I drove to work today planning my next post- It was going to be sad and weepy and raw. Which it still probably is but it ends a little better than I thought it would.

There are so many things rattling around in my heart right now I just want to get it down. Off my chest. So I can breathe. I could speak about so many things.

I could talk about the unpredictability of life and the choking hold it has on me. About the kindness of strangers – thank you my new friends who have taken the time to give me advice ,hints and well wishing.

I could spend an entire post on the necessary education of the average person. Their understanding or lack thereof is staggering. Yes, graham crackers have wheat and cheese is a milk product.

I want to yell, “Can we please take that dessert- that everyone is drooling over – out of sight of my baby because I haven’t figured out what he can eat for dessert and fruit is all I have and I feel it is unnecessary torture for him and I’m tired of saying NO!”

I could tell you about the the store clerk. When I asked him about cross contamination and told him how difficult it is to feed an allergic child particularly here with limited products said, “Oh! That’s annoying!” I wanted to hit him with my 5 products that cost 30 dollars. Sorry. Not very polite I know. But it was the understatement of the entire allergic process and I now GET IT.

I could tell you that I found myself crying to my staff again- very unprofessional I know but when someone looks at you and offers a little sympathy… well… I tear up. I’ll actually go days with just some minor twinges but then this morning I started to cry because he asked for toast and I hadn’t gone shopping and the specialty stores here on Guam have just a few aisles . Whole foods would be a godsend right now. I don’t even care if it takes my whole paycheck.

I could tell you all these things and leave it at that but there is really is just one thing I NEED to say which is, “I’m so sorry my twin, when I didn’t understand about the peanut allergy and I thought you were getting a little paranoid. I realize now how brave you were and how incredibly dedicated to your son’s health you were and still are. I hope to be a source of strength and information to other parents…In due time. I know.”

I could leave the post at that and collect my sympathies but I’ll tell you what happened next. This morning I was smack down in the middle of throwing a huge pity party for myself – drawing up the guest list and planning the menu- when I read the following email chain letter. I don’t know if it’s true but the message is powerful. And it was meant for me.

I read it and took some deep breaths and thanked God that Jacob is alive and well and thriving. He’s had some hospitalizations but never needed O2 or has been intubated. He smiles and chows down on his new diet. He appears to be hanging in there and if you asked him, “Jakey- you doing okay? He’d say Yeah!! and then he’d tap your outstretched fist with his. For this I’m grateful. That little guy is looking on the bright side. Here’s the story:

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good
mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask
him how he was doing, he would reply, ‘If I were any better, I would
be twins!’

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the
employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and
asked him, ‘I don’t get it!’

‘You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?’

He replied, ‘Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two
choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or…you can
choose to be in a bad mood

I choose to be in a good mood.’

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or…I
can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept
their complaining or…I can point out the positive side of life. I
choose the positive side of life.

‘Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,’ I protested.

‘Yes, it is,’ he said. ‘Life is all about choices. When you cut away
all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react
to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.

You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s
your choice how you live your life.’

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower
Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought
about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious
accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released
from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident.

When I asked him how he was, he replied, ‘If I were any better, I’d be
twins…Wanna see my scars?’

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through
his mind as the accident took place.

‘The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my
soon-to-be born daughter,’ he replied. ‘Then, as I lay on the ground,
I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or…I
could choose to die. I chose to live.’

‘Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?’ I asked.

He continued, ‘…the paramedics were great.

They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me
into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and
nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man’.
I knew I needed to take action.’

‘What did you do?’ I asked.

‘Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,’ said
John. ‘She asked if I was allergic to anything ‘Yes, I replied.’ The
doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I
took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Gravity”

Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on
me as if I am alive, not dead.’

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his
amazing attitude…I learned from him that every day we have the
choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about
itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ Matthew 6:34.

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

May this help you as much as it helped me. I chose not to be a victim.

14 thoughts on “The Power of Positivity

  1. Hi Dr. Cason,

    I’ve seen that story before, but forget about it. It sure is a good reminder that we do have choices.

