Chris and I help teach on Sunday mornings in the children’s ministry at our church. Each month we have a word that we focus on and with November being the month that Thanksgiving falls, we are talking about gratitude. I thought I would take a few minutes to discuss what Chris and I are grateful for since this journey began.
But first, an update. I am currently sitting at Texas Oncology receiving my third AC chemo treatment. Last week I came in for my treatment as scheduled only to discover that my white blood count was too low to do the infusion. They want the white blood count to be at a 3.5 or higher and I was sitting at a 2.6. Our only real option was to postpone treatment for a week. While this was a minor setback, it is small in the grand scheme of things. My body was allowed an extra week to recover and clearly it needed it. I spent the week resting. I had a rollercoaster sleep pattern. I slept a great deal for the first week or so after chemo. Then i went several days with little to no sleep only to fall back down and sleep for several more days solid. I believe this is the hardest part on my family. When I’m sleeping Chris takes on everything. When I’m awake I feel up to doing a few things, but tire out quick. Just when I think I could go to bed and sleep the insomnia sets in and i’m up until 5 am.
Other than fatigue and crazy sleep patterns the side effects have been minimal. The pre-meds they give me prior to chemo are wonderful and prevent a great deal of the side effects associated with chemo. So much research has been done to improve breast cancer treatment, but there is so much more that needs to be done. I pray that in my lifetime a cure for breast cancer and other cancers can be found!
Now for the actual subject of my post. Gratitude. One definition of the word I found said it was a “warm feeling of thankfulness”. I like that. I wanted to take a few minutes to thank some people who have helped us thus far.
First, our family. Parents, siblings, aunts and uncles have been wonderful. Whether it’s coming to clean my house prior to surgery, coming to take care of my kids while I was having surgery, sending gift cards for meals, gifts that are meaningful and some that bring much needed laughter, my family has been there. They are constantly checking on me as well as everyone else in the house making sure we are okay. Asking what we need an offering to drop everything and come to help if needed. I have known for a long time they were awesome, but this past few months have shown what family is all about. Oh, and did I mention some shaved their heads and beards in support of my first chemo treatment?!? But I am not just speaking of my blood family here, I am speaking also of my “in-laws”. I actually hate that term. The day I married into Chris’s family and my brothers married I gained moms, dads, sisters, and brothers that mean just as much to me as my biological ones! I love you all!
Second is our church family. Wow! Seriously, all of you rock. Starting well before my surgery you have been in constant prayer. I have felt them. With most of our family being so far away, you have filled a gap that we so greatly needed. So many reach out to us to check on us. So many speak to Chris on Sundays to make sure we are all okay. In addition, starting very shortly after my surgery you took on feeding our family. For three solid weeks you provided meals for us every other day. It was always delicious and fed us for far more than one meal at a time. Each meal may have filled us physically, but it also filled our hearts with love. There have been very sweet gifts, gift cards, cash, and notes that I will cherish forever. When we stepped into the church building a little more than four years ago for a visit we had no idea the impact you all would have on our lives. Even before the cancer diagnosis you have taken care of us and been, truly, a family. We thank God daily for all of you!
Finally, friends. People from as far back as high school have reached out, called, texted, and sent cards. These truly do lift our spirits. All of this has made me realize just how vast our community of support is. There are times I am, for lack of a better word, overwhelmed, but not in a bad way. I have found so much joy throughout this journey and that is thanks to everyone in our lives being there for us.
Through all of you our boys are being taught what love and support means. They are seeing that even in the midst of a battle there can be joy. Though we may find ourselves in darkness that there are always people there to be the light we need. When we feel weak and scared there are others to hold us tight and calm our fears.
As we move into the Thanksgiving season, please know how truly grateful we are. Our hope is that we will one day be able to bless some of you in the way you have blessed us.