Thursday, November 27, 2014

Joy to the World: My Thankful Holiday Letter

Five years ago I hadn't started my blog, which chronicles my lengthy battle with cancer and my experiences as a disabled person. But I wrote this, just for my own benefit, to keep a record of my thoughts during that holiday season. I recently found it on my computer and thought about posting it for the Christmas season this year. But I realize it is just as applicable on this Thanksgiving Day, as we head into the holidays.

My Christmas Letter 2009

This time of year, one often receives letters from friends and family celebrating the previous 12 months. Trips taken, vows exchanged, honor rolls achieved.

This year, five years after a debilitating illness left me handicapped, I have had an outstanding year. No visits to the Great Wall of China (seems to be the place to go), but I did take a trip down my long, steep driveway to get the newspaper.

All by myself.

Something I never could have imagined four years ago when I was paraplegic and unable to move even a toe.

I make a mental note every time I can do something again that I could not have done for years. To the healthy and able-bodied, these are often mundane tasks that are routine at best, an inconvenience at worst. For me, they are not easy, involving lots of moaning and planning and incorporating one of my four walkers or a cane.

Each small success feels like a miraculous achievement.

Here are some things I accomplished last year, 2009. Some I only did once, others many times. But all of them I could not have done a year ago. 

I took a bath in my own tub.
I walked down the hill to get my own paper.
I reached down to the bottom shelf to get a casserole dish that I needed to cook.
I danced with my husband. 
I went grocery shopping by myself.
I unloaded the bags when I got home.
I went to a park and took a walk.
I walked inside our local mall.
I played cards with my kids.
I filled my own car up with gas.
I lay on the beach.
I stayed up until midnight on New Year’s Eve and toasted to an even better 2010.

We should all be thankful for people we love, what we have and what we can do, no matter how big or small. 

I am, indeed.