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It's that time of year again. Thanksgiving and the start of the busy holiday season are here. As you reflect on the past year as a survivor, whatever your experience has been, take time to recognize the strength that you have inside of you, the family members who have been by your side and the friends who did not let cancer get between you.
Also reflect on how far you've come in your journey. For some of you, it's just beginning.
I often hear from survivors who describe a feeling of intense emotion or increased appreciation for the little things that they never noticed before. It might be the smell of flowers, the taste of your favorite food (when your taste is back to normal after treatment), the physical beauty that surrounds you while you walk in nature, or the warm touch of a hand on yours.
While you plan to celebrate the holidays this year, think about the little things that mean so much to you. Maybe it's an important family tradition, giving to a local charity, or having family and friends around the table to share a meal together. Give thanks and then give back to others in a way that makes you happy.
I'd love to hear your stories of how you celebrate Thanksgiving and the holidays. What makes this time even more meaningful to you?
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Having been diagnosed with prostate cancer in January, having it surgically removed in March, learning that the cancer likely had already spread in April, going through 36 radiation treatments in August and September and finally having an undectectable PSA 2 weeks ago has brought me closer to my precious wife, kids, grandchildren, relatives, and other friends. I am thankful for this journey I am on knowing I may have a long road ahead. But the Lord, my oncologist, urologist, and precious family will be there for me. And I for my family. Thank you for this forum and all of you who have written.
My holiday tradition at Thanksgiving is to send e-cards, paper cards, and join another family for dinner. We have been celebrating together for over 30 years and have watched our families grow. Now, I am a widow, my children live on either coast, and I am a Multiple Myeloma cancer survivor of 7 years. However, I still feel a belonging and loved. Recently, a young family has "adopted" me in the neighborhood, and they wanted me to join their celebration. As alone as I feel sometimes, I am blessed to have these friends as my extended family. As a cancer survivor, I am more than grateful to be alive, to have survived 7 years of chemo treatment, and to have been given the opportunity to watch my grandchildren grow. Blessings overflow.
Since my cancer diagnosis and now that I have been in remission for six months every day is Thanksgiving day!!!! Wishing everyone a joyous holiday!
22 years out from 1st (biggest and worst!!) cancer diagnosis and EVERY day is Thanksgiving for me. Thanks for your note, Nurse Ness, and thanks Mayo Clinic for these newsletters.
I HAD ESOPHOGUS CANCER,5 DAYS LATER I WAS OPERATED ON. IT IS NOW 6 1/2 YEARS I'M CANCER FREE. I AM BLESSED. YOU DO NOTICE THE LITTLE THINGS SO MUCH MORE. I SEND THE DOCTOR AND STAFF A THANK YOU CARD ON MY ANNIVERSARY EACH YEAR.THE LORD WAS WATCHING OVER ME.
Thanks for reminding the importance of giving back.
I was diagnosed with Bcell NHL, in 98. I had relaspsed six times, last time in 2005. My husband passed away in 2005, one month after I relaspsed. His was service related. The day, he passed away, he told me, I should write a book. We laughed and me saying, ' about what?" I buried him. Did the Rituxan, and wrote, ' How Many Bridges do I have to Cross?" it is on kindle for those interested in reading. I hope it would help others, not to give up.
Are you, yourself, been through cancer, and chemo? Are you a survivor?
A year ago I didn't know that I had endometrial cancer so Thanksgiving was just another holiday. In December of last year I had a complete hysterectomy and was told that I was cancer free. Today I look at each day as a gift and I, like so many others, wonder how I can be considered a survivor at this cancer and I worry unnecessarily (but realistically) that it could return. I thank God daily for the gift of another day and have spent many months making quilts for grandchildren and niece and nephews for Christmas this year as a celebration of my year of reawakening. Nothing like cancer can prioritize what I do. I am so grateful for this year and I thank you Sheryl for your timely posts. I wish love to all of you who have cancer, have had cancer. Claire
I had always thought that if I was ever diagnosed with a major disease that I would put myself in the hands of a major medical institution and their resources. Thus..when in early 2011 I was diagnosed with CMML I asked my brother a Mayo trained doctor to help me research the right doctor and hospital for me. As we approach Thanksgiving 2015 with my CMML in remission I am grateful for my talented Mayo healthcare team. I'm grateful for my talented oncologist and for the talented Hematologist who headed a clinical study that helped me qualify for a subsequent stem cell transplant. I'm incredibly grateful to the multidisciplinary team of pulmonary, infectious disease doctors that treated me in health crisis 2 years ago. But I'm also grateful for the "Minnesota Nice" that I have experienced in all my stays in Rochester. That spirit permeates the while Mayo experience from the professionals who check the patient in to the folks who transport patients in wheelchairs to the volunteers who help one find their way to the musicians taking turns on the Steinway piano. And all my loving friends and family who were there for me appreciated the remarkable hospital that Dr. Charlie and his sons built.
