You’ve probably seen a lot of people recently posting on social media about gratitude and giving thanks. Many of my friends do a gratitude countdown to Thanksgiving in November. I love reading these, as I’m a big believer in expressing thanks and gratitude. To people, as it means much to hear kind words. To yourself, because everyone deserves kindness to themselves. To God, the universe, whatever you believe in, as expressing gratitude can have many good outcomes, including changing one’s mindset to optimism and positivity.
I try to express gratitude and give thanks daily. In the evening before I fall asleep, I think of at least three things that I’m grateful for that day. Sometimes it’s as simple as clear skies so I could enjoy time outdoors, or my coworker’s smile when I brought her coffee. Other times it’s big thanks, such as a good check up at the oncologist, bringing me home safely from a trip or connecting me again with someone I haven’t seen in some time.
With this week of Thanksgiving upon us, I wanted to take extra time to express gratitude. Life has been good to me. Yes, I’m a cancer survivor and I lost my dad to cancer and I didn’t have a great marriage and a list of other things could be shared that might make you wonder how I can be optimistic and positive about life. Well, I’m still alive. With a roof over my head, food in my refrigerator and pantry, a healthy body, strong leg with a titanium rod in it and much more. I’m surrounded by people who love and support me. So far, I’m waking up daily. That is well worth feeling incredibly grateful over.
Today I’m especially grateful for my body. Cancer tortured my body 21 years ago when it was discovered that I had bone cancer. Chemo and surgery kept me alive, albeit with a titanium rod in place of my lower femur and knee. You may remember that a few months ago I had unexpected knee revision surgery to replace pieces of titanium and plastic in my knee area. Today, almost three months later, I had my final post-surgery check up. My surgeon is delighted with my progress and I’m pretty much back to ‘remember you have a titanium rod in your leg’ normal restrictions! I feel SO grateful for my body’s strength and resilience.
I’m also grateful for the activities that I’m able to do. I have restrictions on some activities (impact, difficulty, etc are all things I’m always aware of) and even limitations, but the reality is that I can do a lot. From biking to hiking to swimming to Zumba to yoga and so much more, I’ve been able to find activities to keep my body strong and me happy and healthy.
And, finally (it’s not really all I’m grateful for, just for this post!), I’m grateful that my healthy body and my cancer survivorship has led me to help others. I truly consider it a blessing that I’m able to be a cancer advocate, use my voice to bring change in research, treatment options, access to care and more so that others facing this disease have a chance to live a happy life too. One example from today is getting on my bike to log some miles for LIVESTRONG’s 10,000 Miles for a Mission fundraiser happening now through Nov. 26. For every mile logged, a donation is matched – 1 mile = $1, up to $10,000. The funds raised support the organization’s free programs and services for people with cancer. So, yes, my gratitude is going to motivate me to keep moving.