A Matter of Mindset
by Ann Marie Flanagan, contributor
As a mom, have you ever had a legitimate sick day?
I am talking about being alone in your home, cell phone in the off position, no email or social media groups that need immediate or constant attention. No, you haven’t had that? Really? Yea, me either.
What happens to us when we get unexpected news about our health and we have little to no time to process the information? Or this unexpected news is delivered in the presence of our children because we did not have the ability to leave them in the waiting room? Yes, this does happen and it happened to me the other day with my eight year old in tow.
Let me give you a little background before I share what occurred. I am a mom of three children. Their ages are 25, 16, and 8 years old. The 8 and 16 year old are under my room. My middle child is my clone and my youngest son is extremely sensitive to changes that concern me. He is a little feeling detective.
I tell you these things because I am sure your children are sensitive to your needs, even if they don’t express that verbally. Children have a keen sense when something is about to go down. So, here is my recent health journey.
Last September, I was given a diagnosis that took me off guard. It is not life-threatening, just life changing. It knocked me down for about a month because I could not wrap my head around the fact that I am “sick.”
I don’t feel physically sick and I didn’t know that most people don’t feel this way on a daily basis. Having always prided myself on my, mostly healthy lifestyle, I allowed myself to feel defeated. Until this behavior began to affecting my relationships.
Changing your mindset for yourself and your children
When I saw the reflection of myself through my children’s eyes I received my wake up call. My behaviors (short-tempered, depressed, and angry) were not examples I wanted my children to follow. Seeking out the counsel of another mom who had the same diagnosis, as well as two friends of mine that are nurses, I made additional healthy choices. This included going on a gluten-free diet to decrease my inflammation and using essential oils, to heal my body. That was the easy part.
But my biggest obstacle is my mindset. My journey of being mindful is my biggest challenge. Why do I want to be mindful? Illness will not freely reside in me and be fueled by unhealthy thoughts and feelings. I want to be everything I can be for myself, my children, my husband, family, and friends.
In order to work on my mindset, I chose to surround myself with people who are examples of this very concept. To continue to remove negative influences that are causing my self-doubt to sneak in. These negative influences are negative people, past experiences, social media, and the list goes on. How am I doing this?
Well, I am a list maker. I am making a list and methodically removing these items from it. It is not an easy or quick process, but it has begun. I need to also continue to remind myself why I am doing this. It is for ME!
When I have a healthy mindset, all of those around me will begin to reap the benefits. Why is this a difficult process? Because ever since I was a child, I have never lived my life this way. The idea of having a healthy mindset ignites my fire to do right by my children. So I may be their positive role model again. When I say “my children,” this includes not only my biological children, but also the ones I have in my class, my “Girls on the Run” team, and others I come in contact with daily basis.
Another way I am changing my mindset is by using researched-based information and practicing what speaks to me. Not all of the research-based suggestions work for me, so I pick and choose the ones that fit. Likewise, I have also found “influencers” that have me striving to be the best that I can be.
Getting up after a set back
Now I will share my most recent health set-back. I have had an enlarged lymph node in my neck for as long as I can remember. Always thinking it was just a swollen gland, I monitored it but paid it little attention.
That was until recently when I discovered two more nodes in my groin area. This concerned my physician and she sent me to an oncologist. This resulted in an immediate setback to all of my self-care. Just by hearing the word oncologist and the fact that I know have one, was enough to create a feeling of foreboding.
They ordered ultrasounds and a CT scan. The first doctor wanted to cut the lymph node in my neck out and then test it.
HECK-to-the-NO! I asked for other options, choose to wait three months and rescan those areas. Except I was scared and allowed those three months to come and go. I told myself, since there is no pain involved in these areas, I must be fine.
Well, last month the doctor’s office called to say they set up my next appointment since I didn’t follow up. I had the ultrasounds last week and received the news that the groin area nodes are the same. However, the node in my neck has increased in size. The surgeon said he was not convinced that it needs to be removed but is concerned and is sending me for another CT scan to get a better look.
I asked “why” even though I knew in my heart what he is looking for. Unfortunately, all of this news was delivered in front of my 8-year-old. Thank goodness when I asked him, he said, “The C-word,” for the benefit of my child.
After the appointment, I went into a tail-spin. It was ugly. I informed my “tribe” about my results and then turned inward. It took that entire evening and part of the next day to pull myself back up. Deciding to not allow this situation to define me, even if the “c word” is what it is.
Because what if it’s not??!! Why am I wasting my time worrying? I made the choice I was not going to give in to the fear and worry. My CT scan is next week and the results will be given the following week. I WILL survive and throughout this process I will teach my children how to stand up to what life throws us in a dignified and positive way.
We all struggle with our health at one time or another. Your struggles may be much more than mine. If you would like to chat you can reach me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have children, please join bit.ly/SuccessinParenting for a place to share your successes, ask for help, and form long-lasting friendships with other parents. I cannot wait to see you there.
In addition, I live stream on Periscope at @AnnMarieFlanagan where I discuss techniques and strategies for helping our children excel.
Beginning October 17th I am involved in a new Periscope channel called @SelfCareSociety. We will be sharing great tips for self-care in all parts of life. Thank you for allowing me to spend this time with you!