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.
Currently battling stage 4 metastatic breast cancer
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.
Stage 2 Invasive Carcinoma of the Cervix survivor
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)
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
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.
Two-time cancer survivor and author of “WTF?! I have Cancer?”
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.
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.
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.