This I Believe

Christine - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 4, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: hope

I believe that you have to be optimistic in every situation.

Sometimes you can’t help but to be negative in certain situations. It’s very hard to break out of that mindset. When I have problems being optimistic, I look at my father for inspiration.

In the summer of 2002 he was not feeling well. After multiple doctors’ visits, he was diagnosed with throat cancer (due to many years of smoking).

He broke the news to my family one by one. We were driving to the park when he told me.

“By the way, the doctors called me back. I do have throat cancer.”

My mouth dropped. The only thing I could say was “What?” It almost seemed unnatural for someone to be that calm over something that major.

He continued: “It’s my fault. I was the one that smoked for all those years…but everything’s going to be fine. I’m going to get through this.”

The next few weeks brought a lot of change into the household. My father started chemotherapy and radiation. He had a plethora of pills to take and a tube inserted into his stomach. As the days went on, he grew visibly weaker. But even with all of that going on, he still managed to keep a positive outlook on the entire situation. He was confident that he would get through those months of hell and get back to his job.

On his fifth week of treatment, he had his usual check-up. He came home and enthusiastically told my family that the doctors said everything was looking great. The cancer would most likely be in remission by the time his chemotherapy and radiation are done.

“I only have about two more weeks of this,” he said with a small smile. “I just have to do a couple of tests. Everything’s going to be alright!”

He died of a heart attack two days later.

Although it can be difficult, sometimes you have to step back and look at the positive in every situation. And if you cannot find a positive outlook, make one. Be silly, Crack a joke or just smile.

If optimism can help my father get through cancer, it can help me get through everyday life.