Comedian George Burns once responded to a question about how he felt upon reaching his eighties. "The alternative is worse," he grinned.
That attitude can be a life-saver. I get a kick out of turning difficult situations around to my advantage. It's a skill that anyone can master. It takes time, but it's doable.
I persevere instead of letting irritating problems destroy me or my composure. I like to achieve my goals and to leave my tormentors gritting their teeth in frustration. It's the best revenge. I don't strike out at anyone. Troublemakers simply live to regret messing with me or they choose to become my (surprise!) advocates. I treat other problems (such as medical upsets) the same way. I don't get mad (well, actually I do to some extent), I have fun getting even without hurting anyone in the process of meeting my needs. I simply keep on keepin' on, knowing that laughter can bestow more life upon me. It's a skill anyone can learn.
In my book, I describe how I faced the news of my once-imminent death (due to a BENIGN brain tumor) with a determined change of plans for LIVING to the FULLEST EXTENT POSSIBLE.
Sometimes, I treat stressful situations as a game. I reframe the problem with funny remarks, figure out strategies for achieving my goals and then behave as if things are not all that serious. It takes the sting out of the problem at hand, it reduces my sense of stress (plus that of everyone involved) and it causes laughter whenever I tell people how I accomplished my task. As Harvard psychologist Gordon Allport knew and taught, laughter is a life-saver!
That's part of the story about how I handled my shock in 2005. Friends and I formed tag teams, calling medical specialists around the world. We sought advice for reversing my diagnosis. Sure, we wept at the serious problem I faced. But we refused to surrender to it. I decided to face this phase of my life as a calm, cultured adult instead of as a screaming shrew or as a morose figure of despair. I wanted my dignity to remain intact throughout the ordeal. To reach that goal I also adjusted my vocabulary, calling the medical crisis a "Situation to be Resolved."
Surgeons had a hard time separating the hands of the friends grasping my stretcher as the time arrived to wheel me into surgery. I knew that the blue lines drawn across my face and tracing where the doctors would cut my skull open looked terrifying to my loving, non-medical observers. So, I firmly but sweetly told the women standing behind my head, "Me Amazon Warrior! Going to fight for my life. Be fine!" They were able to let go with trembling smiles. Humor put our situation into perspective, letting us cope with our fears.
Read It's My Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To: A Life Book that Helps You to Dry Your Tears and to Cope with a Medical Challenge. Learn how I coped with my medical crisis. Mimic me and lift your spirits above the horrors at hand. My book can teach you skills for blazing your own brave trail into the future.
We can't control our medical outcomes. But failing, worse REFUSING, to acknowledge our medical messes and to deal with them forthrightly can be dangerously disastrous. Senator Ted Kennedy surely knows that as he heads into surgery today (and I wish him well). The lesson I'm trying to convey is that we can perfect our attitudes. The Kennedys know that, as do I. You can, too. Striving to be a better person is a win-win situation.
Suffering with a Medical Crisis?
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It's MY Crisis! And I’ll Cry if I Need To
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To your good health,
Coping with a Medical Crisis?
Make the Changes You Need in Your Life