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Attitude of Gratitude

Last updated: December 2021

They often say that our mindset and attitude are often the greatest part of the journey. However, it is often difficult while in pain or while discouraged or confused, or just plain out feeling defeated to scrounge up any gratitude. It’s so very difficult to cling to hope when you feel like hope is gone. How do we find gratitude in hopeless moments? It’s very difficult for sure, but there is absolutely a silver lining in everything I believe.

Thankful for my treatment options

I am on my first line for almost four years—one month shy to be exact. Every time I have a scan I worry about if I will get to continue with my current medication. I am literally sick leading up to the scans. My blood pressure is always high on that day and I cannot focus on anything else until I get the results and hope for no changes and keep going. I know I shouldn't worry, but if you are on this journey, you know what a daunting task that day is. I should be grateful that I have options right now should response to my current medication change. I know that I have options. I know that there is a something else that we can combat my cancer when others don’t have any other options. I should find great hope and gratitude in that instead of worrying, but I simply can’t help myself and I know that I am not alone in this.

Finding fulfillment within myself

I often get bored at home and miss working full time. I remember when I was working full time how I craved just one day off. Some days I miss the routine, I miss people, I miss the income. I look back at the stresses and the things that were not so good about a full-time job and am so grateful that I don’t have to go through those things while also dealing with my physical and mental capacity of lung cancer. I have instead been able to shift my focus to myself and finding fulfillment within myself.

I have spoken publicly about living my best life with stage IV lung cancer and so many people have questions about that. How can I say that? Well, it goes back to that gratitude. I have been able to connect with so many people that have shared in my journey - they have influenced me in some manner. I have experienced love from people unlike I have ever experienced before. While motherhood was stripped from me along with a few other things, I have learned how to shift that into a different perspective. I said the day that I was diagnosed that “intentional living” began that day. I am living my best life because I am forced to savor each day and not just talk about it. I am no longer waiting on something to happen to enjoy life. I am choosing to focus on things that I enjoy and let the rest go. That’s the beauty of the journey.

Shifting my daily perspective

An attitude of gratitude has helped me get through so many days. I have down days for sure. However, I try to find the good in how I am feeling and move forward from there. On days that I have joint pain and low energy, I try to think about what doesn’t hurt and shift my focus to what is good. My joints might hurt, but there isn’t any cancer in my bones. I am tired, but I am still able to take care of myself. When I go to get dressed in something besides yoga pants and the clothing is way too small, instead of beating myself up for weight gain, I try to be thankful that I have an appetite and can eat. I know there are so many of us that struggle to just keep food down not mention a non-existent appetite, therefore, resulting in weight loss.

It was very difficult for me to find this perspective shift in the beginning, but once I did, things started improving for me and my emotional battle. I struggled so badly with depression and feeling sorry for myself. I knew that I was the only one that could take control of my brain and attempt to take captive of my thoughts and move them in a different direction. Now don’t get me wrong - I struggle some days even still. However, some days are much better than every day. Having an attitude of gratitude gives me hope, helps me combat energy, gives me a reason to get up and get going each day, and helps me to keep fighting. Attitude isn’t a cure for us, but it certainly helps to keep going.

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