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The Cancer Journey : Thanksgiving Reflections

Reposted from November 28, 2011

Though I'm Canadian, I have come to celebrate the American Thanksgiving with friends in Hong Kong. American, Canadian, British, or local Hongkies, my friends and I have made it a tradition to take time out to reflect on and give thanks for all the blessings and provisions God has given us this past year.

I've had a lot of opportunities to ruminate about life since my diagnosis. Cancer has given me a chance to look upon the things and the people I take for granted with a heart of gratitude. During my first diagnosis there were days where I was simply thankful to wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night, to eat without wanting to vomit afterwards, and to stroll the streets of Hong Kong without having to wear a mask. This second round, my appreciation for life is not simply for the physical health but the spiritual and mental health that I have been graced with.

The recurrence has been physically easier, but emotionally and mentally more difficult. The novelty of the sickness has worn off and I'm simply just emotionally tired from fighting the first battle. I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that this is a permanent aspect in my life. Remission or no remission, it's something I'll always be worried about, it's something I'll always have to take into consideration when making simple decisions like what to eat or tougher decisions like where to live. I could let it rule my life (and admittedly, some days I do), but generally I've been able to rule it and on my good days, I have even become amicable with it.

While I've been wrestling with this, I've undoubtedly and amazingly have still been able to experience joy and peace in my everyday life. Don't get me wrong, I often wrestle with what seems to be a long pause in my life though I know it's anything but that, and probably more like an action packed scene that I haven't had a chance to digest. But for the most part, I've been able to lay these present and future worries at His feet and decide to trust in Him and His plans.

This decision to trust and have faith is often not simple and easy and so I am so thankful for the community God has given me. Particular friends have been there from the start, some as strangers, some as life-long friends, but all now an integral part of my life. Their love and encouragement as well as their honest rebuking have gotten me through the gloomier of days.

And so this year I am thankful for the peace and joy I am able to experience through the chaos. I've always leaned towards being a glass half full type of person but it's often a result of my own convincing rather than an actual belief that there is someone up there that loves me and has already made plans for my life.

Wednesday (30th) is my PET-CT scan and there is some fear about the results; I am human after all :-) so I’m praying that I will remain faithful in my belief that God is good and that whatever the result are I can continue to give thanks in all circumstances.


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