Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hope: framing it

As we age, the things we hope for change.
Cancer changes the frame around your life.
Hope changes, too.
No longer do you hope for a cure, once you are palliative. One must hope for different things:

  • hope for a good day
  • hope for visitors
  • hope for the small things that make life good to live
  • hoep to go outdoors
  • hope to be pain-free.


Once all hope is gone, yes, you are ready to die. My aging clients feel much hope is gone: their friends are dead, they have nothing left to do, their journey is over.
False hope is a truly evil thing. Physicians do not help some patients in this regard.
At the end of life, there is work to do. Making amends, talking to loved ones, saying goodbyes.
I was sad that I did not know how close my mother was to death. All the old photos, the memories that were alive in her were gone, and died with her. I wanted to relive some of them before her death. It was not to be.

I now work with hospice and palliative clients to help them have hope every day, in a different way.
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Framing happiness: our attitude

My blogger buddy just responded to a tag-you're-it post. The prompt is to reply to 6 Things That Make Me Happy. I think that happiness is far less something you depend upon from external forces than a choice to appreciate what is in the here and now. What is... simply is. We must accept it deal with it, and no longer hunger for the past, or for the what ifs, if onlies, or the things that add little to our lives.

Perceptions: Framing a Painting 
Attitudes: they frame your perspective. *Doidge (2007) examined the plasticity
of the brain and, through psychotherapy we can change the flow of blood in the
brain and rewire the prefrontal cortex (where thinking occurs). He advocates for the counsellor to help the client reframe her thinking to move forward. Attitude and perception is formed in early years, but can be changed in adulthood. The brain is wired to react in certain ways, but that thinking can be reframed.
Certainly, the reverse is true, too.
I know that we frame our thinking based on what is going on, past or present, in our lives. The amygdala is the emotional centre of the brain. It holds memories and connects them to the emotions of the time. This is one of the factors in PTSD. When you see an image that reminds you of the time, or place of an emotional incident it takes you back to that place and time.
My mom's cancer framed her life in the last few years. She fought it viciously. She could not act as she had: unconditional love, thinking only of others, and learned to fight for herself. Somehow, who no longer thought that any of us could help her and were, in fact, not acting in her best interests. It was a tough time in our relationship. I am only beginning to understand it.
This painting, by Ygartua, is a favourite of mine.

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