I have just completed seven weeks of radiation where I received space-age-type treatments that invaded my chest wall with the intent of killing any cancer cells that had migrated from my breast. The weekend before I began my treatment I flew to Atlanta to spend time with my family. As fate would have it, on my way home, I happened to be seated next to a friendly and talkative gentleman who told me to visualize that these rays were on a seek-and-destroy mission with the sole purpose of winning the cancer battle.
As I lay there getting my first treatment, my body flinched as the long beeps told me of the invasion. Staying positive at this point seemed almost impossible as I contemplated the side effects of radiation; exhaustion, severe burns and a compromised immune system.
I decided that as a woman business leader and entrepreneur, I had faced many other challenges, although none as daunting as this. But my response has always been to embrace my challenges rather than fear them. Why would this be any different?
Here are some of the ways that I learned to create a positive experience:
1. I listened to music that evoked positive emotions during treatment. This proved to balance my thoughts and alleviate the fear. Once I took out the fear factor, I was able to release the vision.
2. I connected with as many people as I could who were receiving the same treatment as I was. Sharing stories and following their progress. I realized how fortunate I was as their stories unfolded.
3. I found that by being positive and open I encouraged new relationships. I got to know the therapists, doctors and staff. The care and compassion was definitely a factor in making the process more bearable.
4. Overcoming the fear and embracing the experience was definitely the key. I found that by the end of the seven weeks I was actually looking forward to my daily trips.
There have been studies that describe how an optimistic outlook can literally help people live longer and happier lives than those with a pessimistic view of the world. I would love to share your stories of optimism and how your positive outlook helped you through a difficult time.