I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence.
— Henry David Thoreau
Gratitude. Sometimes it’s easy to access when things are good. Sometimes more difficult as a cancer patient managing pain, anxiety and symptoms.
A gratitude practice can be helpful in many ways, even learning to appreciate the difficult times. Whatever the circumstances, it may work to start small with some deep breaths. Sitting quietly in a comfortable position, focus on the breath, each inhale and exhale, all the things in the body functioning well and automatically. A few deep breaths serve to calm the nervous system.
Many of us experience general disruption of everyday life. Suddenly, the basics mattered so much and were so obvious – hot water, electricity, clear air to breathe, phones that work, and the ability to communicate. For patients, this meant concerns about keeping medications cold and challenges for those with medical needs requiring electricity. When the power came back on, each of these basic needs seemed like such a luxury, yet they’re taken for granted most of the time. It was easy to have gratitude for the simplicity of having the electricity back!
In these weeks approaching Thanksgiving, gratitude is something often forgotten in the hustle and bustle of planning family gatherings, travel, and cooking the Thanksgiving feast. It is a time to appreciate our family, friends who are near and dear, and even random acts of kindness from a stranger. (Check out our Surviving the Holidays blogpost.)
As neuroendocrine cancer patients, let’s acknowledge the thousands of neuroendocrine tumor physicians, researchers and healthcare providers who work on our behalf every day.
They work to find a cure and treat our disease to find more treatments that can make living with NET more manageable.
We just celebrated NET Cancer Awareness Day on November 10th with a special LACNETS event at City of Hope. For this global day of awareness, we were fortunate to have as guest presenter, Elyse Gellerman of the NET Research Foundation sharing the latest research grants and projects. NET patients and caregivers from all over the Southern California region came together to be in community, learn and support each other. Sometimes patients can be one of the strongest resources for support and we all share this gratitude for having our special community of support.
Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks for what we have, finding a place of gratitude even for the things we no longer have and being able to give to those less fortunate.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving gathering! And remember that large meals are not generally recommended for NET patients. (Click here to watch a NET nutrition presentation by dietician Meghan Laszlo from October 8, 2019.)
And finally, back to the breath, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Give thanks.
Written by Giovanna Joyce Imbesi
LACNETS Founder & Patient Advocate