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Posts Tagged ‘Robin Roberts’

The question “who is being tested?” has been hanging over my head for weeks. I read Robin Roberts book Everybody’s Got Something and she makes reference to her more recent diagnosis of MDS (myelodyspastic syndrome), like her breast cancer diagnosis as a test. Perhaps she was referring to a test of her spirit, her faith, or her body, but still she framed it as a test.

Roberts book is not the first book, talk, or movie that makes reference to a life challenge as a test. We discuss adversity in the context of a test as if it were something we’ve been studying for years and we’re now ready for the test. How is it possible that you got selected for this test? How will you know if you pass the test? Some believe if they are healed, then they passed the test. This doesn’t sit well with me because that implies paying penance, or needing to prove something to the Universe.

Don’t you think it’s possible that you’re not the one being tested? Couldn’t you just be a vehicle for who/what is really being tested? How would you feel if you knew you were a catalyst for great change because you were diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness, or some other form of adversity? Are you willing to be a change agent? How is this possible?

If you want to stand on the side of being tested, let’s look at who is really being tested. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness maybe the scientists are being tested to come up with new research and medications for clinical trials. Maybe the medical community is being tested to find ways of improving their diagnostic techniques or their level of compassion.

Isn’t it possible that the religious, faith, or spiritual community is being tested to see if they walk their talk? In a world full of contradiction, the test might be to see if these communities can put into action what they say we “should” be doing when members of our communities are facing adversity.

It’s possible to take it one step further, seeing if our inner circle of family and friends are willing to stand by us as we walk through the health and healing pilgrimage. Research often shows that illness is the reason some couples get divorced because the healthy spouse can’t handle the pressure, stress, or incapacity of their spouse. Who’s really being tested by the illness diagnosis?

Are we so self-centered to automatically assume that we’re the one being tested? Have we been conditioned to believe that a diagnosis tests our faith, devotion, or ability to persevere? I believe there are other ways to exhibit these character traits other than facing adversity. Let’s reframe the challenges we face!

Seeking education, support, and inspiration when facing a chronic or life-threatening illness?  Visit http://www.survivingstrong.com

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One of the key stories on my Internet homepage was about a young man named Stephen Sutton. Sutton died yesterday at the age of 19 after being diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 15. He personified determination, compassion, and strength. His mission was to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust (teenagecancertrust.org), an organization in London serving teenagers diagnosed with cancer. Their goal is to treat individuals as young people first and cancer patients second.

Why does this young man make headlines? There are lots of young people who are diagnosed with cancer around the world on a daily basis. This man stands out because of his authenticity, his dedication, and his lack of ego. He chose to use his diagnosis to change not only his life, but also the lives of teens throughout London. As Robin Roberts’ mother use to say, “Make your mess your message!”

Sutton wanted to raise approximately $16,000 (10,000 pounds) and as of the latest tally, the organization with his direction, has raised over 5.5 million dollars. His story and his cause caught the eye of some prominent English entertainers all helping to spread Sutton’s message. We are attracted to stories! When a story directs our attention to how we can make the world a little better, it becomes louder and larger.

Stephen Sutton shared his worldview, “I don’t see the point in measuring life in terms of time anymore, I’d rather measure life in terms of making a difference.” We’re amazed when we hear these words from people like Bill and Melinda Gates as they fight the malaria epidemic, or Oprah creating the Leadership Academy in South Africa hoping that by educating girls you change the direction of an entire continent. Hearing these words come from a teenager should renew our faith in humanity. It should provide each of us who bear witness to Sutton’s story with a belief that what’s small can become large, and what may feel like a pet project can be adopted worldwide as a beacon of hope.

When you see someone use his/her life for the greater good, I urge you to use it as a lesson. Even though Stephen Sutton’s light has gone out, his energy, vision, and tenacious nature lights a torch that will burn bright in years to come. I encourage you, even if you don’t have a chronic or life-threatening illness, to stop thinking of life in terms of time and see how you can make a difference.

My hope is that every day that I sit down to write this post, I can make a difference by providing education, support, and inspiration for those facing a health challenge. I’ve been entrusted with the stories of those facing a health challenge for over twenty-five years. These heartfelt stories fuel my passion and determination to provide a safe environment for each of you facing a health challenge to have someone, a community who will listen and be able to hold the pain.

Looking for community when facing a health challenge? Visit www.survivingstrong.com.

Interested in Art and Healing? Visit www.timetolivecreatively.com

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It shouldn’t be a surprise that after you receive a diagnosis of a chronic or life-threatening illness the recommendation is to get as much information is possible. It’s easy to research an illness in our age of technology. In addition, many of those diagnosed with a particular illness have founded organizations to support those with that diagnosis with the intention of providing information and support.

