The Assertive Cancer Patient

Living with cancer—and an attitude.
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JUNE 12, 2007
Cancer Bloggers Join Forces Again: Health and Happiness
Back in late April, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea: What if all my favorite cancer bloggers and I joined forces and blogged on the same topic at the same time?

That would give our readers a half dozen different takes on the same topic, and give us some synergy (hate that word, but what can you do?) in our isolated blogging lives.

The first topic I suggested was “meltdowns,” and the results were pretty fantastic. See Cancer Bloggers Join Forces.

I was sitting here today after a tough morning (an MRI to my right upper arm to see if there is a tumor growing there—no results till tomorrow … argh) and feeling the need for that same kind of mind meld with my favorite fellow bloggers. So I sent out an e-mail to half a dozen of the same bloggers, plus one more, to see if they were interested.

The topic I proposed was “health and happiness”—because in most people’s minds they are linked like peanut butter and jelly: If you have your health, you can be happy. And if you aren’t healthy, that cliché would imply, how could you possibly be happy?

They were SO interested, that one blogger actually got her post up before I’d written this one.

Jeanne’s Take on Health and Happiness
There are a number of clichés in the English language that link the words “healthy” and “happy.” We say, “As long as my children are healthy and happy …” Or, “As long as I have my health …” The underlying assumption is that you can’t be very happy if you have a serious illness.

Well, that has not been my experience. The years I have been living with cancer have certainly included some of the worse moments in my life, but they have also included some of the best. I don’t think I would have experienced life during the past few years with the same degree of intensity and joy if I had not been diagnosed with cancer. I am not alone in this. A number of cancer patients and cancer survivors have told me the same thing.

Research, published in February 2005 in The Journal of Experimental Psychology confirms our experience. The study found that healthy people are not necessarily happier than seriously ill ones. In addition, the healthy participants in the study greatly overestimated how unhappy sick individuals would be, while the sick ones overestimated how happy the healthy ones were.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days, of course I do, but I certainly have more good days than bad.

The times that I am unhappy, depressed, and prone to meltdowns, are usually the times that I feel rotten physically. But I usually feel rotten because of side effects of my TREATMENT, not because of my cancer—one of those little ironies about living with cancer.

The things that make me happy are the simple things—mostly the same things that made me happy before I got cancer, but somehow my happiness in these things is more intense now. My children. My animals. My garden. Sunshine. Rain. Writing. And the Red Corvair.

From My Blogging Friends

Happy Days

After you read Jennifer’s post (above), then read this one:

An End-of-Life Spending Spree Has a Surprise Ending

From Jill, one of the happiest people I know:

Health and Happiness

And from Lisa, a doctor who has cancer:

The Jar of Rocks

From Teri (AKA Teresa), Nebraska’s Cheeky Librarian:

Can you have cancer and be happy? You betcha!

While you’re at Teri’s blog, check out the Ninja Librarian:

Beware the Ninja Librarian

Sara had me laughing and crying with this post, all about gardening and love, growing peas (with a surprise ending that she captures in a great photo), and baking brownies, fabulous brownies:

This One’s for Jeanne

From Gudrun, in Germany:

Health and Happiness

And the German version:

Gesundheit und Glück

@ Jeanne Sather 2007.

Posted at 06:15 PM in Blogs, Happiness | Permalink

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