• How do you stay or get positive when most of the news you get is bad?

    Asked by packerbacker on Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    How do you stay or get positive when most of the news you get is bad?

    First, I had a tumor on my tongue, which was cancerous. Then, at re-check they found a lung nodule, and it was cancerous. Then, I fell and fractured my back and they found bone metastasis. Then, when I asked my doctor about prognosis, he said 2-3 years. I try to find positives in that I really don't feel that bad yet compared to others, but it's hard. I have good days and bad, but I constantly think about having limited time. I know none of us knows when our time is "up," but giving it a time-limit is disheartening. I also know that statistics are just an educated guess. But that doesn't change the fact that I was told that. How would you feel? Sometimes it's hard to keep on smiling to others. I do have my husband, but I can't share everything I feel with him. And I'm just not that close to my family (won't tell Mom) and friends, so it's hard to share this. I talk to a counselor, but my husband goes with. I'm so grateful to have on-line support! Thank you!

    31 Answers from the Community

    31 answers
    • nobrand's Avatar

      I have been getting a lot of bad news lately. I know what you mean-- it's hard to keep smiling, and doubly hard to share the nitty-gritty feelings you have with your loved ones.

      I have been trying to focus on the small things in my life that bring happiness, and I am no longer allowing myself to speculate much too far in the future. I consider any prognosis speculation, so I'm just ignoring them by now :)

      Other things that have helped me: a journal, WhatNext, my cats, and Prozac. :)

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Everything you said applies in some form to everybody that has ever been born whether they have cancer or not. We all have an expiration date and none of knows what that date is. Lots of people have guesses, whether it is because of a medical condition, advancing age, or even convicts on death row.

      One of the few things in life that each of us has total control of is how we react to life. IMO, the bad news is that you are focused on dying rather than living. As long as that focus drives your life, the only news you will react to is bad news. If you focus on living, every thing becomes good news. Don't waste your precious time and energy on dying. Spend it on living whether that is a month or many years.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Joachima's Avatar

      Like the others that have answered, I choose to ignore statistics and focus on life. This is a conscious effort & not always easy. None of knows when our time here on earth is completed, cancer or not. I had a friend that left work on a lunch break to die in a fatal car accident a 1/2 mile down the road. It is so important for us to be spiritually ready for eternity no matter what our prognosis may be. My faith keeps me on track, my family gives me focus, and my volunteer work gives me purpose. I am truly happy and I am choosing not to acknowledge the statistics, but count my blessings. I am a Christian, and found that the following scripture helps me -"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. " found in Philippians 4:8.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      Well, if I understand correctly, you just got the 2 - 3 year prognosis. You may be reacting to the newness of that. Perfectly normal and understandable. I like the advice to focus on the good things in your life. I'm sure there are some.

      You might consider getting a second opinion. Also, look into clinical trials if possible.

      almost 4 years ago
    • JudyS's Avatar

      Hey Packerbacker - I think everyone has done a great job answering your question - it must be so hard to think about being given a limited amount of time even though we all have a limited amount of time here. I try not to dwell on my time being limited, because my focus would be on that instead of living. Learning we have cancer is a lot for us to get our minds and arms around, but you've also been given the extra stress of a finite amount of time. It's so hard for me to know how that would really feel - I know this cannot be easy or seem right to anyone. I've read so much here about people defying all odds and I think that hope is what keeps us all going. You can move and live beyond these finite thoughts and timeframes - that is my hope for all of us and especially you at the time! Lots of hugs from a person who grew up in Waukesha. Many Blessings Too!

      almost 4 years ago
    • RuthAnne's Avatar

      Being positive can be good. It feels good and we tend to be happier and more productive when we are - BUT - there are times when you need to embrace the sadness and anger. You've gotten a crummy disease with an equally crummy diagnosis. Allow yourself some time and space from time to time to go to the dark side. Then when you emerge, just like moving from a dark room into the light, the world can seem much brighter.

