JoJoisms

Step 5: Getting Out of Survival Mode

Written By: JoJoisms - Sep• 04•17

If you’re living in Survival Mode for health or financial or any other reason, you’ve probably had people share some unbelievably ridiculous solutions with you.  Either that or you’ve found them yourself by trolling the internet in search of ANY answers.  While our answers can come from the most ridiculous places, it is wise not to spend too much time, and especially money, entertaining the ridiculous solutions because they may not actually be worth it.  As I shared in my original article, some things that sound ridiculous, actually are!:

5. Don’t invest too much time or money in the ridiculous

On the other hand, some things that sound ridiculous actually are.  Don’t spend too much time or money on things that don’t work.  I only try things that show a preponderance of evidence that it works.  And I only spend money on things that are reasonable given my financial situation and that evidence.  Otherwise you’ll be a broke and busy chronically ill person.

 

It may sound ridiculous to spend money on a training program that helps you earn money when in financial trial because you actually need more money, but that’s exactly what worked for us.  We spent money we had, but couldn’t really afford to lose on a real estate investment program and that is what made us money when my husband first lost his job.  It sounds a bit counter intuitive, but it actually worked.  What we had to decide was if we felt this was something we could do, would do, and that it could help us earn money in the very near future.  We did and it did, even though, as it turns out the program no longer works today because the rules have changed.  It did then and that’s all that mattered at the time to make our decision.

But some things that sound ridiculous, actually ARE!  Now the hard part is to determine what is ridiculous for YOU because the very same thing that will help your friend, may not actually help you.  Your circumstances, talents, aptitudes, and situation is different from anyone else.  Only you can weigh all involved in order to come to a decision for YOU.   That program we purchased, when we purchased it, would have been completely ridiculous if we had purchased it today, or if we weren’t really able or willing to work it, or if we didn’t have the cash available at the time.  Someone else may have found real estate too risky, complicated, or in some other way problematic.

Now, if you’re living in Survival Mode, you may feel one of two ways: desperate enough to try anything or disillusioned enough that nothing seems it will help.  Each can be both a blessing and a curse.  Here’s what I mean:

If you are desperate enough that you will give the ridiculous a try, you may either find your answer hidden in an unlikely place or you may find yourself deeper in trial.  If you are desperate enough, I caution you to evaluate the ridiculous as impartially as you can, get opinions from trusted friends and family who ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND YOUR SITUATION, and make sure you do your due diligence in research before you go ahead.

If you are disillusioned such that you can’t see anything working for you, you may miss out on something truly amazing, or you may, indeed, avoid a further tragedy.  My caution is the same.  Make sure you do your due diligence and research all you can find with an open mind.  Then, as open minded as you are able, weigh the costs and benefits against your situation.  Finally, get trusted friends and family to weigh in, but make sure they are friends and family who ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND YOUR SITUATION.

Your answers may, indeed, come from the utterly ridiculous. On the other hand, the ridiculous is called ridiculous for other than ridiculous reasons.

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Step Four: Getting Out of Survival Mode

Written By: JoJoisms - Aug• 28•17

So far I’ve shared three steps for getting out of Survival Mode from my article, 18 Steps to Living Better with Chronic Illness.  Step 1: Be Flexible.  Step 2: Develope a Sense of Humor.  Step 3: Be Open to New Things.  And this week, Step 4: Don’t Discount the Silly Ideas.

Here’s what I wrote in my original article as it relates to chronic illness:

“4. Don’t discount the silly ideas

Those new things can sometimes come in the form of the ridiculous. How can some oil that smells like lavender make me feel better?  Does it make sense that drinking something to give you more stomach acid will help?  Well, yes.  What may sound silly or ridiculous to you, might just help you through something.  Lavender essential oil and other oils have actually helped me sleep better.  And my heartburn isn’t a result of too much acid, but too little such that I am not digesting my food. This causes other issues resulting in my heartburn.”

Some things sound downright silly. Some sound counter intuitive.  Yet others sound completely ridiculous!  I’m not saying you should try or even entertain every crackpot idea people throw your way, but I am suggesting that you look into every one of them a bit further to see if it might be something you should try.

Some things aren’t worth trying after you investigate them for one of several reasons.  They might be too expensive.  They might be something that clashes with your values or your body in the case of health issues.  They might present too great a risk for the benefit they profess.

However, some things, the more you look into them, might be worth a go.  Out of the unlikely places of the corners of the Twilight Zone sometimes emerges a helping hand.  Just because something sounds insane, doesn’t mean it is.  Just because you never heard of it before, doesn’t mean it may not be the answer to prayer.

