The Power of Gratitude

Hilary - Severna park, Maryland
Entered on October 19, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the power of gratitude, recognizing blessings in one’s life. No matter how bleak, there is light in the recognition of blessings that surround you.

Due to abdominal pain, I found myself in a local emergency room as the physician uncomfortably described the “large, well organized tumor” found on my left ovary. I distinctly recall, despite my fear, thinking “How lucky I came when I did…. what a blessing”.

Days later my CA-125 came back at alarming levels (CA-125 the tumor marker for Ovarian Cancer just as PSA is the tumor marker for men and Prostate Cancer) I remember easing into the nearest chair, and sobbing. As an Oncology Nurse myself, I knew what this meant, and again I recall thinking “How lucky you are that you know what you’re dealing with, what a blessing your knowledge will be”.

When given a short list of Oncologist’s names “How lucky am I that I work at the National Institutes of Health and have access to the Ovarian Cancer Team” were the words that came flooding to mind. I recall clearly using the words “how lucky” or “what a blessing” no less than a dozen times that first day, and countless times after.

Seven years ago, I began a friendship with a physician providing a room in the mornings for him to drink his coffee and read the daily newspaper. Who would dream I would find myself in need of his expert consultation as the leading authority of Ovarian Cancer. And what a blessing his friendship became. What luck in that consultation that he happened to have been partners with one of the suggested oncologists years ago. What a comfort when he called him personally about my case.

How lucky it was that the job I quit to spend more time with my family, didn’t accept my resignation 6 months ago, but instead found a way to cut my hours back yet continue to earn my health benefits. What a blessing not to worry how I will pay for this crisis now.

Finally, how lucky that at the end of a three hour exploratory radical hysterectomy no evidence of cancer could be found. “How lucky”, “what a blessing”, “a miracle” my oncologist said shaking his head in disbelief.

There are blessings all around, even when the darkness that surrounds us tries to block out any light. For three weeks I lived on the precipice of fear, yet for three weeks I stood amazed that in a painful situation, I felt taken care of. I can’t help but think about the song Tim McGraw sings that rings “I hope you get the chance to live like you are dying”….. How lucky I am to have had the experience of doing so. I have learned that it is not just how long you live, but how deep and wide you live. To do so, recognize how lucky you are, how blessed you are how much light exists even in the darkness.