I sent out thanksgiving cards that I wrote a personal poem on them!
Our journey began over a year ago
Prayers & generosity were a steady flow
This Thanksgiving Day we want to say
Many thanks to all for helping this way!
The Fraziers have lots to be thankful for
Prayers, love, support & so much more
With all this behind us, again want to say
Thanks be to God this Thanksgiving Day!!
Much love & many blessings to you & yours,
I am far more grateful AD (after diagnosis) than I was BC (before cancer). I am grateful that through several cancers and chronic, incurable diseases, I don't have to come up with strength on my own. I have a wonderful, loving Heavenly Father from whom I get my strength. I have eternal hope beyond this life. After this life, things will only get better - they'll be perfect.
Thank you, Sheryl for your faithful posts. I read them but don't tend to comment. I use many Mayo Clinic posts to encourage others. I am thankful for Mayo Clinic even though I have never been near it. I receive your care online.
I'm almost a five survivor of stage 4 ovarian cancer. This is the first year I've had feelings of emotion over my whole journey. I'm fairly sure it is because this was the time when my blood clots became troublesome and later put me in ICU,after which I was in a rehab nursing home for three months.
It is true that surviving gives me a new appreciation of life. I will be 80 in February. I now volunteer for CanCare and have 12 ovarian cancer patients I support through phone and email conversations. They live in Oregon, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, and Texas.
I feel so blessed to be able to help these women through their journey. I have to think God saved me for a reason.
Although I've only been on my cancer journey for 5 months, I can honestly say the experience has made me richer - in family, friends and most of all, in perspective.
Cancer forces one to look at life with clear eyes. It forces one to set priorities and it clarifies what is truly important.
While I am not thankful that I got cancer (who would be?), I am thankful for the tremendous care i've received on all fronts. And I feel blessed to be able to talk to and hopefully, help, others who are newly diagnosed.
thanks for your mails. they have been really helpful ever since i was diagnosed with leomyosarcoma of the ivc. after a successful surgery three years ago ,my cancer metastized into my liver and bone marrow.after 24 cycles of chemotherapy, i'm now on oral medicine called votrient.i cannot tell you how supportive my family has been all these years,specially my husband who has been with me thru out. and has taken such good care of me. i think i'm truly blessed to have a husband and family like mine.
i wanted to give him a surprise birthday party for his 75th birthday on november the 7th, but he got wind of it and the whole idea just fizzled out. but now we have invited about a hundred of our close friends next month to thank them for the support and love and affection they gave us during our trying times. i don't know when you celebrate thanksgiving since we live in india and this concept is not so popular over hear. but i would like to tell you that every day is "thanks giving" for me. thanks to my surgeons, my oncologist, our family and friends, my household help in whose eyes i always see concern for me and of course to the mayo clinic mails, all of these have helped me to be on the go. thank you ever so much.
Have just finished reading all the comments of all the cancer survivors. Here in Aussie we don't have a thanksgiving day like you do, but in my Church we do in September, and I am a very very thankful to God who has been very good to me with a belated Blessing on the 12th November 2014 that I am now cured after a nearly five and three quarter year battle with breast cancer. My lumpectomy with four axial lymph glands removed for DCIS cancer which went from category 2 to category 3 in two weeks and was estrogen and hep2 positive, this latter was a particular concern as I had had an Acoustic Neuroma, (a non cancerous tumour on the 8th cranial nerve), in 1988, as the side effect of the hep2 positive was a possible brain tumour. I lived 322kms from the city where I had treatment and and have driven myself with the help of Prayers of myself, family, friends and our wonderful Lord, approx 70,000 Kilometers from April 2009 until November 2014 for chemotherapy,radiation and hercepton treatment.It has been a challenge many times, though also a huge Blessing as I have met so many amazing people! I hope all who are just starting this cancer journey who read all the comments here can one day also add that the light at the end of that tunnel that can at times seem so long and dark is the Light of Jesus and his Angels in the form of all who you meet, and that it will also give you the needed courage to keep believing that you will also survive to have many happy years with family and friends and also be a similar inspiration to all like the others who have survived this journey! May God Bless and take care of all of you who are still on, or have now very thankfully finished the journey!
