My Little Bs Have the Big C

A Breast Cancer Blog For Young Women

I’m Thankful For

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I decided that today I’d write about all of the things I’m thankful for.  At first, I was feeling pretty pessimistic and morose.  Why should I be thankful right now?  My body has betrayed me, I’m going through hell and being tortured, I’m missing out on life, social and work, as I’m going through treatment, I’m watching my family suffer as they watch me suffer…It all really sucks right now.  But if I look past all of these truths and really think about all of the things I still have and have gained in the process, I have a pretty hefty list of things to be thankful for.  I will do my best to list them all, but if I forget something big or someone who is so special to me, be patient.  It’s the chemo brain, I promise.  Does that excuse hold up in court?

  1. I am thankful for myself, that I have the strength, power and knowledge to know my body and to do a self breast exam.  If I didn’t do this, and my cancer was caught months or years from now, I think we’d be looking at a very different prognosis.
  2. I am thankful for myself again, for have the strength to face my fears of needles, blood, invasion of my body, surgery, sickness and the unknown in order to get myself the best treatment possible.
  3. I am thankful that I am learning to give up control and depend on others.  This is a biggie for me.
  4. I am thankful for my incredible medical team that cares for me and fights for me.  I don’t use the word team, lightly.  This is the staff at the NYU Cancer Center.  Dr. Guth, my breast surgeon, Dr. Jhevari, my oncologist, Heidi, Dr. Jhevari’s assistant, nurse practitioner and family friend who, I feel, treats me just a little more special because of our connection, Nina, who gives me my infusions for each chemo treatment and couldn’t be more warm, caring and wonderful while making sure to educate me on the process, no matter how many times it takes.  My medical team is growing, so I will thank my radiation oncologist, my genetic counselor and my plastic surgeon since they will all be a bigger part of my life very soon.
  5. I am thankful that, so far, my side effects have not been too terrible.  I’m especially thankful that I have not been vomiting every day and that I can function as normal most days as a result.
  6. I’m thankful for the anti-nausea medications that I’m given pre-chemo and all the pills I have in my arsenal that are protecting me should nausea start.  10 years ago, these did not exist and chemo meant spending your days over the toilet.
  7. I’m thankful for the technology that confirmed that I did not in fact have cancer in both breasts, which saved me from a double mastectomy and other unnecessary tests.
  8. I’m thankful for my Aunt Vickie who has been with me since the beginning of all of this and multiple appointments.  She has been my rock.  She made sure I got the best doctors, took notes at every appointment, asked great questions and advocated for me.  She calls me almost every day to make sure I am ok and helps me keep sane.
  9. I’m thankful for my friends who support me with love, meals and occasional babysitting.  They are not overbearing and give me my space to deal in the ways that I need to but also check in when they can, making sure I’m not sinking into an abyss.
  10. I’m thankful to my mom and dad who support me with love and information.  But mostly for being amazing grandparents and taking on a great deal of the rearing of Oliver.  I don’t know what we’d do without them here.  How would I get all of this done with a small child?  And for Oliver, it’s a treat to be with them all the time.  I think he gets extra cookies (don’t deny it Mom and Dad!!!!!)
  11. I’m thankful for Oliver who reminds me what discovery is and pure joy.  Every day I get to see and experience things from his point of view and it is so pure and untainted.  And while raising a toddler at the most challenging part of my life is one of the craziest experiences I’ve had, we mostly laugh, cuddle, kiss and learn together.  I think without him, I’d fall into the pits of despair.IMG_6109
  12. I’m thankful for my husband.  I don’t think he lets me know how hard this has all been on him.  He’s not good and sharing or showing that.  But I know he worries all the time.  He calls me like, 8 times a day.  But he cooks for me, gets me hydrating drinks, and has taken on most of the cleaning and laundry duties.  And he showers me with patience and love.  He’s the best husband ever.IMG_5805
  13. I’m thankful for the rest of my family, in-laws and extended family who write and call with encouraging words all of the time.  Support is the key to survival when going through a terrible illness.
  14. I’m thankful for the new friends I’ve made because we have cancer in common.  Jessica and Kimberly, thank you for showing me what bravery is.  I have learned so much by listening and learning from you.  I know that you also get angry, depressed and so much more but you have also taught me to embrace that.  I can’t wait until we can meet in person and when we can declare that we are cancer free.
  15. I’m thankful for Suzanne and Hair We Share for so generously donating my wonderful wig.  You are doing such an incredible service for those suffering from hair loss.  I can’t wait to see your organization grow and support you along the way.
  16. I’m thankful for The Livestrong Foundations and The Sher Institute for Fertility that helped me in the most loving and kind way harvest and freeze my eggs, especially at a time of fear, depression and confusion.  I could never have gotten through that portion of my treatment without you.  You are angels.
  17. I’m thankful that I still get to do the work I love and work for organizations that have been patient with me as I learn to live with this disease.
  18. I’m thankful for The West Wing on Netflix.the-west-wing-cast-708368
  19. I’m thankful for butternut squash soup and coconut water.
  20. I’m thankful for good under eye concealer.
  21. I’m thankful that I get to write this blog and, hopefully have a positive impact on others.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  I know that as we sit down tonight, we are all experiencing something difficult; the loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, illnesses, defeats…it all counts.  But despite these things, we also have so many things to be thankful for.  Take time to really think of them.  It’s so meaningful.  Enjoy all of the treats today brings.norman rockwell

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3 thoughts on “I’m Thankful For

  1. That was a beautiful and eloquent post. Not a trace of chemo brain anywhere that I could see. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Thanks, Sharon. Your last post was wonderful too. I couldn’t post about it. Not yet. Too much in the thick of things but I read your blog a lot and you are a great writer. I have so much to learn from you.

  3. Beautiful, powerful, a testament to your spirit. xo Gabrielle

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