When you have cancer, it becomes easy to focus on what’s not going well in your life. The chemotherapy treatment plays havoc with your body. Between the fatigue, the nausea and vomiting, the weakened bones, the fevers, the mouth sores and the hair loss, cancer can be a daunting affair. And then there is the loss of everything you knew pre-cancer: loss of work, loss of identity, loss of purpose.
But something incredibly special happens when you choose to live in the space of gratitude. I start each day so happy to be alive and I end each day taking stock of all the things I am thankful for. And there are a surprising number of blessings each day – if you choose to find them.
I am thankful that I can sit on my deck and see the birds and squirrels and chipmunks go about their lives. I so look forward to having Japanese tea with Nagib; watching “Suits” with Shayne and Sabrina; experimenting with new dishes and new styles to redefine what a cancer patient looks like. I love that I can continue to drive myself to hospital appointments and lunch dates. And I relish the time I spend with my mom.
I am thankful for all the incredible people in my life: family who are the wind beneath my wings; friends who have been with me every step of this journey; neighbours who take good care of me; a community that encourages me and gives me the strength to fight and conquer the cancer; and new and interesting people I am meeting as part of this rollercoaster ride.
I am thankful that there is new research on Multiple Myeloma that will hopefully result in a cure of this currently incurable cancer . Selfishly, I am praying that this will happen during my lifetime — I have so much to live for!
The funny thing is that the more I sit in gratitude, the more things I find I have to be grateful for. It’s like a ripple effect. This makes sense to me as I believe that you get what you focus on. And when you focus on saying thank you, regardless of how difficult your situation or circumstance may be, you create a space where you find blessings and opportunities abound. It’s not always easy to be thankful, particularly when things are tough. It takes trust. It takes courage. But there is an undeniable joy and a curious multiplication effect when you learn to say thank you. Every day is a brand new slate of wonder and marvel. Every day is an opportunity to say thank you for the privilege of living.