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Don’t Bring Me Down. July 23, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.

I’ve had down days a time or two (hundred!) in my life.

You know what I don’t do on my down days?  Try to drag everyone else down with me.  If I’m feeling sorry for myself, I stay away from people until the moment passes.

Wallowing in self-pity is a complete waste of time for everyone involved.  All it does is suck the life out of an already shriveled apple.

When doctors told me I had a tumor that could not be biopsied due to its proximity to facial nerves (the ones I use to laugh and smile), I allowed myself one day to be sad, and then I got back to enjoying life.

People said, “How can you be so happy?  You’re a medical malpractice attorney.  You know how many things can go wrong during operations . . . ”

Yup.  I did.  I knew all about the risks of botched surgeries, malignant tumors, and complications from anesthesia.  People thought I should be unhappy given the cards stacked against me.

I disagreed.

And my vote is the only one I bothered to count.

Like Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture), I made the decision to be a Tigger:

If I was going to die on the operating table, or from a malignant tumor, I wanted to enjoy every minute I had left, not waste precious time being an Eeyore.

On the morning of the surgery, I arrived at 5 am with a huge smile on my face for the nurses scheduled to prep me for surgery.

Perplexed, they questioned me to make sure I understood the dangers involved, including the fact that I would be under anesthesia for 3-4 hours, and that . . .

Nodding, I grinned, “I get it.  I might die!”

Raised eyebrows from the nurses.

I laughed, “I’m selfish.  If these are my last moments on Earth, I want them to be happy ones.”

Turns out I was under anesthesia for 6 hours.  Then I had to wait 3 months for the final pathology report ~ 3 months!  My tumor was atypical and had to be sent around to several teaching hospitals before the pathologists agreed on a working diagnosis of “benign tumor.”

For 6 months (3 before and 3 after the surgery), Bill and I didn’t know whether or not I had cancer.  And, you know what, we dealt with the uncertainty by laughing and smiling and having fun.

We refused to give in to the uncertainty by moping around and wasting time worrying about the fact that I might be “dying.”

We’re all dying!

The real issue:  how many of us know how to live?

None of us know how much time we have left.  Any of us could be hit by a bus tomorrow.

Why not make the most of this moment???

So, yes, I walk around smiling.  A lot.  “Guilty” as charged.  That doesn’t mean I’m delusional or that I refuse to face facts or that I’ve led a perfect life.  It means that I wake up most mornings and make the conscious choice to be a Tigger, not an Eeyore.

And if that annoys you . . .

If you feel it’s your responsibility to wipe the silly grin off my face . . .

If you feel that my happiness detracts from your sorrow . . .

Well, this just in . . .


      Don’t bring me down . . .

          I’ll tell you once more . . . 

                  Before I get off the floor . . .

                        Don’t bring me down!!!

Quote:  An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?


1. Richard W Scott - July 24, 2010

A favorite band, and an especially good song. Although, I must say they are better in the studio.

Thanks for posting this.

nrhatch - July 24, 2010

De nada.

2. Agatha82 - July 24, 2010

Love ELO and that’s a great song. Yes, it’s good to smile and have that positive attitude, it’s an admirable thing 🙂

nrhatch - July 24, 2010

Days when I feel like an Eeyore . . . might as well have flushed them down a toilet.

Days when I feel like a Tigger . . . awesome no matter what I accomplish.

Like James Brown, I feel good . . . just like I knew that I would. : )

3. Paula - July 24, 2010

Like golf, attitude and approach mean everything!

Was your surgery to remove your parotid gland? I had the same thing done a year ago in June! Mine also was benign, after a lengthy diagnosis. Small world. Our attitudes differed slightly…I just KNEW that it wasn’t malignant – even though Dr. said 75% chance it was! Never thought about it a single day after he informed me of that. Did you suffer any collateral nerve injury? I have some slight damage to my left smiling nerves (you can see that on my most recent photo on FB. I now have a crooked smile! But I’m still smiling! Only other thing is my left ear is completely numb! Took some getting used to, especially when putting on my pierced earrings! God is so good!

