The faculty of making stupid discoveries by accident. The name of my first Fantasy Football Team. Neither of which have anything to do with this blog. I just like the word. Deal with it !!!!!!

Attitude: Use it or Lose it!!!!!!!

A lot of people ask me how I survived Esophageal Cancer and I am not sure exactly what to tell them.  I had surgery, followed by chemoradiation therapy and am happily here to tell the tale.  The surgery was easy – I was asleep for it and after I spent 6 days stoned on hospital grade morphine so I really do not remember much of that.  The chemoradiation wasn’t so easy – in fact the chemo almost killed me.  My blood component levels were so low at one time that I could have had a heart attack and been dead before I hit the floor.  (Luckily I didn’t know it at the time or it probably would have happened from sheer panic).   However I managed to fight back and in doing so have become a survivor.  At the same time there is always that little voice in the back of my head telling me that I know that EC has one of the highest recurance rates and if it does return my only real option is once again chemo.  The little voice isn’t as loud as it used to be and doesn’t rear it’s ugly head as much as before but it is always there.  I have learned to ignore it more than anything.  I have also learned to get mad at it.  How dare it invade my thoughts – I have too many other things to worry about.  Cancer be damned.  I said from the beginning that I was going to kick this before it kicked me and if that was not to be then I would not go quietly into the next realm but rather kicking and screaming all the way.  And I think that attitude got to were I am today.  Well at least part way. I would be naive to think that my team of Doctor’s, Nurses and other medical professionals didn’t have a hand it my recovery, as well as my family and friends.  But deep down I had this overwhelming urge not to die.  In fact, dying was never an option I really ever considered.  It did not fit into my plans so there was no way I was going to let a little thing like EC stop me in my tracks.

And I did fight.  There were days when I had enough and was done.  I didn’t think I could fight any more.  I was sick, I was tired, I couldn’t eat, sleep or  anything else.  My life consisted of lying on the couch praying that it would be over before I had to make yet another bathroom run.  They were killing me literally.  It took a good 10 minutes to get to the room and then another 10 to get back to the couch and there was only about 20 feet between them.  I would get so worn out just getting off the couch that I really didn’t think I could make it across the floor – but I did. 

I truly believe that attitude is a major component to getting well from anything.  Not just cancer – there are many worse diseases than cancer out there.  But being positive does have its drawbacks.  If your attitude doesn’t get you the reports you are seeking from your Doctor then it has a nasty habit of disappearing.  And then it takes lots of energy to get it back.  I know – been there done that.  I used to get angry with myself – I didn’t have all that much energy to spare and I needed it for the simple things like breathing and losing my positivity just meant that I would have to find more energy to get it back. 

Even if you do manage to get it back, it doesn’t guarantee that you will survive.  I have seen too this first hand…and it saddens me.  I have lost too many friends to EC who’s attitudes were nothing short of mine and yet…

I have a friend Steve, who is currently in the chemo/rad stage of EC.  He is having his chemoradiation before his surgery and his attitude is awesome.  It is what it is, he says and each day faces a drive to the hospital, the set up and beaming of radiation and every couple of weeks a chemo protocol.  If attitude is the cure for his EC then he is well on his way.

My attitude towards life in general has changed since I was diagnosed with EC.  I no longer sweat the little things – if I don’t have to call 911 then I consider it a little thing.  I have survived cancer, being labeled “Disabled” thanks to cancer, the breakup of a relationship that I thought would last a lifetime, the deaths of two very close friends in as many weeks and I am surviving the daily ins and outs of caring for two aging Alzhiemer’s aflicted parents.  If I didn’t have an attitude I wouldn’t be able to do it.  It’s as simple as that.

Why am I writing about attitude today?  Because over the last couple of weeks I have let mine slide.  I know that I suffer from a form of depression and I take medication for it but lately I find myself not really caring about anything.  I get up in the morning, make breakfast for mom and dad and then would happily crawl back into bed if I didn’t have so much to do.  And maybe that is the problem.  I need my attitude to kick back in so that I can function.  So that I can take care of them and get on with life.  Sometimes though it really does seem like a lot of  bother and for what?  This is life, no one gets out alive so why fight it?  See what I mean – attitude slide, needs adjustment.

So don’t let your attitude sit back and take a break.  If you do, the day you need it the most it will fail you and then what?????  Having an attitude doesn’t mean you have to be basty or mean – it just means that you need to stand up for yourself, look whatever it is in the face and tell it – I am not going away, I am going to fight you with everything I have and then some, and when I win you will be gone. 

Today is the day I get mine back.  I am sick and tired of moping and feeling sorry for myself.  The pity party is over.  It is time to kick this mood in it’s butt and get on with it.  And that’s what I am going to do.

Have a great day.  And don’t forget to “spring” your clock ahead an hour tonight or you might be late for whatever you have to do Sunday morning.



3 responses to “Attitude: Use it or Lose it!!!!!!!

  1. Latane March 8, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Come on, girl… you gotta keep fighting. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off….

    I was so inspired by your post. I thought I had it bad… no way. I am amazed at your determination. I had colon cancer, chemo, two knee replacements with therapy that I thought would kill me and a husband with Alz. Mine is very small in comparison. I am glad to hear that you are working toward getting rid of that bad mood….. I understand and I know it’s hard but we both have such a wonderful life to live and we are helping those we love to have a life of sorts.

  2. Maxine Sullivan March 9, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Nancy ~You have been super human in sooo many ways…beating the Beast, now trying to keep your mood up while doing one of the most difficult jobs there is – caring for an Alzhiemer patient at home. You really need to be shouting your own praises whenever you need a boost…you are an incredible woman who has lived through some extremely difficult challenges. You continue to be in my prayers. Hugs! Max

  3. serendopeity March 15, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Thank you Latane and thank you Max.

    I am feeling better. I know that I shouldn’t let this get to me as much as it does, but it is difficult. The case worker from the Community Access Centre is coming Monday morning to evaluate mom and dad and to let me know what kind of help I am eligible for. I don’t want alot – just enough to give me a break now and again without feeling guilty that I am abandoning my parents.
    I had an opportunity to work a couple of days this past week and leaving them at home was a big deal. My younger brother came over on Wednesday to make sure they ate the lunch I had left them as it was the day that I worked all day. The two half days were not bad – I was here to make sure meals got eaten.
    The bad thing was that I worked Thursday afternnon so we had to miss BINGO. They both so look forward to their “activities” so I felt bad that we couldn’t go. But working is something I have to do when I am able.
    Thank you both for your concern and compassion. And if I don’t tell you both enough, I do truly appreciate your input and support.


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