Once again, this is the season of thanks. The calm before the storm. Before we rush to shop, to decorate, to visit, we are to bow are heads and count our blessings. Really, we should do this daily, right? Even when you’re stuck in traffic behind an accident, worrying about being late to work or that concert you couldn’twait to attend, there is the relief in NOT being a part of the accident. There is something to be thankful for. Even if your electricity goes out right before you put dinner in the oven, there is that thrill of knowing you can go out to dinner and not clean up dishes and pans that night. There is something to be thankful for. The miracle of each sunrise and sunset, the miracle of each breath you take, each beat of your heart…happening fairly effortlessly, all something for which you should be thankful.
I will never be thankful that I have terminal cancer. Never. It is not a gift. I do not wish to share it. I never wanted to open it. I will never forget the moment I heard the words. Nothing in my life will match the drama of that moment until/unless something happens to my husband or children. And until I hear the words that there are no more treatments for me. So, there you have it, something to be ungrateful for.
But, still, there’s that silver lining. There just always is. There’s always that escape window when the door is closed or locked. It is because I have cancer that I got to experience an incredible outpouring of love and support. I received 221 cards to cheer me, support me, encourage me. I received flowers, and books, and my favorite–vegetable baskets! I got to know some women in an online support group that share my disease Then I got to meet two of these women in person. Pretty cool, right?! These women and I share our ups and downs. Lately, there’s been a lot of sad news in this group. I was thinking about all ladies, their families, the holidays. And I realized something. Each of us “metsbabes” as we call ourselves, has been blessed with a new perspective. We have faced what my oldest brother called “The Fear”. And, like a born-again Christian feels a rebirth, we are born again. We have been baptized not in water and oil, but in fear and determination. We have pondered our deaths in a way that most people don’t, because when you do, it’s damned scary! But this has made each day sweeter for us. That’s the silver lining. We know in a very real way that our days are numbered. This could very well be our last Thanksgiving, our last Christmas. We know full well to only do the things that bring us true pleasure. We know when to let go, when to say “no” and when to jump in full force.
We were born again. We have entered a new culture, a new club. We didn’t mean to, but we did. We have faced chemo, radiation, lost breasts, lost ovaries, lost hair, lost fingernails, gained countless aches and pains, gained weight, lost weight. But, we never lost dignity, or hope, or faith…or each other. This rebirth has taught us what having faith really means, too. Because we have to put faith in so much. Will our oncologist chose the right chemo? Will the surgeon know what to do with what he/she finds inside us? Will the radiologist see everything? Will the side effects be as minimal as the drug company says? We cannot manage on our own. We put faith in everyone that touches us. Blind faith. And then we pray. And the time spent in prayer is another silver lining. Because so many people don’t feel like they have the time for this. But, when you feel like you don’t have a lot of time, suddenly, you make the time for this. And prayer is very powerful on so many levels. You can call it meditation if that’s more comfortable for you. But, if you ever have the opportunity to live six years past a terminal diagnosis, you’ll call it prayer. You’ll believe in God. You’ll believe in miracles. And, because of these beliefs, you’ll feel peace. Huge silver lining.
Before Black Friday comes, take a minute or two to slow down. Drink some tea, or wine. Prop up your feet. Be still. Entertain yourself with your own thoughts. And, of course, count your blessings!