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What do you do to stay positive?

I thought it might be nice to swap ideas on how to stay positive... so we can all maybe read something that might help us...

I will start.... I have two labradoodles and they are both loons... I walk them and at the weekend both me and my partner go out together and talk and just enjoy. There is not a day goes by without them making me laugh.

I love crying at movies... sounds sad but I think it is cathartic in that I can have a good cry but it is not from feeling sorry for myself.

I love my garden but the plants live despite me.

I gave up working full time as I figured life is not all about money.

I like music and engrossing myself in it...

When I got ill I gave up processed food and now cook every night... and plans meals.

I do on line supermarket shopping as I figure 2 hours spent in a supermarket is time I will never get back..

I try to meditate to relax when I can.

I would love to hear what you do..

Gilly x

40 Replies

What a nice idea Gilly. I loved reading what helps you feel positive. Your labradoodles sound lovely!

I like listening to birdsong and going for relaxed walks near where I live. I never used to notice birds before I got sick and now I really enjoy looking out for them. Hearing blackbirds sing makes me feel really happy.

I also like watching daft comedies and having a real laugh.

I'm having to reduce my caffeine but the other thing that always puts a smile on my face is a cuppa with a friend!




Yes - a lovely idea Gilly.

I walk as much as possible and although I am not doing the long treks I can take my time and enjoy the things round me. I also enjoy reading when the chemo has worn off and dip into a wide range to books. I belong to 2 book clubs - one traditional one where we all discuss the same book. This gives me a target when reading. And a village one we started where we meet once a month and talk about books we have read. That works well as we all read very different books and the discussion ranges through our own experiences, the theatre, films etc. The very positive way to spend time.

I am still working on transforming my garden and have found the results so far very positive. Not only has some parts really began to come together after 2 years of planting but I have also met many experienced gardeners who have shared their enthusiasm.

I have also 'taken up art'. At first it was the art group, who are great fun and very supportive, that kept me going. But now I find that I spend more and more time dabbling with the latest picture. It is not only a wonderful time waster but there is so much to learn, and it has changed my approach to exhibitions. I spend as much tie looking at techniques and pictures.

My husband is taking me through a gentle classical music course - I am teaching him about computers.

And I do agree with you about cooking. Very therapeutic, creative and appetizing. When we are using stuff form the garden even better. I have just discovered 101 things to do with chard!

So my way of 'staying positive' has been to take on some new things that require effort to learn, build in activities that require me to join in with other people - friends and new acquaintances, and to do so of our favorite things - even if scaled down a bit. Walking, theatre, film and travel. The biggest lesson my husband and I have learnt is that we like being together and now make plenty of time for that. W even laugh at each other's jokes.

Most of all I have recognised that resting when I need to is also a very positive action. Good excuse for listening to the radio or my iPod.



Angela, this is great. Very inspiring. Have a great day! Adele


I'm a control freak! When feeling down I give myself a good talking to. I also remind myself that I am still here and mobile, I am not housebound and in need of care like my friend with Parkinson's, I am not losing my mind like my friend with Alzheimer's, I have not lost my words and independence like friends who have had strokes. Life is good and I am still learning! I have always believed that when you stop learning you are dead! I get my next chemo on my 71st birthday and I am taking cake with 1 candle as I passed my 3 score years and ten last year I am starting again. I cannot walk far at present but roll on September when I get back to the gym and the pool and can start rebuilding my confidence. I even managed 15 minutes out on my bike last sunday. I felt exhausted but so good!


You are an inspiration! :-)


What a brilliant idea! what wonderful thoughts and ideas.

It's strangely mystical how the natural and creative world uplifts us, I also love walking, scenery, birdsong. I love reading and trying to write poetry and am still trying to rediscover my affinity with colour, form and paint that was so absorbing at the age of 21 and got lost in a welter of work, directives and deadlines. Still trying with a humiliating lack of success, I have to say!