      almost 4 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      I am in treatment for an unknown sub-type of a rare and aggressive T-Cell lymphoma. When I was finally diagnosed, I had "innumerable" tumors and bone marrow involvement. There is no standard treatment for it, and a clinical trial, if one happens to be available, is recommended. At the time, I had maybe three months left before it killed my immune system and I succumbed to massive infection. Even at Fred Hutchinson, doctor had to guess at treatment, and there was maybe a 1 in 3 chance that the cancer would respond at all. So, I began to prepare for death. I received a combination of 5 drugs and, against all odds, it responded. I was considered in full remission after 2 months of dose-intensive chemo. Yet, to be certain, chemo continued for 2 additional months, using 3 different drugs - the thinking being that nothing could survive that saturation level. The chemo did not kill me, but it was not not for lack of trying. A PET 2 months later showed that it had come racing right back. Now, there was nothing that offered any hope for a remission. I was scheduled for one last infusion and palliative care/hospice. More plans to die. But, wait! A clinical trial miraculously appeared at just that time. It put me in complete remission and has kept me there for over 3 1/2 years. In that time, two additional drugs have been approved and three others are in clinical trial. It turns out that what we are told at any given time does not apply to the future, as cancer treatment is a very dynamic situation. As well, I hold to a worldview that actually prefers the next life to this life. This life is a blessing, but I look forward to its end, because of what has been promised. This faith, weak as I thought it was, sustained me through all of this and continues to. Many were praying for me, and far too many "coincidences" occurred for them to be mere coincidences. I would ask you to simply keep the faith.

      almost 4 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      Nancyjac, as usual, you are spot on! Every day, someone is killed while simply driving to work. No chance to get their affairs in order, and no chance to say goodbye - just lights out. Two years ago now, an oncology nurse at Fred Hutchinson died one Sunday morning, just driving to work for a routine shift. A drunk driver going home after an all-nighter struck her head-on. We are given but one day at a time to live. A wise prophet once said, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for today has enough trouble of its own". As I see it, before tomorrow is a problem, I have to wake up tomorrow. And, even if tomorrow turns out to be a problem, I do not worry, as it will be gone by tomorrow. Contemplating the end of our days can alter us for the better or for the worse, and it is 100% in our control.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nanc620's Avatar

      I believe in the power of prayer. I am going to add you to my daily prayer list...I know it must all sound trite but I have found making a Bucket List for myself is helping. Even though I'm not facing what you are it is helping me make the most of my life. God bless...this is a wonderful place to chat and be real.

      almost 4 years ago
    • cancervivor's Avatar

      Staying positive is one of the hardest things to do through this journey. All the things that go through your mind, and most of them bad. All the phases we go through. I was there, I was told that if my cancer came back, "it would be difficult to control". I didn't like the sound of that, and sure enough, it came back. I was convinced I was going down. The team came up with a treatment for me that was new, I said OK, let's go! It just about killed me, but in the end, I am still here, and the cancer is gone. This after I was told if it came back, I might not be. I tried to keep my mind positive all the time. Everything I had to do, each procedure, each stick, each chemo, each time getting sick for 4 hours at a time. Each time, I said, this will be over before you know it, I can take it, I can beat it. A few hours later, I was right.

      Keep your mind off what you don't want, and on what you do want. It helps.
      We wish you the best.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      About not telling your Mom. When I decided to tell my brothers (because they have a statistically greater chance of NHL because I have NHL), it occurred to me, luckily, that I ought to include Mom. I called her, but she didn't answer and I left a message. I continued to contact brothers (I have a lot of them). Then, I got an angry call from Mom. "Why hadn't I told her about my cancer?" It was a good thing that I was able to respond that I had tried and had left her a message.

      Tell Mom. She will learn soon enough. And it isn't a good idea to let her find out from someone else.

      almost 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      So many great answers!! Our human doctors can give us a guess on the duration of our life but the actual timing is in the hands of our Lord. As others have said, with the power of prayer and faith -- people have gone from a 3 month death sentence to years of being cancer free. Being given such a time frame would definitely place a shadow over your days -- however, with effort, maybe you can let some sunshine in -- and mom's have a way of soothing their babies -- so, if you tell your mom --- I am sure that she will bring some sunshine to your days. Also, remember that the healthy person that you see in a store or restaurant that you wish was you ---- may walk out the door and get killed -- or have a heart attack -- many months or years before it is your time. So --- accept each day as a gift and enjoy the sunshine. You are in my prayers.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Schlegel's Avatar

      First, accept the feelings that you do have. You cannot move forward until you accept where you are. You may even be angry at God, and that is okay. He understands. People who do not have cancer may be too quick to tell you to think positive, so I suggest you join a cancer support group or go to a cancer support center. You might also want to go to a cancer retreat. I went to an excellent one sponsored by the Smith Center in Washington, D.C.
      You have enough negative feelings. Do not add to that by feeling guilty about your negative feelings. The positive will come.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Gma's Avatar