Now, some things may seem to help or help only temporarily.  At the time I wrote my original article, I was sleeping a tiny bit better after trying essential oils. Unfortunately, it was very short lived and may have been a fluke as I tried to repeat it night after night, I was unable to make any strides in my insomnia.  But it was definitely worth a try!  Many people report feeling better with essential oils, it had no chance of side effects, and smelled heavenly!

From the most unlikely of places sometimes comes a solution you’ve spent years searching for.  Here’s a small example of an answer to something that came from as unlikely a source as I could ever have imagined.  I’ve written a long post about my miracle story before, but the Reader’s Digest Version of it is this.

My doctor insisted I have a test to see if my fibroid was still there.  We were both sure it wasn’t as they tend to disappear after menopause and I was so close to the end after many years of peri.  I would never have agreed to have this test if I had to pay for it on my own, but I had insurance at the time so I consented.  While they found that it had, indeed, disappeared, they found a cyst on my left ovary.  It was the kind that can become cancerous so I had surgery to remove both the cyst and the ovary as they were difficult to separate.  During the surgery, my doctor decided to go the extra mile and remove the fallopian tube as well.  After the pathology report came back positive for cancer of the fallopian tube, I was scheduled to have a radical hysterectomy to remove EVERYTHING else.  Because the cancer I had was very rare and aggressive, they wanted to make sure it hadn’t spread.  It was so early in the diagnosis that I didn’t require chemo or radiation.  And it was very rare for a woman to survive this cancer because it is usually diagnosed too late for a cure.

If I hadn’t had the insurance at the time, I would have died.

If my surgeon hadn’t decided to be on the safe side and remove my fallopian tube as well, I would have died.

If my doctors all hadn’t moved as quickly as they did, they would have found it too late and, I would have died.

My cure, to a cancer NOBODY even knew I had, came from having insurance at the exact timing necessary and doctors who were careful and quick about something nobody would ever have thought to look for.

Be open to new things.  You never know where your solution may come from!

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Step Three: Getting Out of Survival Mode

Written By: JoJoisms - Aug• 21•17

We’re up to step three in my 18 week series, 18 Steps to Getting Out of Survival Mode.  Step one was to Be Flexible and step two was to Develop a Sense of Humor.  Step three is to Be Open to New Things.

So I know how you feel.  I’ve been there before.  You’ve tried just about everything you could afford and remotely sounds feasible.  You’ve listened to friends and family drone on about how you “should do” this or that.  You’re probably tired of people telling you what you should do.  I’ve been there so I know how annoying it is to have people suggest the very same things you’ve just tried or can’t afford or are allergic to or whatever it is that prevents you from it.

But here’s the thing.  Here’s what I wrote in my original article. It’s not much, but it’s powerful. At least it was for me.

“3. Be open to new things
Sometimes you need to be open to the possibility that something new might help you–even if you’ve tried it before. Sometimes circumstances aren’t right and, as you gain more strength or balance your diet or meds, that new idea might just work.”

Sometimes we get to a point where we just don’t want to hear it anymore, but sometimes it’s the very thing we need to hear…just one more time.  Maybe it’s the way it’s done that’s different. Maybe it’s doing it in combination with something else. Maybe it’s just time.

I used to post on Facebook about my chronic health issues and had DOZENS of people PM me with the latest and greatest cure all, sure fire method to solve all my problems.  I seriously got tired of hearing it.  No matter what I did or took, I just couldn’t sleep longer than 3hrs at a time and four or five hours total each night. I tried everything but sleeping pills.  One day, my doctor recommended I take a melatonin and magnesium at night.  I just about had a purple conniption!  I’ve TRIED that before…and Valerian Root Tea…and several other things.  But she said to try it again with a muscle relaxer she was prescribing.  Well, it works for me!  I call it my Triple M!  Two things that never worked for me before along with one I hadn’t tried and SHAZAM!

Sometimes you need to stop the madness and not listen to the same things over and over again…to save your sanity.  But sometimes, taking the very same thing you did two years ago, just might work this time because your body has changed or because it’s taken differently or with something else.  Listen to your doctor, pray, and seek what your gut is telling you.  It might be telling you to be open to new things again…or old things in a new way.