Another similarity: When in the throes of a major depression (I am B-Polar II, a a result of long-term illness, most likely. It is under very good control now!), I always withdraw from people! Although that can be for extended periods of time, I just do not want to be around others and have everybody either pity, or empathize too much! Bringing others down to your own level is NO FUN, and not satisfying or healing in the least!

nrhatch - July 24, 2010

Yes. Parotid Gland Tumor.

Like you, I KNEW it was benign . . . but when other people questioned that certainty, I’d say, “Fine. I might die . . . but in the meantime I’m going to live.”

Numb ear, like you. No other nerve damage. The operation took 6 hours because the tumor was in the “branches” of the tree, rather than around the “trunk.” My surgeon took his time and excised the tumor without knicking any of the nerves. My only numbness is from the surgical incision, not from removal of the tumor.

I suspect that some people take great pleasure in popping other people’s balloons (probably because Ego suggested it would make them feel better . . . it never does, at least not for long).

I’m not one of them. Glad you agree. : )

4. Paula - July 24, 2010

My surgery took about 3-1/2 – like you said, different place, but I had two – one grape-size, one large plum-size. Why do Drs. always use fruit as a reference? Don’t they think people know what a centimeter is? 😀 Numbness around an incision often will eventually come back (I have lots of experience, some has, some hasn’t – nerves do regenerate, but very slowly…if you live long enough maybe you’ll get some of that feeling back. The ear numbness, my Doc said probably won’t go away…so what? Small price to pay.

BTW, don’t we usually agree? At least on the ones I reply to! 😀

5. nrhatch - July 24, 2010

Doctors use fruit comparisons when the object in question is small.

One of my fibroids went from grapefruit . . . to coconut . . . to small BASKETBALL!

At that point, I had my doctor remove it. I didn’t want to see what the next comparison would be. : )

Yes, Grasshopper. We agree some of the time. Other times, we agree to disagree. Either way works.

6. Paula - July 24, 2010

ROTFL! Pregnancies grow the same way, but in my case they went from basketball to MEDICINE ball!

Ah, yes, my Master…cordial disagreement (when agreed upon) also works quite well. Now that I know that, I shall go fire-walking.

nrhatch - July 24, 2010

For example, my last comment . . . probably something you will not agree with.

Especially given your husband’s occupation.

But I’d rather be honest about heart-felt beliefs, than waste time placating others . . . no matter how much I like them. : )

BTW: I didn’t mean to imply with the reference to Kung Fu (“grasshopper”) that you are the student, and I am the teacher.

We are, all of us, both student and teacher. : )

7. Paula - July 24, 2010

Of course! I only used the reference to let you know I’m also old enough to remember David Carradine and “Kung Fu!” 😀

My husband is a wonderful, deeply committed individual to whom I look up, and someone I admire immensely! (Fortunately, those feelings are mutual – he just told me so!). However, we don’t always agree – part of what keeps our marriage so vibrant and long-lasting! We have had some great “agree to disagree” moments, like you and I have, but isn’t that what makes us the individuals that we are? I think it’s fun; and most importantly, we all seem to agree on the most important points, not the least of which is that “Spirit does INDEED light (and lead) the way!”

nrhatch - July 24, 2010

Bill and I have had to agree to disagree a few times.

Like you and your guy . . . we agree on the most important things like the need to fit as much LOVE, PEACE, JOY, and HAPPINESS in each day as possible. : )

Paula - July 24, 2010


8. nrhatch - July 24, 2010

Wipe that silly grin off your face! ~ It’s distracting me from my counter-productive thoughts.

9. Judson - July 25, 2010

Thank you for the uplifting post. Your attitude is inspirational. I would hope that I could emulate your outlook.


nrhatch - July 25, 2010

Thanks, Judson!

I’ve had some rather awesome “teachers” in my life . . . and I want to share their wisdom with others.

You don’t necessarily achieve transformation over night but you can “fake it until you make it.”

Cheers! Thanks for stopping by.

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