Thursday, June 11, 2015

Finding My Thank You

A few days after my surgery last month my dear friend, Gloria, visited me and she brought along her mom. Nan is a breast cancer survivor and has a beautiful soul. She had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation about 20 years ago... and has since been cancer free. Her insight and testimony challenged me. She shared that whenever the doctors would recommend another treatment she would smile and say "thank you.... thank you... thank you for doing everything you can to save my life." 

Wow. Saying "thank you" for all these awful treatments. That's something I never considered. I've long detested the idea of chemo so much that I couldn't even imagine the idea of being grateful for it. I wondered whether I could be like Nan if my doctor recommended it. Today was the day I would find out.

It was pretty obvious from the moment we walked in that we weren't receiving good news. The staff was much too chatty and tried too hard to lighten the mood. They danced and danced and danced around the test results for 30 minutes. 

Finally the news we were waiting for and yet hoped we wouldn't hear. "We're recommending chemotherapy. Your Oncotype test scored two points away from your cancer having a high risk of recurrence." I didn't say "thank you." In fact, I didn't say much. The tears trailed down my cheeks and fell from my chin. Tony rubbed my back and held my hand. I couldn't muster the "thank you." I couldn't speak at all.

I'll have four intravenous treatments three weeks apart. I'll be bald by my birthday in August. The chemotherapy will begin on July 9 and likely end in September. And at the end of that fresh hell, I'll schedule my double mastectomy and look forward to at least six more weeks of recovery. And then Tamoxifen and early menopause.

So, where is my "thank you?" I'm going to need to dig deep... but that's exactly what believers are called to do. Gratitude is always, always, ALWAYS a choice. So tonight I will dig deep. Tonight I will choose to say "thank you" even though it hurts:

  • Thank You that my cancer was caught early.
  • Thank You that my cancer is treatable.
  • Thank You that I have excellent medical care.
  • Thank You that I have health insurance... and a medical fund to pay many of my bills.
  • Thank You that I have friends and family who cook, clean, babysit, and carpool my kids around town.
  • Thank You that I have an amazing church and workplace with co-workers who love me like family.
  • Thank You, Lord, that I don't have to walk through this valley alone. You are with me!
  • Thank You for the next "healthy" month in which I can regain my strength and make some memories with my family. Once all my tears are dry, I'll be ready for some serious fun.

Friends, sometimes the darkness of a situation can paralyze you. You can't see your hand in front of your face. But gratitude is the light that seeps in through the cracks. If you can find enough of it, your path will suddenly be illuminated. 

Are you in the dark? Can you find some light? Go find your "thank you."


"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Should you feel led to donate to my medical fund visit:

1 comment:

  1. I am also in a very challenging situation right now, not health related, but just as personally devastating. I have been so angry today that I am having trouble finding my thank you, but you encourage me to try. I will try.