The holiday season approaches and to anyone feeling down, in a rut, or feeling like you are absolutely drained due to cancer treatments, you are not alone! After my most recent surgery called a “Mandibulectomy and Free Flap Jaw Bone Replacement Surgery”, a stomach feeding tube procedure, and 18 days in the hospital I created a gratitude list after the worst of the post-operative pain was at least partially behind me. I read it every morning and night. This helped me begin every day refocusing on what matters the most to me and end it gratefully every evening.
I urge everyone to write their own gratitude list!!! Mine is below:
1. My 3 teams of exceptional doctors, my MSKCC 17th floor nurses, and staff who made my bed, cleaned my room and took out the trash. You made every day brighter and easier for me while I recovered.
2. Family and friends for their unwavering support, thoughtfulness, and unconditional love.
3. The beige hospital walls remind me how magnificent it is to soak up the sun, enjoy the view outdoors, and feel the wind on my face.
4. Listening to my kid’s contagious laughter brings me complete joy and makes my heart sing.
5. Although I cannot talk or eat. I have the ability to listen, see, and be with the ones I love.
6. My husband. Whose unwavering love and sense of humor always makes me laugh.
7. The scars on my neck, chin, mouth, wrist, lower leg, and now my second skin graft, second tracheotomy, and second stomach tube scar. They are all magnificent because I survived and able to live my dream life.
8. My stomach tube. Until I am able to eat by mouth again, I’m lucky to have proper nutrition.
9. Hearing my children randomly tell each other throughout the day to “Remember what Mom says, I love you a lot.” “Never give up.” and “Be kind.”
10. The compassion and generosity of strangers, friends both old and new. My husband set up a Go Fund Me page and the overwhelming response of kind support has been inspirational and emotionally uplifting.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley