain killers. So I've been partially disabled and in chronic pain my entire adult life. And yes have a daughter, a grand-daughter, have been widowed, remarried, worked full time, and more…which is just to say I've done much much better than I expected to as a young woman.
I'm a writer by trade, and have been fortunate to publish numerous books and work professionally. But in terms of creativity, or stretch, my fave is a blank notebook (and caffeine) and just free writing or doodling in words and then also drawing and watercolor. Since my diagnosis about 6 months ago I wrote 101 haiku about a lot of things, including my health. These tiny poems are meditative. I love some kind of daily practice that helps give shape. I think an oral history or storytelling with friends or family is also wonderful. I'm in an interfaith group and when one member turned 80 she told us the "story of her life." Took two long lunches! Anyway, I won't go on…but what appeals to you? I think anything you start can be rewarding.

Jump to this post

@mir123
Blank paper black pen
Tempting me to write it out
Any words will do

I have been a writer by passion since a young girl, and have had poetry and essays published. The seeming endless ways to combine 26 letters and grammar has always fascinated me. Beyond that, creating in fabric and paper draws me in and turns my energy inwards. I gift out my quilts to those in the foster system and NICU.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@mir123 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I am an active blood cancer patient, undergoing chemo. It will be a long road, a marathon as my medical team says, as I deal with other co-morbidities like endstage kidney disease and dialysis. Your words are thoughts that have wandered through my mind before, and I want to thank you for bringing them forefront again.

What form of creativity do you like the best? May I ask what cancer you are living with?
Ginger

Jump to this post

Thanks for checking in! I have a rare NET in my breast, along with kidney disease, diabetes, a missing lung, and many other co-mordibities. I was very ill when I was 21 (now 69) and lost my lung and mobility to swine flu. The kidney disease comes from decades of pain killers. So I've been partially disabled and in chronic pain my entire adult life. And yes have a daughter, a grand-daughter, have been widowed, remarried, worked full time, and more…which is just to say I've done much much better than I expected to as a young woman.
I'm a writer by trade, and have been fortunate to publish numerous books and work professionally. But in terms of creativity, or stretch, my fave is a blank notebook (and caffeine) and just free writing or doodling in words and then also drawing and watercolor. Since my diagnosis about 6 months ago I wrote 101 haiku about a lot of things, including my health. These tiny poems are meditative. I love some kind of daily practice that helps give shape. I think an oral history or storytelling with friends or family is also wonderful. I'm in an interfaith group and when one member turned 80 she told us the "story of her life." Took two long lunches! Anyway, I won't go on…but what appeals to you? I think anything you start can be rewarding.

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@emmae

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. It is a weird comfort to me knowing that you and possibly others have felt or feel the same fears and have the same emotions. Thank you for having the courage to post real feelings on Facebook, it is so easy to try and cover those feelings and pretend that we are coping well.
I know that this journey brings many different emotions and hopefully this is a phase that will pass as time moves on. I take encouragement from people who have walked this path and made it through the other side. Thank you

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How are you feeling in 2023?

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@lisman1408

Yes, that positive attitude is sometimes very hard to find. Even though you know it’s a good attitude that is going to carry you through the worst of cancer treatment. I found the following post on a Facebook page, and copied it for my own reference. I’m sharing it here, hoping it can help each of us who just wants understanding from those around us.. I think it says a lot about the need for the emotional side and fear going through this dreaded disease. I like the comment that there needs to be a time to “grieve”.

“I was very fortunate to have been diagnosed early. But still, it is challenging to feel ‘whole’ again. What many people overlook is the emotional trauma that goes along with diagnosis. I was lucky to have the support at the Huntsman Institute for the emotional side of cancer also. My body has now been declared ’cancer free’ following treatment, but my emotions are still sometimes very raw.

It has been reported that after a chemo treatment, it can take years until you feel alive again … with the side effects of chemotherapy and/or radiation you will never be 100% because your immune system has been weakened.

