There are times in life, dear sisters, when it is just simply hard to find something to be thankful for. When going through a new cancer diagnosis and/or treatment, gratitude may not be the first thing on our minds.

I know. I have been there.

But that first year after diagnosis and treatment, Thanksgiving marked the beginning of recovery from treatment and surgery for me. I honestly can’t remember what we did for Thanksgiving, but I do remember being grateful I was able to be up and around after major surgery.

I was alive, and the cancer was gone.

I’m not sure we had a turkey that year (and I LOVE turkey), but I can still remember the gratitude. Yes, more was ahead, but I was through the majority of it.

I had glimmers of hope. Perhaps you know what I mean…and how I felt.

As we enter this month of Thanksgiving, how are you feeling? Are you grateful? Angry? Scared? Hopeful? Well?

Or a combination of all of those, plus another basketful of new feelings?

Wherever you are, it’s okay. It really is. Cancer doesn’t initially bring out these huge feelings of gratitude. We may feel anything but grateful! This is normal, natural, okay.

And yet I would encourage you, having been there myself, to begin to look for small things to be grateful for.

Why? For starters, it helps you cope with the demands of cancer and treatment, while the demands of life and family usually continue full-speed ahead anyway.

An Attitude of Gratitude Helps Us Heal

An attitude of gratitude (I know, one of those catchy slogans) really does help us heal. But let’s be realistic. Let’s look for everyday things we would normally blow right past without even noticing them. Maybe you catch the sunset one day, even if it’s from the sofa or your bed. Or see a lovely bird, or snow, or a flower you hadn’t noticed before.

Maybe you feel like walking around the block, and you really took a good look at the changing tree colors in your slower pace. How about the taste of real food when your taste buds normalize again?

I remember being grateful for the sunshine coming in my son’s bed. He would be at school, and I’d read and nap in his room simply because of the lovely sunshine and the big window to look out. My purring nurse-cat would curl up next to me, soaking in the sun, too, while keeping me company. The house was quiet, and I could appreciate the luxury of having a mid-day rest before the boys came home from school.

Rest is healing, dear friends. This November, even though it is the start of the holiday season, take some time for yourself to rest and relax. Maybe this isn’t the year to host Thanksgiving, or plan a big meal for your family. Maybe you go out to eat, if that works into your budget, or you buy a readymade meal from a grocery store.

Or perhaps you don’t worry about the traditional feast and all the prep, and simply have soup and salad, and feel blessed to be able to say no to the busyness this year.

Why don’t you give the holiday some thought right now, before it’s upon you, and decide what will work for YOU this year? Your goal, your right, and your responsibility is to care for yourself this year (and hopefully every year forward). Put your needs first. It’s good medicine for healing, I promise.

“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…” Hebrews 4:9

God bless you, my friends.

Suzanne Bonner, Author

Thriving in God’s Love:

Seven Powerful Steps to Heal Body, Soul, and Spirit After Breast Cancer

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“But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.” Psalm 52:8 (NLT)