Thanksgiving (today in the U.S.) takes on a special significance for me this year. My heightened awareness of life for the past three decades as a recovering alcoholic coupled with my recent cancer diagnosis has brought this Thanksgiving’s significance to the fore.
Since our retirement and move to New Orleans Emma and I have not settled on holiday “rituals” for ourselves. This year we will have a full house of visitors – at least 18 – including friends and family here in New Orleans and from Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.
This past Tuesday I had another CAT Scan to determine the status of the cancer in my bones. The good news is that the spread over the past couple of months is very modest. The other, perhaps good news, is that some cancerous lesions may now be present in my soft tissue. The good news of that spread is that through another poking and prodding process, it will be possible to retrieve some of the growth to assess and help determine the primary source of the cancer. Such a procedure can provide a more targeted treatment rather than simply throwing chemo at the problem.
My oncologist continues to be amazed that I feel as well as I do. Bone cancer is supposed to be very painful. I noted to him that because I had felt so good, I hauled some bags of soil and mulch in the backyard, resulting in some back pain, but well worth it. The colder weather in New Orleans – highs only in the 50s and 60s – has also caused a bit more aching in my legs and lower back.
Emma and I talked again about how good I feel, despite the expectations of the oncologist. I believe some of this simply has to do with my firm conviction of living with an attitude of gratitude as I have posted about before. I know that the guided imagery, regular exercise, and decent diet also make a difference.
In my 12-Step alcohol recovery program over the years, I have always tried to stay somewhere in the middle – not being the zealot who refused to read anything without the AA triangle on the back of the book but at the same time, listening and taking very seriously the experience, strength, and hope of those with a quality of life in recovery that I sought.
I am thankful to be able to draw on that experience in my life today. On this Thanksgiving in 2017, I am grateful for the opportunity to live life fully, one-day-at-a-time with family and friends in my favorite place in the world.