    I love when he says, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on
    me as if I am alive, not dead.’

    Although I can’t fully understand what you’re going through with Jake and his allergies, by you deciding you’re not going to be the victim, you have won half the battle.

    I’ll say a prayer for you and your family.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..It’s All About Me, It’s All About You

  2. I haven’t been reading your blog long enough to know what your religious inclincations are, but know that I will be praying for you and your family, that you will all learn together how to go about your daily lives so different from the way things have been. That you will have patience and the desire to choose LIFE!

    Guinevere Meadows last blog post..Magnetic Monday

  3. Yep life is one big choice and aren’t we all glad for that? I’ve seen this letter before but I read it all the way to the end again because I knew that I would feel just a little better for doing so. I love reminders like this. Thank you.

  4. Wow…inspiring story…

    My (extended) family deals with a lot of different allergies and sensitivities…the adjustment is ALWAYS challenging. And of course, perspective is always helpful! I hope that as you adjust, dealing with the allergies will get easier!

    Lauras last blog post..Memories (installment 21)

  5. It’s crazy how vulnerable our children make us feel. It will get better, you will get a handle on it. I’ll pray for peace and guidance for you. I am sure as a physician you can fathom more things to be scared of than we do. You are so right, though, we have a choice. Sometimes I need help sticking to that choice, thank God he is there to help!

    White Hot Magiks last blog post..Mundane Moments

  6. Barbara-

    Thanks for the prayers.

    Guinevere-

    Methodist and it does help to believe. I often pray for not a specific result but rather for strength and courage.

    Tom-

    I was the same way. I had read it before and then smiled and kept reading knowing that it too would make me feel better. Thanks for the comment.

    White Hot Magik-

    Yes I can think of far worse things and I feel embarrassed to be upset over not eating cake. I feel better today. Ready to go back to the doctor tomorrow and see what our new plans are.

    Tiff-

    I know the struggle you go through and hope this truly did help. Sometimes it’s not as easy a just making that choice. Sometimes we keep crying and then wake up feeling better and make another choice. I hope to be as strong as you are with your children.

  7. Thank you for such a wonderful reminder that we have so many choices, and often so few ideas of choices. There’s a great song, “I see abundance everywhere”–we can be singing that song at all times regardless of the situation.

    By the way, I found your blog through my cousin Barbara Swafford!

    Kaye

  8. Welcome Kaye!

    Glad you visited. I’ll have to you tube that song. It doesn’t ring a bell. 🙂

  9. I know. Boy do I know. And don’t worry, I didn’t take it to heart when you thought I was being paranoid. You keep on trucking, only you can decide what is safe for Jakey.

  10. Marnie-Bug-

    Ok now you got me crying again. Today we’re going back to the doctor. The allergist said he’s not allergic to wheat and milk since he’s been eatin them with no reaction. ?? What if the reaction is slight and contributing to a total allergenic load that flares his lungs and keeps landing us in the hospital. What if? What if? I still have questions!

  11. I just had a former patient of my practice have a bunch of food allergen-free cookies sent to my office. The company must figure this is a good advertising strategy, to have pediatricians recommending it. The cookies do taste good, but do still have a lot of sugar and some fat, of course. So I decided I really couldn’t in good conscience recommend cookies of any type. There’s certainly nothing healthy about them. But now you’re making me reconsider that decision. It hadn’t really occurred to me how tough it might be when there are multiple allergies (e.g. not just to eggs alone). Check out DrLucys.com. Incidentally, she’s based in Norfolk, VA and is an ER doc in Hampton, and mother of a child with food allergies. Available in a few store locally there, but happy to ship mail order, and you can get a free sample mailed out as a doc. (not sure about if she’ll send it to Guam for free, though. . .)

  12. Sarah!

    That’s so awesome! Thank you!

    The cookies I feel are absolutely necessary to help a child normalize their situation. That’s what childhood is all about right? Kids and Cookies!!

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