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Grateful for Every Minute

Blog Author: Melissa Evans, CVT, LVT, VTS (ECC)

As I thought about this blog post, I realized that writing about gratitude isn’t easy. Yet, gratitude has become a buzzword of sorts. We hear about celebrities, politicians, and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies “practicing gratitude.”

Gratitude is different for me. I don’t consciously ‘practice gratitude,’ but I am aware of what I am grateful for daily.

About 12 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was young and healthy, and the diagnosis certainly surprised me. I had a lumpectomy and was set to start chemotherapy when I was told that there was another tumor in the same breast, and I had to have a mastectomy.

I was gutted. This wasn’t how my life was supposed to go. My husband and I had only been married for about two years. We had planned on kids and travel. I was in school to start my second career as a veterinary technician. I wanted to do everything. But instead, I had a 4-hour surgery followed by six months of chemotherapy.

As I lay in bed a few days after my second surgery, the right side of my chest covered in bruising and unable to lift my arm to do anything for myself, I realized that while I was scared and frustrated, I was also thankful. I was grateful that we live in a time when medicine can treat cancer. Thankful for my husband, who cared for me when I couldn’t do it myself, and for my family and friends, who checked on me daily and kept my spirits up. Thankful for friends I hadn’t seen since high school and from across the country who reached out to let me know I wasn’t alone. To my teachers and classmates who made sure I didn’t fall behind in my schoolwork despite having to be out for days. I am so grateful for a support system that was bigger and stronger than I ever realized and that helped me get through every day until I could do it myself.

I have had no evidence of cancer for over ten years now—the things my husband and I planned on doing before cancer we did. When I finished chemo, we went to Paris. We traveled as much as we could until we had our son, and now we travel with him. I graduated from technician school and got my credentials and then my VTS. I started my own company and teach technicians to be their best. Every day I know how lucky I am, and I am so grateful for every minute of it.