I walked out of the hospital and I really had had enough. I should have been happy – the news was not bad – I ‘probably’ didn’t have cancer. ‘Unlikely’. Some tests. But, for me, the news was also far from good… ‘You have a complex condition’. ‘Not sure we can get you the answers’. ‘Go back to your original surgeon’. The phrases drifted through my head and all I could hear was, ‘You have no idea what to do with me or my symptoms’. I sank into the back seat of my parents’ car and the world felt black.
I messaged a few friends who I knew were worried – ‘Good news, unlikely cancer,’ but the reality was I was tired and felt broken with the ongoing symptoms which simply were not going away – and according to my 14-minute emergency consultation, were unlikely to go away in the near future.
I thought, what is on my ‘happy list’. How can I cheer myself up?
I tried but failed to get hold of a friend, pondered a walk in the sun but felt too weak, and then thought give up. Defeated. Not the Happynesshub attitude I know Hubbers!
And then the phone rang. I could see on the screen that it was a work colleague who I knew was really struggling and would want to talk. Despite feeling ‘yuk’ I decided to take the call and at least feel that one productive thing had been ticked off my list today. As I answered the phone I tried hard not to sound too glum. I don’t think I succeeded.
An hour later we had laughed and joked about both my predicament – and his. This most unlikely call, full of quite serious conversation and content, had put a big smile on both of our faces, made me put things into perspective and given me hope – tomorrow is another day and the forecast in fact was sunshine.
As I put down the phone I knew that this call had ‘saved the day’. I went over in my head the conversation with the consultant – perhaps it wasn’t as bad as I had thought. Perhaps he was right I should contact my old surgeon. And of course I should be so very grateful that cancer was looking unlikely. I thought to myself in the words of the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, “People are disturbed, not by things (that happen to them), but by the principles and opinions which they form concerning (those) things.”
I re-visited the facts and came up with a new personalised medical ‘pathway’ as my doctors like to say. And then I looked on the ‘instant happy boost’ page of the Happynesshub and explored which tools I could use. I decided it was time to get precise and create a personal ‘instant happy boost’ list that was really specific if I needed some support. It wasn’t enough to say meditate, I needed an actual five-minuter I knew would do the trick. Phone a friend – I should be clear which one would want to take my call and would lift my spirits. Have a cuddle – no brainer for me, it was my Arch – for you, it may be a child, partner, or anyone in your life that gives a good hug. Play a happy song – again be sure which song that is because when you are feeling down none are quite right and the decision too great. As I write this blog now, it is only a few hours since I left the hospital and my list is still being composed. But as I look back over the past 12 hours I am so very grateful for that call. And I am determined that when next I need a boost I have my new ‘mood changer’ list at hand. Simple, straight-forward and easy to execute.
Give it a go Hubbers. Even if it takes a week or 2 to work out what’s on that list. It’s one worth having!