Being diagnosed with cancer at first can be scary, depressing and even debilitating. Deciding to be Happy, Will Make Everyday Better. Please note that I said Better, not perfect. I know this first hand, as I was diagnosed with HPV tonsil cancer in May 2014. When I was first diagnosed, I scoured the internet searching for information about HPV Tonsil cancer (aka oropharyngeal cancer, throat cancer, oral cancer) and almost immediately I became even more worried. Back then, almost everything I read was depressing. All conversations and articles focused on the challenges with treatment and the disease. There was virtually nothing focused on how to beat HPV related tonsil cancer while Living A Happy Life & Enjoying Each Day, and how life would be Awesome Afterwards. I wanted hope, and virtually nothing I read provided it to me. That was my primary reason for launching www.SupermanHPV.com in 2017. I designed this site to provide inspiration and information for those diagnosed and/or researching HPV oropharyngeal cancer, HPV and the HPV Vaccine.
I was inspired to write this blog because of three people: Michelle, Gail & Donna. Let me first tell you about Michelle Gielan,- the Best-Selling author of Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting & Sustaining Positive Change. I had the recent pleasure of meeting Michelle at a conference I attended for our family business in Austin, Texas, where she spoke about her research focused on Happiness. Her presentation has truly made a difference in my life, and my hope today is that it will change your life for the better. I asked to meet Michelle, as I believed in my heart, and still do, that what she and her husband, Shawn Achor (TED Talk), do studying Happiness, is Key for Cancer Patients, Survivors & Caregivers to live our Happiest and Most Fulfilling Lives Each Day. This will in turn, positively impact everyone in our lives, helping to Spread Happiness.
Michelle Gielan’s presentation about Happiness was awesome and impactful for many reasons. I speak with somewhere between 2 - 5 cancer patients weekly from all of the world. Whether it’s via email, text, Facebook message or twitter, I am consistently interacting with patients, caregivers and survivors. Their primary concerns always focus on how to cope with their diagnosis. How can they remain positive, and not become depressed, with all of the negativity on the web? How tough will surgery and treatment be, and what will their life be like afterwards? Most people are extremely anxious regarding HPV related oropharyngeal cancer due to the unknowns, and long for an understanding regarding how they will live each day in the future as days progress. This lack of familiarity creates high levels of stress, leading them to feel nervous for what is to come. For these reasons and many more, I decided to write this blog. I want to help cancer patients lead their Happiest and Best life, with the most positive attitude. I want people to be truly Happy.
My key take aways from Michelle’s talk included ideas such as Be Optimistic - Have the Expectation that Good Things Will Happen; Begin each day with Gratitude - Begin conversations by saying something Positive; Praise and Thank someone each day. My big takeaway was that Happiness Creates Success, not that success makes people happy. Let me expand on this and relate it to my own situation. A few weeks after the shock of being diagnosed, understanding that I was going to have surgery, chemo, radiation and a feeding tube, I Decided To Be Happy. I focused each day on being as positive as possible, for both me as well as the people around me. Because I love my wife and kids, and didn’t want them to be scared for me or themselves, I truly Worked at being Happy. That being said, I had occasional pity parties, but in general understood in my core that keeping the Sadness Out, and Filling myself with positivity and Happiness would allow me to Live My Best Day Each Day. Michelle’s talk emphasized why Deciding To Be Happy is So Important. Make the Decision to be Happy, and Surround Yourself with People & Thoughts Who Encourage that Decision.
Michelle's talk was outstanding and I’m excited to read her book: Broadcasting Happiness. Here is a picture I took from her presentation.
Just as Michelle has impacted my life for the better, so have Gail and Donna. Gail is a cancer patient with my similar diagnosis, and Donna is her life long partner, and caregiver. While I have been speaking with these women over the past year, it wasn’t until earlier this week that I met them in person. I decided to include them in this blog, because they have had a phenomenal attitude since we first spoke. This happened to be while they were returning from a radiation appointment located three hours from their home. While Gail had much more extensive surgery than me, I could tell from day one that her mind was strong, and her ability to see the best in every day was crystal clear. Because we have gotten to know each other quite well over the past year, I can tell you with 100% confidence that they both exude Happiness, and it’s this Decision to be Happy, that has enabled them to make it through the difficult times of treatment and surgery. They both inspire me, and remind me that Attitude is Key in Living My Best Life.
I also must add that during our meeting, Gail mentioned to me that I have not written a blog recently, and that my blogs have helped her. She shared that they truly make a difference. When I heard that, I knew that I had to write this blog sooner than later.
Here is a picture from our recent breakfast meeting. These women are smart, kind, beautiful and inspirational.
Gail, Donna & me at Another Broken Egg Cafe in Winter Park, Florida - We have finally met after a year of communicating via telephone. They are headed to the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Florida. Truly incredible women.
I hope this blog inspires you to Be Happy and Encourages You to live a Life Full of Gratitude. Decide to Find the Best in Every Day - Surround Yourself with People That Make You Feel Better About Yourself. Happiness Is a Choice - I Hope & Pray that this blog helps bring you peace.
Remember, whatever challenges you are going through, They Are All Temporary!!! You Can Live A Happier Life - Decide to be Happy!!!
Be well! Be Strong!!! Be Happy!!! It’s All Temporary!!!
I believe in you!!! Reach Out if & when you Need Me!!