Thursday, November 25, 2010

So much to be thankful for!

On this Thanksgiving Day, I want to take a minute to reflect on the last few months...

I am so lucky to be here, feeling healthy, body parts relatively intact, and able to enjoy the holidays.  I am so grateful to my family and friends who have been a source of continuous support as I have traveled a path I didn't choose. 

To all of you who have supported me with financial donations to support breast cancer research, your cards and letters, your thoughtful gifts, your well wishes, prayers and postive thoughts - I am truly grateful. 

To my husband and children, you have all been there for me in ways I am sure you never imagined.  Having all of my children, their friends, my wonderful son-in-law Paul and adorable grandson Alex walk in the "Race for the Cure" for me is not something any of us would have expected to do.  I cannot express how proud I was of our family that day in Boston. 

To all the other family and friends (including my sister Mona) who supported "Hall Ass for the Cure" - I can never thank you enough.  The entire experience was beyond my wildest expectation.

I am thankful for my primary care physician, Dr. Elizabeth Dexter-Manade, who had to break the news to me that I did, indeed, have breast cancer, for her referral to an absolutely fabulous breast surgeon, Dr. Christa Balanoff.  I am forever grateful to Dr. Balanoff and her nurse Michelle for helping me through the process, acting as the "project manager" for my team of excellent doctors, and ensuring I got the best possible medical care.  The coordined efforts ensured that my tumor was evicted quickly, that I was properly prepared for Mammosite radiation and then moved on to the medical oncologist.  The Mammosite team at Kansas City Cancer Center took excellent care of me, ensuring that the radiation went perfectly and my catheter site healed without any sign of infection despite my protests about an over-abundance of caution :>)

And to our friends John and Donna... Donna - you are my hero, a true warrior whose best words of advice were "you don't have a minute to waste on negative thoughts!"  For those of you who don't know, Donna is a 3 time breast cancer survivor and has just recovered from her second mastectomy.  When I see a pink ribbon and think of what it represents, I think of Donna.  And John - thank you for being there for Rick.  He needed someone who had been through this and you were a huge help. 

And most of all, I am thankful for my husband of 30 years, Rick, who has been my rock through all of this.  Yes, he worried with me, and comforted me, and kept me sane when I thought for sure I would "lose it".   He supported my treatment decisions, took me to every doctor appointment and treatment (until I made him stop).  I can't imagine my life without you. 

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season blessed with good health and the love of your family and friends.


  1. Good doctors, positive attitude and love from family and friends equals success. You have all you need.

    Good health to you and your family.


  2. Michelle, you are a super inspiration to me of how to handle finding out that you have breast cancer in ways that provided the best success for you. You researched, read up on things, talked to people, had a positive outlook on life and attitude, and were a BIG part in your recovery.

    Through you, many others will learn how to deal with challenging issues in a better way. You ARE lucky to have the support of friends, one who has been through some extra challenges, Donna.

    Thank you for all you do for others, by opening yourself up about your daily travels with cancer. May you have a long life with so much joy and laughter. You DO have a lot to be thankful for, Michelle. I hear it everyday you write.