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Step Two: Getting Out of Survival Mode

Written By: JoJoisms - Aug• 14•17

We are in week two of our 18 week in-depth series on getting out of survival mode based on my article 18 Steps to Living Better with Chronic Illness!  Last week, I talked about step one: being flexible.  Step two is developing a sense of humor.  Here’s step two from my article:

If you don’t laugh, well…you know the alternative. I make a joke of things. Makes me feel better. Makes others around me feel better too.  But for times when I can’t joke, I can usually count on some friends, family and my dh to say something funny to cheer me up.  Life can be hard, even if you don’t struggle with chronic issues.  Making your struggle into humor is just plain uplifting. I’m not saying to make light of what you are going through, but I am saying to make light of what you are going through.  Now before you ask me for the Jibberish Subtitles, let me explain.  I don’t ever say that what I’m going through is easy or fun, but I do point out the funny parts of it.  In that way, I’m making it lighter and lifting my spirits.

Now in order to get practice in seeing the humor in your own struggles and trials, it often helps to see humor in  something else first.  My default had always been to listen to Praise and Worship music when I was down, but when I was in a deep darkness, I found it difficult to listen.  The songs made me cry and, as you may have guessed, crying isn’t usually uplifting (However, see my side note below).  I found myself gravitating to the comedy section of Netflix and watching clean stand up comedians on YouTube for HOURS! Find something that makes you giggle, even if it’s watching the same I Love Lucy episode twelve times!

Have you ever been so stressed out that something seemingly just a smidge funny made you laugh uncontrollably for what seemed like hours? Then afterward you felt a bit happier and much calmer?  That’s what seeking out humor in your life can do for you.  So…after a much needed giggle fest, I was able to see a bit more humor in my own issues.  You’d be surprised at the sense of humor life has when you’re primed to see it!

Another way is to just begin to do silly things with your friends and family.  I once went to a large park with sales booths and stores.  My sister and I walked around all day together just talking and laughing.  One particular store had hats.  Weird, odd, silly, pretty…hats.  We went about the store trying them all on and taking our pictures both separately and together.  It was such fun!  A great release and a much needed giggle in my stressful situation and declining health that I was facing at the time.

Yet another way to get some lighthearted humor in your life is through me!  I’m a goofball by nature and I’ve been defunkifying myself for decades!  I’ve created over 570 humorous sayings about life-most of which come directly from my own struggles with various health, financial and life issues.  I call them JoJoisms.  I’ve turned several of them into small PDFs on a particular topic and posted several of them in visual format I call Visual JoJoisms. These have been sprinkled in throughout this post.

Once you have been able to lift your spirits for a short time by finding humor others bring to the table, you are ready to find it on your own.  Finding the humor hidden inside trials is something that has two parts:

1. You can never find the humor when your struggle is raw.  When you first find yourself in a painful situation or when you first find out about something that adds to a difficult situation, it’s hard to find ANYTHING funny about it.  But, if you give yourself a little time, you will be better able to see the humor sitting just below the surface of a frustrating situation.  How long a time it takes for something to heal enough to where you can see the funny side of it, depends.  Each person is different and each zinger life throws at you is different.  Tread lightly at first, but invite yourself to see the humor at various times during your trials.

Side Note: There are times when you just can’t laugh and you really want to cry…need to cry.  Do so!  Find a sad song or movie and give yourself permission to cry.  Afterward, you’ll probably be ready to find something to make you giggle. 

2. The more you practice this the easier it gets.  I was born a goofball. I’ve always been a goofball and I’ll probably always be a goofball.  But I know everyone else has a different gift as well as a different natural approach to life’s struggles.  The trick is to work with what you’ve got.  The more you see the humor or blessing or gift hidden (albeit sometimes FAR beneath) the struggles, the easier it will be the next time life throws you a curve ball.

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The first step in getting out of survival mode

Written By: JoJoisms - Aug• 07•17

I wrote an article a while back, 18 Steps to Living Better with Chronic Illness.  I thought I’d expand on these one at a time to share just how this works and how it has helped me.  Sometimes it’s hard to see things with a short blurb without really expanding the concept.  So over the next 18 weeks, I’ll be sharing one concept in depth. I pray you can see yourself and your family in these as they are some of the best ways I’ve found to live a life beyond surviving.

I started off with some ideas of attitude. The first was:  Be flexible and here’s what I wrote:

Chronic illness takes twists and turns. No matter how well you plan and/or how faithful you are to your meds/vitamins/diet, you will have times when you won’t be able to do X.  Be flexible enough, if your work allows, to be okay doing Y or Z or M.O.U.S.E.  If I don’t have the energy to bounce back after a difficult or stressful weekend, I may need to devote Monday to staying in and even taking a nap if need be.

