A good attitude along with appropriate medical intervention can only benefit us. When and where ever possible we should not let any condition negatively impact on our lives.
I often refer to an old adage that reads…if it’s to be, it’s up to me.
What that means to me in this context is that if and when (when is probably more true than if) we encounter one if these illnesses it will be up to us how we live with and through it. If you are or have negative thoughts such as why me, how could this happen, I have nothing to live for, all the good has gone out of my life, then your life will be as you predict. But if you are able to view the diagnosis in a more positive light with thoughts of, okay what are my options, what can I do to make this thing not negatively consume the time I have left, what action can I take to ensure I do not have time to sit and wallow in self-pity, is there something I can do to contribute to finding a solution for this even if I myself can’t directly benefit from it?
A Positive Mindset changes your attitude which helps to overcome difficult circumstances
I don’t take any of this lightly or presume it to be easy and while I am relatively good health I do know firsthand of many people who have benefitted from this approach. I watch and listen to a friend who has rheumatoid arthritis as she tackles every new side effect with a positive mindset. She always asked the question, what’s next, what do I need to know, understand or do so that I can live with this. Some days her hands would lock making it almost impossible for her to pick up her daughter. So she practiced with her daughter on good days what they could do on the bad days to hold each other.
Love is more a feeling than a thing
Today they have cuddle sessions to compensate for not being picked up and held, they lay with their arms around one another for a while and chat about whatever is on their mind and it seems to satisfy both their needs for the closeness and touching. There are other side effects of this illness that she handles in more mechanical ways, such as not being able to open a jar or a can of something. When her hands are not locked she will always opt to use them to do so, but on the days they are she uses the mechanical tools available to assist her. Exercise and staying active is one of the keys to making RA more bearable but like the previous things, there are days when the pain makes it tough to be truly positive.
To compensate for these days, she uses a treadmill intermittently through the day instead of her and her daughters preferred walks to or play in the park. Her daughter takes part by using one of her electronic run in place mats that not only makes her feel part of the activity but keeps her mind off the real reason they are not at the park.
Taking one day at time makes daily setbacks easier to get through
I also know of a mother of five stricken with MS. I was always amazed at how she and her family dealt with the effects of it. One of the most noticeable was that they did not fawn over her. They let her determine when she needed help, and she was determined that that help would be limited to real rather than perceived need. I have watched as she became frustrated with not being able to cut something on her plate as her husband or one of the children would quietly without a word touch her arm and replace the plate with the food already cut.
I have also seen her struggle with her wheelchair trying to move in a crowded area and observed her perseverance in doing so on her own under the watchful eye of her family allowing her to do so. Other times I have watched her laugh at herself as she dropped a plate or tipped over a glass due to unsteady hands and then observed her wheel to another person on crutches to hold open a door for them with a smile.
To me, it is that kind of attitude that kept her going on much longer than the medical prognosis. Yes, she succumbed to the effects of the disease but she did so with grace and having, for the most part, enjoyed her final days with the love of and for her family and their generosity in allowing her to do things her way.
I’ve written it above, but I think it worth repeating here: if it’s to be it’s up to me. You are the master of your life, through you own attitude towards it.