Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Being Thankful

It's November. That time of the year when we all pause to reflect on what we are thankful for.

Don't get me wrong, I have much to be thankful for. There is so much in my life to be thankful for at this moment.

However, there is this underlying thought that I should be thankful for every. single. thing. merely because I am alive. I had cancer and now, suddenly, everything in my life is supposed to be cherished, never taken for granted, and so amazing.

We see it on tv, in movies, in books. You get cancer. You get treatment. You go through an amazing epiphany. Life goes on happily ever after and everything in it you are SO incredibly grateful for. After all, cancer is a gift.

Even on facebook ... we are guilted into this thinking. Some people want a new house, a new car, a new phone, to lose weight, but people with cancer just want to win.

Somehow getting cancer is supposed to make us eternally grateful for everything! And make us not want anything! We must be at peace! With a smile on our face, because after all, we are supposed to stay positive too!

I get it. People want to help. There is so much other people can't do. You can't do chemo for someone. You can't do their radiation treatment, or their surgeries, or take their pills, or fight their side effects. So, chin up, stay positive! You are so strong! I get that it's often meant as encouragement, and yet, at times it falls short, even with the best of intentions.

You know what? Cancer sucks. Some days are hard. For me, even now, two years later.

I am incredibly grateful to still be here. To have caught my cancer when we did.  For treatment that worked. For cancer that hasn't recurred. To have my hair back. To get every day with my family.

But. But. I am also still pissed at what we went through. I am angry at how the treatment that saved me also has left my body beat up and weak. I am so upset about the things I couldn't do with my kids because I was too sick too. I am annoyed that I still have so many damn doctor's appointments.

I am both happy and sad all at once. This is life. It's good, it's bad, some days it's exciting, other days it's mundane. This is how life works - with or without cancer. Things happen that can bring us down, make us sad, hurt us, haunt us, linger. All mixed in with happy memories, wonderful things, lovely times, such uplifting things, kindness showed to us, new friendships made.

As my friend Becki said "People with cancer aren't transformed saints. They're people...with cancer. And all people are different."

To which I say sums it up perfectly! 

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