A Positive Attitude Helped Me Prepare for My Illness

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by Paris Dancy |

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One of the earliest lessons I learned as a former competitive athlete was how to deal with adversity and make adjustments during a game. Playing sports taught me about the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and what being pessimistic does. The combination of these lessons helped me prepare for dealing with my pituitary tumor and Cushing’s disease diagnosis — and with recovery.

I received my diagnosis in September 2015, and I admit I was scared because I didn’t understand what I was up against. My first thought was about how to fix it. I was relieved when I was presented with the only option to remove the tumor: a procedure called transsphenoidal surgery, which would be followed by a procedure called Gamma Knife surgery. I knew we would get to the root of the problem.

Of course I worried about what might go wrong during surgery. Expecting a worst-case scenario or negative outcome is not in me, but I had concerns. And for nearly five years, I wrestled with worries about my healing process. Pessimism kept finding something to tap me on my shoulder about, whether it was about weight loss, concerns about my libido, or that I wasn’t feeling better fast enough.

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The thing about pessimism is that it’s contagious, and I think some people try to disguise their pessimism as just “being realistic.” But I find that pessimism is a destructive mindset that can open someone up to depression, a feeling of lack of self-worth, and self-sabotaging behavior.

Being optimistic has shown me how to reframe adversity into opportunity. This way, disappointments are not obstacles anymore, and I won’t feel like quitting when things don’t go my way. Even when something doesn’t go the way I thought it might, a positive attitude helps me to find a lesson from the experience. Being an optimistic person helps me to step up my game and adapt well to change. Just because a change from what might have been expected occurs doesn’t mean the objective has been lost.

Having a positive outlook also allows me to avoid being dragged down by negative comments and people. My advice to anyone who is seeking to maintain an optimistic attitude is to stay away from others’ negativity. If my overall goal is to get better and to feel better, being caught up in a toxic environment won’t help me to do that.

Being optimistic doesn’t mean being unrealistic or failing to be honest about a bad situation. It means not allowing that situation, no matter how big it may seem, to keep me from my purpose or steal my joy.


Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.


Fatimah avatar


Thanks for writing this. I am a pessimist at my core and I always have in mind how it would be great to be optimistic. And whenever I try, something happens and I go back to that negative type of thinking. I really enjoyed reading this because it gave me insight into how an optimistic person thinks and it actually makes sense. It seems to create a way of being resilient to adversity. Thanks for posting this,


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