I have much to be thankful for this year, I'm a ten year survivor of Metastatic Papilary Thyroid Cancer, was clean for seven years and it returned, my case was referred th UCLA, and I was told the New cancer was non operable, to small to go after I would lose my voice box have damage to my vocal cords and the nerve, and radiation wasn't an option, so I turned it over to God, this October I went in for annual testing and was told, there is no evidence of Disease the new cancer was dead,and all my blood work is back to normal, I can only attribute this to God, I'm cancer free at this time and was blessed with a new Great Grandson, and today I celebrated my 61st birthday, I've been blessed, so my Thanksgiving wish is for all of you to be touched by God,and be healthy and here to celebrate Thanksgiving again next year.
Ten years ago, when I was first diagnosed I asked if I would die,my answer was a straight I don't know,my cancer it was decided was at least twenty years old had traveled to my lymph nodes and to the base of my brain.
Im so thankful that I had a great team of Dr's, friends and family
I am also thankful for my husband who held my hand through it all including the two emergency hospital stays as a result of side effects from the radiation.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, we are all blessed that we're all still here.
One year ago, the day before Thanksgiving, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy in December and then followed with radiation.. Three months later I found a lump in my other breast and it was determined to be early stages of DCIS. I elected to have a bilateral mastectomy and was told I am cancer free. I have so much to be thankful for when I look around at others and see how they are suffering.
I lost my left arm 5 yrs. ago due to cancer. I'm thankful for my journey.I would rather have my arm back but I have a testament. So I wouldn't trade my journey.
One year ago this Thanksgiving I was just out of the hospital after my fourth week of in-patient chemotherapy. June, 2013 was when I received a diagnosis of stage 4 synovial sarcoma. Surgery to remove my right femur (emergency) and part of my left lung left me feeling very poorly last Thanksgiving. Hardly able to keep down chicken noodle soup and unable to visit with family because of low immunity. This year I am able to walk with a cane and with the assistance of my wonderful husband we are preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Wow! Do I have a lot to be thankful for! My faith has only strengthened and my circle of friends is so much larger than I thought! All Mayo employees were so wonderful through chemo, surgery, and radiation. Kudos to the door attendants through the surgeons!
On November 2011 I was diagnosed with Invasive Breast Cancer Stage 2. I underwent lumpectomy surgery followed by chemo and then radiation. After I finished I was given results on my Aqua Test which revealed I have a 95% chance for a recurrence. I began a 1 year treatment of Herceptin and finished Oct. 2013. As weird as it may sound, I thank God for this horrific trial of having cancer. My life has made an 180 turn for the best. I appreciate life and thank God each morning for walking this journey with me and carry me in his arms when I felt I could no more. Along with other survivors, we created a support group in which we meet once a month. I bring awareness to our community at schools and at any church that will open their doors to bring awareness. I celebrate LIFE, love much & laugh more. God takes care of all who stay close to Him - Psalm 31:23
Last year at Thanksgiving I hadn't been diagnosed with breast cancer yet. At work we write on a board what we are thankfull for and I said good health as one of my top things. Thanks to an excellent surgeon and early detection I am considered cancer free less than a year later. Being thankful for good health takes on a whole new meaning for me now. I don't take it for granted as I had before. At 54 I take one pill a day and I am thankful for that! Hugs to everyone that is a special member of my cancer survivor family!!
I want to give thanks for being cancer free for another Holiday season!!! Thank you to my surgeons, medical team, oncology team for getting me healthy and getting rid of that intruder cancer! Thank you to my family and friends for being by my side all the way...Also, a big thank you to ME! I did it!! I am strong and I kicked cancer's butt!!! Thank you God for giving me an appreciation of the little things in life and to take the time to see all that is around me. Love Life!
Thank you God, the almighty, for giving me the strength to endure the treatment and emerge from it as an ovarian cancer survivor.
Thanks to my husband and twelve year old son for being me with me and being my pillars of strength in this ordeal.
Thanks to all my wonderful friends and relatives too !
Every single day is a gift from God and a blessing.
A special mention to my wonderful doctors too!
A friend of mine had lung cance and everything was doing great, she got through the Chemo and Radiation fine. now they want
to do a Permanent Trach. and she doesn't want it because she might lose her speach of not be able to breathe. Otherize she is in good health. She is 73 years old. Could you you pleasegive me something to help her make up her mine for the best. Thank You, Thelma
Everyone, thanks for your incredible strength and support for each other. You are all so amazing in my eyes. I appreciate your kind words also extended to me...it means so much to me. I am thankful for this role in my career, it is an unexpected blessing for me.
four yrs. ago I was diagnosed with CLL-LYMPHOMA-PROLYMPHOTIC LEUKEMIA(no cure for this one). Was told I had 6 mos. to live. I refused treatment, and put this illness in GOD'S hands. Eleven mos. ago I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Refused treatment. I thank God each day for all my blessing, large and small. I would like to wish everyone of you a blessed Holiday Season & life.This is for each & everyone of you who are giving 100% to fight this terrible disease.
