Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore? As I watched a video in my computer science class, about Carnegie Melon professor Randy Pausch, these words really stuck with me. Randy Pausch is famous in the world of Computer Science, a world I would not be in if I wasn’t required to take a technology class to graduate. Yet, the video was incredibly inspiring. Randy Pausch passed away in 2008, after battling pancreatic cancer. The video showed his last lecture. He spoke about many things, but the difference between being a Tigger and an Eeyore was an interesting contrast I had never thought of before.
Thinking about those words, a light bulb went on in my head. Going through cancer treatment at any age, or simply going through life, you have to choose between being a positive, optimistic person or being a negative, pessimistic person. My oncologist, a very awesome doctor at Johns Hopkins, once told me, “I believe very, very strongly that the degree to which a patient maintains a positive mental attitude is one of the most important factors in determining the success of the treatment.”
Choosing to be an Eeyore means choosing to be pessimistic, choosing to be sad, choosing to be sorry for yourself, and choosing to bring down everyone around you. Choosing to be a Tigger means choosing to be optimistic, choosing to be happy, choosing to turn this negative experience into something positive, and choosing to brighten the lives of those around you. The choice is yours, but I highly recommend being a Tigger. I almost died multiple times during my treatment and most of those times were because allergic reactions caused me to stop breathing, break out in hives, get a 104+ fever that wouldn’t go away, or all of the above. Other times I just had horribly painful experiences, like a 28-day long spinal headache caused by a bad spinal tap, or a painful reaction to one of my chemo shots that became a large, painful welt on the side of my leg. I am sure these experiences are not nearly as difficult as the pain and discomfort that other children and teens with cancer have experienced, yet they were challenges all the same. I made a conscious decision at the beginning of my treatment that I would smile and laugh as often as possible, think positive about my future, and never feel sorry for myself. I truly believe that trying to be a Tigger, trying to be as positive and happy as possible, helped save my life.
Do not let the fear and pain of cancer treatment turn you into an Eeyore. Bounce above it, like Tigger, by trying to maintain a positive attitude.