Most of the time, hope and optimism are great personal qualities. But when chronic illness is the issue, sometimes a patient or caregiver can have too much of a good thing.
For example, a friend of mine is living with cancer. I constantly observe her stoicism, as she puts on a brave, happy face while trudging through each day, even when she is feeling poorly. I often wonder if her continuous hope and optimism sometimes robs her of much needed help around the house and throughout the rest of her life.
I don’t think this phenomenon is limited to cancer. When our son’s acid reflux was at its worst, my husband and I were guilty of the same thing. No matter how bad the day—or in our case, the night—was, my husband and I tried to maintain an extraordinary amount of hope and optimism. Hope that the next doctor’s appointment two weeks away would make everything better, or optimism that the new medicine they had started our son on would just take a few more days to start to work. We were always optimistic that around that next anticipated corner, we would once again be able to function just like we did before our son was born.
Watching my friend with cancer, and looking back to when our son was his sickest with acid reflux, I question where the balance is between the hope and optimism of believing that someday soon things will be much better, and understanding that in the meantime, you may need a little help.
Published On: September 25, 2006