Diagnosed in the winter of 2014 at the age of 31, Jennifer Hearn looks ahead to her first Thanksgiving as a breast cancer survivor and how what she is grateful for has changed… and remained the same.
Cancer definitely has a way of changing how you think and live. As strange as it sounds, I am thankful for my cancer because it has made me more aware of what and who I have, that my time is precious and is to be spent doing what I love and with who I love… my boys, my husband, my “family.”
I think a lot of times when people are faced with a challenge like breast cancer they focus on all of the people that weren’t there for them. It’s going to happen. Some people won’t be there for you. But dwelling on that is not going to help you. In the end, you can only control your actions and you want to be surrounded by people who want to be there at your darkest moments.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of support and love I received. To be honest, I don’t know how anyone does it with anything less. I have always been thankful for the amazing people in my life that I call “family” whether related by blood or not. However, during my diagnosis and treatment, this group of people loved me hard and strong in many different ways. They were present whether they could be physically or could only check on me with a call or text often.
It wasn’t always the big things like gifts or care packages that touched my heart… although they were definitely smile-makers! Sometimes the handwritten note or the calls or showing up and being there, making time for me… that is what pulled me through my hardest days and moments. That is what I am thankful for.
I have a quote up in my house that reads:
“friendship isn’t a big thing, it’s a million little things.”
Cancer has helped me to focus more on and be thankful for the little things-the little things that can make you happy, the little things that people do for you to show you that they care, the little things you can do for others, the little things that make each of us ‘us.’