I often get asked, “How do you stay so positive?” Well, I don’t have a “secret” to staying so upbeat and optimistic amidst all of the challenges I’ve faced over the years. What I will say, however, is that my positive attitude relates to a sense of control. Prior to getting my ostomy, I had done everything in my power to try to get better: I attended all of my doctor’s appointments and physical therapy sessions, tried numerous medications (and took them faithfully), followed diets 100%, etc. Sure, there were things I did/avoided to prevent my symptoms from worsening, but overall nothing improved my health.
Once I realized that I had lost control over my health problems and that the fate of my future was — quite literally — in the hands of my surgeon, I realized that the one thing I DID have control over was how I emotionally dealt with it all. I have many reasons to be frustrated, angry, and upset; after all, my life has been on hold and I certainly didn’t envision having an ostomy — which I used to think was the worst thing in the world — at the age of 24. And of course I have my moments and bad days — I mean, I’m only human. But I’ve learned that life is too short to take things too seriously and be miserable.
So, I’ll share some things that help me stay positive: I consider my ostomy to be life-improving rather than life-limiting. I find joy in the little things (like when there were so many free samples at the grocery store the other day!!!). I’m always laughing (sometimes at my own lame jokes...). Lastly, my friend’s mom once shared a quote that I love from the book “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons” by Kevin Hart: “You can’t control the events that happen to you, but you can control your interpretation of them. So why not choose the story that serves your life the best?”
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