Thursday, 19 April 2012


A couple of weeks ago I was sent an email called “I Am Thankful”, the statements both made me laugh but also made me think how we all get so wrapped up with the frustrations of life without noticing or really realising what we actually have and the one of many strengths having cancer has given me is that of being thankful for what I have got.   So I thought I would share the text of THE email with you all and am making it the focus of this blog.

During Easter I was so thankful again for all the kindness that has come my way, all the housewarming cards, gifts and friendship but mainly also that I don’t now have to visit my consultant until October – I am officially in remission - yeah! 
Along with the Spring I seem to be blossoming - spouting hair everywhere (especially my legs which I now need to shave!) and I feel that I am coming back to life.  The laughter comes more easily, am making plans rather than standing still and more active (helps that I am off my crutches and moon boot now – although can’t run for a bus yet!).   It’s novel, exhilarating but also disconcerting.  I feel so thankful that I have just come through the treatment, but and there is always a but, there is still a small fear in the back of my mind that it’s not over yet and I know that I will be more fearful as October approaches. With every muscle pain I have I judge if it’s just that and put it out of my mind that it could be something else: I am so aware of my scar from the op, the tightness and dryness of the skin and the small rash that flares up in the area now again from the radiotherapy; my nails although growing are full of ridges; my feet look so absolutely awful that I am embarrassed to go to a chiropodist!  I carry on using my Aqueous Cream but wonder if there is something better out there other than E45 cream.  The most noticeable change is that I now have hair and the urchin look seems to suit me (although my son says I have sideburns (!) and it’s not quite long enough to colour yet).

It’s been a year from diagnosis today and what a long year it has been, such a personal emotional journey. I am still weary now and again and I think most of this is just coming to terms of what I have been through.  After five years I know I will be able to relax!, and living and blocking out the fear of the return of cancer will be very much part of my life over that period of time and for which reason I am not going to make any long-term plans for the future – just letting life wash over me and immersing myself with doing normal daily activities, getting back to work, creating a new home and a renewed social life is good enough for me now.
I am thankful:
  • For the wife who says it's hot dogs tonight, because she is home with me, and not out with someone else.
  • For the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato, because he is home with me and not out at the bars.
  • For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes because it means they are at home, not on the streets
  • For the taxes I pay because it means I am employed.
  • For the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends
  • For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
  • For my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine
  • For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
  • For all the complaining i hear about the government because it means we have freedom of speech.
  • For the parking spot i find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking and I have been blessed with transportation.
  • For my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.
  • For the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means I can hear.
  • For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
  • For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard.  
  • For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means I am alive
  • And finally, for too many e-mails ........ because it means someone is thinking of me.

I know it’s hard to be thankful when living with hardship, relationship problems and illness; silly frustrations can easily overwhelm you.  Easter in the past has always been a time of revelation for me in one way or another and I truly believe that by being thankful, despite having problems, it can wrap around your heart allowing optimism and hope to sustain you.   The Easter period is all about thankfulness as well as forgiveness and while the flowers grow the trees blossom and the renewal of life is all around you it enables a time of reflection and the will to be able to start afresh.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”  - Marcel Proust

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” - Alan Cohen

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses”. - Alphonse Karr

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” - Willie Nelson

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.” - The Buddha

“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”  - Rabbi Harold Kushner in the essay "God's Fingerprints on the Soul", Source: Handbook for the Soul

“Be thankful that God's answers are wiser than your answers.”  -  William Culbertson