I agree about the idea of learning something new. For me that is taoist tai chi. A series of 108 moves of great precision that I am still trying to master. The class helps me to put aside anything else that's going on in my mind. You just cannot help concentrating and the group of people I've met are wonderfully friendly and supportive, with a variety of ages and backgrounds.

Above all there is the feeling that I don't HAVE TO (whatever!), I can now "choose to", which is a whole different emphasis.

Thanks, Gilly and other responders, for this thread. Off to the gym now ;-)


Hi Gilly, I have two beautiful Boxer girls who make me laugh every day like you. I love to read and knit and definitely cook. I take baking to work and let everyone else enjoy it. With no children at home anymore I still love to bake so sharing it is great. I also love listening to music of all kinds and singing out loud. We have 1/2 an acre so there is always plenty to do. We are pruning and getting ready to mulch our cuttings and put them back in the garden. We have two chickens who keep us entertained. I work part time at the emergency dept as a receptionist/EN and have signed up to be a volunteer for the Hospice as a respite person in peoples homes for a couple of hours a week. That should take my mind of myself. I laugh alot. Love looking up at our mountain when I can see it and know I stood on the top once. Love bush walks with the dogs and my husband and enjoying the peace. And sometimes I stop to smell the roses sit in the sun and just appreciate life. Chris


Hi Gilly,

I love your thoughts and totally agree that staying positive is vital! Like you and most of the others I get huge pleasure from the garden and all that live in it,I am very blessed and have a big park like garden so have all the birds you can imagine,frogs,squirrels etc.When I wasnt able to do much I trained the squirrels though now its a bit of a pain as they march straight into the kitchen for their nuts if I havnt put them out!!lol!My friends call me Dr.Dolittle!

For me one of the biggest ways to stay positive was to think about how fortunate I was(and am!) compared to others.Even though being ill is awful we live in a country where we have free access to the best medical care and all the help we need to recover.I thought a lot about women in other parts of the world for whom a diagnosis of ovarian cancer would have meant no hope.

I was truly blessed and my cancer was confined in one tumor and hadnt spread but before I knew this like everyone I thought about dying.Even this was a positive experience(eventually!) for me as I knew God was going to be there when I woke up!

If we look there is always some good in what seems completely bad,if you dont see it at first,keep looking!!

Love to you all,God bless,Gilly


Hi Gilly

Labradoodles- what fun! Have access to my neighbours dog-a cocker spaniel and she is a joy to look after. Perhaps that is the key- looking after something or someone, but reading and exercise help too.

Keep well




Hi Gilly

I can't believe how similar our interests seem to be!

Stopped work, focussed on children and friends, bought a dog and some chickens (recommend them - very peaceful company). Gardening is good for raising the spirits and putting things in perspective. Art - yes, I can spend a couple of hours doing that and not think about cancer once!

HOLIDAYS - preferably somewhere sunny.

One big positive thought is that we have permission to please ourselves. Having a feeling of control is important. If something comes along that ordinarily I would feel under a duty to do I can stop and think 'No. Life really is too short! Looking after myseIf is in my family's best interests'.

I don't think anyone has mentioned anti- depressants and sleeping pills yet. Yes I know it sounds weak and we'd all rather take the credit for keeping positive but there is no point in struggling. I think of all the people who are on them who haven't got half as much to deal with as we have. They are simply a tool. I am on very low doses of both but I can really make the most of enjoying life and being active if I have had a good night's sleep!

Although I have had oc for 3 and a half years and lots of chemo I have only just discovered you all. Just want to say how nice it is to communicate with people in the same situation.

