I’ve always approached life from a glass half-full perspective. As a small child, I watched my mother thrive on being a victim, in every situation. That early perspective gave me the ability to develop a different way of coping with life and to survive whatever came my way. That decision has served me well.
In 1988, I was kidnapped by the Honduran Military Commandos. Had I given in to what they had in store for me, I would not be here. Instead I kept my wits, and kept the person with me calm, until there was an opportunity for us to escape. In 2004, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Subsequently, I’ve had 10 breast cancer surgeries and 8 rounds of chemo, and I’m doing great.
Attitude is a choice we make: We can choose to be poor, pitiful me, or we can gather up our strengths and become Ramborella.™ A year ago, I was taken to the emergency room for a heart-related matter caused by chemotherapy. While the medical team worked on me, I focused on a spot on the ceiling and kept repeating the Twenty-Third Psalm, over and over, again. I wasn’t just in “green pastures and beside still waters,” it unfolded in my mind like a movie. At one point, a doctor leaned down and said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep it up. It’s working.”
Pessimism and a negative attitude is not acting in our own best interest. Take charge and believe you have the strength to do anything, and then make it happen! Since breast cancer, I have launched a media company to produce online, print and television content for cancer families. Our first endeavor is the BreastCancerSisterhood.com where I’ve produced over 100 original content videos for each member of the breast cancer family, and have been named a Top Breast Cancer Blog on the Internet.
Whether we know it or not, we are empowered with an innate strength and courage. Own it. Draw on it. Make it your own.
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Feeling guilty and worthless because I am not able to pick myself up or be lifted up. I learned in childhood after begging to be saved, that I was not worth it. The devil is in me and he said he's never coming out. I fight it, often less successfully that others, but I still ask God's help, even though I don't trust he will be there for me. I love stories like yours. You are a chosen one, and you helped make it happen yourself. Stay strong.May 15, 2012 - 6:45pm
Your experiences are amazing, and I love reading about them. And your attitude is inspiring!
But I always worry that those people who have a chemical depression, for instance, who cannot yet find it within themselves to just "shine from within," or who are having a very difficult time dealing with an illness or a diagnosis, will then feel guilty if they can't also feel like an unbeatable warrior. Perhaps they are only able to take baby steps toward healing instead of a full-out assault. Maybe their anxiety is overwhelming. Or (very common these days) perhaps their financial situation gets so out of hand with medical expenses that the stress actually makes their recovery more difficult.
What would you say to these people? People for whom your optimism would seem very hard to find within themselves?June 25, 2010 - 9:37am