Directing your focus

Lefty Graves

** This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that my daughter and I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

My now adult daughter is a childhood cancer survivor. The other day she and I were talking about focus. Now that she is an adult, her focus in life has changed from that of a child with cancer to that of an adult who is now cancer free. Yet, as she navigates her way through her educational goals, she has kept one thing in mind, giving back to all of those who took the time to help her through her diagnosis and treatment.

As we talked, I reminded her of how her Child Life Specialist at the hospital would visit her during her treatments. When my daughter would undergo chemotherapy treatments or other procedures, her Child Life Specialist, Tammy, would redirect her focus by showing her a new toy or something funny. As my daughter grew up and became older, their relationship changed from Tammy being a medical professional to that of my daughter’s friend.

My daughter is very grateful to Tammy for all of her help in redirecting her focus during complex treatment procedures. On the rare occasion they see each other today; they give each other huge hugs and smiles. It wasn’t always easy to help distract a wiggly toddler while a nurse attempted to do a blood draw; however, Tammy is an expert in her field.

As my daughter and I discussed focus, I told my daughter about the black dot. I reminded her that her focus should extend beyond the obvious in front of her to the bigger picture. If you’re unfamiliar with the black dot story, I encourage you to read it via the link above. For us, the black dot was cancer, but the black dot can easily represent anything in your life that is consuming your focus.

Learning to redirect our focus after spending a few years in cancer treatment has been something that my daughter and I have both had to navigate. She is navigating life without having to spend days as an inpatient in the hospital. Likewise, I am learning to navigate life without incorporating daily trips to the hospital into my daily routine.

Today, my daughter and I are focusing on the bigger picture instead of focusing on cancer or the black dot like in the story above. As we expand our focus and redirect our energy, the black dot begins to get fuzzy. The little things add up to make memories. The little things that we often overlook in life. Redirecting our focus has changed our lives. So what are you focused on? Are you focused on a black dot? Or have you managed to leave that black dot behind that used to consume your energy and redirect your focus?

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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