The Power of a positive mental attitude

Positive Mental Attitude….

From a very young age I learned this…. My father taught me this as I watched him go from running daily, playing golf and clearing dance floors to relying upon a wheel chair to stay mobile. In the early 80’s he began to notice numbness and struggled with walking at times and would sometimes be laid out on his back for days. After several MRI’s CT scans and doctor visits- no one could really diagnose him, but many signs pointed toward MS, Multiple Sclerosis. Not many drugs out there in 1985 without AWFUL side effects. I remember my dad saying “no problem, I am going to keep a positive mental attitude or “PMA”, continue to build my muscular system through exercise and eat for health”. So he took that on as his “medication” along with: massage therapy out in L.A; changing every mercury fillings in his mouth; trying every homeopathic vitamin out there, including giving himself shots daily; wearing a huge oral apparatus that pushed his tongue forward that supposedly created more oxygen flow to his brain; travelling to the south of France to get dipped in the healing waters…. That is just a few to name!!!! He finally went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester because his health continued to deteriorate and was committed to cure this disease “real quick- so he could live the life he wanted (it was really slowing him down)”. My brother, sister and I were so excited that dad was going to see “real doctors”. He was officially diagnosed with HSP, Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. Less than 3 in 100,000 people are diagnosed with HSP- pretty rare homozygous genetic disorder. We celebrated when we learned he would not die from this, but he would continue to deteriorate and there was nothing we could do. My dad was actually extremely healthy- heart, blood sugars, blood pressure, BMI- his dedication to his health paid off in one respect. But more importantly his PMA paid off everyday when every “cure” he tried- failed. He kept going!!! He turned every failed outcome into a positive experience. After years of people asking me “how does your dad do it? Battling this awful, rare disease that landed him in a wheelchair and he always has a smile on his face and a positive attitude?”. I never really knew why everyone was so “shocked” by this- because that was all I ever knew and expected from my dad. But, I would see signs of tiredness, struggle, pain, frustration… I remember inquiring about this one day and he said to me “I found power in CHOOSING my disease”. When you choose something- you get power, it makes you FREE to be exactly what you want to be. He chose PMA and to live his life in a wheelchair. The chair does not define him, but he chooses it. I fight tears writing this- because I am  inspired by him and his struggles and how he chooses to live. WE ALL STRUGGLE- weight, food addiction, depression, numbing, unemployment, death, childhood demons, unhappy marriages, health problems, parenting… NO one is immune, but it is in the CHOICES every minute of everyday that keep us moving (hopefully in right direction).
CHOOSE yourself, CHOOSE your health, CHOOSE YOUR LOFE (that is all you own) 

Happy hump day- TGIW!!!!!

Committed to Your Success!

Tricia Houlihan

Posted in Community, Family/Personal, Health.