Since being diagnosed with brain cancer I’ve experienced many moments of gratitude. They warm my heart, make me stop and acknowledge the many positives in my life, and help shape my overall attitude. Prior to just now, I’ve kept them private. I’m choosing to share some publicly now for three reasons:
1) it’s the first time I actually thought about doing it,
2) sharing publicly takes my gratitude to a higher level, and
3) I’m hoping it helps others see that in the hardest times, good things (blessings if you believe) CAN still happen. This is NOT unique to cancer. It can be any hard time a person is going through.
Going forward, I’m hoping to share some gratitude-acknowledgement moments on a more regular basis. I don’t want to set a schedule for posting because these moments show up when they show up, but I’m generally thinking of posting a select few a year. I also welcome readers and fellow bloggers to share theirs either by commenting or by including links to their posts on gratitude or similar events or acknowledgements on one of the gratitude blogs. Anyway, that’s why I added the number one to this title- in hopes that it becomes a regular part of my life as well as a regular portion of this blog. Let’s get started!
Moments of Gratitude #1:
This week I’m grateful that I’m on a trip with my oldest daughter looking at universities. We flew into one state and visited the first university she was accepted into. They had information sessions, scheduled tours, lunch, etc. Today we’ll drive into an adjoining state and visit two more she’s considering, then we’ll hit another city and purely to have fun together. This area is a place I visited and enjoyed in the past that she wants to experience with me, so that’s an honor as well as a fun trip! Finally we’ll turn in the car and fly home. I’m so grateful she planned this trip, chose to do it with me, and I was able to do it!
Even if I was living a normal life, this is something I would be grateful for. In my life, there’s even more to it though. When I was diagnosed with brain cancer and following surgery, I was told there may be some changes that were likely or possible to come. Additionally, I was given a life expectancy. The following includes some of that information and how it contributed additionally to my gratitude:
-I was expecting my post-surgery life to have many physical changes. I could possibly be in a wheelchair, have trouble with balance, have weaker limbs, etc. I have NO changes in this department and would say I’m at the non-professional top of my age group in physical strength and abilities (other than self-neglected flexibility- need to get back to yoga…). Instead I’m bolting through the airport with my heavy suitcase and hot coffee keeping up with my college-bound daughter. GRATITUDE!
– flying- I wasn’t sure I could take the pressure changes and wondered if I’d ever fly again. I worried about luggage falling on my head (I like aisle seats). I’ve flown many times with no pressure-pain and this time was amazingly special. GRATITUDE!
-College visits are amazing but my gratitude goes even deeper than that. I didn’t know if I’d be alive for these! I was initially given a longish range of time (for brain cancer) but also told that it WILL be back and I’ve seen that in others far too many times! I had a timeline I was shooting for, I wanted to be there for both of my daughters to at least graduate from high school (I really want so much more but this is a huge step). That was more than four years ago and my oldest will graduate this year! Man, am I GRATEFUL!
-My husband has been on this ride with me. Although the cancer patient obviously goes through a lot, I don’t know if society sees how much our spouses/ significant others and caregivers go through. I’m grateful for my husband and pray that I can use my time and skills to be more supportive of him. He’s been through emergency mode and a new normal too. I want to be involved in many wonderful days and things coming his way! I am GRATEFUL! I hope he and my younger daughter are having very special times together while we’re apart too.
-Lastly, this one seems unrelated but isn’t, I’m grateful my youngest dog came into our lives when he did. We have an older one I’m also very, very grateful for, but there’s another connection with the young one- read on. We got him as a puppy I felt called to get because we just lost a dog and I thought my older one would die of loneliness. We’re generally a 2-dog family but it felt kind of quick. In hind-site I think my passed dog selected him for us (but that’s a whole other story). Anyway, three months after getting him I was diagnosed with brain cancer, had surgery, and started chemo. All of this with a puppy! We never once thought of rehoming him. He has become a (non-professional) comfort dog inherently knowing just what all of us need. Sometimes he’ll lay with someone who’s sad or play with someone who needs fun, motivate us to get out of the house and go do something (with him, of course). He really has helped us all by clueing into our feelings and pushing us in the right direction. GRATEFUL!
In closing, reflecting on my gratitude has made it even stronger. It’s not luck, but perspective. Yes-some things are better and easier to BE grateful for, yet looking for things to be grateful for in tough times is a better place to be than complaining on an emotional level. Obviously, we still have to deal with things.
The format of this post is simply how it felt this time for me to communicate. It will probably look different next time and if you want to comment or share your gratitude, please do it in a way that feels natural for you. Even if it’s one word.
I hope today is a day we can all be grateful for! Have a wonderful day!
*picture from Vidablogg on Pinterest