It is that time of year again. The leaves have all fallen, the Turkey has been eaten (or in our case, the beef tenderloin – we roll differently in our crib), the Christmas tree is up and the house sort of decorated and Santa is in the boys hearts and minds. Now it is my time to reflect on the year and what I am thankful for and what I hope for the next year. 

We do Christmas differently in our house. The boys only get three gifts each, all from Santa, and Paul and I don’t exchange gifts. None of us really needs anything, so it is more fun to have the gifts come from Santa and not from us. Keeping the magic of the season strong, and keeping the holiday grounded in the message and not the material is important to us. Teaching the boys the meaning of need and want is a valuable lesson. We have always purchased gifts for a family in need and will do that again this year, so we are grateful to be able to continue that tradition and provide happiness to another family at Christmas. 

As I sit here writing, I struggle to comprehend how we only have two weeks until Christmas, and where all the time went… oh yeah, I remember, I spent it in my PJ’s sleeping, eating and wandering my house for 12 weeks… I digress, sorry…. Let’s just start by saying it has been an interesting year. 

Let’s state the obvious… We are most grateful for a successful surgery and my coming out on the other side with no deficits and feeling great (now). 

I am grateful that I was able to come off all the medications (anti-seizure “make you sleep”; steriods “make you eat”; pain “keep you happy”; valium “keep you calm”; pepcid “ulcer stay away”)… needless to say, it took time to come clean and for my appetite to return to normal and not that of a linebacker, for my face to recover from the steroid induced breakouts, hair loss and puffy face, for my energy to come back from the anti-seizures, but in the end, I am most grateful that they were available to help me heal even though they really did suck. 

I am grateful for my team at Emory who are by my side on this marathon as we stick to our battle plan and “stay the course” and for the time-being, that the only radiation I will be getting will be from an airplane if I ever take another vacation. Hint? 

For Jeannie Dickey one of my Emory nurses who has provided amazing support. Sending me fancy PJ’s to uplift my spirits after surgery, saying that “if you look good you feel good”, mailing me inspirational books, emailing me inspirational notes, and for taking the time to come from Crawford Long to the Emory University Hospital to be with me for my last MRI. I am most grateful, thank you. 

I am grateful for my sense of humor and that Costas was able to leave it intact… kudos! 

I am grateful that the boys are happy, clueless about what their mother has been through and stronger than I realized they were. Thrilled they love school and have such a love for life and a good adventure.

I am blessed to have been on the receiving end of immeasurable compassion and depth of love from friends and family. Your strength and support has made me stronger, thank you and I look forward to paying it forward. 

Paul, an extraordinarily resilient husband offering colossal amounts of positive energy and a profoundly “Paul” sense of humor, is still employed and that is the cherry on the sundae. I am grateful since this chick needs health insurance. I have shamelessly become so high maintenance, bad girl! 

I am thankful that the pace of our lives has slowed and that we have had the time to reflect on what we enjoy and what we want to do with our lives and are making strides to do it. 

I believe that this whole experience has been a gift. Not exactly what you thought huh? Well, it did not come in pretty packaging, but it has afforded us the opportunity to be better people, live a better life and try to make a difference in the world we live in. Last time I checked, no one had put an expiration date on my forehead, so as far as I’m concerned, I am living and fighting like hell. 

So what do I want in 2009? More of the same I guess. Continued happiness, healthy children, more date nights with Paul, maybe a vacation without the kids, spending time with great friends and family, avoiding the rat race at all cost, finding a laundry fairy, reading more, and most of all, as my former manager Kristin would say, “Don’t get run over by the beer truck.” Well, so far I’ve dodged a direct hit and I’ve got my eyes open for when it makes another pass at me. Knowledge is power and cancer has no power over me… so that damn beer truck called cancer can keep on rolling. 

We are grateful for much, much more, this is just the top of the list and I figured you would not want to read that much! Here’s hoping that 2009 knocks it out of the park!


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