This Holiday Season, I’m Thankful for Clear Cancer Scans, Though Others Aren’t So Lucky

I have many things to be thankful for regarding my ovarian cancer: from my recent CT scan results to an excellent oncology team.

It is now November, and I am reminded that Thanksgiving will be here soon.

Traditionally, it is the beginning of an extremely busy time for most families, as we all prepare for the upcoming holidays. Presents to buy, food to prepare and decorations to set the holiday mood lends to the craziness that happens in November and December.

However, it is not like this for everyone.

While celebrating the holidays will be the same for some, many will be trying to navigate these special holidays with a very big change in their lives.

Some families will be dealing with a new, scary diagnosis of a loved one to cancer this past year. Some will be dealing with the loss of a loved one who fought to the end a great fight but lost their life this year to cancer. Others will be celebrating the gift of yet one more Thanksgiving and Christmas with their families as they have been fighting to make it there.

Let us not forget that many individuals dealing with cancer or loss will be going through these next few weeks very alone.

I received great news today, maybe an early Christmas present. I am an ovarian cancer survivor, and my CT scan results were a great gift to me. I recently started a maintenance therapy regimen, and today we think it is working. I hope it is. I have been through so much and I have so much more that I want to do.

I also feel that I am somewhat of an anomaly, as this coming January, it will be 10 years of fighting the fight to get well. I am blessed but of course, it was me fighting my best fight along with the help of the best hospitals, doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, medical technicians and everyone who has touched my life in the medical world. Support from my husband, family and friends has been life giving.

I could go on and on about what I am thankful for, but this blog would never end. I know that there are people who are luckier than me and I know that I am luckier than many.

While I have had the greatest support in the world, I am the one who sits in the hospital waiting for treatment or appointments. I am alone in my chair waiting. I have seen those patients who do not look well or ride by in a wheelchair. I have seen a nurse talk quietly to someone and they start to cry. There have been patients balding or completely bald and you know what kind of chemo they had. (I too, became bald after my first chemo. I grew it all back and subsequent chemotherapies made my hair so thin, that I could not even keep a clip in my hair.)

On one appointment for a blood draw, I saw a woman waiting to get treatment with her 5- or 6-year-old daughter sitting by her and a newborn laying on her chest. That one weighed heavy on me.

There have been many life lessons for me during these waiting times. I felt humbled when I saw some fellow cancer patients who looked so ill. I start to question: why am I so lucky that I am still here? Maybe a purpose awaits me.

I am grateful for the time I have had on this journey of battling cancer. I am so thankful.

For this holiday season, be thankful for what you have, and be gracious to those who need a little more support. Add a smile and say hello to someone who really needs to see and hear that you care. Park your grocery cart correctly and do not leave it loose in the lot. Let someone pull their car out in front of you. Call a friend to see how they are, especially if they recently had their world changed due to loss. Give what you can to those who need some help. Bake a couple extra dozen cookies.

We all must fight this fight together. And we need to be thankful.

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