It is really hard for me to be grateful in the midst of a storm. Facing the trials that I have this past year with the addition of my breast cancer diagnosis has rocked me to my core. I have had some really fun diversions, but I won’t sugar coat it…the lows are really low. The lows usually are the lowest when I’m sick from chemo. I know they are coming long before the side effects hit, but I can never fully prepare myself. I have been forced to push through multiple types of pain in 2015.
And excuse my english—but 2015 can suck it.
“We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have.”
A dear friend sent these words on a card along with a gift recently. She probably has no idea that the words spoke louder than the gift.
I have read that an attitude of gratitude can pull you out of any funk. But it is so hard for me to be grateful when I am hurting. I should be in Paris right now, with my girlfriends celebrating our 40th birthdays. Instead I have been in a dark hole for the past few days. Crying and wondering why I have to go through all of this, asking God why I have to feel this pain and begging Him to take it from me. I have been feeling sorry for myself, wondering when and if I will be at peace again and—feeling so much anxiety about my future. I know my God and my other resources are out there, but I couldn’t even force myself to tap into them.
I remembered a list I started in 2012 after reading one thousand gifts. I went back and realized I only made it to number 362. I must have stopped counting some time in 2014. As I went back and read through my list I realized how happy I was. For little things like the smell of coffee brewing, talks in the car with my toddlers, Saturday morning pancakes and dance parties on balconies. I suppose I was so busy being happy, I forgot to keep counting. I never stopped to think about how hard it would be to count gifts when the going got so tough I could barely drag myself out of bed. Yesterday I started counting again, I made myself. The minute I started to think about all that I have to be grateful for right now, the better I felt. I am not miraculously healed, but at least I am not in the fetal position crying anymore.
Maybe my life isn’t what I thought it should be or what I wanted it to be as I turn 40 tomorrow. But as excruciating as it is, I have an opportunity to learn and grow from the pain. It isn’t fun, but for some reason it must be necessary for me. Will I learn to let go and accept that there are some things I will never be able to change or control? Can I be strong enough to be content with the fact that my family doesn’t look the same as it did last year? Can I accept love from friends and family that will carry me through the lonely times? These are the mountains I will climb in 2016, but there will always be something to be grateful for, so the list goes on—and so will I.
363. Chemo and a targeted drug that’s killing my cancer
364. Amazing doctors that love me
365. Meals delivered to my home
366. Encouraging cards in the mail
368. New friends
369. Cathy’s Fight Club
370. My Fight Club blanket (pictured above, thank you A!)
371. Crazy cancer trips
372. New York City
373. Bubby’s mac and cheese
374. Boat parades
377. Good insurance
378. My job
379. My work family
380. When a little bit of Paris comes to me when I can’t go to it
383. A giant box of head scarfs from a friend
384. Loving on my friend’s babies
385. Snapchat fun with Syd