“3 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong” ~ Excerpt From Marc & Angel Hack Life

The following post is from an email I received from Marc and Angel angelc@marcandangel.com. https://www.facebook.com/marcandangelhacklife/

“Today, I’m sitting in my hospital bed waiting to have both my breasts removed. But in a strange way I feel like the lucky one. Up until now I have had no health problems. I’m a 69-year-old woman in the last room at the end of the hall before the pediatric division of the hospital begins. Over the past few hours I have watched dozens of cancer patients being wheeled by in wheelchairs and rolling beds. None of these patients could be a day older than 17.”

That’s an entry from my grandmother’s journal, dated 9/16/1977. I photocopied it and pinned it to my bulletin board about a decade ago. It’s still there today, and it continues to remind me that there is always, always, always something to be thankful for. And that no matter how good or bad I have it, I must wake up each day thankful for my life, because someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.

Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them. Imagine all the wondrous things your mind might embrace if it weren’t wrapped so tightly around your struggles. Always look at what you have, instead of what you have lost. Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left.

1. Pain is part of growing.

Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward. And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to. When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose. Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you. Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. Good things take time. Stay patient and stay positive. Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.

Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.

2. Every little struggle is a step forward.

In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it. So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way. Otherwise, there’s no point in starting. This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion. It could mean not eating what, or sleeping where, you’re used to, for weeks on end. It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills. It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar. It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers. It could mean lots of time alone in solitude. Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible. It gives you the space you need. Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it.

And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds. And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine. You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path. And it’s worth it. So if you’re going to try, go all the way. There’s no better feeling in the world… there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be ALIVE.

3. The best thing you can do is to keep going.

Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t. When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher. Find the strength to laugh every day. Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful. Find it in your heart to make others smile too. Don’t stress over things you can’t change. Live simply. Love generously. Speak truthfully. Work diligently. And even if you fall short, keep going. Keep growing.

Awake every morning and do your best to follow this daily TO-DO list:

– Think positively.
– Eat healthy.
– Exercise today.
– Worry less.
– Work hard.
– Laugh often.
– Sleep well.

Be well,

ingebird

“The “C” Word” ~ Chapter #2 From My Book “Rectal Cancer My Ass”

Over the next week I was given four pints of blood and went through a battery of tests. I was staying at a teaching hospital which means, every day a group of resident doctors showed up in my hospital room taking notes, and asking to look at my caboose. Whatever modesty I had before my hospital stay was gone by the time I left.

A colonoscopy revealed I had rectal cancer. After the test was done, a nurse presented me with a Polaroid picture of my colon. (Who the hell wants a pictures of that? I should have kept it though and made copies and sent them out as next years Christmas cards). The cancer looked to me like dryer lint, grey and fuzzy. A few hours later an MRI showed the cancer had spread to my liver. I didn’t just have rectal cancer; I had STAGE FOUR rectal cancer!

Shit! I was pissed!

My son and my hubby were devastated by the news, but I refused to get upset. I was determined to survive, so I spent my time marching around the halls of the hospital, wearing my Ugg boots and a hospital gown, waiting to hear what kind of plan my medical team came up with. I told my family and doctors to never say the word “cancer” around me, but they could call it the “c” word. Maybe I had cancer, but I wouldn’t let it define me. The blood transfusions gave me energy and I didn’t feel sick anymore, except for that persistent diarrhea. I joked with the nurses and tried to watch television to pass the time; waiting for my doctors to come up with a plan to kill the cancer growing inside me.

One night a nurse came in to see me. She wanted to know if I was alright.

“Sure I’m fine.” I said.
“Can I ask you a personal question?” She asked.

I nodded.

“How can you be so positive after getting such devastating news? Patients usually fall apart and can’t stop crying. We have to give them medication to calm down, but you seem happy.”

I thought about it for a minute. I figured she thought I was in denial and maybe “psychologically” speaking I was, but in my mind I refused to believe that this cancer was going to kill me.

