I was texting one of my best friends this morning, and we were talking about the November social media ritual of being


It gets frustrating at the best of times, only because of how sometimes it seems like it’s all perfect, perfect, perfect out there. Or, on the flipside, everything is SO F’ING DRAMATIC. Omg, with the “I am such a super strong person for going through the hellfire and back again, even when nobody notices because I smile, but really don’t mind me over here being sad and broken but I’m not anymore so all the haters can keep on walking and only, like, 3 people in the world will really understand the real me” posts.

One can only take so much of it.


To be really blunt about a few things (because I’m better at blunt than doing a delicate dance around things), I, like everyone else, have been on both sides of the spectrum. Publicly. I get it, I do. We shouldn’t be all Debbie Downer all of the time but neither should we always be an incessant Pollyanna. I learned a lot-A LOT- of lessons about withholding some things from the outside world a few years ago, and also about withholding some of the daily upsets and frustrations even from those close to us. We walk a fine line these days, people. A very fine line.

But the crux of my conversation was that instead of being HashtagBlessed, why not be #Grateful instead? If you’re blessed for the really awesome stuff (great job, amazing kids, 20 vacations a year, just an all around fabulous life), then what does that make the people who bust their humps but whose lives go askew, or who struggle, or just flat out aren’t that Pinterest worthy? Are they not as #Blessed? It sometimes seems as though it’s easy to snuggle into the cozy, beautiful cocoon of how amazing life is, and the light of all of the universe shines upon you all of the time. Why not flip it just a touch? Say you’re #Grateful. Acknowledge the amazing stuff that comes your way and how much work and luck was involved, instead of it being bestowed upon you? I love Gratitude. I’m grateful for more than I can express. I give credit where credit is due, acknowledging hard work, luck, and the way that things sometimes come together in our favor. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, things don’t come together and it’s incredibly difficult to deal with it. It shouldn’t make anyone feel less blessed. Then again, it shouldn’t lead to constant woe-is-meisms. I know I’ve been in that boat, so let me be the first to say, with love,

Enough already! Damn! Also, a fairly good chunk of the I Am Strong, Life Is So Hard memes have glaring grammatical and spelling errors. It somehow adds to the irritation factor. (I say this knowing full well that I am the Typo Queen. The irony is not lost, I assure you.)

I have an unusual way of looking at things, though.

And I am immensely Grateful, with a Capital G. I have amazing friends and a caring family. The best part of social media isn’t sharing (only) the best (or worst) of times, but also that sometimes people check in on me. I have been somewhat quiet on all fronts lately, though, because I couldn’t find that happy medium that I like. There have been some incredibly large problems that we’ve been dealing with, and they sucked all of my energy and have made everything that much more difficult.

First, let’s go over the good, the funny, and the cringeworthy, shall we? Cool.

I successfully made it through the 3rd round of chemo, so Hell Yeah! I’m told that these first 4 are the worst of the worst. I also got to see Dr. Rock and made him laugh when I asked if my boobsicles would feel a bit warmer if I have the plastic surgery to add fat to fill in all of the concave places on my chest. They are always cold! And without any fat over the implants, they are rippled, though far less than if I’d gotten a different type of implant. I don’t think anyone had every said that to him, though. And it makes me wonder if they would freeze if I were in colder weather… He hadn’t seen the results of my spinal biopsy, and was visibly shaken for a moment when I told him. Luckily we picked right back up with the jokes. Boobsicles help with that.

A stomach virus attacked the family. Chemo just wouldn’t be chemo if I weren’t living in constant fear of shitting myself when I venture out in public. Dr. Rock didn’t laugh at that issue, so that leads me to think I am not alone in that unfortunate boat sailing up shit creek.

Halloween has come and gone, and I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to participate. I love Halloween. I do. This has always been my very favorite holiday; the best time of year. I’m grateful for my husband for taking on the annual Buying Of Costumes, as well as candy, putting up a few decorations, and getting some cold cuts for a sandwich buffet before the big event. I was thrilled that I had enough time to poorly apply some makeup for a terrible rendition of a Day of the Dead skull and help the kids get ready. I even got them, through many threats of removal of Halloween privileges and some yelling, to clean the house, and managed to sweep and mop. That’s a big deal. I got to meet and spend some time getting to know my ex’s girlfriend, which was wonderful. I’m so thrilled knowing that he is spending time with someone who makes him happy and whom my daughter adores. It made passing out candy, which is one of my favorite things to do every year, even sweeter.

After my 3rd treatment, I was in tremendous pain. The kind of pain that, again, left me confined to bed for days. The kind of pain that breaks one’s spirit. When thinking hurts, when there isn’t a pleasant, funny thing too say it is impossible to want to go on. It is excruciating. Going to each treatment takes a level of will power and desire to endure such torture that feels beyond me. That is the truth. I’m not a warrior, I don’t like the image of me being a fighter or battling anything. The reality is that I struggle to force myself to go through with this. There is nothing harder than being compelled against your will to go through something that you absolutely want no part of, regardless of the result. Nothing. But I promised them I would, so I do it.

I’m also appealing the decision by my company’s disability insurance carrier to  deny my application for long term disability. It’s a devastating blow for my finances, which are already decimated by me not working. See, like many families, I worked because I had no other choice.

Oh, and I am officially no longer employed. That was much more emotional for me than I expected.


Yesterday I folded some clothes and it was exhausting. As sad as it is, I get chest pains from simple tasks and folding a few loads of laundry did it. But it was nice to feel normal for a couple of hours.

The thing is, as worried as I am, as much as I am angered at my ability to provide being stolen from me, I am extraordinarily grateful. I am grateful for the people who check up on me, who joke around with me, who randomly pop in, even when I was in the hospital, and who have made sure that I know I am loved. It helps during the times when I’m not #Blessed.

2 thoughts on “HashtagGratitude

  1. Lex – your honesty is refreshing. I have a private facebook group for my mom and post the highs and lows of ovarian cancer and don’t hold anything back. It sucks, but there are some happy moments too. I’ve started a mini documentary series called Cancer Moments (http://fremontfilms.com/projects/oncologist-visit-a-cancer-moment) to try and show a more real perspective on life (and unfortunately death) with cancer. Sending you love, even though you don’t know who the flip I am :-).

    Liked by 1 person

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