Having cancer imposes a tough challenge on us and raises at least one big question. Can we take control of the situation and get on with our lives? That depends on many things, not the least of which is the severity of the illness of course. I can only speak from my experience, which is currently responding well to immunotherapy treatment for malignant melanoma after eight rounds of single drug treatment with Nivolumab.

As time goes by I consider myself to be very lucky and to have had very good treatment, so that I am able to lead a very normal life. Doing that has given me the motivation to really embrace positivity, a definite move to the “glass is half full” rather than the “glass is half empty” outlook.

I suppose when cancer first rears it’s head it’s like you’re getting a big shock, and then as you come to terms with it and find that the treatment you’re getting is working in your favour, you might realise you have a second chance to look at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. In actual fact you might have the opportunity to see how you can make your life better than it was believe it or not.

The start point for this, as in any setback, is to consider what philosophers have stated for centuries that “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it, that makes the difference”

You can have determination, because that is up to you, and within your control, as to what you do and how you do it.

You can start from where you are right now, not looking back on what you used to be. You can tell yourself you’re doing your best, you can have compassion for yourself rather than self criticism, you can celebrate little wins in your life as you make progress, you can have an outlook that is to find the positive in situations and people, and turn away from negativity. If you tell yourself you want to do this you can do it.

The popular term to use would be Go with the flow – in other words see any challenge, no matter how mundane, as an opportunity to achieve something when you tackle it. If you look to have a good end result from every task you take on, the chances are you will, and that feelgood factor is important in keeping you positive and on the front foot.

In my experience you can get a sense of peacefulness and calm from adopting a positive mindset, which really helps with keeping you grounded as you continue to deal with your illness. Without being blasé it helps to keep your illness in the background not the foreground. That gives you much more control of your life I would suggest.

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