Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Giving Thanks, The Fourteenth Edition

I will get some funny looks for this post but, I am thankful for the ball that hit me in the face, the brain tumor that was discovered, the surgery that went so well, the radiation that taught me what I am made of, and the cancer that has pushed me beyond what I felt I was capable of. So yes, I am thankful for this past year and a half.

You see, the ball had angel wings. I have no doubt in my mind of that. Had I not been hit in the face, the tumor would have never been found. I have been told that chances are good that by the time I started having problems from this tumor, they would have gone in and it would have been a grade four tumor and they start off by giving you 6-8 months. Anything over that is borrowed time. So it is quite likely that the ball prolonged my life. By how long, we will never know but I see it as a blessing.

Although it was long debated by me and my doubts came and went, the surgery was a huge blessing. It did many things. It made me face my fears of anesthesia and surgery, it removed the pressure that was building in my head, and it found that this tumor was nothing to take lightly. More importantly, it prepared me for what was to come. Five years ago, I wouldn't have been able to deal with the loss of any of my hair. I had long, beautiful hair and I was determined that would never change. After they shaved part of my hair for surgery, I realized I would deal with it. It would eventually grow back and it appeared that it would be in better shape than before. I COULD deal with losing my hair. I could also have major surgery and come out on top with no complications. The pain nor the recovery was as bad as I expected and I truly came from this feeling like I could do anything.

Radiation... as much as it's hard to find anything good about it, there is. It has successfully pushed me and made me accept myself as who I am and see myself through other people's eyes. It doesn't matter if I look like a complete freak without my hat. No one cares. It's me they care about and I've come to find that it's what I care about as well. The same girl that five years ago would have freaked to even cut her hair to shoulder length, is now sitting here looking at her sparse hair and many bald spots accepting that if it doesn't grow back... so be it. If I live long enough to realize it's gone forever, then I have a lot to be thankful for.

Last but not least in this list is cancer. The thought used to freak me out. I would wonder how people could deal with it and say many times that I couldn't/wouldn't. Here I am 29 years old, past surgery, radiation, and watching cancer. It's a smack in the face but at the same time it's proving that I'm stronger than I thought I was. I sometimes find the reactions from people a little ironic when they talk with me after everything I've been through. Many say "I could never handle it the way you are." Just five years ago, I was that person saying the same thing. Now look at me. People are being inspired by me... little ole me. I never in a million years truly believed I could make a difference in anyone's life but I'm seeing that because of this beast we call cancer, I am.

So, I am thankful for the journey I began in July 2007. Through it all, I have learned a lot about myself, my friends and family, and have found determination I never knew existed.

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