Living with cancer blog

Transform the negative into positive

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. October 13, 2012

Mayo Clinic recently hosted its annual Center for Innovation Transform 2012 Conference in Rochester, Minn. The main focus of the conference each year is to discuss transformation and innovation in health care. Laura Adams, M.D., was one of the guest speakers this year and she talked about how she was able to transform her experience of being diagnosed with cancer into a positive change in her life. I was so inspired by her story that I thought we could discuss this idea on the blog this week.

She and her family started a silver linings list as soon as she was diagnosed with cancer in order to reflect on the positive things that came about because of her diagnosis. She talked about spending more time with family, becoming closer with her son, being able to appreciate her own physical health, and finding joy and happiness in the little things.

She also reflected on her professional life and how this experience transformed her perspective as a physician on what it is really like to be a patient — to wait for and worry about test results, to communicate the news of cancer to your family, and to organize your medical records as you travel to another health care system for confirmation of results and treatment.

Because of her personal experience with cancer, Dr. Adams is now working to transform the health care system in a positive way. To learn more about Transform 2012 and view her presentation, you can go to this link:

I would love to hear from others who may have reflected on the idea of looking for the silver lining. What positive changes have you experienced? Sharing your positive thoughts may help other readers.


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Oct. 13, 2012