Walking Tall

Could see right from the start that attitude is a major part of how I go forward. Research shows that “difficult” patients survive longer than “compliant” ones. Even to the extent that UK's poor cancer survival figures are in part attributed to the British being so polite.

So many cancer metaphors are aggressive – fight, beat etc. While I can see the value in this, everything in me doesn't like waging war on my poor beleaguered body. I am a pacifist through and through, but not I hope a patsy. Theresa May described herself as “a bloody difficult woman” and look where that got her.

So, what could be a beneficial state of mind? I finally settled on triumphant. That doesn't mean I consider I have won; this form of lymphoma isn't binary. You don't destroy it; you just manage it. Perhaps I could model myself on the teacher in class, who you know as soon as they enter the room won't stand any nonsense.

NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) taught me the value of understanding and choosing my most resourceful state. That is, how you stand, walk and project when you are at your most together. Not the rainy days where knees are week and feet dragging. It stood me in good stead when my mother was dying. Each morning, before I got out of bed I remembered three times when I had been strong and effective (there had to have been some!). I got right into it: how I felt, breathed, moved. Then when the memory was strong, I anchored it with the word “strong.” Throughout the day, at every new hurdle, I repeated “strong” and back came that positive, “I can cope” feeling.

How to adapt this to deadly illness? Get up each day, looking out with interested, humorous and appreciative eyes, asking myself, “How would I act as a winner?” Walk tall and enthusiastically – how many times have I marched across Home Depot, reciting, “Walk as if you are not in pain.” So move as if whole, feel life energy.

This will sound so trite to anyone on chemo or in severe pain. I know and respect that. This won't be easy. But it is all I can do at this point to position myself psychologically as well as I can. So I will give it a go.


More info: British Patients too Polite to ask for Best Treatment – link

PS I looked for images of walking tall and all I got was giraffes.

About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
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