After seven months, I now have this TDM1 down to a science. I can set my watch to the moment the side effects kick in. I usually can steal about two hours post-infusion. Once I hit 2 hours, my eyes start to feel heavy. My head hurts. Every little movement takes a little more effort. I'll need a bed. The flight to Baltimore is an hour and a half, so I should be safe in my mom's arms by the time the side effects get too unbearable...if my flight is on time.
While sitting at chemo for several hours, I've found a lot of time to reflect on my year and to reflect on my many blessings. This Thanksgiving, while I have so much to be thankful for, most especially my TDM1 miracle, I am instead choosing to focus on just one. I am thankful this year for my ability to savor the moment.
Last Thanksgiving, I was unable to savor anything. Last Thanksgiving, I was just 5 days post double mastectomy. I had left the hospital just 2 days before. I could barely lift my head off the pillow and was pale, tired, and in pain. My lovely in-laws came to the house with a complete Thanksgiving meal that they brought all the way to Boston from Syracuse, NY. They didn't want me to "miss" Thanksgiving. But last year, even though I had turkey, I missed Thanksgiving. Because at the end of the day, this holiday is not about turkey, stuffing, or cranberry sauce. This holiday is about taking a collective deep breath, reflecting on all of our blessings, and enjoying family and friends. I was not in any shape last year to enjoy myself or my family.
|Norman Rockwell got it right!|
"Savoring is an antidote to our increasingly rushed lives. We live in a busy world, with an emphasis on speed, efficiency and productivity, and we often find ourselves always moving on to the next task at hand. Life becomes an endless series of tasks, and our day becomes a compendium of to-do lists. We become "human doings" instead of "human beings." Savoring slows us down....(In prayer) we pause to enjoy what has happened. It's a deepening of our gratitude to God, and reveals the hidden joys of our days."
Thanksgiving used to be a blip on my radar, but now that I am older and oh-so-much wiser, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I know there are no gifts. I know there seems to be no "purpose" beyond just taking a day off, but life isn't about gifts and life shouldn't always be "for" something. I think we all need a breather and some real quality time more than any gift. We all need to savor the "hidden joys of our days." Ideally we would give thanks every day, but thank goodness we do it at least once a year.
There are so many little things for which we should give thanks, and these little joys are often overshadowed by the big stuff. How beautiful is a a baby's smile as they wake from a nap? Or the reflection of a morning sunrise on the skyscrapers downtown? How did we manage to miss the joy that can be found in the simple, but beautiful habit of a kiss goodnight? Give thanks for the smile from a stranger as they hold the door. This Thanksgiving, try to be thankful for the little things that are so abundant and so often overlooked.
I am thankful that I am not on painkillers. I am thankful that this year I am not overwhelmed emotionally with fear and anxiety. This Thanksgiving, I can appreciate the smell of a fire in the fireplace, the sights, sounds and smells of a family gathering. I can recall childhood memories without any tinge of sadness, only fondness. I can enjoy the company of new family members, like my sister-in-law and her family, and look forward to making new holiday traditions as our families grow.
Last year I was crushed by all the sorrow and anxiety that a cancer recurrence brings. This year I am thankful for freedom from that.
I hope that all of you are blessed enough to enjoy the luxury of a moment of peace. Please take advantage of that moment and appreciate it's glory. The rush of Christmas will be here all too soon and we need to ready our souls for it!