The idea of getting information and meeting with your doctor is part of the pilgrimage to health and healing. Is information-seeking behavior a Western society cultural phenomenon? I’ve read many accounts about Asian cultures who don’t share the diagnosis of cancer with the patient. It’s a way of protecting the patient from weight of the diagnosis. In this case, the patient isn’t given the choice; it’s hard to fight cultural norms.

One of the things most people want to know about is the prognosis. We’re conditioned to want the know about the outcome before we’ve even started treatment. A prognosis is a number. It’s a guess, an estimation, based on past anecdotal and research metrics. The prognosis for some is a saving grace because the odds are in their favor and a curse for some because the numbers don’t favor their survival.

I watched an interview on Good Morning America with Stuart Scott from ESPN. Scott was diagnosed with cancer. He tried to create as “normal” a life as possible but he was in for a huge surprise. Two years after his first diagnosis and treatment, he was given another cancer diagnosis. He told Robin Roberts that he did something very different after the second diagnosis; he chose not to know the prognosis.

Scott explained that the decision about self-preservation. He didn’t want the prognosis because he didn’t want to be frightened. He’s sharing his belief that knowing the prognosis could possibly bias his body, mind, and spirit connection as he devoted his whole being to health and healing.

We know there are no guarantees that we’ll all live long lives. The prognosis is like playing the odds in Vegas. How would you bet if you saw the odds on the board at the casino based on your prognosis? Do you go for the favorite, or the long shot? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? How does knowing the prognosis impact your motivation, perseverance, and will?

One of the key points that Scott made during his interview was his personal belief that there’s a difference between being alive and living. He believed that knowing the prognosis would impede his desire and ability to live. He didn’t want to simply be alive; he wanted to give his all to his family, his work, and himself. His desire to continue living life to the fullest was as much a part of his treatment as any medication given by the doctors

Do you thrive or dive with too much information? When is too much information a help or hindrance? What would you do differently with your life if you were given the prognosis, good or bad?

Looking for education, support, and inspiration when facing a chronic or life-threatening illness? Visit www.survivingstrong.com

Interested in Art and Healing? Visit www.timetolivecreatively.com

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We’ve all heard about the fight or flight response and we see how it applies in our life during times of stress. It’s one of those things that is second nature and our body just responds as a means of survival. What would happen if you could choose what you focus on when facing adversity such as a chronic or life-threatening illness?

Robin Roberts, the cohost of Good Morning America faced breast cancer a few years ago and as a result of the treatment was diagnosed with MDS (Myelodysplastic syndrome), where the bone marrow doesn’t make enough healthy cells for a person to survive. Her doctors told her that the only way to cure the MDS was to have a bone marrow transplant. It’s a long and difficult treatment protocol and starts with finding a donor.

In Roberts book, Everybody’s Got Something, she shared lots of stories about words of encourage and support she received from current and former colleagues. Chris Cuomo, who has since moved to CNN, told Robin, “Focus on the fight, not the fright”. Those were magical words and as told in her book she chose to focus on the fight. Currently, Roberts is strong, healthy, and an inspiration to many facing challenges in their lives.

How do you choose to focus on the fight and not the fright? It takes practice. It requires that you understand that fear and anxiety will naturally arise when faced with a health challenge, but the real test comes when you have to decide what will drive your internal engine. What will you consciously choose to motivate you or move you to action as you go through treatment or face some other aspect of the health and healing journey?

When you choose to focus on the fright your decisions are often made by emotionally charged energy. It’s limited in its ability to understand all the alternatives and options available for providing the best outcome. You may move on what may give immediate relief when selecting an option that would provide long-range relief or healing is a better choice.

It’s important to look at how you’ve made important decisions in the past. Are you driven by emotion and immediate gratification or do you weight the pros and cons and ask lots of questions allowing you to make informed decisions. There are times when the emotional decision and the informed consent decision will be the same, but that’s likely to be the exception, not the rule.

Focusing on the fight puts you in the driver’s seat. It gives you a sense of control over your own health and healing process.   You limit your sense of victimhood when you focus on the fight.   I believe phrasing it as focusing on the fight is mainly used because it rhymes with fright. You could equally say, “Keep your eyes on the prize.” The idea is to stay away from what from what cripples you emotionally or spiritually, and pay attention to those things that nourish and invigorate your body, mind, and spirit.

How will you choose to focus on the fight and not the fright? What can you do today to short circuit the fright? For education, inspiration, and support when facing a health challenge visit, www.survivingstrong.com

Interested in art and healing, visit www.timetolivecreatively.com

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I was watching Good Morning America and one of the segments focused on Robin Roberts’ new book, “Everybody’s Got Something.” Each of the anchors did a short segment about who and why a specific person inspires them. It was a good reminder of two things; we all have things we go through and need help with, and, there are people who have come before us who have blazed a trail for us to follow.

