Whittle: Tony the Tiger taking care of us

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One thing has been burned in my psyche since I began chemo six weeks ago, you meet some very sick and courageous folks in a cancer doctors' waiting room.

I'm still praying about my new normal with having blood cancer after a wise pastor shared: "Pray about turning this cancer diagnosis into a positive experience."

Ain't there yet, but the battle is on!

While waiting during a recent Friday to consult with my compassionate-motivated medical team, I was battling weakness, dizzy spells, body rash and intense itching in wake of latest chemo treatment cycle.

At the precise moment, I needed a morale boost, enter waiting room stage right, a fellow cancer patient Tony and his lovely supportive bride.

At this juncture, I knew him as "Tony."

Within moments after sharing some mutual trials, I christened him with the more regal-sounding "Tony the Tiger" title.

The more Tony talked, the more my spirits began to lift and as I looked around, others in the waiting room were all ears to hear Tony's approach.

"I don't care who you are, when you first hear the 'Big C' diagnosis, it jars you to your core, slams you to your knees," Tony shared. "You're filled with fear ... raw fear."

I asked Tony to share any inside motivational experiences about how he's been coping the past two years since being diagnosed with cancer.

"How important is positive upbeat thinking?" I asked.

"I was initially stunned because we thought I was having trouble with ulcers, which run in my family," Tony noted. "But, when I prayed and settled down emotionally, along with encouragement from my brave wife, I began visiting nursing homes and care facilities along with support from my Church of Christ family. I can't imagine trying to get through this alone."

By this time, I'd bestowed the "Tony the Tiger" regal-sounding title on him. And I thought about wife Pat and how supportive she's been with me.

"I'm no public speaker, just a former employee at the Nissan Plant in Smyrna," Tony continued. "While at one nursing home, I was asked to give my 'testimony' about how to keep a positive frame of mind when faced with adversity.

"It suddenly came clear," Tony the Tiger diagnosed. "Serving others triggers a renewed feeling of wellness."

While still in the waiting room now filled with hope, I promised God as soon as I'm stronger and steady on my feet, I'll be visiting area nursing homes to get me some of that prescribed "feel good" feeling that comes with serving others.

Thank you, Tony the Tiger. Let your positive vibes continue to roar!!


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