A part of me is really freaked out by my diagnosis because it's the first time that I've had something really be wrong with me. I've had other health problems, but they didn't have the type of potential ramifications of this diagnosis. The idea of dying when my children are young is just devastating to me, and even the mere possibility of it. . .it's tough for me to even think about.
But I realized that I really need to focus on the positive. They think they got all of the tumor. There is no reason to think it will come back. I will be monitored closely. And if it does come back, we will treat it aggressively. There is no reason to think the worst, and there is much to be thankful for.
But more than that, I've been thinking about people who have it worse off than me. I have a distant relative who contracted HIV from a blood transfusion as a young child. He's today one of the longest surviving AIDS patients in the world. During his entire life, he's had to endure many painful tests and treatments, but he still carries on with his life every day. And, he's still here. He doesn't let his medical condition keep him from living his life. The night before my surgery, I also picked up the book The Happiness Project, which happened to be lying around my aunt's house. I started reading it that night, as a way to distract myself. The author's husband is Hepatitis C positive. Like my relative, he contracted it as a child before the blood supply was tested. 30 years after contracting Hepatitis C, most patients start to have problems with their liver. Her husband is at that point, yet he, too, is out there living his life. You can't live in fear of the unknown, really. Well, you could, I could, but if they are not, it would sort of be silly for me to. I need to be more brave.
One line in the book, from a comment on the author's blog, really resonated with me. The commenter wrote "I think a real life-shaking catastrophe can provide insights into happiness that you couldn't have any other way. . ." My situation is far from a catastrohpe at this point, but it has really made me take a closer look at my life, and realize how really good I have it, and how much better I can even make it.
I think that's the best way to deal with hard times: to look for what they teach you, and to look for the positive that you can take away from the situation, and to tackle a little bit every day to make those changes in your life from that point forward.