• Is a positive attitude really required for your treatment to be successful?

    Asked by Bellamore on Monday, June 11, 2012

    Is a positive attitude really required for your treatment to be successful?

    While anything is possible, and I do have faith, the realist in me seems to smother any positive thoughts I have. It's been seven months since my diagnosis (Cholangiocarcinoma Stage 4) and I'm already weary of it all.

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I'm sure there are survivors who didn't have a positive attitude and some who didn't survive that did have a positive attitude. But there is lots of evidenced based information indicating that a positive attitude reduces stress and that reduced stress is a significant factor in healing and treatment efficacy. IMO, having a positive attitude doesn't mean you have to a 24/7 cheery polyanna though. It means that are get through it, one day at a time and keep plugging away for 7 months, 7 years, or whatever it takes. And it sounds as though that is exactly what you are doing.

      over 5 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar
      abrub

      A positive attitude helps, but it won't make or break. Some people/tumors respond better to treatment than others. I have friends who've had fabulous attitudes, but who didn't survive, and I know people who have not been so positive in outlook, and are doing fine.

      However, I do think that attitude does have some effect - it can enhance or be detrimental, but I don't think it will make or break. For example, I had one consultant insist that I'd be dead by now. I don't know what would have happened had I stayed with him. I might have been dead, because I was supposed to be. Other drs said I was good for the long haul, not necessarily out of the woods, but treatable on an ongoing basis. I've outlived the depressing dr's prognosis, and am doing great.

      over 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      I'm wondering if you're hearing a bunch of people say keep a positive attitude and such....

      I found that when I was in treatment, I was not even allowed to have a regular old bad day... You know, like when you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed? People would freak out and tellme to keep my attitude positive and so on.... Or how about when smething at work just doesn't turn out right.... Or how about when you just have a headache? I felt like NORMAL krankiness was simply not allowed....

      One coworker kept telling me that she just knew that I would be totally fine... I finally said - you don't know that.... And she berated me for not keeping a positive attitude.... Thank goodness another coworker was there who said... Oh lee... I'm hoping for the best possible outcome... Let me know if you need anything.... Then she glared at my other coworker.... That was validating.

      Anyway, my point is that is it okay to feel like XXX, to have a crabby crappy day.... To just be angry.... But I do agree that it's important to try to keep stress down... And to make it as easy as possible to keep a good attitude.

      That said, if you're having a bad day, unfortunately, I feel like we have to fake it - pretend that positive attitude, or we get flack from people around us.

      I had a handful of people that I could really just talk to.... And I could say - I have had a XXX day, can I come talk to you? Thank goodness for those people... But choose them wisely... People who can keep your confidence and people who won't freak when you have a bad moment or two or three or one hundred.....

      Dunno if that helps.... But I sure hope it helps a little bit!

      it's tough, right? I mean, this diagnosis sucks.... And it's scary.... And then people make us feel like if our attitude isn't positive enough and we die, it is our fault.... NOT TRUE!

      over 5 years ago
    • RuthAnne's Avatar
      RuthAnne

      I've had the same experiences as LeePenn. I think if you have a positive attitude, including fun and humor, it certainly makes your life more pleasant, but that's true for everyone. But frankly, cancer sucks the big one. Why, when I have to have cancer and go through the unpleasantness of cancer treatments am I also required to have a positive attitude? Let yourself feel what you feel when you feel it.

      over 5 years ago
    • hgbkokopelli's Avatar
      hgbkokopelli

      Cancer sucks the big one, it is scary with or without knowledge. It is okay to feel like you feel as we all handle grief differently and must get through all the stages that prepares us for the biggest party and exit we can have just like the big star entrance we had being born. Cancer is very scary for the patient and even the caregivers do not see the XXX we go through but believe me they are preparing themselves as well. There is no book for any of us as LIFE or Death for dummies. I am also very weary and literally exhausted and tired. We are just like dogs and we come in this world alone and leave alone. God Bless you Until We lite again

