When the weather cools and this time of year approaches, like many, I begin to think about the things I am most grateful for in my life. And like so many others, I have too many things to count. A husband who is my best friend and eternal companion, 4 truly amazing children, and much much more, but it is my mom that has been on my mind lately. It has been a truly difficult couple of months for her and I am thankful to have her in my life and I am grateful for the many life lessons she has taught me.
Two months ago my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer after a lumpectomy. What woman doesn't know a lot about breast cancer these days? It was just breast cancer awareness month and it seems like everywhere you turn there are articles and new findings about the disease. I myself had a scare in my early twenties. But when you find out someone so close to you has it, its difficult to process. When I first heard the news, my first response was "O.K., well, take it out. Lets get rid of this thing." I didn't want to believe that it was what it was. I was scared. I couldn't entertain the idea that something so horrible had it's grip on my mother. After the second surgery, the doctor told my mother that no cancer was found in the lymph nodes, but there were still cancer cells left in the breast, good and bad news. During these weeks of uncertainty I can't imagine the stress my mother endured. Working part time, dealing with little to no sleep, battling effects of a head injury from years ago, helping my father with his health issues, and now the uncertainty of breast cancer. She like usual handled it beautifully.
I am grateful for a mother who is so strong. She handles even the hardest of lifes trials with dignity and grace. I am grateful for a mother who is compassionate. She gives all she can to everyone and anyone many times leaving herself without. I am grateful to her for teaching me to find joy in doing a job well and for always being my biggest fan. When I am discouraged with life, parenting and feeling like I am just not quite measuring up, her words are encouraging and hopeful. She is an inspiration in my life. She is now in her second week of radiation therapy and she is feeling the wear of such a treatment, but she continues to handle it beautifully. I see that she is tired, not only from the treatments, but from the emotional burden she is carrying, but that doesn't stop her from playing with her grandkids. She is that Nana you go to because you know that she loves you with all her heart, and that is the best kind of grandparent any kid could ask for. She is a remarkable woman and I am proud to call her my mother.
So, this story has a happy ending. Her doctor feels that the radiation therapy will be very successful because she was diligent about mammograms and the cancer was caught early enough. She will have a few difficult weeks ahead of her, but in the end, I am confident that she is going to kick the cancer. This disease picked the wrong woman to mess with! So, with my heart full of Thanksgiving, I say thank you mom, thank you for so many things. I am thankful to have a mother like you. I love you.