Reframing

A single mosquito chased me out of bed today.

I’m halfway through the Tuesday scheduled chemo treatments and I’ve noticed a pattern emerging: I feel the effects of the infusions in my entire body the strongest on Fridays and Saturdays. Two days of feeling like a bag of crap… a low-level neck-ache ramps up to a medium-level headache that grabs my eyeballs and disrupts my sense of self. A burning-tingling sensation throughout my system. Not much appetite. Not fun.

So, I was lazily languishing in bed beyond my normal rousing time, reluctant to get up to start the day when I felt the itch on my left pinky. Scratch, scratch.

Opening my eyes, I saw the critter flying around my bed. I wasn’t feeling up to being the hunter, hoping it had satisfied its hunger on my toxic blood and would just go away. I closed my eyes again.

Hah! Fat chance.

It next attacked my right hand, and as I scratched the itch there, I conceded I’d been bested by a mosquito, a bug a teeny fraction of my size. I cursed the little critter, got out of bed, and started my morning routine—although it was far past morning in my time zone.

This brought to mind a meme a friend posted on FB (in essence, from memory):
King Saul and his men saw the giant Goliath and thought he was too big to defeat.
David saw the same giant Goliath as a mark too big to miss.

No doubt that biblical story of the shepherd boy defeating a giant with a sling has been used as a metaphor to illustrate many principles. You can listen to Malcolm Gladwell tell his interesting version of the story in his 15-minute TED Talk.

What immediately stuck out to me in the meme is the power of reframing, of looking at a situation or challenge or problem from a fresh perspective.

If a problem can’t be solved within the frame it was conceived, the solution lies in reframing the problem.

Brian McGreevy

We all naturally attach meanings to events and experiences. And we forget that we can choose a meaning that is either empowering or disempowering.

Reframing doesn’t change the facts. It’s important to understand that. It’s not about kidding ourselves into thinking a crappy situation is a positive one.

But there is hardly a negative situation that can’t, with a bit of thought and reframing, reveal a positive opportunity. Or at least a baby-step you can take toward a positive outcome.

A reframe is not about telling yourself that
your fear is wrong. Reframes are about finding another way to look at the possibilities of your life.

Rebecca K. Sampson

When I was a kid, I was often told I was bossy. Now I see I had natural leadership abilities. I was also told I was stubborn; that charge I’ve since reframed as my being persistent and having stick-to-itness.

These are the concrete ways I overcome our natural collective negativity bias.

How about you? How do you reframe events to change negative beliefs and behavior patterns? How could you change your view of people, relationships, or situations to better serve you?

Now I can reframe my episode with the mosquito. That it chased me out of bed was in fact a good thing.

So, thank you, mosquito… I’m off to have a good day, to find joy in the little things, even if I don’t feel 100%.

And I can celebrate the milestone that I’m halfway done my chemotherapy treatments. Yay! This, too, shall end.

PS. A little concerning about my sessions is that the veins on my left hand—where infusions are inserted—are disappearing. On Tuesday, the oncology nurses tried putting the needle in my hand twice, only to have my veins collapse. Not their fault. They called on a more experienced manager from the radiation department to come up to insert it midway on the lower portion of my arm. He was good. My medical oncologist said he did not want to consider a port yet; rather, he said, he chose to believe I was having a bad day. Hmmm…. And I’m not at all clear how I feel about this either. Going with the flow…

PPS. If my writing resonates with you, leave a comment or share with someone (or your network) who may also appreciate my musings.

6 comments

  • Great distinction. We cannot change the facts of our lives, but there are many aspects in which to see those facts.

    Sounds like your medical oncolgist was doing his own reframe of the situation; you were just having a bad day.

    Halfway through chemotherapy! Yay❣️❣️❣️

    • Yes, Lable, he did indeed reframe… so let’s see whether that corresponds with the facts, not just wishful thinking. 😅

  • Thanks so much for sharing your story. Just a suggestion and I’m sure the healthcare providers have already mentioned this. Make sure you’re hydrating well and that should help plump up the veins for needle insertion. Holding you in my prayers every day!

    • YessSS, Ellen, that’s exactly what they told me… stay hydrated! And I so appreciate your mentioning it… am going to get a drink right now. It’s a bit hard to be consistent when I’m not naturally feeling thirsty. Grateful for your caring! 🌸🙏💜🙏🌸

By Francisca

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