My Thanksgiving “Thankfuls”

“… and so we are grateful for ALL experiences in our lives, because they have come to teach us.”  …Mastin Kipp, The Daily Love

Every Thanksgiving, our family begins each meal with “thankfuls”.  Before we dig into the turkey, mashed potatoes and my favorite, the stuffing, each of us takes a turn to share something we are thankful for. 

Dinner will be cold if I share all my “thankfuls” before mealtime today, so I decided to share it with all of you in my blog.  Something my kids will truly be grateful for.

To begin, I am done with my cancer treatments.  Done, finito, fin!

It was exactly one year ago this week that I found a lump in my breast, had a biopsy and received the dreaded news that I had cancer, one year, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 5 surgeries, 5 chemo treatments, and 23 doses of herceptin ago.    

But today, on this Thanksgiving Day in 2011, the dog days are over.  No more treatments, no more tears, no more sleepless nights, no more daunting decisions, no more nausea, no more bald head, no more “it opens from the front”, no more cancer.

I may be done with the treatments, and the cancer is gone, but it has left its mark on me forever, the scars a permanent tattoo on my heart.  As Debbie Wasserman Schultz, congresswoman and breast cancer survivor shares, “Breast cancer is not just a disease that strikes at women. It strikes at the very heart of who we are as women.”

As a woman, I am changed forever.  Something has shifted in my inner most core; a continental drift, convergent and divergent activity, leading to gradual expansion, transforming my boundaries.  It’s the plate tectonic theory, internalized and personalized in the deepest recesses of my soul.  I would equate this movement to a form of enlightenment, a spiritual shift in clarity of my perception of myself, my life and my place in the universe.  The Zen Buddhists refer to this shift as Satori, “a sudden inexpressible feeling of inner understanding similar to an epiphany.”  I can’t claim to be fully enlightened, that belongs to the masters like Buddha and Jesus.  But, I can say that my experience with cancer has given me a glimpse into this spiritual world and it is beautiful.


I am not the only one that has been changed forever by breast cancer.  Melissa Bank, author and breast cancer survivor says about her experience, “During chemo, you’re more tired than you’ve ever been.  It’s like a cloud passing over the sun, and suddenly you’re out. You don’t know how you’ll answer the door when your groceries are delivered. But you also find that you’re stronger than you’ve ever been. You’re clear. Your mortality is at optimal distance, not up so close that it obscures everything else, but close enough to give you depth perception. Previously, it has taken you weeks, months, or years to discover the meaning of an experience. Now it’s instantaneous.”

That is Satori!  And I am so grateful for the experience.    

To sum it all up, I need to put the turkey in the oven if we are to eat before midnight:  If something profound didn’t actually happen, it sure feels like it did.  This crazy confluence of events this past year, work, play, and cancer has brought me to my knees.  Not in defeat, but in triumph.  And, I am grateful.   

My Thanksgiving “Thankfuls” this year:

I am thankful to be alive.  I am thankful for the roof over my head, although it leaks.  I’m grateful for the food on my table albeit a bit bland for Casey’s pallet.  I’m thankful that I am surrounded by people that I love and love me.  I am grateful for all of you.  I am grateful for breast cancer.

3 Responses to “My Thanksgiving “Thankfuls””

  1. Riley B. Says:

    I’m thankful for grraaaavvvyyyyy…. brraaaiiinsss… Wait, I mean gravy. And my mom’s triumph over cancer.

  2. Maggie G. Brown Says:

    I am thankful for food, shelter, and family, and friends, I’m thankful for a beautiful nature in life.


  3. clare Says:

    This time last year we were celebrating our gratitude that we had caught Isabelle’s skin cancer in time.
    This year we are celebrating that you are a year away from that dreadful week ,with nowhere to go but up.
    I am so glad you have finished with all that poison.
    Love your guts!!

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