IMG_0322I am not one to wait for a holiday to give thanks. I try to remind my loved ones how I feel about them every day in word and in deed. I have so much to be thankful for and I give thanks to God all the time. Even so, I consider Thanksgiving a special holiday. I always host the celebration. For weeks I had been excitedly anticipating making all the food, hosting in my home and enjoying the company of my family.  I couldn’t wait for the delicious smells to fill the house and pleasantly tingle everyone’s tastebuds!  We had the traditional food fare and gave thanks. However, this year was different. I am alive and cancer free. I gave thanks for my life and because (as of a week ago) I no longer have to make daily visits for radiation treatments:

I’M FREE! I’M FREE! I’M FREE! Those words rumbled through my head the morning the doctor told me my skin looked sufficiently crisped. Well, she didn’t say it quite like that: I went to radiation fully bracing myself to endure my final three rounds. However, when I got there, I was intercepted by the nurse. The doctor wanted to see me. Ugh, I thought. I just want to get this over with. The radiation treatments were well underway and, as promised, my skin was feeling very uncomfortable. Neither Salves, nor ointments, nor pain meds were quite cutting it. The stinging, burning and tightening of my skin was getting to me.

The doctor came in to see me. I was shocked when she said she thought the area was sufficiently irradiated and I was officially done. I started crying. I’ve cried many times this year. This time was different. These were tears of joy! I’m was done with radiation. I hugged Doctor Lyons. Then, she handed me a pink, origami crane. She had made it herself. The crane is a symbol of longevity in the Japanese culture, she explained. I thanked her and gave her a big hug.  I appreciated the gesture and the gift.

I still have follow up hormone treatments to do every month and medications to take every day. However, my life  no longer revolves around medical appointments 5 days a week. I am free! What does that mean? It means that I am free to speak courage and hope to anyone and everyone who is willing to listen. I can blog, and share on FaceBook. I am free to speak in churches, women’s conferences, schools and anywhere else I am invited. I am taking my life back! Thank you God!

The crane with it’s outspread wings will always remind me I have put cancer behind me and now I can move forward. I am free to plan a future again. Here’s to good health and to being surrounded by the warmth and love of family and friends. I have much for which to give thanks. This Thanksgiving was extra-special.  I  am thankful to be alive. I am free! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Find something or someone to be thankful for every day.

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