Today is my mom’s 80th birthday and we are at a local casino, celebrating at the slot machines.
By the title of this blog, you might think that she hit the big one and is now a Mega Winner.
She is, but not in the typical terms of a casino.
Eight years ago, my mother was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Most people diagnosed with stage three of this horrific disease die within three years.
My mother underwent chemo and radiation and, while she has lasting side effects from the treatments that make breathing more challenging, she was declared cancer free.
She incorporated more fruits and vegetables into her diet, proclaiming she was learning to “eat the rainbow.” She started letting go of the little things that aggravated her. She focused on the people and activities that bring her pleasure and joy.
She joined a writing group at the senior center. She began clearing the clutter of papers and photographs. And we resumed our weekly Scrabble games, this time joined by my father.
In 2007, five years cancer-free, we celebrated her miraculous health at the Ritz-Carlton with a delicious dessert spread, her plate inscribed in chocolate letters, Happy Living. The waitress was moved to tears when we told her what we were celebrating “I never heard of someone celebrating life like this. It’s wonderful.”
Two years later, the cancer returned, though still localized in the esophagus. Chemo was no longer an option, so they radioactively burned the areas with endoscopic treatments. The procedures were uncomfortable and left my mom with a sore throat for a few days, but she was a trooper and the regular treatments kept the cancer contained and slow-growing.
Her doctors call her remarkable. I call her amazing. Not just because she’s my mother, but because she continues to try new things, shift her thinking and maintain a healthy vision of herself.
This past year, a routine PET scan revealed some new hot spots outside of the esophagus. My mother underwent two rounds of chemo and the spots got smaller. So she endured two more rounds of chemo and side effects. She is scheduled for another scan this month to get a current assessment.
My mother attributes her longevity to her doctors, the support of others and to the positive attitudes surrounding her.
I truly believe that her attitude is the number one reason why she is still here.
Well known self-help, self-love advocate Louise Hay believes that our thoughts have everything to do with our dis-ease and health. Her ground-breaking book YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE tells how she was diagnosed with cancer and how she cured herself with positive affirmations, visualization, nutritional cleansing and psychotherapy. She offers simple positive statements to readers to shift their thoughts about their own dis-eases. I have shared some of these affirmations with my mother and she says them, regularly.
Whether you believe it or not, isn’t it worth a try?
I invite you to look in Louise’s book for some healing affirmations for a dis-ease you may be experiencing. Say the words everyday, even if you don’t believe it will make a difference. Who knows. Maybe, just maybe, by shifting your focus to something positive, you will actually begin to feel a little better.
And maybe, if we invoke some of that positive thinking at the casino, we’ll come out big winners at the slots, too!