It’s the day before Thanksgiving and like thousands of other people in America, I’m trying to finish my work and tie up loose ends. Some things are straight-forward but then I also work with patients and with families, and there’s nothing ever straight-forward about that.
One family had lost their mother and spouse to lung cancer just a few days ago. Many more are having the first Thanksgiving without their loved ones. Others are struggling thru difficult treatments. They are hurting and in a lot of pain. They all need support. How do you tie that up, turn off the light and have a turkey dinner the next day? You just can’t- unless you have Hope.
I wanted to write a thankful and hope-filled article today to commemorate the Thanksgiving holiday but I have to be honest with you, I struggled for the right words. In the midst of so much-I struggled to find my hope.
Then I remembered what my friend Connie used to say.
Be still. Listen for it. It will come.
And slowly it did.
When I was very still I could hear laughter coming from the other room. The sound of a little girl playing with her pet shop toys, two tiny dogs playing tug of war with their doggy toy, birds chirping outside on this sunny clear day, are all peaceful sounds of life. And where there is life, there is hope.
Almost on cue my message alert went off and I received incoming messages from Paulette and Kasey. I had asked my followers earlier in the day what they were thankful for this year and they had both replied at the exact same time.
These are the messages they wrote to me:
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and I’m so very thankful for my life.
I’m thankful for my family doctor who decided to do a chest x-ray on me in
2009 and found my lung cancer when it was in an early stage.
I’m thankful for the surgeon who took the cancer (and almost a whole lung) from my body.
I’m thankful for the oncologist who gave me chemo to hopefully prevent the cancer from coming back and who keeps a good watch on me.
I’m thankful for LUNGevity, which I found soon after my diagnosis, because the wonderful people there gave me hope and support and still do.
But most of all I’m thankful for my daughter and my husband who was my caregiver and still takes very good care of me.
Lung cancer brought us closer together than ever before.
In three months we’ll be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. ~ Paulette Thatcher
In the fall of 2004 I had NO hope and looking forward to no future.
I was told I would be gone before spring.
It was then I found Lung Cancer Support Community. Through that website I found HOPE and survival.
I am most thankful to that little girl for creating that website. If not for that, I would not be celebrating this Thanksgiving with wonderful family and friends. Of course there are many other things I am most thankful for – none of which comes anywhere close, however.
So……….thank you Katie and LUNGevity.
You dole out HOPE and HELP every single day! ~ Kasey Long
For those of you who may be struggling this year, there might not be a lot you feel hopeful about or thankful for and that’s OK.
But if you’re looking to give thanks, here are just a few things we can be thankful for:
We can be thankful for the experience, the memories, the laughter and the pain that shapes us all throughout our lives. That’s how I feel about my experience with lung cancer, celebrating these holidays without my parents will always be hard. But with research and more treatment options, there will be less people like me losing their loved ones to lung cancer.
We can be thankful for the people around us who want to help but may not know how. We should let them help us. We should let them lift us up and lean on them during difficult times. That’s what friends do.
We can be thankful for mindless television that entertains and makes us laugh when we really don’t want to. Laughter truly is great medicine.
We can be thankful for the purring cat or those puppy dog eyes that keep us company. They listen to us vent and rant and they never talk back!
We can be thankful that if anyone is experiencing lung cancer in anyway, with LUNGevity they never have to experience it alone.
There is power in numbers. We are here for you.
We can be thankful for life- our own and the lives of others surviving this disease.
Thank you Paulette and Kasey for inspiring me and giving me hope today.
Happy, peaceful Thanksgiving wishes everyone!
WE are thankful for YOU.