It is hard to stay positive when dealing with a disease, especially if the disease is rare. Rare diseases often have a poor prognosis, which can make them harder to handle and even more difficult to stay positive when fighting.
Rare diseases like mesothelioma, caused by asbestos exposure, or Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cancer originating in white blood cells, are often a difficult fight for those diagnosed. In order to have a better chance of fighting any illness, staying positive is important. Here are a few ways those with rare cancers and diseases can stay positive.
Fight for a loved one.
Fighting for yourself is an important step to staying positive, but fighting with someone else in mind will also help keep you motivated. Keeping a loved one in mind such as a son, daughter, parent, sibling, or spouse will remind you you’re not alone in this fight and will keeping your spirits up. Having a strong support system behind you is always a must for those with cancer, rare or not.
Continue to do the things you love.
Continuing to focus on things you love will help you to maintain a positive outlook. Whether you like to exercise, draw, play an instrument, or be crafty in any way, sticking to things that bring you joy will keep you positive even when you may be facing one of your more difficult days. Overall, doing things you love on a regular basis will make your days feel more normal.
Celebrate the little things.
For those with rare cancers, good news can be few and far between. That’s why it’s important to celebrate the little wins and make every moment count. Buying a bell to ring, playing a meaningful song, giving a high-five, or even just a simple shout for joy are all great ways to celebrate in a positive manner. If you focus on the good instead of the bad, it will keep you in a better mindset.
Get involved with animal therapy.
If you’re an animal lover, I would highly recommend you seek animal or pet therapy whether you’re dealing with rare cancer or not. For those dealing with cancer, surrounding yourself with unconditional love from an animal will be sure to raise your spirits no matter what mood you’re in. If you have a pet, take them for a walk or spend some cuddle time together. When you’re looking at a dog or cat’s furry face, how can you not feel the love?
Find a survivor/fighter to inspire you.
Unless you’ve fought cancer or an extreme illness, you most likely won’t understand what it’s really like. That’s why it’s important for cancer patients to find someone who once fought the same disease or is currently fighting to inspire and encourage them. Emulating the positivity of another person is something that many cancer patients and survivors do to help them feel supported and motivated to fight the fight. Finding someone like this to connect with can be a mutually beneficial support system.
They say that smiling is contagious. Force yourself to smile and act positive even if you don’t always feel like it. They say if you force yourself to smile and laugh that eventually, you’ll start to feel happier. So, fake it till you make it and smile!
Rare disease day is February 28th and it’s important for us all to recognize and support those with rare diseases and cancers. For those struggling with cancer, try to stay positive for you are not alone in your fight. Positivity can help you stay physically healthy, but most importantly will keep you mentally healthy.
About the author:
Rachel Lynch is the Press and Media Coordinator for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance (MCA). The organization’s work is focused on awareness and advocacy for mesothelioma cancer and aims for a complete ban of asbestos in the United States. Her focus is on raising awareness of asbestos exposure and ensuring all at-risk communities are aware of the potential health impacts.