Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Blog of Thanks Giving

I am in the hospital today. I am hooked up to an IV right now getting an infusion of my TDM1. I've been here for 3 hours, but I am hoping I can wrap it up within the hour so I don't have to rush to the airport. That's right, I am truly the greatest multi-tasker in America. I am writing a blog post, while getting my chemo, before heading to the airport for Thanksgiving. Take that Martha Stewart!

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!
Thank you, God, for giving me another Thanksgiving. Thank you, God, for giving me this opportunity to savor my life, my friends, and my family. Thank you, God, for allowing me this second chance, I promise that this does not go unnoticed. This year, I will take the time to savor the moment. As one of my favorite theologians, Father James Martin, SJ, said when discussing Thanksgiving:

"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!


lolacooks said...

Great post - happy thanksgiving b! love you :)

Erin said...

Happy thanksgiving bridget! After emailing you yesterday, i got the best thankgiving gift today. My parp inhibitor treatment starts 12/7! Have a safe flight, eat & enjoy.

Tina said...

You said it perfect but you always do!! Enjoy your time with Alex and family. Have the happiest Thanksgiving and many more to come!! Love ya

Anonymous said...

My life is better this year for having met you. I am thankful for that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the best thanksgiving pray I ever hear. Good Bless you.


Kristi Thomsen said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Many blessings to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

I am also thankful for meeting you this year Bridget. Enjoy your family and I will stop to savor the moment in the holiday rush.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

You always put things in such perspective...Thank you! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I will truly savor the moment:)
Kim LeFlore(The T-cups)

melanie goes pink said...

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful Bridget! I believe I will try and take your advice to savor the moment. Beautiful post. And this spring/summer when you come down to the Baltimore area I'd be honored to do a training walk with you! :)

Pinkim said...

Well, Bridget, you have done it again, as only you can...I am just getting around to finishing this and to commenting on it...I had to work through the holiday and the weekend, and just now on my day off I had my mammogram and ultrasound and now have finished a webinar. I pretty much missed my daughter's visit home from college and so now, i am going to change the time of my yearly to away from the holidays, and I aim to savor!

Anonymous said...

I just want to say.... wow! You don't know how much you just touched me right now.

I spent this Thanksgiving crying because I felt alone. My family went to elsewhere for the holiday. Boy, do I feel like a fool! All that is so petty compared to what could be.

You are such an inspiration! I hope you have a great Christmas :) And I'll be praying for you!

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