• What part does "positive attitude" play?

    Asked by fastdog on Thursday, December 20, 2012

    What part does "positive attitude" play?

    What part, if any, do you think a positive attitude plays in your recovery or your cancer journey in general? My surgeons and oncol. have commented about my "great attitude," but not in the sense that it plays any part in my cancer experience. However, 2 friends with cancer have been told by their doctors that a positive attitude plays a huge part in their recovery. As I recall from reading Bernie Siegel many years ago, he is a big advocate of the positive attitude thing. Then too, there is the mind-body-spirit aspect, that it is all connected. What has been your experience?

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • Harry's Avatar

      I think it helps. It can be hard to measure and there are enough of stories of people with great attitude, plenty to live for, but who didn't make it. But, I've also heard stories of people who simply decided that they would live--fight the beast and lick it. It certainly can't hurt to have a positive attitude and it makes you feel better. Besides, it makes you easier to be around and that helps with your friends and family.

      almost 4 years ago
    • DeniseD's Avatar

      My sister was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer of the esophagus. The doctor said, "We have to remove your voice box if you want to live." Her reply was I would die if you take my ability to talk, because that is my favorite thing to do. She said I will beat this with chemo and radiation and she did. She had the most positive attitude of anyone I know. She died several years later of a heart condition, however she enjoyed everyday she had. My thoughts are you are going to have this day anyway, you might as well make the best of it.

      almost 4 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      Hi, fastdog. Like Harry said, it isn't something that can be really measured. But, I know that when I am positive, life goes smoother. Sure, the problems are still there, but facing them with an "I'm not giving up, I'm going to fight" kind of attitude sure beats giving up and doing nothing. It's not always easy, but I try to look at each day as another opportunity to enjoy the life I do have and the family and friends I do have. I wish it was different, but I'm not alone - there is always faith, which is something I am working on. I hope you can find some peace and joy in your life. Keep up the fight!

      almost 4 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar

      Thanks for the input. I think I'm about as positive as it gets without being Pollyanna. But, I am curious about this topic. As you say, there is no real answer, but I wonder about people's anecdotal experiences and ideas. The mind is such a powerful thing. I remember reading a Bernie Siegel story years ago about a cancer patient who was in terrible condition in the hospital, but didn't know that, and was full of optimism and good humor. A new physician came into his room, looked at his chart, and said, in effect, wow, you shouldn't even be alive. And the patient died that night.

      almost 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      Attitude is very important through your cancer journey. I think it makes the journey not only easier on you, but those trying to help you. Our Friends over at The American Cancer Society have an article on this very topic. Check it out...


      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Attitude doesn't cure cancer but it sure can improve quality of life.

      I cannot undo cancer,
      but how I deal with it
      is what defines my life,
      not the cancer.

      I will die one day,
      as we all will.
      Maybe from cancer,
      maybe from something else.

      From this moment,
      until that day,
      My life is mine to live
      in every way.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      Read "The Last Leaf" by O'Henry.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      One thing I know a positive attitudedoes do is make your Drs think more about how to treat you to save and cure you than to make you just comfortable. My attitude has rubbed off on my Oncologist so that now he links more about ways to get rid of the cancer rather than just maintain the statu quo. I am so far past any research on what to do that in a lot of cases Drs would just be happy with c hecking the growth of the cancder but we instead talk about how to defeat the cancer.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      I think my positive attitude is really helping with my treatments. I get up and dressed every day, and keep as active as my energy will allow. This is not to say I don't have my bad days, we all do. When someone gives up on themselves, they start not caring about and taking care of themselves. The healthier we can keep both physically and emotionally, the happier we will be, and this really gives us an edge on getting better.

      almost 4 years ago
    • maralyn's Avatar

      cancer chooses us, we don't choose it!!! our attitudes on how we can handle the situations that come before us, IS our choice!!! i would much rather leave this world smiling, than miserable and alone,,, my surgeon asked to pray with me before my surgery, and wow, i was thrilled!!! i do believe that extra prayer with him, got me through that first night, when things were not going well!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      I am generally an optimistic person by nature, but when I was diagnosed and got an optimistic prognosis from my doctor, I discovered that I had an incredible amount of positivity inside of me and it came out at the perfect time. I just pray that I remain that way the rest of my life.

      My doctors and friends have all commented on my positive attitude, and it wasn't a conscious effort...it was just what was inside of me. Yes, I had bad days, bad nights and lots of ugly side effects, but somehow, that positive attitude always came through along with a sense of humor I never knew I had. I have been told by my friends and family how inspirational I was in the face of adversity. I used my experience to educate others and that also helped me stayed focused and positive. I almost felt like I was on a mission to educate others, inform and inspire others. I was praying and focusing on kicking its a**, but at the same time I thought if it kicked mine, at least I'd go out with grace and dignity.

      I focused on looking at the positive in each situation. It would just roll off my tongue, whether it was humorous, a bit sick or informative. People were amazed with the things I was saying and honestly, so was I. Like I said, it wasn't a conscious effort, it just came from inside. I was the happiest person walking into the infusion room...just hook me up so I can be one step closer to kicking its a**. Like others, I didn't let cancer affect my life or the lives of my loved ones any more than it had to. I was going to live each day to the best of my ability and if it wasn't a good day, I didn't let it affect my family, if possible. If they had tickets to the ballgame (and I am a huge baseball fan), go without me. Have fun, I'll go another time. My son wanted to stay home and take me to chemo. Nope, you go on living your life as a teenager. I'll text you with my progress and we'll spend the evening relaxing at home, playing a game or watching tv.

      I also chose to only surround myself with positive people. I'd screen my phone calls. I didn't want to be around any Debbie-downers. One friend, who had beaten cancer but was still complaining about her 15-year old divorce, was one person I refused to talk to. She'd call and I wouldn't answer. I'd send her an emailing thanking her for her concern and update her. I felt that I was entitled to choose the best environment for myself. Just as cancer patients need to take care of our physical health, we need to take care of our emotional and mental health.

      almost 4 years ago

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