Any time you or your family is in crisis/survival mode, you will have twists and turns.  It can be financial, health, or even family related.  Any major issue or struggle in your life will have ebbs and flows, twists and turns.  Even if God is working things for your good and the outcome will be deliverance from the trial, I’ve never found the path to be straight up.  It’s like that meme on Facebook everyone shares.  You may have seen it too.  The top shows a stick figure on a bicycle on a path with a slight upward grade and says, “Your Plan.”  The bottom shows the same stick figure on the same bicycle on that same slight upward grade, but on a rocky path with ups and downs and pits filled with water and precarious narrow bridges. It says, “Reality.”

If you are not willing to be flexible with whatever gets thrown in your way (or flung in your face), if you are not willing to go with the flow when bad goes to worse, you will only succeed in frustrating yourself such that you will not be able to enjoy the in between times when you are clearly on that slight upward grade with no pitfalls impeding your steps.  Frustration only leads to more and there comes a time when too much frustration will bring you to a place of wanting to give up.

First, let me say that life will give you plenty of times when you will need to stop, regroup, gather strength to go on without any help from you.  Those times are built for resting, but not for giving up.  However, if you heap more frustration upon yourself by not being flexible with your plan, you will come to that place much sooner and your brain won’t listen to your  heart for God’s guidance that will allow you to continue.  It will lead you to a valley too deep to climb out of on your own.  When you are flexible, you flow easily between your plan and reality without benefit of fits.

So what does being flexible really mean?  You know how when you’re really looking forward to seeing a movie on TV, but you got the night wrong or the station goofed in reporting its programming?  It’s disappointing and frustrating because maybe you passed up an opportunity to go somewhere more exciting than what that channel is currently broadcasting.  But, what if just after you find this out, a friend calls that you haven’t been able to see in years and says she’s in town for only that day and has two hours to spend with you?  You’re no longer upset about the movie, are you? You’re delighted to be able to see that dear friend and happy you didn’t have other plans that would have made you unavailable when she called.

Life can be like that when you’re in survival mode.  You can think that your answer comes from one place and it can be devastating when that place is no longer available to you.  That resource is no longer attainable.  But where does our help come from?  The Lord is always at work and sometimes we need to be flexible enough to appreciate it.  Sometimes we are able to see that help right away in the place we expected it to be.  Sometimes we are able to see it around the corner from the place we expected it to be.  And sometimes it’s a long way down the road from where we expected it to be.

But if we spend our time frustrated that it wasn’t where we wanted it to be, we may not have our eyes on the road and miss it down the road…because our eyes were filled with tears.  There are times when we need to our tears to clear out our anxiety and help us focus on what’s next.  But sometimes those tears go on so long that we miss what God has put in our path. It could be the very thing our heart longs for.

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Three Ways to Discover Your Mission

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 31•17

Several weeks ago, I talked about that God isn’t a Genie we can order a cure from, that when we feel alone…God is with us, and why sometimes God chooses not to heal us–because He has a plan to use us.  This week, I’d like to share three ways we can discover a mission God may have for our lives BECAUSE of what we are going though.

1.What do you know that others may not?

Do you know what it feels like to struggle with something that most don’t?  Have you found a way to deal with it?  Are you willing to share your struggle with others?  How might your insights help those who are also struggling with it?  How might your insights help their families who feel lost to help someone who is struggling?  Do you have a talent for writing?  A talent for comforting others? A heart to be a support?

2. What options are available to you to share your knowledge?

Are you on social media?  Would you like to blog?  Could you contribute to your church’s outreach in the community?  Would you be willing to write a book?  Volunteer at a hospital?

3. How might your passion for that topic help others and lead them back to the Lord? 

What do you need that others just like you might also be in need of?  What would you like someone to do for you?  Would you be able and willing to do that for others who struggle like you do?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I went through a natural childbirth training.  I’ll never forget what the woman told me.  She said that the pain is unbearable when you don’t know how long it will be.  She said, just when you think you can’t stand it anymore, that’s usually when the baby is born.  I can live through anything if I know there is a purpose behind it.  Otherwise, even the smallest pain lived with for a long time can seem unbearable.

I’m able to thrive through most of my pain and fatigue because I know I’m being used by God to help others who feel alone in their struggle.  My fondness for sarcasm and humor is being used to ease others’ pain.

You may not be in for a lifetime of struggle. You may be healed tomorrow, a year from now.  You may feel as if it’s been forever and a day.  If you feel there is no reason for what you are living through, maybe there is.  Maybe you are to share, uplift, or guide someone else.

