An important method of coping during the worst of times for me, was to embrace the positive.
I don't want that to sound overly simple. If you are hearing birds chirping or seeing Pollyanna's bright smile, let me mute the tone a shade. When I was pushing a walker painfully down my hallway, when I couldn't lift Little H and certainly couldn't run and play with him, when I was lying in the bathtub bleeding through the night, when I was cleaning bags of dangling puss from my surgical drains... there was no positive. Or certainly not that I could see.
But there was always a next morning. That's when I would get up again, lift my eyes to a God I hoped would sustain me, push back my shoulders, and ask myself what I was going to do that day.
When I was coping with Spondylitis alone, this was more difficult. I simply put a whole lot of hope in fixing the problem, in being cured of the debilitation ripping through my normal. When cancer joined the ugly picture, I had much more help with attempting to cope, heal, and find joy in the present. Organizations and opportunities arose to offer aid.I found - and continue to find - myself embracing all manner of positive opportunities. Be it retreats or classes, lectures or conferences, photo shoots or outlandish seize-the-day-activities, I appreciate taking part. It's important to me to bring benefit into the picture where I can - to be able to look up on occasion and say, If I didn't have cancer, I wouldn't be here right now - and that's a good thing.
There are so many foundations, organizations, groups, and people out there extending bits of peace and joy to those in trying times. People make a difference, of course in our individual relationships, and also in our organized efforts. So this one goes out to you, the nonprofits that profit so many of us.
Here are the cancer support organizations that have been of exceptional benefit to me:
Cancer Support Community - for all people with or supporting someone with cancer
Foundation for Living Beauty - for women with cancer
First Descents - for young people with cancer
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.