Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Being Thankful

How does one express thanks in the face of cancer? How does one not!

There is so much to be thankful for this year, every day and every minute of each year - especially now. The main thing being that Steven is doing wonderfully and by all accounts dealing with this in his life in a very mature way. His blood counts are almost perfect and his pcr results are in a really good place too. But I can only really talk from my side of this disease. I cannot see inside his head or guess at how he deals with the day to day of living with cancer. So here I go - from my side.

Thanks for leukemia in my son? Definately not. But thanks for everything that has happened since he was diagnosed - Definately! For the growth in me, the courage found, the people I have met, the love shown and the international circle of support that has grown out of something so devastating in our family, just to mention a few things. My life has been enriched on a level that I would never have understood before. I have learned to cope with things that I just knew that I could not do before the diagnosis - now I know that I can and do. Yes, I am a very different person from two years ago. There are times that I honestly feel very angry and sad and sorry for myself (yes, myself too!) for having cancer in Steven. And I want to rant and rave and at times I do, and then I catch up on my reading, follow some links and stumble across someone who has lost someone they love or is dealing with something much worse or more stress. And then I rethink - Steven is here! Steven is doing well and I have to smile and breathe evenly again. And give Thanks.

So many times when I feel just down and out and low and miserable and cannot put a finger on it or shake it, it's then that one of the many people I have online contact with will drop me a line, not always necessarily to talk about cml, sometimes just to say hi and share some news or laughter or something totally unrelated to cancer in any way..... that's when I know how very fortunate I am. When they share their scared times, their low times, it yanks me out of my state of apathy and pity and puts me in a place where I can reach out and pick them up. It's a simply wonderful feeling to be able to share a piece of normal life as well, to laugh together, to just touch base with someone else who is walking in my shoes, and me in theirs.

When I am down and someone else shares their down times - it picks me up - it enables me to do better, to improve myself and become stronger! Hmmmmm Quite a thought! What an incredible circle of support and growth....

Many people think that sharing their bad times is not a good thing and this is an issue that I had a problem with, and still do at times, while writing this blog. Being open and honest about being scared, hurting, worried or angry shares who and what we are - and it can help someone else feel normal or ok and also give an insight into a situation that is not understandable unless you are in the same or similar situation. It is difficult to share these feelings and sometimes I mull it over for a good while before putting myself out there.

There have been many times that I have thought to stop this blog, especially now that Steven is doing so well. Times that it felt silly to keep on going. And then someone will write and tell me that by sharing my feelings, it has helped them. It is impossible to explain how wonderful it is to hear from someone else that absolutely 'gets it'! And then to be able to share and possibly help someone else breathe easier, feel normal or at least less alone. It does wonders for me!

Right in the beginning of this road called cml, I was worried at times, about how much of myself I wrote - I did not want to worry my family about my emotional state on top of Steven's response and results! Now I see that this is my story about something very deep and touching and I need to write it down - it's my way of getting it out. My family have learned that I will call them if I need to talk, so they can read this blog and know that I will be ok. At times I am sure they wonder about my sanity, but then that's nothing new :-)

Back to Thanksgiving. To Frank - for being there, for the love, support especially in my "frilly days", for making me laugh and helping me cry, for keeping life normal; to Steven for accepting your hero status in my eyes and for helping me through this in so many ways and for accepting my worry and mama scans; to my girls, Lisa and Joleen for understanding my divided and sometimes single-minded attention towards Steven and for drawing me into your lives even when I am drowning in this one at times. You are all so deeply woven into my soul and help so tremendously in getting me along this road.

I started listing the people and things I am thankful for and deleted the list again - geez, it got long! My family, the people, the opportunities, the love, warmth and support - for the fact that this Thanksgiving we have a full family and a full heart, once again.

A really special thanks and a really big hug to all the other Mom's out there dealing with cancer in their child. Also, a big thank you to all those writing their blogs and sharing your experiences - you all help me understand the road Steven is walking. I did not leave anyone out of my thanks - you are all in my heart.

Ok - if I don't stop now I will still be going at Christmas!

Wishing you all a really wonderful Thanksgiving!

love and light.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh Annie-

Happy Thanksgiving! I swear this disease is harder on the moms- I am convinced. From a patient's perspective (or at least this patient) I felt so many of those emotions when I was first diagnosed. How dare this thing called cancer interrupt my happy newlywed life and dreams of becoming a mom.
It has been 2 years (almost) since diagnose and CML now has become a part of my life. I have made room in my life and accepted much of CML and all it entails. But for my own mom she worries everyday. I go on living (as it seems like Stephen is doing) because there is not an alternative- one step in front of another it is like we are too involved in it all to see some of the scare. A caregiver sees all this through a different lens. I swear the caregiver has it worse sometimes than the patient.
YOu are amazing as a friend, mom, and writer!!