How many times have you heard that over your lifetime? Hundreds? Thousands? Many of us are of an age that we have stopped counting, if we ever did. It has a nice ring to it, a comfortable sound that is easy on the ear and rolls off the tongue quite naturally.
Two years ago started a period where I did not know where my thankfulness would again come from. That year my wife, Kathy, and I spent a very happy day together celebrating the holiday. I can not remember if we spent it alone or with friends, but either way it was a day of rest and relaxation. It is normally my custom, over the weekend, to hang the lights around our patio, for some reason it did not happen that year. A week later I would be in the emergency room with a broken hip. I found that bicycles and ice do not play well together.
After recuperating, returning to work, going through a mild depression, I thought I was back and ready to go. I was back on my bike, but not enjoying it very much. Even though the depression had mostly lifted it was still hanging around the edges. When fall arrived and along with the rains I stopped riding, fearing another fall if I went around a corner and found a pile of slick leaves.
Thanksgiving was back again and it was not the happiness of years ago. I enjoyed myself, but the self-doubt was still lingering at the back of my mind. I feared that something was going on and I did not know what it was or how to deal with the feelings.
Shortly before Christmas I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and my primary doctor wrote a prescription, unbeknownst to any one, caused a severe reaction that resulted in my losing my job. Being of an age where finding work became much more difficult, my wife and I decided that the best move was to take an early retirement.
Due to all that had transpired over the last couple months I found a new doctor who is a specialist in the field. She changed my medication, and optimism started to return. In the spring I was back on the bike, I was taking longer and longer rides and at one point found a patch of Poison Oak to fall into. Getting a dose of Poison Oak is, even in the best of conditions, not enjoyable – what with the itching and redness and being down right uncomfortable – no in my case I am allergic to the darn stuff.
As the summer continued on the pain in my hip was increasing. The heads of the pins, that had been placed to align the fracture, had backed out from the surface of the bone and was irritating the soft tissue of my hip. It was time for them to come out.
All during this time Kathy was having a problem that resulted in her being hospitalized. This only created more stress and tension between us. It seemed that we were constantly at each others throat. As her new medication started to make things worse, she and her doctor realized that going back to the old medications was the only answer.
Now was not the best time for me to go into the hospital to remove the pins, but the procedure had been scheduled, and the pain was getting worse. The day after the surgery I noticed that even though I had pain from the surgery, the pain from the pins was now a thing of the past.
The other day I again saw my doctor about the tumor, the results of the MRI and blood tests were positive. The tumor has shrunk to a quarter of the size from a year ago, and the hormone levels are starting to return to normal. Over the course of the next year there will be more blood tests and at the end of the year another MRI to see how the tumor is reacting.
Today Lara, our daughter, joined Kathy and I at one of our favorite restaurants for Thanksgiving dinner. We had an enjoyable time together. The laughter and conversation helped make this a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Looking over the past two years I find that I have much in which to be Thankful. With the love of my family, especially Kathy, and friends, I will find many more days and years of blessings to fill my basket with reasons to give Thanks.