Esther Conrad

Having cancer can be terrible, there’s no doubt. But many cancer patients have nonetheless found opportunities to give thanks for their situation, whether they are a long-term survivor or someone who was recently diagnosed.

The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance recently reached out to a broad range of individuals who have or have had cancer to ask them what they are thankful for during this Thanksgiving week. Their responses are below.

Barbara Bigelow

Currently battling stage 4 metastatic breast cancer

Barbara Bigelow

This thanksgiving I am grateful for the best days of my life: my wedding day and the two days I gave birth to my daughters. From those three days, my life has been filled with love and abundance. I have known the sweetest of joys that allowed me to weather the rainiest of days: my cancer diagnosis, recurrence and treatment. I have learned that the sun always comes back out and the love and support of my family and friends is steadfast and unshakeable. I have received more love than I thought possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Cynthia MacGregor

Stage 2 Invasive Carcinoma of the Cervix survivor

Cynthia MacGregor

I have a LOT to be thankful for…starting with the fact that I survived my experience with cancer in 1975 – 1976. I am also thankful that I have a career (freelance writing and editing) that I absolutely LOVE…and that I can work at from home. I am thankful to live here in South Florida, where it never gets terribly cold even in deepest winter, unlike my native New York. I am thankful that God has been good to me in many other ways as well.

Claire Ohlsson Geheb

Two-time cancer survivor (lymphoma and breast cancer)

Claire Geheb

In December 2010 I was 64 years old, fit, and healthy. I was diagnosed with stage 1 lymphoma in my nasopharyngeal canal and stage 2-3 lobular, large B-cell breast cancer. I had chemotherapy for both, then mastectomy of my right breast with no reconstruction, and radiation five days a week for twelve weeks. I am fortunate to have a concerned, loving husband and family. I had friends supporting me and I live in a comfortable home. Recovery took a long time, but now I am 70 and find it is a great place to be. I am happier and freer than I ever was. I do yoga, golf, walk, bike, swim, and I just published a historical book about Germany. Sure, I don't like the wrinkles and the aches, but here I am and I treasure that.

I am grateful to be alive when I share a good time with a friend, interact with my grandchildren, and ride my bike. I am not happy every minute, but I laugh more, love more, and I am a lot happier than I was before cancer.

S. L. Wisenberg

Breast cancer and blood cancer survivor, and self-described Cancer Bitch

SL Wisenberg

I am most grateful for my Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance. I get it from my husband, who worked for a union as staff.

We went out for nine years before we got married, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer three years later, and with blood cancer (polycythemia vera) not much after. I had a mastectomy and chemo at a place in Chicago I call Fancy Hospital. My hematologist is also there, and I’m on a new pill for my polycythemia, called Jakafi. Retail value is more than $10,000 a month – I pay $20.

Laren Watson

Two-time cancer survivor and author of “WTF?! I have Cancer?

Laren Watson

The overwhelmingly top thing that cancer patients are grateful for is the love and support of family and friends. I was truly overwhelmed by the love my friends showed for me.

In connection with that, I was grateful for Facebook where I set up a super secret support page and shared the ups and downs, questions and fears that I had as I went through treatment – 75 friends from all over responded immediately with support, suggestions and love. So much love. They were on my team, my tribe and I didn’t feel alone through it.

Esther Conrad

After the biopsy, the doctor put his hand on my leg and said, “If it is something bad, and I think is, we caught it early.” That was last year, December 4th.

So much has happened between that warm December day and today. This day is filled with emotion yet I choose to be thankful. I am thankful for the support I received. I am thankful for those who prayed for the 1,000 prayers campaign. I am thankful for those on my Facebook friends list that I have never even met that supported me.

Esther Conrad

I am thankful for childhood neighbors who checked in with me to see how I was doing. I am thankful for meals brought into my house and those cooked by the Chapel Support group. I am thankful for Mary Kay night out. I am thankful for a pedicure given to me by a friend. I am thankful for the eyelashes and the girls night out.

I am thankful for the monetary gifts that kept the household afloat. I am thankful for Church of the Open Door and the flood of gifts and cards the night before my surgery. I am thankful for the gifts of support showing I was thought of.

I am thankful for the cards. I never realized how touching cards were until I started receiving them in the mail.

I am thankful for the rides to hospital. I am thankful for my zumba class and instructor. I am thankful for my hometown and those I went to highschool with. You all so totally rock. I was blessed by your outpouring of support.

I am thankful for the beautiful dance arrangement choreographed for me. I am thankful for deeper friendships. I am thankful for the Christian music that was just what I needed to hear at the right time. I am thankful for the new friendships. I am thankful for the Chapel Support group. I am thankful for the Christian Music Summit. I am thankful for my Hope Scarf story.

I am thankful that God provided. I am thankful for Pastor Jerry’s messages and how they gave me what I needed to get through. I am thankful for moments of awe that I can't explain. I am thankful that God doesn’t forsake us.

I am thankful for the medical advances. I am thankful for my doctors and their skill. I am thankful for my plastic surgeon – LOL. This girly girl is thankful for false eyelashes and nail extensions and wigs.

I am thankful for the opportunities that this journey provided. I am thankful for the new perspective I have. I am thankful that I am alive.

It was a difficult journey with losses and bumps in the road, but I am truly better for having gone through it. For THAT, I am thankful.