Not being with family this Thanksgiving is a bummer.
We have alternated that holiday between our two families for many, many years. When both of our parents lived in the same city, we actually shared a meal in both homes on Thanksgiving Day. That was too much and I wouldn’t recommend it.
This year it was my family’s turn. We had decided it would not be wise to get together with parents, siblings, kids, and their kids. Goodness, that was sad. (Not so much for Jacob. He doesn’t enjoy a crowd and prefers to hide out.) Too many of us to safely share a meal. That hurt. But not as much as it would have hurt had an outbreak of COVID occurred amongst us afterward.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect. The slower pace forced on us this year, this season, has given me plenty of time for that.
A month ago, we got a call. The call. ‘It’s chordoma cancer.’ A small tumor had been found and my husband’s biopsy confirmed something we were hoping not to hear. Not just the word cancer but the type—chordoma. Crazy, rare. One in a million.
I started reflecting on the last 12 months that led to that diagnosis. Below are the things that lead me to say, Thank You, Lord. Most occurred in the last two months.
Mike experienced enough pain to see a doctor.
An oncologist friend.
A MRI that covered the entire hip region, which isn’t always the case.
A deductible met.
Mike researching and asking the right questions. Many times.
A surgeon friend that didn’t agree with a radiologist report.
A local orthopedic oncologist.
My one in a million man.
A stash of homemade sourdough bread for Jacob, from Granny.
Localized cancer rather than spread to other areas.
Getting biopsy results over the phone to prepare us for the appointment the next day.
A friend’s shoulder to cry on.
A grape-sized tumor rather than the size of an orange as when typically found.
Assurance of prayer by family and friends.
A friend agreeing to stay with Jacob at the last minute.
No radiation necessary prior to surgery.
No chemotherapy necessary at this point.
Sufficient time to set up sitters for Jacob.
Sitters that love us well and go the extra mile.
Bouquet of fresh flowers and cut herbs hand-delivered to us.
People we don’t know lifting us up in prayer.
Jacob accepting my explanation of cancer and pushing me out of his room.
Surgery at an area hospital rather than option #2 which would have been 900 miles away.
Hearing the words, ‘the tumor is out’.
Out of recovery, Mike wasn’t groggy, grumpy, nauseated, or writhing in pain.
Nausea patch. Pain meds.
A two-night hospital stay that could have been four or more.
Mike’s sense of humor remained intact.
Technology of FaceTime and texting to keep us connected.
Second son helping out at hospital and at home.
Friends that provide. I’ve lost count of the number of meals and sweet treats!
Many, MANY cards, calls, texts, emails, and stopping by to wish us well.
Jacob has been great. Content and happy!
Minimal pain which is hard to believe considering what the surgery entailed.
A bag full of magazines, for Jacob, dropped at the front door.
Retirement came for me the same time the diagnosis did. Not having work to worry about was just what I needed.
A surprise of cinnamon rolls (plain because as you know, he doesn’t like rainbow ones), chocolate, and fast food gift card all for Jacob.
There are many other things for me to be thankful for this season. I’m focusing on the cancer and how we’ve been blessed around every corner. I have, no doubt, failed to list a kind deed or a God arranged circumstance. But, I won’t forget. And, I’ll pay it forward as I thank God for the many, many blessings poured over us.
Make you own list, whether in your mind or on paper, of things you are thankful for. It will make this holiday better.
This year our Thanksgiving will just be the three of us. But, I have already gathered each person, each family represented in the list, in my heart. So, it turns out, we are going to have a really, really big day with very full hearts.
Won’t you Gather in Your Hearts with us?