      over 5 years ago
    • mgm48's Avatar
      mgm48

      Hummmm! I love the comments you've gotten, they make me think. I'm by nature AND choice a positive person. However, I do every once in a while have a day from heck (watching the censor). I think it's very much like when I didn't have this fight to fight. You know not all will go right every day. And after you start your fight it's certainly not going to change for the better. As a person of faith you can be assured that there is a silver lining in all the black clouds, even if it is extremely hard to see right now. That is my philosophy and while I do not credit my attitude with my progress I do know that it makes it easier for those around me to live with me and I'm really treated royally by my caregivers.
      Keep it positive and smile :)

      over 5 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      From a Christian standpoint: If you are a Christian, you are a member of the Body of Christ - part of His mystical Body. As such, you may offer your suffering to God just as His Son does. You may offer that suffering for your own sake, or that of another, just as our Lord did. That gives both meaning and purpose to your suffering. Just as Christ did not turn from suffering for our sake, neither should we turn from suffering, since our suffering has become a part of His suffering. The more we suffer, the more Christ-like our life has become.

      Providentially, my faith had been deepening for some time before cancer struck, and it both prepared me for, has sustained me, and is sustaining me along this journey. That same faith has lead me to desire the next life more than this one. Thus, my fear of death is diminished, if not completely eliminated. As I see it, if one fears death, then to some degree, they also fear life, which leads inexorably to the death of the body.

      The spirit is quite another matter. Notice that our bodies age and we feel it at all times? Yet, our spirits do not seem to age along with our bodies. This is an indicator that the spirit is ageless and lives on, while the body is temporal. I find this to be a great comfort, as it provides hope no matter how short or long one's life is.

      Faith has turned the curse of cancer into a blessing. In February my wife told me that, since cancer arrived, "every day is Valentine's Day for us." I absolutely agree, as the life that had been slipping unnoticed through my fingers is now palpable, enjoyable.

      If I was taken back four years and offered the choice, I would choose to have cancer. It has become that much of a blessing. It is all in one's attitude, outlook, or world view.

      over 5 years ago
    • Bashiemn's Avatar
      Bashiemn

      I think a positive attitude helps immensely. I find laughter really is the best medicine, so I try to laugh as much as possible. That said, I have had plenty of bad days and plenty of moments where the uncertainty and general struggle got to be a bit much and I had to talk about the possible negative outcome. Or just cry. It's okay. Many don't want to hear this, but I think it's healthy to understand that life isn't hunky dory and having a good friend or family member, or therapist helps. People who aren't going to tell you to stay positive when you don't want to be.

      If you don't want to be positive all the time, don't. If they don't like it...too bad. But I say that it is so worth it to remain positive MOST of the time. See comedies and laugh a LOT and at least you will feel better during those times.

      When I started chemo, my cousin was just going back to work having finished chemo and radiation. We had coffee one day and laughed about all of the side affects and how ridiculous it all is. That was helpful. I laugh every time i experience a side effect now.

      Good luck and much love to you.

      over 5 years ago
    • Bashiemn's Avatar
      Bashiemn

      I think a positive attitude helps immensely. I find laughter really is the best medicine, so I try to laugh as much as possible. That said, I have had plenty of bad days and plenty of moments where the uncertainty and general struggle got to be a bit much and I had to talk about the possible negative outcome. Or just cry. It's okay. Many don't want to hear this, but I think it's healthy to understand that life isn't hunky dory and having a good friend or family member, or therapist helps. People who aren't going to tell you to stay positive when you don't want to be.

      If you don't want to be positive all the time, don't. If they don't like it...too bad. But I say that it is so worth it to remain positive MOST of the time. See comedies and laugh a LOT and at least you will feel better during those times.

      When I started chemo, my cousin was just going back to work having finished chemo and radiation. We had coffee one day and laughed about all of the side affects and how ridiculous it all is. That was helpful. I laugh every time i experience a side effect now.

      Good luck and much love to you.

      over 5 years ago
    • mspinkladybug's Avatar
      mspinkladybug

      YES.... mind is very powerful when told people they woild die in 2 weeks they would go home and be dead by the 2 week time frame why cus they were told to die and they given up on hope. this is a proven fact.
      think of the little train that could.

      over 5 years ago

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