At the very beginning of this journey so many people told me to be strong, to be tough and fight. I thought to myself, “Duh! Do you know me at all? I’m the toughest bitch I know!” My definition of tough isn’t muscles and intimidation. It’s confidence. It’s character. It’s self assurance. It’s attitude.

Right after my diagnosis I wanted to know why. Why me? I eat fairly healthy. I mean I have membership to two food cooperatives. People that join co-ops don’t get cancer. Last summer, I bought 40 pounds of apples–what the hell was I thinking?–to challenge myself in the kitchen. I don’t consume artificial sugars and only real sugar on special occasions. I don’t microwave plastics or styrofoam. My family is active. Maybe we’re not CrossFitters, but we move.

The whole diagnosis made no sense, and I felt it couldn’t be for me. I take care of myself. I don’t carry around anger. I love to live! I try to have fun and to be happy. I’m down to have a good time, anytime! I’m 33 years for cryin’ out loud! So why? What went wrong? When and where did shit go south? I wanted to know and I wanted to know right away.

The medical folks told me my diagnosis was just a function of bad luck, but that answer still wasn’t good enough. After beating my head against the wall, I gave up wanting to know why. Did it really matter? The fact was I had been dealt a pretty shitty hand of cards and now my job was to beat the house.

I made a very clear decision to try and put my type A personality on hold. It wasn’t going to help me or the people around me. I wasn’t going to be “that” cancer patient. Simultaneously, I decided that the only thing I could control was my attitude. Chemo might work, or it might not. I can’t control the meds or how my body reacts to them. It’s out of my hands. Now, people who aren’t type A might not understand how hard just going with the flow is for those of us who are. A lackadaisical attitude just isn’t in my DNA. It’s not how I’m bred or wired, but it’s how I’ve tried to adapt to my new normal.

If you really sit back and think about it, aren’t our attitudes the only thing we really have control of, with or without cancer? At work you can lose “the big” contract. At home, your husband can cheat on you. You could get in a car accident any day, or even lose your job through no fault of your own. At the end of the day, you have no control of those things. The only thing that we have control over is our reaction to them; one’s attitude controls that.

After losing Briton I struggled to find the right way to cope. One day, over the phone, my best friend told me to cry. Let it out. She was so very right. As strong as I am, I’ve let myself cry. I honestly think I’d be doing more damage if I didn’t. I have the meltdown. So I’ve let myself get pissed off, sad, or hurt. Hell, sometimes I’m all three at once. But I cry, and get it off my chest. Now, I don’t want to confuse tears for weakness. When I’m done with the tears, I move on.

It’s been four months since my diagnosis, and this is what I have decided: I’m not going down without a fight. My powerhouse mind won’t let me. But there will be moments that I will doubt my own strength. There will be moments that my body will be so wiped out that my mind won’t care.

That’s where my loved ones and those on Team Lori step in. I’m only human and I sometimes need to be reminded of my own strength. Sometimes, I’ll need help. This whole help thing has been very difficult to accept, but hopefully it’s temporary. I also hope that I’ve put enough good karma into the universe to get some of it back. Every single text message, e-mail, Facebook message, blog comment and phone call reminds me to be strong. So thank you dear friends. Thank you for your concern, for your love, for your inspiration.

10 thoughts on “Attitude

  1. Attitude is the answer. The fact of acknowledging the problem and dealing with it in a positive way or at least as best as one can is the only way. I look at some of our returning veterans and see their injuries and my heart and prayers and all just wrenches. Then I see how hey look at it and deal with it and overcome it! What a helluva bunch of heroes they are. First the enemy and then their own battle! Something else. I see so many things and silently say, but for the grace of Him, go I! I truly admire your attitude. I always wonder how I would deal with such monsters. Well, I did in 1998, but considerably different. All I can say is this “You are one helluva gal and I admire every ounce!”

  2. Dr. Norman Vincent Peal said it best in his book “The Power of Positive Thinking” Until my own diagnosis I didn’t quite understand it all, doctors are always amazed at the outcome of patients with postive attitudes! Hang in there and be clinical and continue to be positive!

  3. “The only thing that we have control over is our reaction to them; one’s attitude controls that.” – Truer words have never been spoken, my dear LJP!.

    .you know, it’s funny you post this particular thought. i was revisiting this “why bad things happen to good people” question last week..i think there are many answers..i don’t know why this has happened to you particularly but your attitude before and especially now has been a shining and important example/reminder to all who you touch to love life and stay strong; so maybe that is part of the answer.

    .you’ve got big bucks in your karma bank!oxo

  4. We may never know the reason WHY. It is okay to feel all of the emotions you described, and yes it is even more than alright to cry! This cancer walk is one that has to be taken a step at a time, one day at a time and sometimes on that walk we have to stop and regroup with tears, anger, sadness, questions, doubts, ect. It is by no means a sign of weakness – I believe these times allow our mind, body and spirit to regroup as well. And for those times when you need that extra push to get you through, lean on all of the love and prayers that are being sent your way and know that many are thinking of you sending you positive thoughts to carry you through!

  5. There are moments in your life when you stop and look and don’t know how to move forward. I look at the issues I am worried about and then read your blog and am shamed by the things Taking priority. Your struggle and your beauty and grace and spirt inspire me to focus on the most important things in life. You will not give up the fight. And I won’t stop rootin for you.

  6. You wonderful person, you! It’s easy for us to say “stay strong”, but it’s SO much harder for you to listen. There is no shame in letting out the frustrations, in fact, it’s healthy! I heard recently that there is some physical connection between stress and tears. Keep up the tears whenever needed. We promise not to think any less of you! And, as always, much admiration from me for your transparency during this incredibly difficult time in your life!


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