What do you think?

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The Light Isn’t Only at the End of the Tunnel

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 24•17

You know that old saying. It’s supposed to make you feel better about the dark times you may go through.  There’s light at the end of the tunnel.  I don’t like that saying.  I don’t like it because it isn’t always helpful.  What if my tunnel is long?  What if it isn’t just a few weeks or even a few years? What if my tunnel is decades?  What if my tunnel doesn’t end this side of heaven?

There’s light at the end of the tunnel.  It used to make me sad.  Sad because I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the end of my tunnel.  Sad because I wasn’t sure how to navigate through the tunnel. It’s dark in there.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel.  It used to make me mad.  Mad because it wasn’t fair that I’m in this tunnel.  It wasn’t fair that it was so long or so lonely in the tunnel. After all, if there was anyone else in the tunnel, it’s so dark and cold that it’s often hard to tell.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel.  I don’t like it now either.  And it isn’t because some of my tunnels ended and others got bigger or darker or colder.  It’s because I found the light INside the tunnel.  There’s light inside the tunnel too, but you have to look for it.  Sometimes you have to look very hard.

I spent years waiting for the light at the end of my dark tunnels.  The problem with waiting until you get to the end of your dark tunnel of struggles is that you may lose hope along the way.  You may lose yourself along the way.  You will lose your joy along the way.

Those dark tunnels breed despair. The darkness covers the light and the joy and it swallows up your life.  You find yourself just surviving. Just struggling through to make it another two feet that day.  After years, you look back and all you can see is darkness.

If you change your mindset to look for the light along the way, your trip down that dark tunnel seems shorter, more doable.  You begin to notice the fireflies in the tunnel with you, the sunlight that pierces through from the end to where you are.  You notice the overhead lights along the way.  I may not feel I can make it all the way to the end, but I can make it to that next overhead light.

Now you begin to see the beauty in the tunnel, the lessons along the way, the opportunities presented, and the growth you have experienced.  All this can happen before you ever reach the end of your tunnel.

Know how I know?  I’m still in my tunnel and I see you…here…reading my words.  I see my blessed family…by my side.  I see the light the Lord has shining down through the tunnel walls to reach me where I am.

Look for the light INSIDE your tunnel.  Look for the beauty there, right where you are.  You can make it one step at a time if you look for the next light.  Who knows.   You might even find joy in the dark.

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Don’t sing songs to a heavy heart

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 17•17

I often gain insight from reading my Bible in the mornings. I shared last time about one.  Well, this one was on the very same day:  “Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, And like vinegar on soda, Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” -Proverbs 25:20.  

I’ve read through the Bible many times, but never really pondered this scripture until then.  I went a bit further to read several commentaries on this scripture and began to see a picture of how many Christians, though well-meaning, will choose the absurdity of trying to cheer up someone who is deep in trial whose soul is weary.  These same people would never think to take away a cold man’s coat in cold weather.  Yet they do feel it appropriate to try to bring a smile to an aching heart.

If this is your first time reading my posts, you may have missed an article I wrote once that got quite a bit of attention, called Sometimes You Need a Pity Party. Ecclesiastes says there is a time for every purpose under heaven.  There is a time laugh and a time to cry.  I think people are very uncomfortable during those times when their friends or relatives need time to cry. They simply don’t know what to do and feel so uncomfortable that their first instinct is to try to cheer them up.  

Some Christians subscribe to the relatively new positive thinking that anything negative must be shunned, struck down, and eliminated.  The Power of Positive thinking is HUGE, but there is a time and a place for it.  And that time isn’t when an individual is deep in the sorrow and need to cry it out.  Or when someone first learns of a death or a major loss of any other kind.  

Take it from one who has been there many times.  There is a time and a place for everything.  There is a time for positive thinking.  There is a time for cheering someone up.  There is a time to lift someone up.  But…don’t sing songs to a heavy heart.  If you don’t know what to do for them, may I offer these ideas?

Pray with them. Sit with them. Cry with them. Ask how you may help.  And when their heart has had time to begin the healing process, then be a beacon of hope to lift them up.

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Remember your creator in the days of your youth

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 10•17

I was reading my Bible recently when this passage hit me: “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’” -Ecclesiastes 12:1 and it struck me why some people are able to move past devastating news or endure through the most difficult of trials and others are more easily struck down or derailed by something like not getting a car they wanted or finding out that they didn’t get the promotion they should have.

