Thanks and Silver Linings

You know the song–you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and then you have the facts of life. I grew up watching that show. I liked watching it but didn’t really identify with any of the characters, but I would sing that song all the time, everywhere. As a kid its a catchy tune, as an adult, well, it can be something else altogether.

It’s not easy finding the silver lining in some situations. The doctor told me and my husband that I had cancer on September 11, 2018. The tiny silver lining was that another day of the year wasn’t ruined, all of us could be sad together on a sad day.

Thankfully diagnosis was early, increasing the odds of a positive outcome. That is a huge silver lining. I recommend that you write a thank you note to the people that helped diagnose you. It isn’t easy but I really think it helped to put me in the right frame of mind to really start the fight. Send a thank you note to the mammography tech and the ultrasound tech because if they would have missed the signs it would have delayed diagnosis and the odds drop. Thank whoever else helped get you to a diagnosis and a treatment path, writing the notes are almost meditative.

Thankfully all of the medical professionals I dealt with are highly skilled, kind and compassionate people. That is also a huge silver lining. Each one took the time to explain what was going on, what was going to happen next and where the next decision point would be. They took the time to make sure I understood and was processing the information properly. As odd as it sounds, under different circumstances I could picture them all being friends I would have chosen to hang out with.

Thankfully my job has excellent benefits and an excellent short term disability policy. Again, a huge silver lining. I cannot imagine what it would have been like without insurance and trying to work full time through the whole treatment process. I even had a case worker that navigated that side of the process for me. She also took the time to make sure I understood what was going on, coming up and how to deal with everything. She made sure that I was doing well, considering, on a personal level. She, too, is someone I could imagine being friends with had we met differently.

Thankfully we have an amazing support system here in Louisiana and all over the country in family and friends. The biggest silver lining of them all. People cooked for us, made sure the kids were safe and where they needed to be. They kept us involved in life outside of cancer, which is also bigger than you can imagine. About the time the walls started closing in someone would call or come over and remind us there was life outside. About the time the girls were feeling isolated someone would invite them to a birthday party, outing or play date. It was very kind and allowed the girls to be girls for some time before coming back to reality. About the time everything would feel overwhelming someone would send a care package that was just perfect for the moment to remind us that we weren’t alone in the fight. It was truly humbling to experience and taught me so much about kindness and compassion.

Thankfully my body was strong enough to handle the treatments and fight off cancer. Thankfully my family was able to deal with and become closer because of cancer. Thankfully I becoming stronger and stronger each day. The list goes on and for that I am infinitely thankful as well.

It is important to remember what the silver linings are, and what to be thankful for, for me the lists are intertwined. There are days during treatment that the silver lining is that the chemo-tantrum ended, the crying stopped, the vomiting ceased, the pain pill lasted until the next dose. While these sound negative, in the moment they are gigantic positives and completely worthy of celebration. Give yourself credit for finding the silver lining, no matter how small or tarnished it may be, shine it up a little and go with it.

Published by survivorsherpa

I am a wife and mother to three daughters, a chemist and a breast cancer survivor. I would very much like to help others by caring and advocating for them while sharing my experiences and tips that may help to thrive during and after treatment.

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