November 27, 2013
On this Thanksgiving Eve, I’m thinking of all the things I’m thankful for this year, and as cliche’ as it must sound to most folks, I’m most thankful to still be here, to be alive, to be surrounded by my family and friends (and Wall-E, of course).
A year ago, I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, all I knew was that it was a grade 2 (this is what measure how fast a tumor is growing 1 being slowest, 3 being fastest) and surgery would be happening, no doubt about it.
What we didn’t know at this time last year, was how bad (or good???) my cancer would be. Would it be a Stage 4 and death would be knocking at my door? Would it be a Stage 0 or even a Stage 1 and I wouldn’t need treatment? We just didn’t know. But God knew, and that was really all that mattered. I knew from the day Dr. W told me that my mammogram was bad, that no matter what laid ahead of me, that I would be ok, that God had already gone before me, that He had prepared the path that I would be walking, and at the end, He would be victorious, and yep, I was right.
It’s sad that it took cancer to make me STOP, look around at my life, about what makes ME happy, to truly see the beauty that is our Earth, to stop and smell the flowers (and a few weeds here and there), to really learn to laugh out loud, to appreciate people more than I thought I did, to accept gifts and help (something I’m not so good at, especially the help part). Cancer, I’m thankful for you, for you made me stop, open my eyes, and truly look around. You can leave now, your job is done.
Because of cancer, I truly have a new perspective on life (and relationships). I’m learning to let things go easier, to take things in stride, to not stress so easily and not be worked up when meeting new people and not have make up on. I’m really appreciating life and deeply realizing that there is way more to this stuff, than just the surface we all see.
I am so incredibly thankful for so many people this past year, people who put their lives on hold, if even for an afternoon, to help me, to encourage me, to surround me with love and prayers. But……
My husband of 27 years, ladies, do you think it’s possible to fall more in love with your husband? i’m here to tell you that it is. The care in which Pat has given to me this past year has been beautiful. He has bathed me, helped me in the bathroom (something no one ever wants done for them), held me when I cried and understood when I was angry. I couldn’t ask for anyone to treat me any better than he has, he has honored me, and by his actions alone, I have felt the depths of his love.
RG – even though we don’t get to chat daily, the connection between the two of us feels genuine, unstrained. You have done so much for me, emotionally, this past year, without your support and talks about the color of ‘stuff’, well, let’s just say, I am deeply thankful to call you my friend.
KP – there are truly no words that can describe just how thankful I am to you. You kept things normal for me, NORMAL. Our routine of talking and texting never wavered, it was normal. You didn’t treat me with kid gloves, you treated me like you always did, like your friend, never, ever, like your friend with cancer. You have understood my bond with Wall-E, never telling me that I had lost my mind for wanting him with me 24/7, you simply understood. Having you help me feel normal is something that I have appreciated more than you will ever know. I’m so proud to call you my friend and honored that you call me yours! One day (in many many many years I pray), let’s go do crafts on the beach ok!
RW – I have been so thankful for you for a number of years, the wisdom you place upon me when I’m in your chair, the perspective on issues I get from you is remarkable. However, you gave of yourself and of your time to simply wash my hair and dry it, when I couldn’t lift my arms after surgery, never once, asking for anything in return. You gave of yourself on Christmas Eve, time away from your family, to do this for me. I can never thank you properly for taking care of me like you did. I’m thankful that you cried with me the day we cut my hair, understood my desire to color my roots (even though it was coming out in a few weeks), and then laughed with me as we shaved my head a few weeks later. You helped turn a depressing situation into a humbling, grateful one. I am thankful to not only call you my hairdresser, but my friend.
KG – 2 months can make a big difference. 2 months is all that separates us on this so called journey! I’m thankful that cancer brought us together as friends, I’m thankful that we see the same oncologist, I’m thankful that I had you to guide me through chemo, I’m thankful that we walked the survivor’s lap together, I’m thankful that we kicked cancer’s ass TOGETHER, and I’m thankful that we both have long healthy lives to live ahead of us. God is good!
SR – oh my PITA girl. For such a short time of knowing you, there is just so much to be thankful for. I’ll start with the ease of the friendship we have developed, the RVCC you have forced me to eat, your generosity in helping me reach my fundraising goals, helping me take a step back towards my camera and the creativity that it has awakened. Your photography knowledge is superb and I can’t wait to continue to learn from you. I am thankful to know what it’s like to have a close girlfriend near by to do things with, at ease. You make me laugh, you inspire me and understand my recent pondering of labels we put on people. You have helped me to see that a person can have more than one best friend (there’s that label again). Here’s to a lifetime of mini marshmallows in hot chocolate, lots of cookies and RVCC, tons of CFA for lunch, nilla wafers and nutella, bowls and bowls and bowls of lucky charms (cause they secretly are nutritious, right?), photography escapades, and good ol fashioned girl talk and friendship. I promise the next time you ask how my boob is, I’ll try to not flash ya, LOL….that still cracks me up! Thank you for simply being you!
My Pink Ribbon Sisters and Support Group – WOW, thank you doesn’t even begin to cut it. Y’all are a wonderful group of women who provide a safe place to unload our aggravations, frustrations, fears, victories, etc. You embraced me before I ever knew my final diagnosis, allowed me to ask questions before I earned that ribbon, I pray we can continue to support other women in their fight, together, like you have supported me.
And lastly, one last bit of thanks to TG – somewhere in this past year, things changed, or maybe I truly finally realized what I knew all along. But for whatever the reasons are, I am thankful to have shared time with you, to have had someone to confide in, to run to when life was too much. If you are reading this, please know, I will forever be grateful for the time we had together.
Now, had would I have FULLY realized these things had it not been for cancer? Who knows. Maybe. Like I said, I’m simply very thankful to just be alive today, to still be experiencing the joys around me, the love of my pups, the joy that my W gives me. I’m thankful for the laughter that Pat and the boys bring into my life. I’m thankful for the gift of my daughter in law and her parents. I’m truly a blessed and grateful woman this year, and I pray that if I ever take life for granted, that God knocks me on my head and tells me to shape up!
Oh, and that cancer…..Stage 2A with 3 positive lymph nodes, that’s what it took to make me stop and do inventory!
May you all be blessed this holiday season, may you appreciate all that is around you, without being faced with a life altering disease or event.