In the midst of it all… Thankfulness!

a seedling growing in the middle of the North Branch of the Potomac River
A seedling growing in the middle of the North Branch of the Potomac River

My life is in the middle of a stream of events and appointments. I am trying to work full-time, eat well, drink enough water, and get the rest I need. That list is… ridiculous. But that’s my life.

Reality hits so differently these days. It’s showing up in many small ways, like the side effects that pop up from chemo, days to weeks afterward. Some side effects are expected, like hair loss, taste changes, and nausea. And fatigue where I barely can get out of bed, let alone work like a functioning human.

On my desk here at home, there’s a carved word… BRAVE.

I don’t feel brave. I get scared when I think about the possibility of my cancer reoccurring, even after all of the frontline treatment (chemo, then radiation.) I worry about how my husband is doing with his cancer. I get irritable for no real reason, other than I’m a tired human.

Some say fate is beyond our command. But I know better. Our destiny is within us you just have to be brave enough to see it. Merida, Brave.

Brave is…

  • Putting one foot in front of the other
  • Taking it as it comes
  • Making hard decisions
  • Saying “no” to requests that put my health at risk
  • Letting go of the people who have “ghosted” me since I was diagnosed with cancer (…and why is that a thing? I don’t get it.)
  • Learning that someone can help me with simple tasks like laundry and groceries, and not feel like a failure
  • Just asking for help
  • Facing the unknowns about my cancer
  • Choosing to let go of possessions and putting them in others’ hands.

I don’t have a choice as to whether or not I cope with having cancer. It is part of my reality. I need courage, certainly. Faith in my doctors and the medication to do their jobs. Acceptance of what can’t be changed. Peace in the midst of the storm.

Brave? Not the way you would think, actually. Just wearing courage. Focusing on hope. Believing in a God who is my shield and fortress. And in the midst of it all, being thankful.

Yes! Thankful! For so many things that I can’t begin to name them all. Thankful for family and friends, for having healthcare. For a church of caring, praying friends. For a job that understands and supports us with kindness, and meals, and allows flexibility in my work schedule. Thankful for sunlight in the window, and a cat purring on the bed. For a safe, warm place to sleep. For meals in my freezer and love notes in the mail. The list is… amazing.

It’s not easy to be thankful. It’s difficult many times to stay hopeful and focused on the positive things in my life. Setbacks and side effects from my chemotherapy regimen make me sad and frustrated. Aches and pains zap my energy. I have missed so many events with friends, coworkers, family, and church. It can make it pretty tough to have hope… and to speak up for myself…

Sara gets it right – “Sometimes a shadow wins…” but many times, it does NOT. And that’s when we are… BRAVE!

Happy Thanksgiving, dear ones!

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Songwriters: Jack Antonoff / Sara Bareilles

Brave lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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