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Thanksgiving for the Moments That We Share

So on Thanksgiving Day, I remember and I am grateful. I am grateful for what I have learned about myself since the day I heard the diagnosis. Grateful for the surgeons and the nurses and my best friend from high school who insisted four years ago that I get my blood checked, just in case something was wrong.
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Portrait of a family saying grace before eating dinner
Portrait of a family saying grace before eating dinner

There are days when I eat too much cake and mornings when I am a bit too impatient waiting for the light to turn green so my daughter is on time at school. There are days when our puppy barks too loud for the neighbors and I keep my daughter up a little too late finishing that chapter of her favorite bedtime story. And there are days when I almost forget that I had cancer and lived inside the world that went with the diagnosis.

Cancer is like that; it hides and then it stares you in the face. Cancer exists at the cellular level. You cannot see it when it starts to grow, only when it has grown too big to not be noticed. Modern medicine can catch many cancers with a blood test or an x-ray; confirm with a biopsy. So us survivors, we live to be grateful for each clean scan and the magical letters "NED" -- No Evidence of Disease. We mark time by our next appointments -- first every week, then every other week, then every month, every quarter, every six months. And then: every year. You know you are pretty safe when you make it to that annual appointment with your team. You don't know the new radiology technician on a first-name basis and the oncology nurse celebrates your visit with a hug and requests for updates about your family.

So on Thanksgiving Day, I remember and I am grateful. I am grateful for what I have learned about myself since the day I heard the diagnosis. Grateful for the surgeons and the nurses and my best friend from high school who insisted four years ago that I get my blood checked, just in case something was wrong.

I am grateful for the moments when I can just sit and watch and listen to life. Grateful for the days full of energy, running between a political event, a parent-teacher appointment, and a client meeting on a movie set. Grateful for the moments in between and the new friends I have met along this journey. And grateful for almost forgetting I had ever been diagnosed.

I am grateful for my daughter who, for the most part, is a pretty normal 7-3/4 year old girl whose favorite subject at school is recess because she gets to just play with her friends. Grateful that she was able to interview the Vice President and ask him about ice cream and ISIS. And I am grateful to live in a country where we can express our hopes, our dreams, and our worries about our world and all that which continues to exist between us.

This month, our world has experienced many tragedies. In Beirut, Lebanon. In Paris, France. In Bamako, Mali. And two days ago, 5 people were shot in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Life is too short to let hate prevail; we have more in common with one another than what divides us.

Our lives may be hectic, and busy, and lost in our own cycles of despair and amazement. But today, Thanksgiving, we take time to be grateful. So be grateful. Grateful for your friends and family, your abundance, and your health. Be grateful for the homecomings, the engagements, the weddings, and the births. And I hope that you will be grateful for all of the moments in between that we share.