I was at choir rehearsal on Friday night for the first time in over a year.

By: Robin Harry

I was at choir rehearsal on Friday night for the first time in over a year. The last official rehearsal I was at found me crying in a back room from chest pain, pain that would later be found out to be a big tumour in a bad place. So needless to say, that’s all I could think about during rehearsal. We sang, and I realized that my voice isn’t half what it used to be. My range is limited, my endurance is shot, and I have a lot of work before I get to where I used to be. The biggest moment for me though, came when our choir director (also my very good friend) closed rehearsal with a question to us all before prayer time: In one word, what are you thankful for?

I’m not exactly sure how a cancer survivor is supposed to answer that correctly. I have so much to be thankful for, so it’s hard to imagine putting it all into one word. A lot of bad stuff has happened in the past year and some, so it’s understandably overwhelming to consider all that my heart should be grateful for.

I’m grateful to be alive. I’m grateful for a God that knows where I am even at those times where I have no clue where He is. I’m grateful to have life to enjoy all the other things I’m thankful for. I’m grateful because while I can’t remember for sure, a review of my calendar and this blog leads me to conclude that last Thanksgiving found me in bed a few days after chemo, struggling with insomnia and fatigue.

I’m thankful for the awesome family and great friends, too numerous to mention, that were with me every step of the way, in whatever way they could. I’m even grateful for the ones that disappeared and hid in the hard times, cause they’ve taught me what a good friend is supposed to be and challenge me to be better. I’m grateful for the new friends that I’ve made along the way. I’m grateful for the entertainers that brought me laughter and kept me distracted during some of the darker days (I’m looking at you, Jeff Davis and Nathan Fillion). I’m thankful for the internet that allowed me to share my story with others, and to meet others just like me (hello, YACC & Cancer Fight Club & Lymphoma Canada). I’m grateful for doctors that cared what happened to me. I’m thankful to live in a country with universal health care, and to have a job with awesome insurance, allowing me to survive an expensive illness without going bankrupt. I’m thankful for the many lessons I have learned about myself in a walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and for the comfort of finally knowing who I am.

All in all, I guess I’m just grateful for life. But in one word, just not possible for a cancer survivor like me.


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