Blessings Aplenty

Cancer patient maintains an upbeat attitude during treatment

October 2010

We frequently hear that a positive attitude can make all the difference when someone is dealing with a serious illness. Millie Rinaldi of Brunswick, Ohio, proves that point. Here’s her story.

My name is Millie. I'm 70 years old and I just want to share my experience of having lung cancer. In May of 2009, I was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer. I went to the doctor because I thought I had either bronchitis or pneumonia (I have had these several times in the previous years). Lo and behold, they told me I had to have a CT scan and rushed me to the hospital. You can't imagine my horror when I was told about the cancer after my scan was read. I must tell you that between my oldest daughter (who was with me at the time) and myself, it just wouldn't compute that I had lung cancer!

All I could think of were my poor daughters. We lost my husband in 1996 to pancreatic cancer. That was such a horrible and emotional time in our lives, and I just couldn't imagine putting my daughters through that same horrific experience. I was determined that I was not going to let cancer get me down. I told myself to keep an "up attitude" no matter what happened.

My daughters and I chose Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute for my treatment. It was the best possible decision that we could have made. I immediately felt comfortable with my oncologist, Dr. Marc Shapiro. He explained everything to me: how the cancer invades my body and the available treatments. I had a total feeling of comfort and trust. It was such a relief.

In this past year, I have had four different chemo treatments. No matter what difficulties I experienced, I could let Dr. Shapiro (or his wonderful nurses) know what I was experiencing and they immediately prescribed various types of relief for the symptoms. They made/make sure that I do not suffer unnecessarily.

Because of the wonderful treatment that I have been receiving, I have been able to keep my upbeat attitude. I cannot thank Cleveland Clinic enough for taking such good care of me. Everyone I have come in contact with has been absolutely wonderful – friendly, caring, helpful. Not to mention they remember my name when I come for my appointments. That to me is incredible!

I am a realistic person, and I don't expect miracles (though one would not be refused), but I am certain of one thing: I will endure the trial that the Good Lord has put before me with a positive attitude and be thankful for every day that comes my way. We all have demons we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. We can't choose our demons, but we can choose how we live our lives. I feel very blessed and am surrounded not only with my wonderful daughters and their families, but a multitude of caring and loving people. I can't ask for anything more. And I must say that without Cleveland Clinic's caring support, I would not be able to experience this wonderful "comfort zone."

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