When I saw earlier this year that Thanksgiving fell on November 27th, I couldn't help but smile a little.
On November 27th last year, I woke up to my alarm at 4am, scrubbed my body with hospital grade anti-bacterial soap, loaded up a suitcase and rode in a car to the hospital in the pitch blackness of early morning. From there I had an IV placed, I chatted with my parents who both looked like they might both burst into tears at any second and finally I was rolled into pre-op. I found myself cuddling a stuffed animal in a way I hadn't since I was a young child. I found myself terrified.
Sometime before 6 the anesthesiologist asked me count back from 10 and then I woke up, 6 hours later, in a different room, with 13 staples in the back of my head. An outside reminder of what had been done inside. But soon thereafter I saw my parents and my husband and I knew that I was okay. I was breathing on my own, I was alive and everything was alright.
There could not be anything more fitting than to have Thanksgiving fall on the one year anniversary of my brain surgery. Many of you have asked recently if I regret having the surgery since the headaches re-emerged. The answer is no, I do not, for even an instant, regret it.
I had 8 blissful months without headaches. After 2 years of having them at least several times a week, 8 months without any was literally like a dream. I forged friendships with people on the internet and in real life, people who lent a helping hand and cared for what happened to me. I have learned a great deal about myself in this ordeal.
As I type this, I have a thundering headache that could defy laws of physics and of narcotics, and yet, I am thankful. I had the resources, insurance, family and friends to allow me to have 8 months of pain-free living and I am hopeful that soon I can resume that life.
Because of this surgery, I was able to finish planning a wedding without pain. Because of this surgery, I was able to be a part of my wedding and enjoy the entire day, without pain. Because of this surgery, I went on a honeymoon where I didn't have to cancel a single planned event for a headache. Because of this surgery, I got enough of me back to rediscover the person I am and to want fight to keep her here, even as the pain creeps back in.
I am thankful for so much that has happened in this past year. For the pain, for the painlessness. For the love and the friendship. For the good news and bad news. For the frustration and support. I am thankful for what I have learned, even if the hard way and for the lessons I will continue to receive from this experience.
Everything that has happened this year has brought goodness into my life and I cannot find strong enough words to say how remarkably thankful I am for that.
So I'm going to try to do it with actions instead.
For every person who comments (anonymously is fine) on this post before Friday at 11:59pm with at least one thing they're thankful for, I will make a donation to St. Jude's Research Hospital. I can't give back directly to the doctors, surgeons, and nurses and who gave me back my life, but I can help those who are fighting harder battles, who are struggling more than I'll ever understand.
I know you are spending time with your families, but please take the time to leave a few words and know that those few words, that expression of gratitude, will be transformed into a tangible form of thanks. A donation to a place that needs it more than you or I.
Thank you, to all of you, for being here, and for sharing in my story, in my new life.