Thanks be to… (a Thanksgiving post)

This post was written (mostly) on Thanksgiving day. Really.

I can’t help but think what an appropriate time in life it is for Thanksgiving to be here. It’s been a scary time for Dawn and I, and I think that we are both still reeling a bit from this cancer thing. But one thing is for sure: we feel fortunate, and know that we have much to be grateful for. There is nothing like swimming through a cancer diagnosis, surgery, and (yes, yes, worst of all!) chemotherapy to remind you of both the fragility and miracle of life. Recently, there have been a couple of incidents close to us that have further reminded us of how fortunate we are, and how frightening and disheartening life can be.

First, a member of the cast of the show I am currently working on with Children’s Theatre of Madison (remember, my new job?) lived through a house fire in which his brother died. The last I heard he is still in the hospital recovering from severe burns, and mourning the sudden loss of his brother, who was just in town for a visit. While the director of the show is scrambling to replace him, our concerns for the show are dwarfed by this young man’s tragedy.

Second, a close family friend of Dawn’s family died Tuesday night after a long battle with cancer. These harsh realities remind me how lucky I have really been through all of this. Through all of my life, really.

Today, Dawn and I are in rural Wisconsin, spending the holiday with Georgia and Andrew (Dawn’s brother). The old farm house that is Dawn’s childhood home is always a comforting and safe place to spend time — and I’m thankful to have such a place to come to for Thanksgiving.

So, what else am I thankful for? For my family, my close friends, for those of you out there whom I don’t know well at all but that have shared so much with me in the past couple of months; I’m grateful for all of the little things in life that I took for granted for so long, like the sound of Dawn’s voice, or the taste of a good cup of coffee or a tall glass of good beer; I’m thankful for the crispness of autumn, and the way our cats purr when they’re happy; but, mostly I’m grateful for life, and all of its ups and downs — all of its nuance and signs of hope between the sometimes dark layers of despair and gloom.

I’m also thankful that you are here reading this. I’m sorry that I haven’t been writing much lately. I’m not sure if it has been laziness (probably), or avoidance (less likely, but still possible) that has kept this blog so thin for the past month. So, thanks for coming around and looking still.

On Monday, Dawn and I will have a visit with Dr. Arbaje, my oncologist, and we will go over my most recent test results to see where the cancer stands. We aren’t expecting any surprises, since the ongoing monitoring of both the tumors in my lung and cancer levels in my blood have been consistently indicating the eradication of the cancer from my body. Dr. Arbaje has always said that we are aiming for a full and total cure, and I am not being cautious about this outcome. I fully believe that is what I have reached. But, whatever the outcome on Monday, I will be sure to post here on my blog to let you all know what went down.

Thanks again to all of you for helping show me the power of friendship and love. Each of you has made this journey something not quite as painful and dark as it could have been.

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