I am thankful for so much this year. It would be easy to complain about the interruption in my life– the time and energy that I’m losing to cancer. But it’s just an interruption, and complaining would only use up more time and energy.
Strangely, I’m oh so thankful for a cyst. Over and over again, doctors have told me how shocked they are that I presented with a cyst and was diagnosed with cancer. But the wonderful thing about the cyst is that it got big quickly and got me to a surgeon right away– nearly five years before I would have had a normal mammogram. The crazy formation of the cyst allowed me to be diagnosed while the cancer is still very treatable. I’m thankful for a surgeon who wanted to aspirate that cyst even though many doctors wouldn’t have encouraged me to do so. I’m thankful for a team of doctors who have coordinated all kinds of appointments and tests for me, just telling me when and where to show up, and for the fact that they have personally ensured that everything is scheduled in a timely manner.
I’m thankful that both kids are in school now and I’m able to stay at home, managing all the appointments and chemo is so much easier when I can schedule everything and rest while they’re at school so that I can be “on” when they are home. And I’m so grateful for a super huge bus stop– it’s a whole community where the kids play for an hour after school most days, even on holidays and weekends. I always know that someone (usually several someones!) will look out for my kids if I can’t make it. I’ve made some great friends there and it’s so wonderful to live in a community where you run into friends all the time.
I’m thankful for an army of friends, relatives, and friends of friends who pray for me, encourage me, and take care of me and my family. Even though I’ve felt relatively well so far, I lose a lot of hours each day to napping and appointments, so not having to worry about cooking dinner every night is such a weight off my mind. I’m collecting a whole big box of the kindest cards and notes, I wish I could thank everyone personally, but there are far too many. It’s so touching how many think of me and take the time to write me.
Of course, I’m thankful for my dear friend Sally. She’s blessed my family with the most special photos of us all together, and I know so many appreciate the photos she’s taking of me to share along the way. She’s made time to come along with me to appointments, chemo, wig shopping, and when I had my head shaved. She’s got her own family to take care of, yet she makes sure that I don’t walk a step alone. We have a lot of fun, honestly, but every once in a while shake our heads that this is how we now fill our mornings out. And yet, I’m sure it never crosses her mind not to tag along. My parents and brother check on me all the time and I know think of me even more. I’m sure hardest of all, they’re letting me have some independence to try to keep things normal for my family. I couldn’t be more thankful for two kids than I am for Emma Clare and Turner. They play together so well– I’m sure they argue and occasionally there are tears, but for the most part, if we’re home, they find something to do together and I have to ask them to come hang out with me! They’re great at letting me nap, they’ll watch TV or play together quietly enough for me to sleep for a couple of hours, even if Clay is at work. They love me so much, and have dealt with everything from missed field trips to my bald head with such graciousness. And I’m so thankful for Clay. He takes care of me when I need it, lets me be normal when I can, and tells me I’m beautiful (and means it!) even now that I have no hair.
God continues to make my body strong. Every day I am thankful for the strength I have. I am overwhelmed with gratitude, knowing that even in a difficult situation, I couldn’t ask for more.