The boyfriend and I spent Thanksgiving in lovely New Hampshire this year. While we were at Panera grabbing coffee with one of my boyfriend’s friends, I noticed a woman ordering food with her family – a husband, a baby, and a toddler. The woman also happened to be completely bald (eyebrows and all) and she was wearing a head scarf.
Of course I assumed she had breast cancer. Regardless of whether that’s true (and I didn’t talk to her so I don’t know), the situation made me sad. On top of having cancer and going through chemotherapy and whatever other treatments this woman endured, she has to run around after and put on a happy face for her baby and toddler. She has to wonder if she’ll be alive to watch them grow up. She probably worries about the burden on her husband, who is also caring for the children and worrying for her well-being.
I thought I had it bad being just 25.
Reflecting on the event, I realize it was fitting that this happened over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Seeing that woman made me realize there are aspects of my situation to be thankful for, including:
- My cancer was caught early.
- My cancer (triple negative hereditary), though aggressive, has very clear treatment guidelines and there is a lot of research being conducted about it.
- My experience with chemotherapy was not terrible – it did not derail my life or leave me with any debilitating life-long side effects.
- I don’t need radiation.
- I am young, fit, and don’t have a mortgage or children to worry about.
- My parents were around to help me through things and ask good questions for me, including the question of fertility which led me to have eggs harvested.
- My doctors are all smart, caring people who respect my questions and decisions and have been extremely accommodating throughout my treatment.
- I have a vast support system, comprising family, friends, the best boyfriend in the whole world who loves me unconditionally, and people I don’t even know who offer words of support on this blog.
I guess the moral of the story is that no matter how bad things seem, there are always people out there who have it worse and it’s important to find the silver linings and positive takeaways from bad situations.
Hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a good holiday!