SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 221: “Without A Doubt!”

“Appreciate all that we have because we never know what is going to happen tomorrow.” – Stranger turned Friend, News Broadcast Producer, Susana.

As affirmative as an appreciation can be, and to be perfectly blunt, I will be the first to confess that at some of the darkest times of my life, appreciation was the last concept in my mind.

I suppose that is part of human nature and a fact of life. At times I tell a joke, “Remember it is always darkest before it turns… Pitch Black!”

Absolutely… I mean my one liner in jest; after all, I am a hopeless optimist.

Yet, why is it that we come across so many times that this mantra of positive outlook is an overwhelming proposition, and how does such a select few manage to master it’s practice in living life to the fullest?

What is their secret optimism? How do they navigate through the deepest depths of life gone wrong? And where do we find these empowered citizens of Planet Earth?

In searching this question, might I suggest a perspective that departs from whatever our beliefs are of higher power, although I can’t ignore the significance of it’s existence in holding us through this journey life.

But, what of human perspective? Could the simplest of mind views have any impact on the literal healing a life slap in the face?

My take, “Without a doubt!”

Meet Susana… Cancer survivor… empowered Earth Citizen… and advocate for the strength of looking forward.

“I found out that I had Breast Cancer in August 2011. My doctor contacted me while I was on vacation in South Beach, Miami. Life was perfect. I was having a great time with my girlfriends, work was good and in two weeks I was going to Greece and Germany.”

Talk about a pitch-black moment. In Susana’s words, “The world trembles when you hear you have cancer.”

We never think Cancer can happen to us, even in Susana’s case, it was the furthest from her mind. “I had hair to my waist, and a few months prior to my diagnosis I cut it and donated it to Cancer treatment. Who would have known that I would soon be loosing all my hair from the Chemotherapy treatments?”

“It was surreal, but I feel better than ever for having gone through it,” says Susana.

Even the way she was diagnosed, came as a blindside, “I went to the doctor with a pain in my right breast. He could not detect any problems in his office examination, and as a precaution he subscribed a Mammograms.

They found nothing wrong with my right breast, but the results detected very advanced Cancer in my left. I was shocked; I did not even feel it. I was told that if I would have been diagnosed only a few weeks later I would have died…

…And I almost did, not from the Cancer, but from other complications related to it. Never would I have ever thought that I would be so close to death when life was going so well.”

Susana talks of her fight with affection. That’s right… I said affection.

“It changed my life…” Susana shares her experience not only for herself, but also for the unity of all women who are either survivors or in the midst of the fight. “…You learn to see things differently, we all have family, friends and jobs that we take for granted.

When you beat Cancer life get’s better than you ever imagined it could be. You start to appreciate what really matters.

I know it is hard to see the forest while you are going through it; I’ve been there. I remember the flowers that my friends filled my room with when I was fighting the disease. That gave me strength in knowing that people really cared. That was enough to give me courage when I was so close to death, and that was what I used to stay focused on the fight, knowing that the rest of life will come later.

You just have to stay positive!”

We shift conversation towards the world to come and in doing so the topic changes.

“I’m not sure if the technology is helping or hurting us,” Susana questions.

“Twitter, Facebook, how fast it is growing, and everyone has iPads, iPhones, or other devices.” She begins.

We both laugh as we admit to a united observation. I’ll call it the “Words with Friends phenomena.” Stated as a question, “Why is it that we can sit in the same room with family, and with no shared words, or animated bodies, dig into hours of isolated iPad competition?” Holly heck! I’m sobered, time to dust of the old scrabble game, we’re going eye to eye!

And true to her post Cancer life change, Susana links her council to the issues facing the oncoming society of technology users. “We need to focus on what is important, family, values, friends and finding something that we are passionate about.”

We stray from the communication side of the tech revolution, “Jobs are disappearing… I saw it at work ten years when a lot of people got laid off. We are all now doing the jobs of four people.”

Here is the really cool take on this concern, it is not a complaint on corporate downsizing; rather it is a call to respecting the value of the individual.

I think we all have to accept that the planet is shrinking, and that the pace of life is absurdly speeding up. Sorry to say so… but the train is steaming ahead. And sadly… in this ramp up, one of the major side effects is the disappearance of the person in the workplace.

I’ll not be naive in ignoring the economic and political reasons for downsize, but for the sake of this entry, I’ll stay on one point in tying to the temp the corporate culture to realize their responsibility as they downsize or restructure. That responsibility, “Look ahead in adapting new technology, linking it to the worth of the people who the cyber employee is replacing.”

Perhaps, train before the re-hire could be one consideration. Or, in adapting technology that will be profitable to the bottom line, to wholefully consider the HR impact of said decision, putting the value of the employees length of employment, commitment and even personal situations to the equations in their spread sheets.

I’ll step off my soapbox; I promised to stay positive…

Now Cancer free for one year and one month, Susana is no longer trembling and is again at the top of her game.

“People think of Cancer as death, but when it comes your way… you find strength… I’ll never look at the world the same again… I’m happier than ever.” Susana smiles with the joy of a woman reborn.

Oh, and what about her travels… “I’m going to Greece in two months.”

Happy travels my friend, keep sharing your story… We are all better for hearing it.