How to Thrive in the Face of Adversity

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I’m having surgery in a few hours.   Soon I will know if I have cancer.

I wanted to write about it after I got the news, but then I realized that the lesson is not whether it’s negative or positive, it’s about this crazy, yet amazing experience.

On October 30, I had an abnormal mammogram.  On October 31, I unexpectedly lost my health insurance.  I had to scramble to get another plan…. and wait for the effective date.  The new plan was not networked with my hospital, so I had to find one that was.

I found a new hospital and scheduled the needle biopsy.  The day of my appointment, I was lying on the hard table getting mentally ready for the pain, when I found out that I was not a candidate for the procedure.  The next step was surgery.

I scheduled with a top surgeon with a six-week wait for an appointment.  Three days before I was to see him, he had to leave the country for a funeral.  I told the nurse that he would have a funeral here if he didn’t see me!

I decided to schedule with another surgeon.  Success!  I was ready to go when the nurse told me the doctor was out of the country for 3 weeks.  “Of course she is!” I said.

So, for over 3 months now, I’ve been waiting in a sea of uncertainty.

I truly believe that every adversity contains an opportunity.  So while I was waiting, I decided to do an experiment.  I wanted to see if I could be peaceful and happy, while sitting in the middle of the unknown.

The first thing I learned is that it’s all about the story.

What story was I going to create?  One that would make me feel anxiety, fear and panic?  Or one that would bring me peace?

We give meaning to every single event in our lives.  Sometimes the meaning makes us feel good and sometimes it makes us feel bad. The event itself is not good or bad.  Our meaning or story determines how we feel about it.

I decided to write a story that made me happy.

My story went like this:

I would be fine either way.   If I did have cancer, I would survive and have a story that would help other people.  It would make my upcoming book even better!

If I didn’t have it, I would be thrilled AND have a story that would help other people.

Each time my mind wandered to negative thoughts, I brought up an image of me with my kids, helping people and enjoying a long life.   I never allowed the negative thoughts to linger in my mind.  I believed I was going to be okay just as strong as I believed the sun would come up tomorrow.

Once I had my story, then came the magic ingredient — Insane, unexplainable, BOLD FAITH.

I got a lesson in faith years ago when my 11-year old son had cancer.  I was holding his hand before surgery when a girl from my church burst into the pre-op area and started praying with me. Suddenly she stopped, looked me in the eye and said, “This won’t work if you don’t believe”.  In that moment, I chose to believe with all my heart and soul that he would live.  And he did.  He has been cancer free for 6 years now.

BOLD FAITH is believing something when you cannot see it…. Knowing something is going to happen when people are telling you otherwise.

BOLD FAITH is the most powerful tool you have.

Each day, I would remind myself that every pain has a purpose. Every problem has an opportunity.

I trusted that there was a plan working for my greater good and that my father up above was in complete control.

Don’t let the fear of the unknown design your story.  Don’t let your past design your story.   Don’t allow doctors, friends, family or Google design your story.

You have the power at any time to say, “This is not how my story is going to be written.  I will be peaceful and happy no matter what I am going through.”

No one or nothing has the power to steal your joy.

It’s time to write your own story and live with BOLD FAITH…. every day of your life!

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