My love to all reading this. Sarah

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Great idea! Thank you! I love to have a good laugh everyday. I spend time with my family and my young grandchildren. How can a person not smile and laugh around young beautiful grandchildren? I also love to take walks, enjoy the scenery, smells, and birds. Sometimes I find such joy in sitting in my rocking chair on my porch just enjoying the sounds all around me; children playing, people mowing their grass, birds singing, wow, life is so good. I find the time to just enjoy life each day. My husband and I are getting ready for some wonderful traveling, I am really looking forward to the thrill of it. Each day I thank God for all I have and I don't take anything for granted anymore. Life is so wonderful!!! I am so blessed!


Oh wow... what great responses... I have added a new one to my list...... I keep positive by reading what all of you wonderful women out there have written.. I'm sure I will read and read this again...

Sarah... I am on antidepressants too and it sooooo isn't weak! I figure that they just help me see a bit more clearly and there is nothing wrong with that...

Something I had forgotten but I'm reminded by reading is that we all allow ourselves to just standstill and enjoy 'the moment'.. I went on a holiday not long after I finished treatment and I was really happy... I actually remember crying and Dave (my partner) asking me why.. I was looking out of a window at the sunset... after a perfect meal... It was beautiful and I was happy and I cried because I thought I was 'too' happy!! I know that sounds silly but my illness struck just after I had had a wonderful 40th birthday party... when I was really happy... I learnt after that to store up memories as simple as a moment,, a view,, a feeling,, a smile from a loved one.. and then whenever I want I can draw on them to help me.

Luv to you all.

Gilly xxx


I agree - great idea!

I too read; have my own 'library' but find it a struggle to concentrate sometimes having chemo. There's always comics like Hello though. My garden is a constant pleasure and I love to sit on the bench by my pond and watch the swifts skimming the sky and around the house.

I have always loved cooking and but now take much more time and also plan meals. Online shopping also as I agree, life is too short. Why spend 2 hours in the supermarket when I can spend 20 minutes online?!

Walking is good and something that my Husband and I enjoy together. As the poet said 'What is this life if full of care, there is no time to stand and stare'. I stand and stare a lot now!

Music has always been important to me and I love to listen to my ipod and dance and sing around the kitchen whilst cooking; singing is great therapy!

The main thing that keeps me positive though are the wonderful friendships around me; I am truly blessed with all of the care, comfort and love that has come my way and just keeps coming.

I also have 2 beautiful neices in my life who make me laugh and are coming for sleepover this weekend. They'll be helping me cook for Saturday night and I'll be helping the youngest make a satin nightie for the rag doll she's made. I also knit, do embroidery and sew...

I don't have dogs - but my cat thinks he's human and constantly makes me smile. He checks on me periodically during the day; comes in and cries until I talk to him, lies on the sofa with me when I can't get off it and follows me around the house when I'm a bit wobbly and need to sit down. Definitely my carer!

Keep strong everyone and enjoy the special moments in your lives that give you pleasure.


It seems to me that this disease has caused many of us to do the same thing; that is, stop living for the future, and enjoy the present.

I also have animals (dogs, chickens and 2 elderly horses). My husband & I worked so hard for so long to afford to get our smallholding together; so hard that we had no time to enjoy it. When my cancer struck us (and it's not just us, is it? Our families are so important and often become ill too), we ditched our jobs, and cashed in the pensions to enjoy whatever time we have together. Finally we can garden, care for the menagerie, I play tennis (and have even created a lumpy bumpy court on the lawn), get out into the countryside with the dogs - and generally do all the things we always wanted. We are not well off in terms of income, but in terms of life quality....



Hi Gilly, just read all the lovely answers to your post. What a refreshing change to read about all the things we enjoy doing, without mentioned oc. I, too, love animals and have had a menagerie over the years - rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchilla, hamsters, dog (who lived to a good old age of 19) - my son even had a garter snake at one time. Animals are very therapeutic, and as I haven't got any at the moment I am thinking of maybe doing some volunteer work for local rescue centres. Gilly - I would sooooooo love your garden and its inhabitants. Unfortunately I don't have much of a garden and live in quite a built-up area but I have my regular visitors of blackbirds and sparrows which is lovely.

