Giving Thanks: Thursday, November 26, 2009

As you can imagine, this is a particularly special Thanksgiving for me and my family. I am thankful for so many things today it's hard to know where to start but here goes (in no particular order):


You, who continue to read my blog to keep up with my progress.

The fact that my stage IIIa ovarian cancer surrendered so easily in battle and that it is 100% gone. I am a lucky gal. Don't think I don't know that.

My parent's love and total devotion, which helped carry me through my treatment but has always been something I could count on.

My friends. All of them. Everyone came through for me when I needed them the most this year and that is something for which I will always be thankful.

My extended family, all of whom supported me and my parents so generously throughout the past year. Particularly, my Aunt Patty, who is no longer with us. Her prayers, cards, and calls were so comforting to me.

Loaner dog...and my brother for loaning him to me. The dog really pissed me off yesterday with that pillow shredding incident but he has been there to lift my spirits during some pretty dark days. I can't tell you how many times during my treatment I had a mini-breakdown while writing or taking care of medical administrivia at my desk (a.k.a. the dining room table) and every time I did, he'd come right over with his big brown eyes and cock his head, as if to say, "What's wrong, Jennie? Don't you worry. It's going to be okay. I'll take care of you."

My employer's excellent short term disability policy (six months full pay and benefits!) and my colleagues who encouraged me to take the time I needed for treatment and healing.

All of the really wonderful people I met along my wellness campaign (a.k.a treatment), including my doctors, nurses, medical technicians, therapists (of all sorts), random hospital chaplains, other cancer fighters/survivors and their family members. I owe all of them so much and am so happy that they came into my life even if it was for a pretty crappy reason. I've met the most interesting, brave, smart, generous people. That has been a true gift in my journey.

Feeling like my old self again just eight weeks after finishing treatment. As you know, I've had a fair amount of anxiety about various parts of me being permanently damaged/altered following my two surgeries and six rounds of chemo and today I'm so relieved to know that they're all functioning normally. You have no idea. So relieved!

The fact that my mother is a great cook. Today's meal is going to be so yummy! And, yes, I'm having some of the free range turkey my father is preparing -- to do anything else would be un-American. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, cream corn, and salad (my one contribution) I come!

All of the hair on my body, particularly my eyebrows, eyelashes, and new G.I. Jane buzz cut.

Finding a real purpose in my life. This disease took some pretty important things away from me but it has given me something to be passionate about and I'm really grateful for that. I have already started working with many of the leading ovarian/gynecological cancer organizations on their awareness building and fundraising efforts and I'm so energized by it. Hokey? Maybe. But so true. I'm not sure that all things happen for a reason. However, I do wonder if I, with my fearless nature, health care policy/communications background, pleasantly aggressive personality, and "inside the Beltway" relationships, was meant to beat this insidious disease and to feel so lucky for having been able to do so, that I would make it my life's mission to do what I can to help women overcome this cancer? I don't know. But if I was, I happily accept the challenge.

The ability to be around my friends and their children and to feel no bitterness that I won't have biological children of my own. I lost that ability from time to time over the past year but I'm okay now and I'm very thankful for that. To be perfectly honest, I was never that jazzed about giving up my beloved alcohol for what is essentially 10 months of weight gain, only to then have to push the watermelon-sized weight gain out of a hole the size of a...I don't know...pea? Lima bean? Also, I like my perky chest and frankly, I was equally unexcited to think about it expanding to epic proportions only to then have it deflate to resemble wilted water balloons. The biological baby thing was a BIG bummer but it's okay. I know I will be a mom someday but just not to "mini-mes." But you know what? A lot of times you don't get mini-mes even when you have biological children. And furthermore, I feel luckier today than women who get married thinking that they will have biological children, only to endure years of heartbreaking infertility issues. At least I know what I'm dealing with: an adoption attorney or a gestational carrier. Oh, and by the way, when the time comes that I'm trying to have children you should know that I won't be soliciting op eds about the situation. I've been through enough on the reproductive front so I expect that everyone will support me in whatever way I choose to create my family and I'll be grateful for that, too.

The book Anti-Cancer and the diet changes it promotes, which helped me defeat my cancer quickly but also just make me feel so much better everyday now. I just feel lighter now that I'm not weighted down with tons of crappy meat and a lot of dairy. And I'm really grateful for my much smaller butt that came along with those diet changes. Let's hear it for veggies!

And, finally, the fact that I'm in good enough shape already to get out there to run/walk the 33rd Annual Turkey Trot race today! So, I'm gonna run now to trot the Trot. My goal is to run two of the three miles morning.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


  1. I'm thankful that you are doing so well and that we get to spend Thanksgiving with you! See you soon.

  2. This is a GREAT post. I sure enjoyed reading it. Happy Thanksgiving!