Thoughts on Thanksgiving Eve
We’ll be heading out tomorrow morning for a nice dinner with our daughter and her friend, who is cooking a turkey dinner for all of us. Our son will be on duty as a paramedic and won’t be with us, but will be in our thoughts. So will our grandchildren, who will also be at another table with more family.
It’s time on the calendar to take stock and appreciate all that we are grateful to have. Most people include shelter and family and health in that annual blessing. Rick and I have had more doctor visits in this calendar year than in any other, but we are still together, still have our home, still have a daughter and son and grandchildren who love us. Though we do not describe each other as healthy, we do appreciate what health we do have. I am most grateful that our parents were not here to see the diagnoses we have accumulated, and I am grateful that we were able to help them through theirs.
Some folks are dealing with cancer treatments – looking for the silver lining in the cloud of cancer treatments. I pray they find the cures they seek. There is no promised cure for cancer, as there is no promised cure for multiple sclerosis, or for malignant melanoma. Some of our friends have passed away this year, most due to injuries or illnesses, some due to age, and their families and we will miss them this holiday season. We have spent several quiet visits at the local funeral parlor or churches, comforting those friends who lost family members. Each wake and service that we attend reminds us of so many others that we have lost through the years. And after each passing, I try to remember to add another star to my memory quilt.
I am grateful that the melanoma, basal and squamous surgeries I had this summer did end cancer at each site found so far, and I have health insurance that will allow me to continue visiting a dermatologist every three months to have him look for more emerging sites. As long as he continues to look and find, and the surgeon continues to cut and remove, I will not have to face the decision of whether to undergo chemotherapy and radiation. Some are not as fortunate to have the means to see such doctors and receive such corrective surgeries. Some cancers in some patients progress faster.
I am also grateful that the multiple sclerosis has not progressed to the point of limited mobility. I am in contact with so many people who share this diagnosis but are experiencing far different symptoms than I. I still deny the reality of my MRIs, and insist that the lesions I have are something else, something in my past when I had daily headaches that ended when I changed my menu and lost 50 pounds. I am fortunate to have a neurologist who accepts my refusal of what I perceived as pointless injections that cost my health insurance thousands of dollars a month – enough to send two or three people to college each year. And I am fortunate that in the year since discontinuing those medications, I have not fallen into relapse without them.
While I am not grateful for these diagnoses, I do appreciate that they are mine and not my children’s. I do appreciate that they stayed in remission while we cared for our elders. I appreciate that I completed thirty years of teaching, and while I would have worked longer if I could have, I know that sometimes just enough has to be enough, and more is not an option.
I am grateful that the furnace man came to clean the furnace before winter today; and the wood man came and delivered the first cord and a half of wood, and that my son came home in time to help us begin the stacking before the sun set. I’m grateful that the weather offers a nice clear day tomorrow. I’m grateful that I am where I am, and who I am.
What are you most grateful for this year at Thanksgiving?