I was having a conversation with my mom about how difficult life was say, 100 years ago, compared with today.  We have so many “modern conveniences” available to us to make our lives “easier’ that, I think, we take it for granted these days that life is SUPPOSED to be easy.  We aren’t prepared for the fact that we will “have trails of various kinds” as it says in James 1:2.

Even more important than being prepared that life isn’t going to be easy is knowing who you can count on to get you through those times and why that is so incredibly important.  I’m often asked how I’m able to handle all the surgeries, diagnoses, tests, pain and financial issues that seem to come my way on a weekly basis.  Frankly, it’s not that I’m such a strong person or that I am so smart.  As they say, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

I remember my Creator in the days of my youth (OK it wasn’t really my youth. It was more like my younger adulthood days after I accepted the Lord), before my difficult days came.  I remember how He loves me and how He may choose to use me for the greater good of others.  Or for the greater good of myself.  Or for the greater good of my family that He wishes to bless me with in far more abundance in the coming days than He would have if I had not endured.  I think of a meme I saw once where the little girl doesn’t want Jesus to take away her Teddy Bear, but it’s because He wishes to bless her with a bigger one.

The more grounded, secure, and comfortable in my faith, the easier the tough times are to endure, get through and, yes, even get over.  I feel sorrow for those going through tough times without benefit of the Lord’s help and comfort.  Without knowing that even if this struggle lasts a lifetime, our joy comes in the morning when the sun rises over heaven.

Dig into your Bible each morning. Pray for His help, comfort, and guidance.  Seek out fellowship with other believers who can help you through and pick you up when you are down.  Cry or kvetch if you need to momentarily.  Help others to pick themselves up.  Trust me when I tell you that sometimes, when you think you have nothing left to give another, a kind word or a smile can not only lift them up, but you as well from where you sit atop your own issues.  There blessings may blossom.

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The Mammogram Blues News

Written By: JoJoisms - Jul• 03•17

I went to get my yearly mammogram today. It was an interesting experience.  I mean, it’s always an “interesting” experience, but this one was due to an observation that the lovely woman who did my mammogram made to me.  

The lovely, sweet woman who performed my mammogram was charming.  She was so cute as she asked me all the questions to update their records.  She asked if I was post menopausal.  I said yes, I had a hysterectomy.  She asked when and I told her.  She asked why and I shared that they had found a huge fibroid in my uterus and when they tested to see if it was still there, they found a ovarian cyst and how when the surgeon decided to take my my ovary AND Fallopian tube, they found the cancer.  She couldn’t find Fallopian tube cancer on her drop down menu so she had to add it and commented that she’d never heard of anyone with Fallopian tube cancer. I told her that it’s rare and aggressive so most women don’t know about it until it’s too late.  With all the records updated, she began the test.    

Mammograms are never fun.  Let’s face it. Stretching pieces of skin off your bones, putting it in a vice grip and turning the pressure up until you can’t breathe is no day at the park.  Most women say it is painful.  Some say VERY painful.  I’d be in that batch of somebodies–maybe because I also happen to have Fibro.  I don’t know, but my way of dealing with it is to grin and bear it.  I mean, wadaya gonna do?  

After it was all over, she looked at me and asked.  You’ve had a lot of difficult issues in your life, haven’t you?  I said, I guess so and shared that I’d had four surgeries in a 2.5 year span, three of which in a six month span of time.  She said, “I thought so.  I can always tell when someone’s had a lot of challenges in life.  They’re the ones who complain the least.”  

That got me thinking.  I had a mammogram when I was in my 30’s and I do remember complaining about it a lot, but I’m a lot more calm about procedures…a lot more comfortable with inconveniences…a lot more patient getting results…a lot more joyous about life.  Since I realized just how blessed I was to have had that cancer found early…before it spread…such that I didn’t need to go through Chemo or Radiation Therapy…and I’m still here to tell the tale. 

What changed was my outlook.  What changed was my attitude.  What changed was my expectation.  I expected that life would have difficulties so I had an attitude of patience to endure it for a time which changed my outlook on having to go through things from a burden to a slight bump in the road.  

If I’d never had to endure so many of life’s trials, I don’t think I’d have learned to brush things off as much as I do now.  Getting bogged down in “what should be” made me grumpy and more easily frustrated.  Having an outlook of gratitude for what could have happened but didn’t is so much more liberating and allows me to live a life of much greater joy.  

I can’t say I’d knowingly choose to go through all that again, but I can honestly say I’m grateful for having lived through it.  Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns now, but I do see a unicorn on the hill over there and a rainbow off in the middle distance that I never noticed before.

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