questionshow do you retain optimism when waiting for…


When I was told they found "something" I was immediately checked into the hospital & ended up staying for 13 weeks. It took almost two weeks before they did the surgery. Only after the surgery would I find out if that "something" was going to kill me or not. Like you, I did this alone. Partially because I have only my grandmother around & the other because I did not want to bother my friends with my problems. Again, like you, one of my biggest fears was that I would not be able to go back to work. Work was accommodating to my limitations & I was very grateful for it.The two weeks of waiting were not that bad being alone, I did not have to hear people tell me how sorry they were for what I was going through. I did a lot of reading during this time, paid all my bills really early & made sure I was prepared for whatever was to happen. Hang in there, no matter what the doctors say, you can still live a fulfilling life with whatever happens.


I haven't been in your shoes, so I can't pretend to know what you are going through. I do have a mystery medical condition (chronic daily headaches with migraines) that have no known origin & when I was going through the initial attempt at diagnosis back when I was in my teens it was a scary time. I was lucky in that I didn't have a bad diagnosis and have been able to manage my pain to the point where it rarely affects my daily life.

I know that attitude and outlook can make all the difference in the world. Good idea to look for support where you can get it (like here), especially if you are physically short in supply. Look for other internet forums, but make sure they are upbeat. Depending on your sense of humor, I recommend The Bloggess to help put negative things in perspective (I linked to a specific post I thought might give you an idea of her perspective).

Keep your head up - your fellow wooters are here for you!


I lost a good friend last year. I'd known him for more than ten years. He was quite young (31), and had married the love of his life just a few years before. He had struggled with the pain of a debilitating disease, and it finally become too much. He was incredibly brilliant, and I wept at his death.

Please, you are not alone. You seem like a bright and worthwhile person, and you would be amazed what you can learn to live with. I believe you have contributions to make ahead of you, and you must hold on so that you make them.

I care about you. I care what happens to you.


Well. as far as last stone, as I don't know, and don't need to know, your specific malady, but I do know three people who were told similar things. In one case they were misdiagnosed , in the second a new procedure came along that has managed the problem, and in the third, a combination of pain management and meditation has kept them sane and relatively active. Never relinquish hope. All of these people have one thing in common, they didn't just accept treatment, they participated in it. I encourage you to do the same.

You might want to see if there is a support group, either for your specific diagnosis, or one for general illnesses. Feel free to PM me, if ever you need to vent. Take a deep breath, one foot in front of the other, keep moving forward, and don't suffer the pain in advance. I hope this goes much better than you are anticipating.


I think this is going to be two parts.

A close family member of mine was born with a condition that the doctors assumed would likely kill her within a few years-- I'll just say that She defied the prognosis and lived on. This repeated itself a few times until she finally did die as we knew she was bound to. While we had her, we took her to see the sights and meet people. While she was alive, I was younger and not very mature-- one of my only major regrets in life was that I never once treated our time together like the last time I might see her, I never really went out of my way to make her life one I'd have wanted to live.


Find something to do to keep your mind occupied. If you don't keep busy, you're going to think about every possible scenario, and no good will come from that.



IMO, you need to do more soul searching. People tell me I think too much, but I don't think I'd be the same person I am if I'd run away from my demons and refused to answer the hard questions that I ask myself every night. It prepares me to make the right decisions, especially the hard ones. Get a big old piece of paper, tape it somewhere you will see every morning, write something like "what if today were my last day to live?"

Don't destroy your life in a hedonistic spiral, just push to become the person you've always wanted to be and do the things you've always wanted to do. Even if it's a long-term goal, why not start now? NOBODY 100% knows when they're going to die-- we think we do, but we don't. Why hold yourself back in fear of an unknown? I'd rather push as hard as I can, every day, toward a distant goal and die on the way, than never even start on the path. Because learning and sweating are part of the fun.

Be who you want to be.


@mkdr: My husband swears by The Bloggess and reads her faithfully. I'm so glad you thought to suggest reading her writings.


@magic cave: I find her very inspirational, and also hilarious - even if I don't agree with everything she says. But on the major things, which is relavent here - dealing with your "stuff", propping up others who are inspirational and generally trying to find good in life even during the major low times - I can't argue at all with her. .


