I liked this article a lot. I think it probably offers the most workable attitude and advice for dealing with a diagnosis of cancer if you want to affect the outcome for the best. Everyone has a different personality which affects how well you can take on "stubbornness". It may be a big challenge for people who have habitually relied on other means of coping with things. My wife had ovarian cancer (3C) for 10 years before it became too aggressive and took her life. She had many rough times but she always met every challenge face on, never shied away. She was exactly persistent and patient; she picked herself up each time she was knocked down. She was a very down-to-earth, realistic person and I feel she did have natural courage, but I'm sure she had to also throw a switch in her head to accept the reality of what happened and to calmly do the best she could, whatever it took. I feel it is largely why she far outlived the statistics to the amazement of all her doctors. I think this advice is useful for caregivers as well. It is natural for a caregiver partner to be devastated by what is happening, to feel panic, to become self-absorbed too because your world has been turned upside down, you will have to make enormous sacrifices in your personal dreams and activities. As a caregiver, I feel it would be very difficult without true, deep love. That is the first thing that has to be faced and confirmed to yourself, or the sacrifices may be too much to handle well. But in any case, it helped me to focus on any little thing she and I could do to improve her outcome, be it exercise, diet, research, going the extra mile to compare clinics, doctors, second, third, fourth opinions. Focus on what you can do, not what you can't control. There is always something. I found it hard to achieve an attitude where worry didn't wear me down. Never did banish worry, but it is something to work on as a caregiver, because worry robs you of energy and strength. How can you not worry if your love is deep? Good question. Probably those who are very religious, faith-oriented people have an edge there, I did not have that resource. But again, focusing on what you can do and realizing that worry will undermine your efforts may help. As one oncologist said, "Has worry ever helped you?". I could debate that, sometimes worry can make you go the extra mile, but if it leads to loss of sleep and stress, it is counterproductive for sure. But back to the point of the article, when you run out of mental tricks and philosophies, the best trait is "stubbornness", just a simple commitment to keep on trying, point yourself in the direction of most success. I'm not advocating suffering, every patient must assess their quality of life and make those really tough choices about how hard to fight. But practicing "stubbornness" in a calm, resolute way without undo suffering and making it almost an unconscious habit I think will greatly improve not only your chance of beating the disease but better quality of life during the process. Given that we live in an era where breakthroughs in biology and treatments are happening everyday, there is real hope that doing the best you can will get you to the next new treatment that may be life-changing. I wish for my wife's sake we could have persisted a couple more years, I'll bet there will be some exciting things available even in that short time frame. For newly diagnosed patients, I feel there is an amazing amount of hope in the future. So I agree, be stubborn if you have that ability, keep kicking that can down the road.
You must log in to use this feature, please click here to login.