Roberts shared an important quote from her coach.   The coach said, “Attitude more that aptitude gives us altitude.” This quote was like cupid shooting an arrow through my heart; it was that profound. There are so many levels to meaning behind the coach’s wisdom and to peel back the layers is inspiring.

Our attitude gives us the energy we need to persevere through our trials and tribulations. I don’t mean for this to be a lecture on positive thinking, but using our attitude as a filter can impact our actions. It can serve as an anchor for our decision making process and hopefully that impacts our aptitude for making decision. The more practice we get the better we get at sifting out the unnecessary and focusing on what’s helpful!

So where does the altitude come into the picture? I think the coach was referring to the ways that we open ourselves to possibility. The notion that we have untapped potential waiting to be unleashed and that attitude is the catalyst for that release. Is it simple to achieve? There are probably some instances where it is easier than others, but that just means that possibility exists and gives us the inspiration to continue on our personal pilgrimage.

I know I usually focus on living with chronic and life-threatening illness, but we have to remember just like the title of Roberts’ book, Everybody Has Something. We all have our struggles, some larger than others, but knowing that we’re all on a pilgrimage to health, healing, and peace is reassuring.

Who has inspired you continuing your journey? Share it with us in the comments section below.   For more information on living with chronic and life-threatening illness visit, www.survivingstrong.com

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We are in a constant state of comparison.  There is a cultural initiation to living a life comparing one thing to another, and one person to another.  Think about some of the issues society is having with the portrayal of the “ideal” woman/girl as shown in magazines.  It hasn’t been until recently that women are taking a stand to rectify the long-term damage as a result of these unattainable/unhealthy models.

We’re all so unique and yet we’ve been indoctrinated into a culture of comparison.  I just finished my doctorate (yes I’m proud), but I had months of doubt when classmates who started with me finished a year before me.  I began to question my intentions, my drive, and my intelligence.  Fortunately I had a dissertation adviser who was loving, supportive, and compassionate.  She reinforced the importance of everything in its own time and you can rush creative endeavors.   She made it clear that I was the midwife to a piece of work that will be a part of me forever.

What drives us to compare ourselves to others?  How is it possible that we’re creative and yet we adopt a common yardstick to which very few if any will attain success?  It happens in all arenas, even in the illness community.  People compare their diagnosis, prognosis, and response to treatment, as if that’s not a catastrophe waiting to happen.

I was watching Good Morning America, and they spoke about a sound-man that lost his battle to cancer.  Robin Roberts shared that he had the same transplant she did at about the same time and unfortunately his was not a success.  Would we deem him a failure?  Was his body not up to par?

When it comes to illness there are protocols that are based on numbers.  When researchers try out new drugs it’s a numbers game.  Protocols are created based on the greatest number of people responding to a drug, suggesting success.  It would be great if that insured a happy healthy ending, but it’s not that simple because the human body is an undetermined variable.

Let’s abandon comparison!  As I write that I chuckle because for many I might as well have told you to abandon breathing.  It’s time to break the confines of our lives of comparison and allow our bodies and spirits to follow a course that fits our calling and destiny.  It’s time to release ourselves from the pressures of measuring up to unrealistic expectations.

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Since 1969 when we landed a man on the moon, we have been a nation continuously asking questions about the universe.  We want to know if life has ever existed on other planets and what types of life.  We wonder what it would take to set up settlements in these far and distant locations.  Scientists are also wondering about how planets stay in their orbit, and the forces that keep all the planets from crashing into each other.

Gravitational pull is the mediating factor in how planets rotate around the sun.  It’s an amazingly strong force, and keeps order.  Whether you realize it or not, you have gravitational pull.  The energy that emanates from you is what attracts others to you and in times of need this energy is important.  I’m talking about more than just the likeability factor, but a compelling energy that keeps people in your orbit going out of their way to help you on your journey to health and healing.

I follow Robin Roberts from Good Morning America.  She had breast cancer about five years ago and as a result of her treatment, she was one of those who developed other complications.  Her previous treatment resulted in her developing MDS, a bone marrow disorder.  She just recently went through a bone marrow transplant and is on the mend.

She has gravitational pull.  I don’t believe it’s simply because she’s a celebrity.  I believe her personal energy engages the world around her and keeps them connected in physical, emotional, and spiritual orbits.  People are following her on social media, on television, and through interviews.  Her doctors have been on television not only discussing her treatment plan, but explaining the importance of being a bone marrow donor and how this connects us in inexplicable ways.

I believe that if you took a step back and looked at your life, you’d witness your gravitational pull.  I believe this energy far exceeds your family and friends and you may not even be aware of how far reaching it may be.  I attribute this to the way you interacted with people before your diagnosis.  These connections are the foundations for health and healing.  We don’t do it alone, and understanding the force of your gravitational pull may propel you a life full of hope!

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