Survive and Thrive
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What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Maybe. When two people receive the same grave medical diagnosis, one may live and the other may not. Why? Who makes it and who doesn't? And what can you learn from those who have survived the toughest of times?
Robert Lipsyte begins the conversation by insisting, "I am not a better person for having had cancer." He then turns to his panel: the Mayo Clinic's Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a cancer survivor whose specialty is acute coronary care; Kate Braestrup, chaplain for the Maine Game Wardens Service and author of the best-seller Here If You Need Me; and Stanford School of Medicine Associate Professor Cheryl Gore-Felton who studies how stress and post-traumatic stress affect health.
Emotions and attitude definitely have a huge impact on how you cope with life-altering news. "Patients who can't get over feeling like a victim" rarely recover as well as those who think positively, says Kopecky. Similarly, people who accept and fully experience their emotions fare much better, according to Gore-Felton. Of course, family, friends, and worship groups often prove pivotal in recovery from heartache or physical injury. Kate Braestrup, who survived the death of her husband, defines survival as being able to once again experience love.
Next Lipsyte sits down with a real survivor, Coach Vivian Stringer. Stringer's stand against radio host Don Imus' notorious comments about the Rutger's women's basketball team made national headlines. But as she recounts in her memoir Standing Tall, Coach Stringer has had to overcome greater challenges in her amazing life.
Finally, Michael Gates Gill, a man who lost his job, his house, and his money-and then received a grim diagnosis from his doctor-describes how he found salvation by working at Starbuck's.