      I remember reading about my cancer when diagnosed and thinking that I wanted time to make memories with my grandchildren. Statistics said that I wouldn't have that. That was 7 years ago. A good Christian woman told me once that "God was the final authority" and that is certainly so. I used to dwell on the statistics that my life would be shortened by cancer, and my Dr's told me there was no cure. But, you know, I feel great. I know that God is in control and that I am not going to leave this earth one day sooner that He wants me too. I do still think about it, but I don't dwell on it so much anymore. I have seen so many wonderful friends die in the past 7 years from other things.. What I have discovered is that just because you have a cancer diagnosis, it doesn't necessarily mean that you will die from cancer. I try to stay positive and I am so grateful for all of the blessings that God has given me. My Pastor says that Satan attacks you in your mind, and that is so true. He tries to put doubt in our minds. I pray and I try to just leave it with God. God Bless you .

      almost 4 years ago
    • marshala1's Avatar

      May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him...Romans 15:13. This one little verse has brought me through my diagnosis, chemo, and now living the rest of my life one day at a time for however long that may be. Only He knows. You are in my prayers.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      Hey packerbacker...I hope you'll allow a Viking Fan to give a bit of advice.. Of course you've had some pretty bad news... But you were given 2-3 years. I was given 6 months with a look that said less. I had Stage IV ovarian cancer. It had metastized to my intestine and euretha. The tumor itself, was 39 pounds. I asked God to take my hand, to told Him of my great fear...(It immediately left me) I asked Him to lead me and that I would follow Him to where He wanted me to be. I came home and called my Church's Prayer Line; I was part of a wonder pet site on line, and they were already praying for me. Prayer and more prayer. I told the Oncologist that I was a tought old lady and I wanted to fight this cancer! He looked me in the eye and said "You want to fight.. We Will FIGHT!" And we did. Almost two years of Chemo.. I was diagnosed at age 62, and next May I'll have my 70th birthday!...I live not far from you.. Twin Cities, I'll add you to my prayers.

      I know the hardest thing I ever did was tell my three sons... My oldest is your age. I know they prayed. My five step-children also prayed, along with all their families. When I went into surgery... I really could actually feel the warmth of their prayers.. REALLY. The surgeon told me afterwards that he removed all the cancer he could find.. But he felt I had only six months. BUT.. We'd fight it with everything he had. We did. At three months after surgery... he ordered a PET CT Scan.... It showed NO CANCER ANYWHERE. TOTALLY CANCER FREE!... My surgeon was literally jumping up and down in his seat as he read the scan.... and loudly proclaiming... I got it ALL!

      We continued the chemo... then started another round of almost another year. I've periodic PET Scans, and two weeks ago it continued to come back negative. Packerbacker... Please turn this over to God follow where He leads - Remember only He knows the days of our lives... God bless and protect you!

      almost 4 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      The truth is that you don't stay positive in the face of such a thing. Instead you go through grief.

      Luckily, one of the stages of grief is anger. Which of the Fates made your doctor the lord of the Universe? Why are you accepting his words when the truth is that all he has said is that he doesn't know how to help. Get other opinions. If you can't get a good and helpful opinion from another MD, try a nutritionist or an Aryuvedic shaman or a Chinese herbalist or make other radical changes in your life which your research shows may help you. Miracles happen every day. Who is to say that you aren't meant to be one of them?

      If it is affordable to you, please check out Hippocrates Health Institute (WPB, Fl or Puerto Rico) or Optimum Wellness (San Diego & Texas) or Brenda Cobb's place (out of Atlanta, GA). If not, buy a juicer or a Vitamix and learn how to really use it to help yourself.

      Make a deal through your Faith and keep it. Be a rock to someone else if you are able. Learn to accept small blessings and to be grateful. None of us are promised tomorrow or even our next step.

