Cancer: Only a Part of Who I Am
by Denise Cooper
I am 53 years old, and I have stage IV breast cancer. Do I let this fact define me as a person? Should I?
Absolutely not! I have a choice to make each day. Do I wake up with a negative, feel-sorry-for-myself attitude? Or do I face the day with an uplifting outlook so that I can be an inspiration to someone else and turn this negative diagnosis into something positive? I always try to go with the second option.
Does this mean that I never let things get to me? Certainly not! But I try to focus on the big picture instead of dwelling on the negative stuff.
Cancer is just a part of who I am, not my entire being. Of course I’m disappointed that I am dealing with cancer during what should be my prime years. But a powerful choice lies before me – either I go through this kicking and screaming and feeling sorry for myself, or I go with the flow and accept that I can’t change what happened to me but I can control how I react to it.
I truly believe that a positive attitude has healing properties.
I may not understand why I got cancer, but that doesn’t mean I have to let this disease get me down or allow it to ruin my life. Negativity can eat us up if we let it.
I believe that being positive not only helps our souls but also helps us on a cellular level. If our emotional and psychological responses can negatively affect our overall health, then why can’t these same emotions have a positive influence as well? I truly believe in my heart that a positive attitude has healing properties.
We all have the same choice to make each day. Why not try to look at cancer as a challenge, as something that can make you stronger? Allow yourself to be an inspiration to someone else along your path – someone who may be hurting and may need you to help see them through their own cancer journey. If I can be someone who, through my positive outlook, can help a fellow survivor through cancer, I consider it an honor and a blessing to do so. Be that blessing to someone else today, and see how it can brighten your own life!
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Denise Cooper is a stage IV breast cancer survivor and a licensed practical nurse who has worked in long-term care for almost 33 years. She has successfully finished chemotherapy treatment, and she is now halfway through her radiation treatments. Denise lives in Largo, FL, and is in the process of forming a cancer support group there.
This article was originally published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, May/June 2013.