I also gave up work and receive a small pension, which I am quite happpy with (money is not that important to me any more!). I don't know how I found time to work! I look after my elderly mother, flit between my childlren's houses (no

grandchildren yet tho!) and am busy decorating our house.

I love some of your ideas and will now definitely make arrangements to join a yoga group, start relaxing more and listening to my music collection, get out more to the country for long walks and generally TAKE THINGS EASY!

What an inspiration you all are. Thank you.



I have another way of relaxing, we have a motorhome, (always with the intention of travelling when we retired) and love to get away from it all in the van.

We have no animals and the children do not live locally, so if the weather is fine, and I'm fit enough, (now starting 5th line chemo!) we stock the van and go away, even if it is only 10 miles away, it is away from the home (my husband works from home) and all the jobs that are always around. We take our books, and music, and quiz books and sit in the sun (!), sometimes in the woods, sometimes by the river, or the sea depending on how we feel. Wonderful. We can go off for a walk, or on our bike's and enjoy the countryside. The longest we have been away so far is 4 weeks in Italy last year during my remission.



Hi Gilly

love the sound of your dogs. I have an elderly tibetan terrier who keeps me busy mopping up after he has had a little watery accident on the floor!

I too have given up work and enjoy anything creative. I do art, walk the dog, go out with friends for small meals. (appetite not too good) with friends. I also sing in a choir and that is really uplifting. We sing songs from the musicals and I love it. Also love small walks and birds and all the beautiful greenery now we have had this torrent of rain.

I also find meditating very uplifting and there are some good books now on Amazon which include a CD with 3 minute meditations so even if I feel rotten I can manage that.

My partner and I also like doing the crosswords together and we both learn from them as he knows some areas and I know others, i keeps the mind occupied.

Also we have started to go to amateur theatre groups who put on musicals and plays locally and have really enjoyed that.

Either keeping your hands busy doing something (liked knitting,sewing, art etc)or learning something. I have just enrolled on an Open University starter course (Starts Sept) and if you have a disability they are very helpful and the tutors will find a way to help you even visiting you at home!

Love just looking out of the window at my bird feeders and having the time to watch the world go by.

Lots of love



I am writing a charity recipe book. As an artist with artist friends from all over the world (thank you internet), It is full of art (mostly animals) from my lovely friends. So it is a mixture of allsorts. It has helped me to focus on the good things in life rather than cancer which can only be a good thing.

It has been an interesting journey, but finely am nearing the end and it will be published in the next couple of months.

Definately a project to keep you thinking about the good things in life.



I was inspired by my cousin at my first diagnosis. She has a chronic condition that when she was diagnosed she felt that it was the end of the world but looking back she thinks it was the best thing that ever happened to her as it forced her to stop wasting time.

I also saw how my nanna was when she was diagnosed shortly before I was told I had cancer and I didn't want to live my life in fear or to keep making do and settling feeling I had no control.

I've also been inspired by Lance Armstrongs book, which made me want to fight and be more involved in my diagnosis and treatment.

I gave up a job that made me miserable and I moved back to live with family and I feel much happier


its amazing that we are all finding similar things that make us happy and help us to stay positive. after diagnosis i suddenly realised that as a mother i wasnt just the cook, cleaner, taxi driver, atm etc but also the one person my children needed in order to function properly and that was eye-opening and the one reason i stayed positive. i love bird song and going for walks. when i am in my garden i feel i am on heaven on earth and would much rather spend time with my partner and children sitting having a drink there. over the last year i have spent so much quality time with my husband which i havent done in the last 23 years.maybe this is telling us ,that our lifestyle is not good for our wellbeing. love and positive thoughts to all dealing with oc xxxxx


What an inspiration you all are. I was feeling a little sorry for myself this morning...reading your stories has made me weep but in a happy way. Thank you all x