I said, “I’m only 56 years old and I’m not ready to die. I will do everything I can to stay alive and having a positive attitude will only help. Besides, I was never much of a ‘crier.’ I’ll get mad before I start crying and if you do see me crying, it’s because I am really mad!”

A few days later my medical team (I called them my Dream Team) came back to my hospital room with a plan; they would resection my liver, and then give me chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumors, so eventually my colon could be removed. In its place would be a permanent colostomy bag.

Now that’s a plan I could live with.

Be well!
ingebird

My Book “Rectal Cancer My Ass” : Chapter #1 How I was Diagnosed with Rectal Cancer

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It was in the midst of the “Great Recession,” 2010 and full time work was hard to find, so I worked three part time jobs. If that wasn’t stressful enough, my “internal plumbing” was giving me a lot of trouble. Most of my days were spent juggling work schedules and looking for bathrooms. I was tired all the time but blamed it on the fact my day started at 5am, to make sure I got my “morning business” done before I was sitting on the freeway, driving to my first job. There is nothing worse than having a bathroom emergency and finding yourself stuck in rush hour traffic!

Over the years I saw different doctors to find out what was going on and they each told me the same thing: stress or IBS — caused by too much stress. Then one day I found drops of blood on my toilet paper after I wiped myself. About six months before my “correct” diagnosis, a nurse practitioner insisted the blood was from hemorrhoids that were probably aggravated by (you guessed it) stress! My gut feeling said it was something else but exactly what, I didn’t know, so I went along with his diagnosis. The bleeding continued the next few months.

This wasn’t the first time I had trouble getting a correct diagnosis from western medicine doctors. When I was forty, I started having heavy periods twice a month. I went to a woman’s clinic to get a pap smear and was told the results were normal. A couple months went by and I saw a female doctor who said I was anemic. I asked if I was starting menopause, but she assured me that I was too young for that, and told me to take iron pills and wear thicker pads on those “heavy flow days.”

The bleeding got so bad I started missing work because I sometimes bled through my clothes. There was something wrong with me but didn’t know who to turn to for help. Two different doctors already said I wasn’t sick. I was working as a waitress at the time and one day I mentioned my problem to a female customer who ate in the restaurant a few times a week. Since we shared stories about our personal lives, I felt comfortable enough to ask her if she had problem periods like mine. “Yes.” She said. “You need to see an acupuncturist. They will straighten you out.”

A week later I was sitting in an exam room at the Acupuncture and Integrated Medicine College in Berkeley. This was my first experience with acupuncture so I had no idea what to expect. After checking my pulse and looking at my tongue it was determined that I was perimenopausal. Yay! I have a diagnosis! I thought. My periods were back to normal within a month, but I would have to go back monthly for treatments until I was finished going through “the change.”

The day after Christmas in 2010, I woke up having trouble breathing. When I got out of bed my legs felt so heavy I could barely walk, so my husband decided I needed to go to the emergency room.

An hour later we checked in with the ER receptionist. No sooner did we sit down when my name was called. I was ushered into a room where a nurse took my vitals. She said everything looked normal. “I thought, how can that be possible when I feel so bad?”

It wasn’t long before the ER doctor showed up. She told me everything looked good but before she sent me home, she wanted to take some blood from me. “Maybe that will give us a clue as to what is going on.” She said.

An hour later she came back and announced, “I know what’s wrong with you. Forty percent of your blood is gone. Are you bleeding somewhere?”

“Yes, from my rear-end.”
“For how long?”
“Four months, but only it was only a few drops a day.”
The doctor yelled, “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!”

“No, I am not kidding”, I thought. I was relieved to finally find out there really was something wrong with me.

“Oh that’s good news. All I need is some blood and I can go home then,” I said.

“Oh no, my dear, you will be our guest at the hospital for a while, AND I am sending a nurse to sit with you in case you ‘stroke out’ from loss of blood.”

I sat there dumbfounded… little did I know my life was about to change forever.

Be well and learn to become your own health activate.

Ingebird