      If you feel alone time with your counselor will help, just explain to your hubby that you need it. You and he may be in love but you aren't joined at the hip. Lastly, please don't be so intractable. Allow yourself change in your life. Sometimes you can learn some amazing things about folks and who your actual friends are, if any, by admitting a weakness/sickness. Try to understand that giving and receiving are exactly the same.


      almost 4 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      Me again... One more thing... My doctor told me that my positive attitude was the major ingredient of the good outcome. I never pictured me gone... I saw myself seeing my grandchildren graduate from college.. I did.. still more to go though, we have memories of times at the shore, sitting around campfires... talking and laughing... He said attitude is 90%.... I don't know but I'm still here and I praise God!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Heather's Avatar

      Just talking about it really helps! Cancer is scary and awful - we are all right there with you. Maybe talk to your doctor about some antidepressants??? Hang in there!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • crabtrjt's Avatar

      First of all, I am sorry for all the bad things you are finding out, I in the last 5 years have had 2 open heart surgeries, 5 operations to add 9 heart stints, and then told I had exactly what you have, squamous cell carcinoma, I felt just like you, I am a born again christian and I know that this life is just such a short time anyway, and I know it does not seem like it now but, I am out of cancer now, and am fine but my life after this is ETERNAL LIFE with Jesus Christ in Heaven and when I went through all this, I just Prayed to The Lord, Your will be done, as I know my life later will be so much better anyway, but I do live everyday now as if it is my last. I still work, but am on disability but I travel as much as possible, and love life better now than ever. but if he takes me today, I am so ready, I will miss many things here on Earth but my home is Heaven one day anyway. Email me if you get my email at [email redacted] and I would be glad to talk if you want. Tim

      almost 4 years ago
    • Paw's Avatar

      Hi Packerbacker. I'm glad that you are glad for on-line support. Doctor's don't have the last say about your life expectancy. You want to be positive? Just do it. Easier said than done. I know. Surround yourself with positive people, read the Bible and trust that God will do just what He said. Things are going to turn around in your favor. You are right, no one know when there time is up but Job 14:14 says If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Be blessed

      almost 4 years ago
    • acalltofaith's Avatar

      There is only one way that I know of that got me through my trials with cancer four times:Faith! Like you mention, we all will have a day when the end will come. Make sure you know where you are going and believe that it will be a much better place than you are now. Don't find fear with the doctors, for as you say, it is an educated guess. Only God knows your last breath. I have given away thousands of copies of my story, "A Call to Faith, the Journey of a Cancer Survivor," which may help you in some ways get through your struggles. Send me an email if you would like a copy.


      almost 4 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      BTW, if anyone has interest, there is a web viewing and promo available for those who wish to look at other things:



      The first link is to a series of movies and talks about alternative treatments for both the hopeless and the hopeful.

      The second link is to a movie which talks about the healing benefits of raw and living foods. They are, I believe, running either a half off or a 2 4 1 sale.

      Whether you will think the ideas are trash or treasure I can't say but the information is there for you to peruse.


      almost 4 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      BTW, it is my understanding that the info offer on those links are without cost.

      almost 4 years ago
    • princess123's Avatar

      There are 2 people I know that was given a time limit by their doctors. Both of these people did have cancer, did go through treatment and did die from it. About 3 times the length of time the doctor gave them. don't listen to the time limit your doctor gave you. My doctor did tell me what the average person with my type of cancer had lived, but she also told me she had no crystal ball and was not God. Take your treatments, get things together in case you do die in 1 month, 1 year or 10 years, and enjoy your friends and family. Seek out a councler or friend you can tell everything to. I know what you mean about needing to talk to someone but those closest to you get so upset you dont want to tell them everything and don't want to cry when your unloading to them. Hang in there. Hope you have at least 10 good years.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Gena's Avatar

      First, never go with Dr. prognosis. I know several who have outlived their prognosis. One Dr. gave his patient with inoperable cancer 4 days and now it is 2 years later and he is cancer free. Prayer is a mighty powerful force. Be proactive about all aspects of your life. Pray to God for strength, meditate, use nutrition to help your body, exercise. Pray for others. Praise God for what you do have. I have Stage IV breast cancer( bone mets, liver mets and neck nodule) so know where you come from. I do all of the above and work full time. You are the one in control of your life. Don't act like you are dying, act like you are living. Because you are. I am 8 years since first diagnosis.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Lots of good answers. I can only imagine what you are going through in the last 3+ years i was diagnosed with Advanced Renal Cell (kidney) Carcinoma (2009), which has remained stable but I am still being treated for it. Stage 1 triple neg invasive ducal cell cancer (2110) and was treated with a lumpectomy and radiation on top of my kidney chemo. In late April/early May we discovered that the Breast Cancer had Metastasized -I am now on my 2nd infusion cocktail - and have hit many low points since May. Yes it hard to stay positive, and it is OK to be depressed, angry and rage rage rage, at fate G-D the Universe.
      Staying connected to people, I have been a very active on WW and not What Next - it really helps finding people who understand what we are going through, and don't minimize the issues and impacts on our lives. I wake up every morning and get dressed, I try to eat good clean food, and do some light activity most days. I try to nourish my emotional self as well. I mediate, I am see therapist, I get massage and energy work. I work with my doctors to help mitigate the side effects, both physical and emotional of meds (steroids are the worst).