How's might get GREAT news next week! I sincerely hope that you do. Always tell your close ones that you love them; it makes everyone feel better. Please come back next week and let us know what is happening with you. We may be a wiseass bunch but we do care about each other.
Prayers are with you if you believe in them.


Not knowing details limits the help I can give, but check out They have some good info, and might offer some better insight.


I really, really appreciate all of the wonderful thoughts, suggestions, reading material, and prayers that you all have offered. You've brought tears to my eyes, but tears of gratitude rather than the tears of fear that I had earlier today. I'm quite worn-out, emotionally and physically, and I hope you can understand that I don't feel up to responding to people individually tonight. I'll note, however, that a bag of potato chips has amazing healing powers. :) (new, not refub, but still on sale!)

You all are wonderful. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.


Just wanted you to know you're in my thoughts. Don't give up hope. None of us here will, either. <3


I've got a chronic disease that will eventually kill me. I Probably have 25 or so years left, but it could also take a turn for the worse that kills me sooner. I just try to enjoy everything as much as possible, and 99% of the time, it doesn't really enter my mind. Keep doing things that you find enjoyable to keep your mind off the stuff that will just bring you down. Manage the condition as best you can, and remember that life almost always is better than the alternative; death.

It has made me brutally honest, I don't have time to pussyfoot around. If you do or say something stupid, I'll make sure you know just how stupid it was. I look at this as a positive thing... I get to say all the stuff most other people hold in!

Oh, and wear sunscreen.


I'm sorry you're going through this.
A few years ago I went through mindfulness training to help me deal with the here and now and not to catastrophize--easier said than done, I know.

I highly recommend the book Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl.

It's not necessarily about retaining optimism; it's about how to keep going when life throws you some low blows. Good luck.


I'm sorry you are dealing with this. Dealing with daily pain sucks.
For myself, I really try to focus on the positive, the stuff that I can do. I may not ever run a 5k, but I can make a fantastic apple pie-things like that.
And even though you may not have the local support that you need, that doesn't mean you won't get it. You never know when you will meet your life's biggest cheerleader.


We went through a similar experience a number of years ago when my spouse was diagnosed with a terminal disease at a very young age. He was looking at 3-5% survival odds and we had 2 young children at the time and no family to help. Since he had once worked on a cancer ward, he insisted that he would live each day to the fullest instead of letting himself be depressed by the prospect of a shortened life span. The best advice we got was to try to keep a positive attitude, do things that made us laugh and take things a day at a time, an hour at a time or even 10 minutes at a time, whichever worked for keeping us from being overwhelmed. We also found that the people we thought would be there for us often couldn't for various reasons, but that some of the most unexpected people often stepped in to offer help or friendship at the most opportune times. He learned to meditate, his workplace made accommodations for him and co-workers came to visit when he couldn't make it to the office.


Helpful books for us were: Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins, Love, Medicine & Miracles by Bernie Siegel, When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner, and The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. It also helped to keep a daily journal of how he felt so he knew if the treatment was responsible for any changes or if it was the illness since he had chemo every 3 weeks. The doctors loved his approach. Please never lose hope. New therapies are being developed and one of them might be just what you need.


Again, thank you all for your support and suggestions. With more time and some sleep, I realized my initial reaction was about many things, including frustration that I described exactly the symptoms of a particular condition for years and my former doctor kept saying that it wasn't "worth" doing diagnostic testing, as well as grief that the sport I loved so much resulted in this.

Much of my initial anxiety related to claustrophobia and two MRIs. I had a difficult time holding myself together - and I'm really proud of myself for doing so. Once the second one was over, I've mostly been fine. I'll probably become more nervous as the Diagnosis Day approaches, but I'm doing well enough that my current concern is that I haven't heard from The Guy in my life since I told him what was going on. Acknowledging that there are many possible reasons why I haven't heard from him when he's had time to post on the internet, his silence speaks louder than anything he could actually say.


@neuropsychosocial: Nice to see your latest post, I had just wandered over to see how you were doing, didn't expect an update too. I did want to let you know, that I am thinking of you, and wishing for the best for you in the upcoming week. I also wanted to renew my offer, if you ever want to PM me. You may have to "ping" me, because I don't check it every day. LOL, one message sat there for weeks before I saw it, but when I am in a "conversation" with someone, I check regularly. GOOD LUCK!!!