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I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Illness Becomes Them

I think we are one of two groups of people.  We're either the ones who learn they have an illness, follow medical advice to get well, and go about living OR, we learn of an illness and we succumb to 'living sick.'  And although I can understand the latter happening, illness is just not within my nature to embrace.

Having already been hit with that cancer bus, I admit to being shocked and feeling physically and emotionally awful.  It took me time to learn again to feel well -- yes learn.  It was a cognizant decision on my part to accept wellness and although it took about six weeks before feeling physically almost normal, I strove to do so.  I refused to become fragile, sick, helpless.  It wouldn't have helped, anyway.  At one point the week after surgery, my husband was traveling and both girls were staying with me.  They asked if I wanted anything special to eat.  I did.  I craved cherry Jello.  They looked at each other blankly.  Neither 'knew' how to 'make' Jello.  What comfort that the half a million dollars spent in college educations for the two of them resulted in such genius!

But I digress... I credit the people around me -- mostly my mother and daughters with this 'healthy' attitude.  (While my husband was supportive and caring and loving, he was scared).  My mom (although frightened, too) continued to remind me that I heal quickly and as simple as this seems, it affected me.  My girls adamantly insisted that I had cancer (past tense), my doctor told me to get out of bed and walk a little each day because  for every day I spent immobile, it would take two more to regain my strength.  The attitude, the strength seeped through.

18 comments:

Kimberly said...

I think this philosophy goes for feeling old as well.

So, did you teach your girls how to make Jello? Too funny!

Lena said...

Very funny about the jello! How great to have had your daughter by your side when u had cancer. What a comfort they must have been.

You are right though, it is all about attitude!

George said...

I agree that attitude (and prayer) has a tremendous part to play in overcoming illness. Years ago I had Gilliam-Barre Syndrome and spent two weeks in intensive care at the Cleveland Clinic, paralyzed except for my right arm. The doctors told me it could be a year before I could walk without a walker. Five months after leaving the Clinic I was walking (unaided) on the Great Wall in China.

Retired English Teacher said...

I loved this blog post of yours. It spoke to me so directly. I am struggling with equal proportions of loss and pain. I also am determined to live well with a healthy attitude. Christmas set me back, but I also am determined to get the attitude of health back.

I loved the red jello story. Now there is another blog entry right there. What didn't I kids learn in college that they will need to live life?

God bless you as you move forward on your journey to wellness.

Linda Reeder said...

Thank you for this post. I will remember these words. You never know when you might need them.

Jules said...

WOW, I didn't even know Kathy. I'll now need to read your blog backwards to get caught up.

I am celebrating 1 year cancer free this week and have the same emotions broiling within me.

I still crave Jell-O but I now make mine in SHOTS.

Much LOVE you survivor you!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kathy, I think that everything in life is all about ATTITUDE. I have never been sick or had any physical problems much. However, this past Summer I had to have knee surgery for a torn meniscus. It was a simple surgery --but I let it control me instead of me controlling it. I became depressed and had a rough time. I even ended up in the emergency room one night. LATER, I found out that it was the pain medication which had totally altered my personality. Once I got off of that medication, I started to live again --and got well. It was a scary time for me ---but if I ever have surgery again or get really sick, I think I'll have a different attitude totally.

God Bless You, my friend. I hope and pray that cancer does not ever return to you. One of my best friends (childhood friends) has breast cancer (Stage IV) and is really fighting the good fight. I love her and pray for her daily. I will pray for your continued good health also.

Hugs,
Betsy

Deb said...

Kathy, this post should be bottled and given out in tablespoonsful with every RX prescribed by the doctor! My daughter lives in pain every day, and has done so since she was 18 years old. When I say, "Does your hand/knee/foot/elbow/anything hurt?" She smiles and says, "Mom, yes, it does, but if I wait to shop/cook/play with the kids/travel/anything until it stops hurting, I'll not have any life at all." Attitude definitely determines your altitude. You and she would be great friends if you ever met!

Gilly said...

What a great attitude to have! But then you are a great person!

Mind you, men seem to be born different. Mr.G slipped on the ice yesterday and hurt his hip. It wasn't broken, but would he take paracetamol to help with the pain? No. Would he use a stick (cane?) to help walk and stop shuffling? No. Would he consider going to the Dr or Hospital to check it over? No.

Instead he moaned. And moaned.

I'm honoured to know you, Kathy.

Maggie said...

Yes, yes, yes. You have it in a nutshell.

"Professor" M. said...

Hi Kathy! I so agree! I have (supposedly) had MS for over 13 years. Luckily, there are terrific medications for it now, but I still think positive attitude has helped. Thanks for a very uplifting post! Happy New Year, and I will continue to pray for your great health!

Linda said...

I like your attitude.

Tracy said...

Kathy,
Isn't attitude a powerful thing? I agree with you wholeheartedly! I have a tendency to feel impatient with those that have a sucky attitude and so happy to hear you have endured, and thrived AND are so positive! Thank you for the reminder...

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I've always thought that a person's attitude plays a large role in their health. I believe you can think yourself well or you can think yourself sick.

beachgirl said...

I am a firm believer that attitude makes for quick healing. I don't sit still very long. Sick or not. As for the jello. I don't think my kids know how to make it either. Unless they wanted to make jello shots.

Lena said...

I posted the shrimp recipe for you over on my blog. Enjoy!

Barb said...

Hi Kathy, I kind of stumbled onto your blog and really identified with this post. Also, I'm formerly from Lancaster County, PA, though I've lived in CO for 21 years. I like your attitude! Hope you're feeling A-OK now. Happy New Year to you and family.

Cheryl said...

Attitude is everything. We have to choose to be happy and embrace our blessings. You do.