If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If HE had a wallet, your picture would be in it. HE sends you flowers every spring and sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, HE listens. HE could live anywhere in the universe, and HE chose your heart. What about that Christmas gift HE sent to you in Bethlehem; not to mention that Friday at. Calvary. Face it, He's crazy about you. I thought this was very special, just like you. GOD BLESS YOU ALL. I send up prayers every day for all of you, because you are so special.
I am very thankful for being disease free 3 years after my Colon cancer was found. I am thankful for the excellent and caring physicians, nurses and receptionists at Mayo Rochester.
I am thankful for everyday I now live and try to embrace each day and do things to make the world a better place. I am aware that I often have taken much for granted and try to be mindful of the fullness of life. Luckily I am a nurse and have the opportunity to help others just as I have been helped.
Thank you to Sheryl and all of you who share your lives and thoughts as well.
I was diagnosed w/superficial bladder cancer 2 years ago. This holidays I am going to take short trip on San Juan bay (Puerto Rico.USA) aboard the famous HMS BOUNTY, of the famous mutiny about 200 hundres years ago. She will be docking at our beatiful island which you should visit some day.
I was told I had breast cancer June 2010. I was completely caught off guard. After a segmental mastectomy, taking only one lymph node and radiation I am cancer free. I will turn 60 on Thanksgiving and I thank God and my church family everyday. I continued to teach kindergarten through my treatments as this was my way of dealing with my diagnosis. I had a lot of support from coworkers and there concern and prayers for me helped more that I can ever express. I am thankful this year for my good health and for the most wonderful family anyone has ever had.
My thanks is to the wonderful people in Rochester Minnesota! Ten years ago after having surgery on my leg for Stage 4 melanoma tumors,I was in the hospital over Thanksgiving. The staff so was so kind having to work the Holiday how could I complain about being there too. After I came home my family made a big Thanksgiving dinner for me and after the hospital dinner it tasted so good. Thanks to the Dr.s,nurses and all the other staff from the shuttle bus drivers to the surgeons I'm still able to fix my own Thanksgiving dinner at home. Thank you again this Thanksgiving for making me a 10 year cancer survivor next week.
I'm going through Chemo now after bilateral mastectomy. My friends and family are the only reason I'm getting through this. As I usually do the Thanksgiving cooking our family has decided to celebrate at The Sheridan this year which is fine with me, we'll dress up and all be together that's what counts.
I survived breast cancer -- bilateral mastectomy in 1988 when I was 40. Now I'm on chemo for after brain surgery for glioblastoma multiforme; I was told I had 1-3 years and we celebrated the 5 year mark last month. We thank God every day.
Live thankfully, life joyfully, live NOW.
I am happy to be live after my Kidney Cancer. I lost half of my left kidney. Thank you God for everything.
I was diagnosis with Stage 4 Follicular Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma almost three years ago. I had eight sessions of CVP and 5 sessions of Rituxan and I have now just finished my two years of Rituxan Maintenance program. I never thought that having Cancer could result in a renewed feeling of life, as well as my religion. I have learned to each day and not to look too far into the future. Yes, I have stopped to smell the roses and appreciate my family and all the new Cancer friends that I have made these past few years. I have learned to approach life's difficult situations with a more positive attitude. This does wonders for any anxiety or nervousness that you have during and after your treatment. I try to reach out to all I meet undergoing a health crisis and offer them as much positive feedback, as I can.
This month last year I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 42. I am greatful for everyday I have, this year I believe the holidays will be very emotional as I am still trying to come to terms of having "Cancer" and being a "Survivor". They have told me that I am cancer free but to me it really needs to be longer before they can tell me I am cancer free. Needless to say I am excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas also as I do get to celebrate with my family and enjoy their company. I also have a very special Nurse that I will be visiting with some goodies as when I was in the hospital she really was good to me and she cried when I left. I want her to know it was a difficult journey but she sure made it a special journey. Thank you to Beth.
The topic caught me a little off-guard, so to speak, as my compatriots and I celebrate our official Thanksgiving holiday in October. You have reminded me that as a survivor, every day is Thanksgiving for me. I don't need a designated day to be grateful for my life.
This particular day is a tad hard as it would have been my mother's birthday. She died from metastatic breast cancer almost 39 years ago when I was 21. Yet I am grateful for the example, the exceptional strength and dignity with which she faced all of life's trials including the final.
Thank you, Sheryl, for the thought and effort you put into this blog.
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