i am grateful for so many things that i don’t even know where to start. most of all, i think, i’m grateful just to be me. and by that i mean grateful for the people in my life — my many incredible friends and family members — without whom i wouldn’t be who i am. knowing that there are so many people out there willing to put their lives on hold to be there for me — especially walker, who has already changed his life to help me and who i know will continue to take care of me no matter what comes; my parents, who were here the moment i needed them, and will continue to be, for as long as it takes; tim, who helps me get through every day with a listening ear, ready encouragement and brotherly love; and sue, walker’s mom, who has gone way beyond the call of duty in leveraging her connections in the medical world to ensure that i have access to the best, most timely care available. (did i mention that the neurosurgeon at duke who did ted kennedy’s brain surgery is looking at my MRI this week, thanks to her?! and that she was able to get my PET scan moved forward by two weeks? sue, you’re my hero!)
for my education and, as strange as it sounds, organizational skills. there’s so much to keep track of, to organize, to plan, to stay on top of, to comprehend. thanks, mom and dad, for making sure that i was prepared to deal with everything life threw my way.
for the fact that i live in a city that is home to one of just a handful of brain tumor centers in the US — that world-class care is at my doorstep, and that my neurosurgeon understands. that i have the resources to seek second opinions and be really, really sure about my course of treatment before i embark down that path, whatever it may be.
for a job that offers flexibility in allowing me to continue to work from home when i’m able, and for a boss/friend who has provided an unbelievable measure of support, concern and assistance throughout this process.
for all the offers of assistance in both material and immaterial ways. please know that i will be taking you up on those offers. it means more than you know to be offered the simplest things — just to sit and talk, to pick up groceries, to unpack boxes, to shuttle my parents from the airport, to give me hugs, to help in any way possible.
i think a lot about the people who don’t have the resources and support that i have, those who experience barriers to care, who don’t have insurance coverage, who don’t speak english as their first language. my friend jenny suggested that, perhaps, when this is all over, i could advocate for them — help ensure that a few more people in this incomprehensible situation gain access to at least some of the resources and supports that have smoothed my way thus far. i think it’s a great idea, a way to leverage my own experience and pay it forward. count me in.