Holy Week, Giving Thanks, and Breast Cancer

It is Holy Week.  As a Roman Catholic, I traditionally observed Holy Week by going to Mass, going to the Stations of the Cross, participating in Good Friday Services, having a Day of Reflection on Holy Saturday, and going to Mass to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

This year my observations and traditions are forced to change.  My blood levels are low from Chemotherapy, and I have medical orders to avoid crowds.  So as I was receiving my weekly infusion of Chemotherapy drugs today, I pondered what I could do this year.  Immediately I knew I must give thanks for Breast Cancer and all the gifts it has brought me, some wanted, many unwanted.

I was always big on giving thanks for many things every day.  That number has been considerably less these past few months during Chemo.  But I am ready to give it a go, as my British friends say.


1)  The medical treatment I am receiving at the University of Michigan Breast Care Center.  Their thoroughness, devotion, care and commitment to cure me never cease to amaze me!  From my Oncologist, Dr. Daniel Hayes to Janitor Bob in the Chemo Infusion area, they never give up on a patient!

2)  The drugs I am receiving for Chemotherapy that have killed any remaining cancer cells.  I am believing this in faith!

3)  For insurance coverage and the fact I never cheaped out and got a less comprehensive policy because I am self-employed although I was tempted many times.

4)  That I have so many wonderful, fabulous and incredible friends and family to love me through this even when I have wanted to give up.  Words cannot express my gratitude for their love, support and care!

5)  For my mom and her nursing me through this.  When my mom and I moved into a two family home for privacy yet togetherness, I assumed I would be taking care of her since she is now approaching 80.  LIttle did I know, she would have to take care of me.  My mom has been an amazing support to me and her hats have been nurse, chef, chemo companion, gardener, garbage takeout girl, friend, and many, many other roles I’ve not been able to do!  It has not been easy for her to watch me go through the pain and suffering, but she has been steadfast!

5)  My body.  It is really tough and durable.  Tough and durable were never words I used before to describe my body, I would have preferred attractive and sexy, but I am so grateful to God for this body and its amazing ability to heal.

6)  My home to recuperate in and nourish me.

7)  The inspiring people I meet every single week at the Chemotherapy Infusion Center.  Their stories, courage and hope bring me strength and determination.

8)  The understanding I now have about what it is like to be a Cancer Patient.  Before Breast Cancer, I feel I used to live in black and white.  I am now living in color.  Even being a caretaker for my father during his sickness and death from Pancreatic Cancer did not even begin to give me the insight I now have.

9)  The stamina I have for the long haul.  It is not a quick fix.  I am grateful that I have eyes to see this will all be worth it.

10)  God’s faithfulness in every little need.  From financial to medical to the smallest details, it has been an incredible journey of trusting God and His provision.  When you are so needy, all you can do is trust.  I have discovered the tip of the iceberg of what trusting in God really means.

Well, I shall continue to work on this gratitude list as it turns suffering into joy.  May your Easter be joyous.


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