Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Seven Things to be Thankful For

Tomorrow being Thanksgiving day, it is a good time to count our blessings. Of course, we could just as easily count things that are not good. Everyone has some bad things in their lives. I have a loved one who continues on a self destructive course, and this can be very painful at times. I learned yesterday that my sister’s breast cancer has returned, and woke up at 2:30AM worrying about her and her future. It would not be too difficult to dwell on the negative when major bad things are happening around us and to us.

But I won’t. Seven years ago today, I went into the oncology room to get my last chemotherapy, and I was rejoicing. So in grateful memory of that, I will list seven things that I am grateful for today. As you will see, several of them are of the glass is half full or half empty variety, and I am going to look on the glass as half-full. So, here's my list! In reality, it would be much longer than jus seven things - every family member and friend could be a separate item on the list - but these are seven things that popped into my mind tonight based on recent events.

1. I have a job. Right now, I am not enjoying my job a lot, nor are most people who work there. There are days I get negative about it. But when I really stop to reflect on it, I am very grateful. There are lots of folks out of work, and I am not one of them. I am grateful to be employed, and if I want something better, it is up to me to pursue it.

2. My sister is still with us. True, her cancer recurring is a horrible feeling for all who love her. But she could have died a couple of years ago, and didn’t. She had a pretty good run, all in all, the past 14 months or so. We had some great visits and memories together during that time. And while being back on chemo with a very uncertain treatment and outcome is not what we had hoped for, I am going to expect to have her around a long time.

3. My cat, Nellie, is still with us. Last February and March, every weekend for about 8 weeks looked like her last, as she had failing kidneys. We came within a cat’s whisker of euthanizing her, and finally resolved to do it on Monday after one last weekend of spending time with her. That Sunday, she perked right up, started eating again, and played a little. I guess she cashed in one more of her nine lives, and is still here, happy, content, and affectionate. Hear that purring? That's Nellie!

4. I have good medical insurance. That topic has been on the news a lot lately, the medical insurance haves and have-nots. I am very fortunate to have this.

5. I love my granddaughter. True, I could mope because she lives far away, and I always wish I could see her more. But I am so grateful to have survived to not only meet her, but to get spend time with her whenever I can. She is now three years old – a beautiful, smart girl with an amazing personality. I’m not biased, of course – but I am thankful.

6. I am in good health. When you once had cancer, that is a really big one! There is rarely a day when I don’t reflect for at least a few seconds on my good fortune.

7. I have never truly known hunger. Food is a big part of this holiday time, and yet I know that many people all over the world eat poorly, many barely at all. I went without solid food for about four days once when I was sick from chemo. But I have never truly known real hunger, and that is something to be thankful for. In fact, given the seven or eight pounds that have crept back on since I ran the half marathon in Nashville, maybe I should be a tad less thankful.

That’s my list of seven things to be grateful for seven years after wrapping up chemo. What are you thankful for?

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