30 Days of Gratitude

Happy Halloween, everyone!!

While this holiday is Mighty Distractible's favorite, you may have noticed that we've spent slightly less time talking about awesome spookiness than in past years. I blame this on our respective recent health distractions.

And, with that, I'd like to share a little information with our readers. In early August, I received a breast cancer diagnosis. Two weeks later, I had a single mastectomy and nine lymph glands removed. By the grace of whatever higher-power you believe in (science, God, the Universe, whatever) I was given a clean bill of health three days after my surgery. All the cancer was gone - it hadn't spread into my lymph nodes or lymphatic system, and the tissue surrounding the cancerous area was cancer-free. No chemo or radiation. No "I can never remember the name of the estrogen blocking drug". My post-surgery meeting with the oncologist was kind of funny because she really didn't have anything to add to the conversation other than, "we'll keep an eye on things."

No one knows why I got cancer. I have absolutely no family history of the disease and I live a relatively healthy life. I don't work in any high-risk industry, like ones that use a lot of chemicals and stuff. And no one expects me to ever have a recurrence.

So, basically, I had a surgery - like an appendectomy or a gall bladder removed. The recovery has been long and exhausting. I'm having implant reconstruction (with augmentation on my other breast - YEA for having a matching set!) in early December and, as soon as that's over, this becomes part of my history and ceases to be part of my current story.

I've had a lot of people get really irritated with me because I refuse to wrap myself in pink ribbons and own my "cancer". But, to my mind, I didn't have cancer. I certainly didn't have BIG C cancer. We need to save the term "survivor" for the brave souls who sit in a chemo chair every week, lose their hair and throw up until they've lost a third of their body weight. Or the people who get to have their skin burned by radiation over and over for months on end. I had a surgery with a four week recovery and I get new boobs for Christmas, courtesy of the insurance company. I came out of this on the "win" side.

Tomorrow is the first day of November. The DreamBank (which I've mentioned here numerous times) is doing an installation called "30 Days of Gratitude" and I've decided to co-opt the idea. So, for the next 30 days, I'll be posting a quote about gratitude on our Twitter account, @distractedminds. Here's the one we're starting with:

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.
Brian Tracy 

I encourage everyone to take a few minutes each morning - before you get out of bed - to quietly make a mental list of things you're grateful for that morning. It can be as simple as "I'm grateful to have a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in" or "I'm grateful I have a job to go to". Or, if it's easier, do the same exercise just before you fall asleep. Falling asleep with a head full of positive thoughts is guaranteed to bring you sweet dreams. :)

Let's be thankful, friends. Life is good.

- Alex


  1. You are awesome, and loved Alex. Thanks for the thoughtful piece.

  2. Great post Alex! I was reading a few of your posts and had quick question about your blog. I was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance, thanks!