      There are so many new treatments coming out and in the pipeline - I try to find hope in that. I think the best we can do is be hopeful and positive more often then not, and have a great support network for both.

      almost 4 years ago
    • jenpwrs' Avatar

      I'm sorry. I was diagnosed at 26 and given about 2 months. I've lived what you are dealing with for nearly 10 years now. I've had radical surgeries, 6 years of chemo, complication...you know how it is. I've had a lot of bad days, but, like you, I've had a lot of good ones. I've not had a miracle cure, and I understand that one is unlikely to come. But here is some good news. When I started the drug that has been key to controlling the cancer (about 8 years ago), it had been approved for less than 2 months. Virtually no side effects (although I've usually had other drugs along with it). It's interesting to keep up with cancer research. There are a several drugs that show a lot of promise expected to get approval within the next few years. One of the best things about many of these is that they have fewer side effects than traditional drugs. This is great, not just because it improves quality of life during treatment, but because it means the drug can be taken for a long time. So, I think it's reasonable that this progress will continue. These new meds have enabled many people, including myself, to live a long time with cancer as a chronic illness. It's tiring and mentally exhausting, but I guess we have our reasons for enduring it.
      It has been hard for me to learn that I can live with a little cancer. I used to want treatment at the first sign of growth. Although mine gross quickly, I'm thankful that my doc doesn't get trigger happy, explaining that if treatment is going to work, it will work in a month. It's an unusual way to live, to say the least, but little things like this have often improved my quality of life. Sorry I've rambled, but just know that the things you said about not knowing our time and statistics being an educated guess aren't just platitudes. Those are facts. It's a lonely disease. I especially felt "wierd" when I was in my 20's. People my age seemed scared of me! My therapist helped me a lot, just by giving me a place to vent. Perhaps that became my "worry time." You have to have that private time with someone you don't have to fear upsetting. As close as we are to our families, we still feel the need to protect them. You have to have that time in a safe place to be vulnerable, angry, and deeply honest. That's hard to do when you have to worry about the effects of what you say on someone you love. That's why it should probably be private. Again, I'm sorry.

      almost 4 years ago
    • GENMAR47's Avatar

      I was diagnosed with NHL when I was 27 and given 6-18 months to live. I will turn 65 on the 13th of November if the Lord lets me live. Doctors don't know when you are going to die. Plan on living another 50 years and enjoy each day.
      Best wishes.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Fusionera's Avatar

      I definitely had a period early in my cancer journey where the bad news seemed to outweigh ANY possible good news. I was diagnosed with my brain tumor in 1995 and given a matter of weeks or months to live...7 months later I had brain surgery again....then I enrolled in the clinical trial of Temodar in 1996. That began a long good news period until my 2nd recurrence in 2005....my 2011 recurrence was the most difficult...recovery from surgery #3 was long and difficult. The only thing I think that's kept me alive for 17+ years now is my incredibly sick sense of humor around this. I decided long ago that the "P" word (prognosis) was no longer a part of my vocabulary. It's the only way I can keep moving forward. It is otherwise really hard trying not to live your life like "Groundhog's Day" with a BT...over and over again....so I choose to laugh in cancer's face. Otherwise I would just cry, get even more gray hairs, and not have a good time!

      almost 4 years ago
    • Sheryl123's Avatar

      I cant imagine how you feel, I know my dad has been diagnosed with lung cancer and so I spend alot of time worrying about how long I will have him, cancer sucks, and yes there will always be people worse off and better off, I heard once when you are born its a death sentence, we are all on the same path. I'm a nurse and I have seen alot of death, is it easier just to come down with something unexpectedly or to know? I don't know everyone's different but when you have the insight that you wont be here forever mabey you live more, you do more and you love more, you have time to tell the people you love how much you love them. God only knows when our time is up and he wont let us leave this earth 1 second sooner. We all have to have hope! I will keep you in my prayers

      almost 3 years ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy

    Read and answer more lung cancer questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Lung Cancer page.