Sounds like you've really done it right! With me , it's about how I feel about the situation. I will not let the cancer control any part of my life. I've had OC for 9 years now, always on chemo,but I refuse to look at my chemo days, every 14 days, as anything more than a couple of hours of "having my nails done"---will not wear any cancer badges, t-shirts, etc. When I was bald, always a wig in public--absolutely no display to anyone else. I give it no mind at all. I will not advertise for sympathy. In the family, we often treat it as a joke. Ex: We are in a family fantasy football league and when I tried to draft a player I wanted, I cried give him to me cuz I have cancer. Always just a joking matter. I have not even changed the way I eat. But, do what you are doing, because it is much better! The only time I share, is by reading this website. I realize how well off I am.


These posts are 2 yrs old xx


Why have they come up again? Good reading though so don't mind xx


Like Gwyn said, Health Unlocked flag up old posts so members inadvertenly read and post replies but it can include those who first raised the post but have since passed and therefore cause distress. Xx


Thank you for telling me this Paul. Why do Health Unlocked repeat old posts. Surely they shouldn't do this, especially as you say some members may have passed away and it could bring on stress/anxiety etc. like my post to someone and you very kindly told me that had passed away and told me how to delete it.

Will be more careful in future and check and check dates. Xx


Dear Izzy,

Quite a few of us have decided not to reply to older posts because were not sure whether some people are still with us or not, reading them is ok though. xx


Thank you for telling me. I don't tend to look at dates but I will in future. X


Hi Izzy,

I don't think many people notice the date, I wrote a post about this a couple of days ago (you might not have read it) it said "an appeal to members" I had a good response, it seems I am not the only one that finds this distressing, I am hoping that HU will do something about it....(you might want to read it) as it explains it in more detail there.

Love x G x

Ps my post was six days ago


Will do Gwyn, thank you. Take care xxx


Try the 'report' button, then There's an 'other' option. Explain how you feel ..... Thee should be a way of feeding back. That's the only way I can find now. There used to be a 'feedback' button. I think it's disappeared!


Forgot to mention that , Of course,caring for my wonderful dogs have been a huge factor (100 lb yellow lab, 105 lb golden retriever).


Dear hannakat,

Just to say this thread is three years old ( please read our comments above) love x G x


have just tried the link to email admin and its saying 'server not found'? to try and find out how these posts 'crop' up- yes, it's lovely everyone talks, but i was gutted as a new member last week i could have been replying to a post from someone no longer with us, its hard enough for most women on here without this added distress. il try copy an pasting the email link to them and tell them to buck their ideas up- in the mean time, can someone start a new post ie: 'what gets me through each day' to cheer us up :-) xxxxxx


The thing is they are already investigating this

(I have had an email) so there is no point, we just need to allow them to sort it out... these posts crop up because of the tagging system they have in place that picks out random words, so they are computer generated by key words ...when I post I delete the tags so it doesn't generate links to other posts.

there is no point in commenting on old posts because the people might no longer be with us it is best to look at the date on the right hand side and not bother to comment.

There is a happy post up at the moment Sunfleury has just posted up a marmalade post love x G x

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Ps if you go to the search box top righthand corner and type in " tributes" you will see I have written a tribute to everyone that I know have died in the past 18months or more xx

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Try the 'report' button, then There's an 'other' option. Explain how you feel ..... Thee should be a way of feeding back. That's the only way I can find now. There used to be a 'feedback' button. I think it's disappeared!


Hi Janette- I've renamed my post 'Happy Stuff'- its not just about marmalade but it's something that helped me get through some difficult days... Come on over!! Xx


I Will thank you xxxx


I can't find it aggh!!! xxx I did find the tributes you have put on Gwyn and they are fantastic, do you write poetry for a living they are so touching and meaningful to each person. I'v not got a clue how to navigate on here- I never know if someone has replied put something!!! lol guess il pick it up quick tho. love to you all x


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