The Twelve Days of Christmas traditionally start on Christmas Day, December 25th, and continue through January 6th. The “twelves” that are on my mind these days are a bit different: having had surgery on December 12th means that today, Christmas Eve, marks my 12th day of recovery. Everyone has told me that the first two weeks are the hardest (and I hope they’re right), so I am glad to have reached this milestone, and look forward to continued healing over the next days and weeks.
I am more aware than ever of the many gifts in my life. Plentiful food; a warm, safe, spacious home. The love and care of so many people: devoted family who share their time and energy generously, decorating the tree, making meals, running errands, offering a voice of experience. Beloved friends who text encouraging messages, share their skills and favorite books, send beautiful holiday cards and bouquets that brighten up the darker days. And an incredible husband who stands by my side, makes me laugh, and doesn’t blink at changing bandages or fetching yet another Coca-Cola Icee (or even question my weird craving for them).
I’m also aware of gifts I’ve received for so many years without any comprehension they were gifts: the mobility to towel myself dry after a shower, mindlessly, unaware of the many twists and turns my body had to make to accomplish this simple task; the steadiness to reach the sugar where it lives on the highest kitchen shelf without having to ask for help; the stamina to sit at my computer and write for hours at a stretch. The gift of the absence of pain or discomfort. The gift of good health. Gifts I hope to receive again, and fully appreciate hereafter.
We won’t receive the full pathology report from the surgery until early January: we are hoping, based on the post-chemo scans, for good news. Until then, we will continue to celebrate the gift–a precious one– of another Christmas together. And I’ll keep you posted as often as I’m able about my ongoing Adventures in Cancerland.
Happy holidays, everyone!