Major Affective Disorder, Pleasant Type

Cancer and Attitude

“It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system.” (Link to article)

I’ve been accused of being happy my whole life. Sometimes even called nicknames, like Mary Poppins. Is that an insult or a compliment? One never knows for sure.

When I met my first doctor for pancreatic cancer he informed me, in no uncertain terms, that I had a fatal disease and without treatment, most people don’t survive a year. (Even with treatment most don’t either). Then without missing a beat, I received almost a lecture from the nurse about staying positive – those who have a positive attitude live longer. Through my tears, all I could think was – – are you kidding me?  Since I was so upset she looked at me skeptically when I told her I was a very positive person – don’t positive people cry?

Yes, I do have that positive attitude, which has always co-existed with my diagnosable happiness.  I feel I was just lucky to be born with a happy gene.

But I don’t believe a positive attitude means that I am happy all the time. I like to think of myself as a positive realist. I have accepted that each day I live is an actual gift and I truly may not be here in 6 months or a year.

But I’ve also been very angry about it, and many times feel sad and hopeless. Being positive just means you believe in tomorrow. And I do believe I will be here tomorrow.

I also believe that prayers have helped keep me here as much as any happiness gene or positive attitude.

I also believe this isolation, stay at home stuff was created just to protect me!!!  (See the connection to that disorder?)

So, I, sort of, received some, maybe potentially promising news, that perhaps, but not necessarily, this current chemo treatment, which still gives me “the terribles”, might possibly be almost beginning to help me fight this cancer. Only time and a trend of improvement will help us, maybe, know a little more convincingly, but never really for sure. 

How’s that for positivity?

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This is my blog about living my life with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer—End stage. I joked about writing this imaginary blog when I spent a year on a treatment that allowed me only 10 days to feel well enough to live a fairly normal life. (Actually normal doesn’t even really exist for me anymore!) To earn those good days, I spent the previous 10 days living in post-chemo treatment physical hell – that also became normal in a perverse way. I’m also writing to honor those who are diagnosed with Stage Four Pancreatic Cancer. You might live longer than you expect and I want you to have someone who tells you what that’s like. There aren’t many role models for people with this because, well, they’re usually gone. So, this is for you. Maybe your journey will be similar to mine. Actually, it will probably be very different because “everyone is different.” Even still, maybe this will still be a bit of a guide.

6 thoughts on “Major Affective Disorder, Pleasant Type”

  1. You always amaze me! Glad the home bubble we are all experiencing gives you more safety. Hopefully “terribles” can get a little bit less terrible. Sending computer hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We are so much alike, Kathy. I too am a pragmatic. happy, positive, realist who believe that the cup is always half full and tomorrow will be better while I am thankful for today. I am a believer in miracles and prayer, because I am a witness of their power. YOU are in my prayers, cousin.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hoping the “terribles” are outweighed by the ‘maybe potential promising news’! In answer to your first question, happiness is a compliment indeed, and you wear it and your positive attitude so well Kathy. What a beautifully insightful post. Thinking and praying for you and continued potential promising news! Shine bright! X&O

    Liked by 1 person

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