I doubt many readers will remember a classic kid's book, Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter, where you had to play the "Glad" game.. no matter what happened Pollyanna (an annoyingly positive little chit) would try to help people find the positive side: something to be "glad" about. You know - my house was just flattened by a Tsunami. Cool, you needed to decorate anyway, now you can nubuild etc.
I read this book at an early age and no matter how I tried to fight it I think her refusal to accept bad news affected me from that day on, and I do believe it's what has got me through some pretty tough times over the years. I could have rolled over and given up so many times but I pick myself up, dust myself down and find something positive to focus on, and whether you believe in it or not, it does work. Positive thinking applies to poker - of course it does: if you are waiting for that one outer on the river after you flopped the nuts it always comes. Law of sod an all that.
If you are thinking positively other players at the table pick up on it without even knowing what they are feeling, other than that you are strong. So it doesnt matter whether you have a straight flush or 8 high, if you are giving off that strong, positive image it helps a hell of a lot. (Unless they have a Royal, in which case you're fucked)
But this post isn't related to poker today. An hour ago I was bawling my eyes out like Pollyanna's Aunty (you have to read the book!) but common sense combined with my indomitable sense of survival have allowed me to see the good news from a doctor's appointment this morning.
Friends know I've been having some tests recently as I've basically had a cough since Xmas, plus been pretty run down and feeling generally crap. I have had something called pernicious anaemia for 10 years now, which although I have monthly injections, it can still make you tired so i hoped it was this.
But I knew it wasn't. I smoke pretty much 60/80 cigs a day and I'd be pretty stupid to think a 3 month cough wasn't related.
So a week ago some bloods came back that said the anaemia was at an all time low, which I'm having some extra treatment for, so that explains why somedays even getting out of bed is a chore. But today my X rays came back and the doctor confirmed I have something called COPD.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the full title, basically it's lung disease and yes it is caused by smoking. I have tenatively googled it and I'm probably not ready to read most of the stuff when google returns "COPD - the final stages" and it isn't a film title. I have to go back for some breathing tests and we go from there. Treatment will involve loads of cardio vascular excercise (I don't even run after a £50 note if it blows away), inhalers, change of diet, change of lifestyle blah blah and obviously no cigarettes.
BUT ... here's Pollyanna...
Two lots of things to be very very "glad" about:
Firstly - depending on how bad it is, it may be able to be reversed, or at least stopped at this stage before it gets worse. This is MASSIVE. I currently can't breathe well at all and it's terrifying so to think that I might have a chance of actually turning this round is like a golden carrot dangling in front of my donkey nose.
Secondly, and this may sound like an If and But.. I DON'T have lung cancer. Obviously this was my biggest worry. Yes COPD is pretty bad but I have a chance of fighting it, a good chance I hope. I'm not sure how positive I would have been if faced with the news it was cancer, and it was what I was dreading.
So I need to concentrate on learning how to get better for a while. I won't be ruling poker out, but it will have to be controllable hours such as cash rather than too many late night tournaments as I need to give my body every chance to recover or at least not get worse. Plus it's a really good reason to Hit n Run - Oh I just won a big pot, I have to go, I have lung disease, okthankxbye ;)
Anyone know much about this disease? If you have it or know someone who has it (preferably still alive ffs) send me an email email@example.com. Could do with a bit of moral support and/or advice x
24th Dec 2013
3 months ago