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NAX: Once again, moving forward requires the right attitude - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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NAX: Once again, moving forward requires the right attitude

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Posted: Sunday, November 21, 2010 12:00 am

So you find yourself in a situation you’ve never faced and you’re going into six weeks of holiday madness. What do you do?

Well, I guess that’s all part of this whole having cancer thing. Everything is an adjustment.

So here comes Thanksgiving, a time when food is the fundamental part of the day.

Except that people who are undergoing chemotherapy have to learn that things don’t really taste right. All those mouth-watering treats look as good as ever. But, ultimately, it’s not the same.

And it’ll be just like that through the end of the year in all sorts of different ways.

But you know what, it’s all just a small part of the bigger picture. You have to make the best of what you have to deal with.

And so that’s where we start.

So you get tired at times. Work around that.

You’ll have down days. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be periods where you’ll want to get out and capture a bit of the holiday spirit. These two extremes have a way of balancing your emotions.

I’ve decided the secret is not feeling sorry for yourself when you can get that done.

After all, all the things that you hate about treatment are the sort of help that give you hope. So you grin when the needles are administered and appreciate the people who are trying to keep you in the best possible state of mind. What a job and challenge they must be facing as they minister to us suffering souls every day.

Another trick is to consider the possibilities if you weren’t at this point in your life. You might be beyond hope. You could be dead — and knowing what an apple pie can really taste like would be moot.

So Thursday looks pretty good. Turkey has never been one of my favorite treats, but I can make room for some good white meat and the family dressing that we’ve been having for years. Green beans and potatoes and this fruit salad we’ve always called ambrosia may not be as savory as usual. But, hey, I’m aware how important it is to keep my weight up. And, at times, the flavor still gets through. The smell of a newly baked pie still is a treat.

The day will include football, which is something that you don’t have to taste. I can still gripe about a favorite team and its shortcomings.

I’ll find time to be thankful to be among family and friends who truly care about what I’m going through. That’s what’s kept me in a reasonably good state of mind so far.

Another thing comes to mind. To a certain extent, everybody close to you feels sort of down about your plight. So there’s no need to make it all worse. Having an upbeat attitude about the rest of the year and all the holiday thoughts that go along with this period is not too much to ask.

So the obvious solution is to look for the better parts of what will be happening as the holidays proceed. I know I have something to offer. In other words, it’s best to go onward and upward from here.

Odessa, TX

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