By Carla Schick
Disappointment gives us the opportunity to genuinely appreciate the good moments in life. But, sometimes, the list of disappointing setbacks can feel like a tiresome burden, especially for those who receive immune globulin (IG) infusions.
What can we do when we are confronted with situations that let us down? A well-known Japanese proverb says: “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” Case in point: Two-time gold medalist Shaun White was favored to win his third-straight gold medal in the men’s snowboarding halfpipe earlier this month. Much to his chagrin, he not only did not win gold, but he ended up finishing in fourth place. Even though White accepted his loss graciously, his disappointment was tangible. But instead of allowing disappointment to reign, he says: “I would always like to be remembered as more than a snowboarder. I have so much going on in my life, and this is one big part of who I am. But it’s not all that I am.”
The same can be said of our readers. More than patients, our readers are mothers, husbands, daughters, brothers, friends, artists — all strong, resilient human beings who have a lot more going on in life, in addition to being an IG patient.
Here are a few tips for how can we cope with disappointment without allowing it to hang a dark cloud over our lives:
- Define success by your own terms. Failure is a matter of perspective. If we have rigid ideas of what success means, then we are more prone to miss the mark. Be realistic. Be flexible. Think of goals in life like an archery target. It does not matter if we cannot hit the bullseye every time. Even if our arrow lands on the outermost ring, we have still hit the target.
- Educate yourself. It can be frustrating when our doctors do not understand our health conditions - whether it is how to pronounce it or how to treat it — but it helps to educate ourselves so that we can educate our doctors. Do research to find out as much as possible about your specific illness. The IG Living sources section at the back of the magazine has many helpful resources for IG-treated disease states, and the Resource page at IG Living contains a more comprehensive list.
- Ignore the critics. The friend, relative or workmate who says, “It’s all in your head,” or “It’s probably just stress,” has never walked a day in your shoes. These are the individuals who do not deserve your time, attention or even a reply. You may not be able to stop their criticisms, but you can change how you react to them. Think of their words like water off a duck’s back, and do not give them permission to affect you.
- Be kind to yourself. As individuals dealing with IG-mediated illnesses, it can be disappointing to feel like we have just been hit by a Mack truck, especially if that means we have to cancel our plans, again. More often than not, the couch will be our best friend, and that is OK. Accept it. Embrace it. Do not be disappointed with yourself. If your friends are worth their salt, they will understand and reschedule.
Don’t allow disappointment to reign. Take a step back and re-evaluate the situation. That is what White did. Instead of being consumed by defeat, he redirected his energy and made the decision to tour with his band.
How have you been able to stop disappointment in its tracks?