Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful

Steve and I have been waiting a while in the exam room, shifting uncomfortably and keeping our chatter to lighthearted topics.

We're waiting for one of the country's best head and neck surgeons, with a specialty in oncology, to come give us his opinion about my treatment plan. 

Finally, he steps into the room, and I'm immediately comforted by his open, warm and confident manner. 

He introduces himself, gives his credentials and a warm hello, and rolls a stool up next to the big, blue examination chair I've been sitting in, getting increasingly nervous, for over twenty minutes.  He has seen all my files, reviewed my CT Scan and the case notes, and I'm bracing myself for what he has to say.

He surprises me by placing one hand on each of my shoulders and saying, "Ellie, please look at me."  

I'm startled, but I stare into his eyes; his face is mere inches from mine.

"A lot of what we are going to talk about today will be frightening and unfamiliar, so I want you to really focus on what I'm going to say next.   Are you with me?"

I nod, unable to speak.

"Ellie, this is treatable.  It will be hard - really hard - and this holiday season will probably be the toughest of your life.  But you will have many, many more holiday seasons to come.  You are going to be okay."

Tears spring to my eyes, and I manage to stutter out, "Thank you.  Thank you so much."   

He goes on to talk - true to his word - about frightening things.  My treatment will involve more surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  For weeks.   But ringing through my head is one sentence, and I cling to it like a life raft:  I am going to be okay.

This Thanksgiving I have so many reasons to be thankful.  We're facing a long hard road, for sure, but I am surrounded by loving family and friends and I feel confident, hopeful and strong.  

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, from our family to yours.


34 comments:

  1. Oh Ellie my heart is full for you, Happy Thanksgiving!

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  2. Hi Ellie....I jumped on to let you know you are one of my many blessings this year - finding your blog and your healing words at times when I have felt so lonely.

    I'm really excited to hear about your doctor! He sounds so good and that he is right in there to fight with you. You deserve it.

    Hugs and love.

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  3. Although not similar to what you're facing, i've stared the really scary stuff in the face thinking I won't ever see my grandchildren. I did come through it, I did find the strength and I am stronger than ever - you will be too - BELIEVE

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  4. Oh Yessss!!!! God Bless you and thank you for letting us know. Very happy tonight xoxo

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  5. p.s. gorgeous picture, just stunning of your family. xo

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  6. Thank god Ellie. I have been thinking of you nonstop since i read your first post about your diagnosis. I am so sorry that you have to go through such a tough time, but you are going to be OK!!! So so so happy to hear this. You will always be such a dear person in my life, even if we are so completely out of touch. This is why I love FB and the web. Thank you for opening your heart and story to so many people, including me. xo Jo

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  7. Oh my heart, Ellie. Beautiful words, beautiful doctoring. Much love to you and yours this season. xo

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  8. Great news, Ellie, you will be okay. Hearts soar as this unfamiliar path unfolds before you and your family. With you all the way.

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  9. How incredibly scary and how incredibly brave you are. You are in my thoughts.

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  10. My prayers are with you. Keep the faith. You may find some inspiration from my friend Sarah at www.sarahMamalai.com

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  11. Stephanie (raiyasmamma)November 24, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    I am so glad that you have found a good, comforting, strong Doctor to lead this frightening time in your life. SO thankful that his prognosis for you is good- the going might be tough, but you WILL get through this! Hugs and prayers coming your way! <3

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  12. this is warmth to my heart to hear for you...what comforting words to hear as you start the recovery journey. Prayers and love to you and your family as you trek down this road. {hugs}

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  13. Oh thank God! You've been on my mind since you first started alluding to the swelling. I'm so very glad this will work out. I'll be praying for you and yours still.

    Michelle E

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  14. God bless you.....and He has blessed us with you in the Redbood article!

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  15. Love to hear this news, and like you I am hanging on to the important words here...you WILL be okay, and many, many more holidays. I am so thankful for this doctor and have to believe this is one of the things God will give you to handle this journey. You will remain in my daily prayers. Happy Thanksgiving! You do have a beautiful family.

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  16. That is the most gorgeous picture. I hate that you will have to go through hell, but I know I KNOW you're on your way to unprecedented amazing.

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  17. All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well ... :)

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  18. What a simple, magical thing that doctor did. I like him very much.

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  19. Wonderful news, Ellie, and what a great Thanksgiving gift!

    In the end all will be well, but I suspect that the combination of surgery, chemno, and radiation will seem more like hell. But it sounds like it will be almost over by the new year. WOW!

    Not something to be done alone. Get all the rest you can, lean on your friends, call and bitch if you need to. But you are going to be OK!

    This is something that I am also thankful for, you give us so much of yourself, keep sharing with us.

    Love and Hugs,

    Mike L

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  20. Good luck with ALL of it Ellie. And good doctor. It sounds like he's the right guy for the job. Our prayers go out to you and please keep us all posted when you can.

    Sandi Ratch

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  21. This is great news for your immediate and extended family. I agree with Sandi that the doctor seems to have a good bedside approach and isn't it amazing what 5 simple words can do for your karma.
    Wonderful picture and great to see you smiling.

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  22. Oh Ellie - crying here. You can do this. We're all here for you. Hang in there. Lots of love.

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  23. I have found you (again, I know I have read you in the past) through Heather today, and just want to add my voice to the multitude that are sending you positive, loving energy to get through these trying times, and for a successful treatment program and a complete recovery one day soon. Many cyber-hugs.

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  24. What good news! And what a great doctor to make that crystal clear to you.

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  25. Ellie, I wanted to let you know how much your words always speak to me. Thank you for sharing your journey, and for your example of how to live life beautifully, even in the face of fear. Sending prayers and positive thoughts to you and your family as you take these next steps.

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  26. Thanksgiving indeed. I'm so happy for you. One day at a time, and you will be ok. I'm so very thrilled to hear this news.

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  27. What an amazing doctor you have.
    What an amazing person you are.
    People you don't even know are praying for you. Your honesty and your faith in the middle of ... in the middle of YOU ... is such an anchor for more people than you know. You ARE okay - and are making more and more people OKAY. I'm one of them.

    Thank you!!

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  28. I've been thinking about you, so much. My very best friend recently went thru a diagnosis and treatment. It's not easy. But. Doable. You are strong and I have nothing but hope for you.

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  29. What a gorgeous picture! I'm so thankful you WILL BE OK!

    Love you lady! Sending you lots of strength!

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  30. Such a lovely family photo -- you all look radiant!

    What a blessing that doctor is. I'm so glad he's on your side.

    Sending you strength, along with big doses of hope and faith for a full and speedy recovery!

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  31. First, that picture is stunning. You and your family are radiant.

    Second, so glad you have a hopeful future. What a gift!

    Third, we (your readers) will all be here for you too!

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