Christmas is around the corner and I can not get excited about it. The last two years I have had an open house the second week of December. I thought that maybe we should have one this year and that would give me something to look forward to and maybe help get me into the Christmas season. But after the last two weeks of not feeling very good, I have decided I am not up for it. It is very hard to make plans since I never know how I am going to feel in a few hours, not to mention the next couple of days. Last week I was hit with what seemed like the 24 hour flu and while I felt better the next day I felt the effects for several days. Last Wednesday night I had a breathing attack that lasted over an hour and left me very weak. I had to cancel my plans for the next day. All of that totaled to three events I needed to cancel and countless hours in bed. I went out on Saturday and paid for it by spending Sunday in bed. Instead of just one nap a day, I am up to two or even three, but even though I am exhausted I have trouble going to sleep at night. It does not seem fair that I can fall asleep in minutes during the day and it takes me hours at night.
As I read back at what I have just written it seems I just went off on a tangent on the things I am ungrateful for. So much for trying to reflect on the meaning of today, let’s see if I can do better.
I can tell you that I am grateful for my parents and them allowing me to move back home. It has been hard and an adjustment for all of us, but it helps knowing that I am not alone if I get a breathing attack or need help with something. I am also thankful for all the love and support that people have shown me, especially my cyber friends. It cheers me up when I look at facebook and twitter and realize there are so many people out there that I have never met in person that are providing support. Thank you very much.
Last week a good friend that I used to work with undertook an incredible challenge. He participated in a 50 mile run. He told me last spring that he wanted to do this, but not just for himself, he wanted to run for me. In September he sent me an email and he wrote:
"I think about you often when I run. If I hit a tough patch and start to whine about being tired, I think about you and your fight. Somehow, I always run a little stronger and finish the distance."
He raised over $1200 on my behalf and that money is going to help other young adults with cancer. It is hard to believe that our friendship inspired him to undertake such a physically and mentally challenging task. I talked with him a few days befor the race and I was overwhelmed that he was doing this for me and could not find the words to thank him. I promised him I would keep him in my thoughts and send him good vibes so that he could have a great run. I thought about him a lot on Saturday and I think he is the one that gave me strength to do the things that I wanted to that day.
I once told someone that if I could help one other person by sharing my journey with cancer it makes some of it worthwhile. In the last two weeks I have been told by several people how I have inspired them. I even talked to a researcher from a national talk show and she told me that of all the people she has met, my story has touched her the most and she will always remember me. I guess that is what I should be thankful for – all the people who have listened to my story and been a part of my journey and the unending support I receive. From age 19, I always wanted to make an impact on this world and the people in it. I know now that I have, that this is my legacy. I may be dying, but I don’t think I will ever be forgotten and I hope that I helped others by sharing my life this way.
I started out writing post feeling very depressed, but now I am smiling as I think about all of you that will read this and how much each of you have helped me. So for today I am grateful to be alive, to be sharing the day with my family and for my connections with each of you and of course I am thankful for all the delicious food I will be stuffing myself with.
Below are a few pictures from moments this year that I am thankful for.
Please share with what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving.
The Ward Girls - Jan '09