Staying positive is the key. It’s a key for this whole situation. If you’re not positive, it’s so difficult to deal with any chronic or even acute condition. You start feeling sorry for yourself, feeling bad, you go to the downward spiral. And once you go to the downward spiral, it’s so difficult to climb up.
And that’s one thing that I’m fortunate enough—being with Spine-health has given me the opportunity to communicate with other members to see what their problems are, to listen to them, to hear how bad they feel, that their lives are over, and you need to turn that around. How do you turn it around? Again, it’s through support systems, it’s through talking to other people. Can’t isolate yourself. You’re isolating yourself and feeling down, it’s never going to help.
One of the things that I think that helped me with such a positive outlook: I was going to rehab centers for so many years—basically for either back, shoulder, whatever was going on—and I would sit and watch children that probably were 11 years old, they’re sitting in wheelchairs, knowing that they’ll never walk, probably never be able to do a lot in life because they have trouble even with their arms. But they’re so cheerful. They’re smiling, and they look at you and they talk to you.
So, I’m sitting there looking at these people and I said, “How could I feel bad about myself when this 10 year old is so happy?”
So it’s the outlook. And you can’t force yourself to have a positive outlook, it’s something that you just have to reach down inside and really want to do. So you have to be wanting to get better. You want to be able to see what they future’s going to be.
So I look at things—I don’t care about, like, people say, “Next year, I don’t know what I’m going to do”; I look at, “What am I going to do in 15 years?”
And what I also do is I have to just stop. I know I can’t do some of the things I did before, so I make adjustments. That does not mean that I’m unhappy about it. You need to adjust with life. That’s the key.