That’s an odd statement to read, isn’t it? Thankful for Cancer? I know first-hand the devastation and havoc cancer creates when a family member is diagnosed. I know this times two. The agony of watching my infant twins undergo the harsh treatment of chemo therapy while I stood idly by, helpless and pained for them. I know the anger that burns deep within your soul when you’re told of the survival rates and percentages and chances of relapse, the anger that turns to unimaginable pain and fear when you come to the realization that there is a very real possibility you may outlive your child. In my case, children. I know all those feelings but yet, I am still thankful for cancer. Let me explain.
Before cancer I was admittedly a type A perfectionist, who thrived on order and schedule. I needed to be super mom and needed my life to be perfect. I wanted more than anything the pretty house that was clean all the time with my well behaved kid(s) who never fought with me. I had a calendar where we would schedule all our events and outings and I was not amendable to changes on the schedule. I couldn’t be spontaneous or go with the flow and if there was an unknown change in my day, my day was ruined. If you called me an uptight, control-freak, I wouldn’t disagree. When we would go on vacations, I would spend more time worrying and stressing about making sure the trip was perfect than actually being in the moment and enjoying what was happening. I was career driven and looked forward to going to work each and every day.
Since the twins’ cancer diagnosis, I have learned a lot, and not just in terms of medical jargon.
I have learned that I am not in control and cannot be in control of everything.
I have learned that time is fleeting.
I have learned that spontaneity is not something to fear but rather embrace.
I have learned to go with the flow.
I have learned to be strong.
I have learned that it doesn’t matter if Teagan wears miss-matched socks.
I have learned that family time isn’t supposed to be “perfect” but supposed to be filled with laughter and love.
I have learned that there is no perfect, and that’s just fine.
I have learned that life isn’t just about work and career, that is not what defines you.
I have learned that from pain comes joy.
I have learned to stop and enjoy the moment, to be present in the here and now.
I have learned that it doesn’t matter if the house is clean or the dishes are done.
I have learned that what matters is spending every moment possible with my littles and the people I love.
I have learned to not worry about things that I cannot control.
I am thankful for cancer for teaching me all these things and more.
Cancer has brought people into my life, my family’s life, that will be forever friends. Through our pain we have connected with others on the same or similar journey as us. We have cried together, laughed together, and fought this beast with everything we can. We have exchanged information and notes on what to expect through treatment and beyond. We have carried each other through the long nights with thoughts and prayers. I am thankful for those friendships we have created. Those friendships that cancer created.
I am thankful that cancer has showed me who my true friends are and who is there for us thick and thin. I’m grateful to know which friendships deserve my attention and which ones are better left to fade.
Cancer has given me a platform to help raise awareness. I have been inspired by not only my girls, but other children fighting the fight of their lives, and sadly, those who have lost theirs to this monster. Those superheroes have made me realize that I need to do something. Do something more. Something bigger. To give more. They have inspired me to raise awareness about childhood cancer and the devastating effects it has not only on the child diagnosed, but the ripple effects it causes throughout the family. Throughout the community. To open others’ eyes to the lack of funding and research dedicated to treatments and cures for our children. And that is what I’m doing.
I have recently partnered up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society for their Las Vegas Half Marathon Team In Training Event in November! My mission is to continue to raise awareness and funds to be used on research for blood cancers. My goal is to raise over $3,000 which will go directly to the LLS to be used for research toward a cure. I’m a firm believer that awareness = funds = research = cures, and cures are what we need. Please join me and help me reach my goal by visiting my team page here. No donation is too small.
Cancer has given me 101 things to be mad about. To be sad about. And everything in between. But what cancer has given me that I’m most thankful for, is the opportunity to find the joy in each day. It has given me the REMINDER to find the joy in each day. So often we get so caught up in every day life that we forget to stop and enjoy the moment. And even on the darkest days, when I feel like there is nothing to be joyful about, I find it. I find that joy and hold on to it. Because in the end, those are the moments that matter most. Those are the memories that matter most. Looking back I’m not going to care if my house was clean, my hair was done or if my kids’ clothing matched! No. I’m going to care if I was present. If I was engaged in finding the joy. Because nothing, not even cancer, can steal that joy away from us, friends. And for that, I’m thankful.