bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Posts tagged ‘cancer’

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

I have nicknamed myself “Pollyanna.”  My cup is not only half-full, but I am sure that whoever drank the first half, really needed it.

Well, I’m not quite that obnoxious, but it is not for lack of trying.

I try to look at the bright side of things.  And, if all else fails, I start with this phrase, “Well, at least it isn’t…”  I used to say, “At least it isn’t cancer,” when someone would have a slight mishap, say a flat tire.  Now, I know too many people that have had or still have cancer, that I don’t use that one lightly anymore.  I do use it for times like now when I am feeling a little sorry for myself for this slow recovery.  “Buck up.  People that have cancer have a right to be bummed.  Yours is short-lived, sister.”

Over twenty years ago, I came up with a way to force people I love to not dwell on the bad part of their day.  I had a summer job at the office my dad worked in, so my dad and I would often ride to and from work together.  It was about a 30 minutes drive each way, and if you know me, that is way too long to drive in silence, so I would talk to my dad about his day. 

I noticed that he could fill all 30 minutes with all the things that went wrong that day.  Part of him was decompressing, but another part of him was reliving all the different ways his day went awry.  Having taken a full semester of Psychology 101, I knew this wasn’t healthy. 

So, I came up with a rule for the ride home.  Tell one good thing and one bad thing about your day.  I saw a complete turn around in his attitude as we drove home each day. 

I have implemented this rule in our home.  As we sit at the dinner table each night, we go around and tell “one good thing/one bad thing.”  The kids love it.  I love it.  Tom tolerates it, but he does play along.  Tom and Mark can quickly come up with their bad thing, but often take a little longer to find a good thing.  Karen is more likely to have a good thing, but no bad thing.  That is acceptable.  But, the reverse is not.  You are not allowed to have a bad thing, but no good thing.  No one’s day is that bad.  Even if it is, “I didn’t get hit by a bus on my way home from school today,” something good happened to you.  When we have guests for dinner, we ask them to participate as well.  So far no one has thrown down their napkin in disgust and walked out.

Why not try this as a conversation starter at your next family meal?  Since we implemented this early on, I am hoping that once the kids are teenagers, sharing a part of their day will just be commonplace, and we will have the opportunity to peek into their daily lives.

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Forty Hours and Counting Down

I’ve never been so excited about having surgery in my life!  Oh, yeah.  I’ve never had surgery.  Oh well.  I’m still excited.

I haven’t been feeling so hot the last week or so, and that just cements my belief that this hysterectomy is the right thing to do.  I feel like I’m really on top of the whole situation, so BRING IT ON!  My doctor said to me this morning, “I’m excited!  I’ll see you Wednesday!”  That made me laugh.  He doesn’t usually make jokes.

I was supposed to attend the Hearts at Home conference in Normal, IL next weekend, but obviously, that ain’t gonna happen.  I missed the cancellation deadline, so I started checking around to see if anyone wanted to go in my place.  I have two friends that are going (and I’m really bummed about missing out time with them), and I was afraid that if no one took my place, then I would be stuck with a tote bag that cost $90.  (I paid $90 for the conference, and my friends would have picked up my tote bag for me.)  Well, anyway, I called the Hearts at Home office expecting to at least change my reservation to a non-attendee packet which would include the tote bag and audio of the keynote speaker and 4 workshops of my choice.  Well, let me tell you, once you say the word “hysterectomy,” people immediately try to help you out.  The lovely ladies from Hearts at Home gave me my money back, minus the $20 registration fee.  This was even without asking!  And, I am several days past the deadline.  How nice is that?

I’ve come to the conclusion that “hysterectomy” is second only to “cancer” when playing sympathy/empathy cards.  Cancer will always win that one.

It feels really strange to have meals being brought in from yesterday through the 24th.  I keep saying to myself, “It’s not like I have cancer!”  But, I know people want to help.  And, from what I’ve heard, I won’t be feeling much like cooking or bending over and putting stuff in the oven for awhile.

In the book 90 Minutes in Heaven, the author writes about his reluctance to accept help.  This was due, in part, to his being a pastor and, therefore, used to helping others, not being helped.  I’m no pastor, but I prefer to help than be helped.  I’ve really been working on it, though.  My family is trying so hard to help.  They want to do something.  And, according to the book, I should not rob them of that.  So, I ask for some envelopes or a refill on my water.  It shocked me how happy they were to do it! 

I mentioned to Tom yesterday that I would like to be able to use my laptop after surgery, but had heard that I wasn’t allowed to lift anything heavier than my purse.  (I’m guessing this is an average weight.  My mom’s purse is usually quite heavy.  She’s like Mary Poppins.  Everything is in that bag.  And, at the low end of the scale, are the TV actresses’ purses.  See previous blog.)  Well, a laptop is pretty heavy when you think about it.  So, I mentioned possibly putting felt on the legs of a TV tray so that I could pull it close to the chair or push it away easily on the hardwood floor.  Tom jumped right up and did it.  Right then!  Wow.  That was unusual. 

What I have already realized is that it is easy to be the patient.  You just deal with it.  Whatever “it” is.  But, your loved ones?  They watch from the outside wanting to help you, but feeling helpless.  Wanting to do something, but not know what you want or need.  I’ve now been on both sides, and that’s what I’ve observed. 

So, the next time you are the one who is “down and out” as it were, please get over yourself and accept help.  It may be the nicest thing you can do for your friends and loved ones.

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