Can you thrive after a major health crisis?

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Prevention is always preferable to the cure.

 

Yes, you can recover from a major health crisis

Every year thousands of people are terrified by a major personal health or medical condition that will seriously affect their families, their retirement, their careers and their businesses. It all starts when they hear those dreaded words, “cancer, heart attack, or car accident”.

The good news is that these days most people beat the diseases and recover from the car accidents.  However, as I found out when the treatment has concluded life changes, your vision for the future changes and your priorities become different. Many of your relationships both personal and business will begin to disintegrate for no apparent reason.

Pioneering research into cancer survivors was conducted in 2000 by Professor Miles Little and Professor Stuart Dunn of Sydney University.  The research, aired on the ABC’s Four Corners program, aptly named Surviving Survival, showed that for many people, surviving cancer can be just the beginning of a process that is more difficult and more painful than the illness itself, my family can attest to this fact.

According to this new research, victory over cancer is not the end of the journey. In some cases, it is just the beginning of a much deeper struggle, which may be even worse than the original diagnosis and treatment.  Professor Miles says this may sound extreme and exaggerated but it is the message he has received over and over again.

You need to break loose from paralysis. No matter how serious your problem you have a life to get control of and inject the fun back into. The people in the Paralympics taught us that.

You must look for continuous improvement in everything that you do, including the quality of your lives. Look for people and processes, in fact, anything that can give you an increase in your belief levels. Y

Try on a daily basis to reduce the turmoil in your life and replace the negatives with positives. If you only have space in your brain for a hundred positive things why waste ninety positions on negative things?

 

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on”. Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

I can certainly concur with his findings. I couldn’t believe how much of their findings had actually applied to me.

Until now, few had imagined that surviving cancer could be an experience comparable to surviving a war or natural disaster. People generally know what to do when they are sick. They know what to do when they are around a sick person in the hospital.

But no one knows what to do after the event. Most people tend to stay away because they do not know what to do or what to say. This applies equally to when your business is sick, as Sue and I found out when we closed our machinery business.

As Professor Dun found most people felt abandoned and lost was when the treatment was over. It is the same with family, friends and business associates, they think it is over when the treatment is over. They think the business is right when the doctors and advisers have left.

“There are a lot of survivors out there who are leading extraordinarily rich, maybe greatly enriched lives, beyond what they were before. It is amazing just what a change will do. But there are also a large number of survivors out there who are leading lives that are full of stress,” says research leader Professor Miles Little. “Survivors may find their relationships fall apart. Some feel enormous guilt for having survived while others did not. They may live in constant fear of recurrence. They are saddled with stigma and may face discrimination in the workplace.”

Yes, you can thrive after a serious illness and yes your life will be different. But if you maintain a positive disposition you will be surprised just how good life can be. You will definitely put more value on what is really important to you and your family. From by experience I can tell you good family relationships will become much stronger and more meaningful.

 

[read more=”Personal Experience” less=”Personal Experience”]

Personal Experience:

I can remember the loss I felt when Ron Waller died; he was in the hospital with me when I had cancer. He died a year later during his recovery phase. It is a loss I still feel today as this man helped me in my darkest hours through all the pain and suffering.

I felt that I was able to help him through the pain of his operation as well, we helped each other. I know plenty of people who have died but Ron was special. Ron’s death hit me at the very core of my being.

It could have been me. The friendship we built in just two weeks in hospital was deeper, more personal, and more meaningful than any relationship I had ever had or have had since.

When I told Ron’s wife Betty that I was including something about him in a book I was writing, she handed me this letter I had written to her.

7th January 1991

Parramatta

Dear Betty,

I was so shocked to hear of Ron’s passing just before Christmas.  It was a very traumatic experience for me as it must have been for you and your wonderful family.

Looking back, I feel very privileged to have shared some of my life with Ron.  The experiences we shared under such pressure allowed us to get to know each other better than if we had spent many years together.

I will always remember, the night he jumped out of bed to stop me pulling all my tubes and wires off – the pile of prawn heads the visitors had to jump over – the beautiful steaks with mozzarella cheese – the morning he took George and me on a trip to Antarctica (starting at 3 o’clock in the morning) – and of course the way he always looked for his family (and mine) each day.

The way he treated the people who came in contact with him, even when he was in severe pain, will always be an inspiration to me.

Betty, I just wanted you to know that I will always remember Ron as one of the great people in my life and I will look forward to cooking him that Chinese Banquet in heaven. Should there ever be anything I can help you with please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Love from us both.

Peter and Sue

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