They say that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond.
That is 100% correct.
Everyday I am so inspired by how my brother, Rob, is handling this experience. Here are some lessons I’ve (re)learned over the last several months. I hope this helps someone out there who is also on the sidelines.
When I was first informed about Rob’s diagnosis, I wanted as much information as possible about his situation and Lymphoma in general. This is my nature; I like to understand things. More information also seemed like a solution to feeling that I had no control. As my brother was sharing his news, my mind was racing with questions. I had to bring myself to the present moment and realize that he just got this diagnosis and there were still a lot of questions. And more importantly, that it was very emotional for him to share this news, comfort me, and then go do it again with our mother later that day. So, the only information that I really needed right then, was about how he was doing.
Eventually, I got brave enough to read about lymphoma. I quickly became very focused on statistics. To me, data is only as good as how you use it. I began to wonder, what do I make of these numbers? Will the outcome be the same as the 35% or the other 65% the 95% or the 5%? One could spend 100% of their energy worrying about potential outcomes. No one knows what will happen in 6 months or 5 years and if the stats say there is a 20% likelihood of XYZ, what can I really do with that information? After a lot of anxiety around these numbers, I concluded that the only thing that matters is what actually happens. And life is happening right now. With that realization, I was able to shift my focus from worry, to spending time together or doing something to help.
Don’t get me wrong; after spending the last 15+ years in the healthcare industry, I think it is important for all of us to be informed and take an active role in our own health and wellbeing. The point is that these figures should be used to drive decisions and behaviors. We cannot predict or control outcomes but we can influence them.
As you can see from his blogposts, Rob has turned self care into a science. It is his nature to use data to drive results. So what are the things he can control? And how do those things impact him? This information is shared in these blog posts and charts.
You don’t have to, you get to.
This is my mantra, though I cannot take credit for it. When I feel some mental resistance, and I think “I don’t have to, I get to.” Simply thinking this creates a big and important mental shift for me.
When I had some fear and maybe even some anger about Rob having to go through chemo, I said, “he doesn’t have to, he gets to.” I am so grateful that this is an option and he is strong enough to do it. Afterall, it is saving his life.
When I see Rob in class at OrangeTheory with a big smile on his face, I know he is grateful he still can workout. And when I am struggling through the workout, I remind myself, “I don’t have to, I get to.”
I am so very grateful for how Rob has handled this whole experience. He has been taking such amazing care of himself during this time period. It is an incredible gift to have this peace of mind and not have to worry if he is doing the right things. I am so proud of his attitude, actions, and vulnerability.
I believe that the love and support we give and receive is so much more powerful than we will ever know. It gives us the energy and positivity we need to get through the intense and challenging moments in life. Thank you to everyone for the love and support you give Rob, especially Jamie, our mom, and nurse Amanda.