Certainly, in the most difficult moment of life you realize who your real family and friends are, or the people who truly appreciate and love you. They allow you the time and space to ‘grieve’ the health, happiness, and security, you once had-and likely will never have again. These are the people who do not take you for granted, or make light of the emotional trauma you experience by their self centered demands of you. As a cancer patient you know they don’t mean to be selfish, their behaviors and demands are your clue that they just do not understand-even those they truly believe they do.

Cancer is a very aggressive and destructive enemy of our bodies. Even after cessation of treatment, the body remains broken, even in an attempt to repair the damage caused by the treatment to combat the disease. It is a very long process.

Don’t overlook the trauma of the emotions cancer patients go through during their long journey, and the likelyhood that life changed drastically for them with no ability to go back to the security they once felt.”

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I love this post, because you are grieving. You have lost the “you” that was, and you’re not sure what the new you will look like.
No one told me that friends and family that I’d always counted on wouldn’t be there for me. Try to remember that they are people too and don’t know how to act. They will say and do all the wrong things. Try to remember, it comes from ignorance, not lack of caring. Try to tell people what you need in that moment; alone time, someone to hold your hand, someone to just listen and not try to “make things better”. The one thing I did that sounds stupid but really worked was to try acting cheerful. It makes everyone around you less self conscious and you may find as I did that without everyone feeling sorry for you, you feel better too.

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@mir123

A "positive attitude" can't be mandated from without. It can only come from within. I love the philosopher Victor Frankel, who was in a concentration camp. He believed that the one thing no one can take away from you is your own approach. Cancer and all ill health is a kind of suffering–like any problem such as divorce, widowhood, family issues, financial stress, frail aging, etc. etc. I am only 6 months into a cancer diagnosis–and have been told my prognosis is poor. I can't change any of that by a falsely positive "attitude." However, I can aim to have a very nice day, which might be a pleasant week, a good month, a fine year. Creativity is a wonderful support. Writing a diary, drawing, dancing–all of it helps. Of course friends and family are there not just for "support" but for intimacy and friendliness. Try walking in nature. I personally find talk therapy helpful, and all spiritual approaches, from meditation to prayer. But try to find your own path. I know folks who really benefit from gardening or knitting–or doing things for others (a capacity we don't lose). I've been disabled my entire adult life–so have a skill set around appreciating small things. A sick person and even a dying person can have a lot of joy. My main approach is to welcome those good moments and build on them.

Jump to this post

@mir123 Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I am an active blood cancer patient, undergoing chemo. It will be a long road, a marathon as my medical team says, as I deal with other co-morbidities like endstage kidney disease and dialysis. Your words are thoughts that have wandered through my mind before, and I want to thank you for bringing them forefront again.

What form of creativity do you like the best? May I ask what cancer you are living with?
Ginger

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I see that the original post here was from 2019 and hope that Emmae is doing well. I’d like to recommend a website when you die.org that I’ve found extremely helpful. They curate conversations with hospice workers, chaplains, patients, death doulas, and many people intimately involved in the dying process. I hope you also find it helpful.

REPLY

A "positive attitude" can't be mandated from without. It can only come from within. I love the philosopher Victor Frankel, who was in a concentration camp. He believed that the one thing no one can take away from you is your own approach. Cancer and all ill health is a kind of suffering–like any problem such as divorce, widowhood, family issues, financial stress, frail aging, etc. etc. I am only 6 months into a cancer diagnosis–and have been told my prognosis is poor. I can't change any of that by a falsely positive "attitude." However, I can aim to have a very nice day, which might be a pleasant week, a good month, a fine year. Creativity is a wonderful support. Writing a diary, drawing, dancing–all of it helps. Of course friends and family are there not just for "support" but for intimacy and friendliness. Try walking in nature. I personally find talk therapy helpful, and all spiritual approaches, from meditation to prayer. But try to find your own path. I know folks who really benefit from gardening or knitting–or doing things for others (a capacity we don't lose). I've been disabled my entire adult life–so have a skill set around appreciating small things. A sick person and even a dying person can have a lot of joy. My main approach is to welcome those good moments and build on them.

REPLY
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