Giving Thanks 2023

I have much to give thanks for this year.

Giving Thanks 2023
Psychedelic sunflowers - from my Journal. Acrylic on paper.

All recent things considered; I have much to give thanks for as I move into my 53rd year.

My health has improved enough this past year for me to look at going back to work. Admittedly, the recent setback has me re-evaluating my plans, but as the Primary Care nurse who took my blood pressure last week reminded me - "Life be lifin' ".

Speaking of health care professionals - I am blessed to live in a medical oasis with access to state-of-the-art healthcare even amongst the community physicians. My oncologist has been on top of things, and it has been nice to re-engage with my long-time primary care doctor and her residents.

I am also grateful for the amazing folks at Inova Alexandria Hospital (eg. the Acupuncture Spa and Wellness Center). From the outpatient check-in folks, to the phlebotomy team, to the ER staff - these folks have been amazing. They make it such that I look forward to seeing them when I have to.

When the doctor told me I was cleared to go back to work, I discovered an amazing infrastructure to help people like me figure out what to do next and begin to re-skill. I'm most impressed that the different groups within the Virginia Employment Commission ecosystem talk to each other. Everyone I have encountered has been helpful and supportive. They will be key players as I move into 2024.

My city government has also been shockingly helpful during my return-to-work journey. Big props to Michael at the Alexandria Workforce Commission, who models "living your purpose" as he guides people through the re-employment process. I have more to say about that experience over the next few weeks.

I've had a great time working with the Alexandria Archaeology Commission. Molly and her team have been shockingly open and collaborative as everyone works to transcribe hundreds of pages of shop ledgers. I plan on getting back to transcribing over the next couple of weeks as I figure out my new health normal and how to manage everything. It's been fun to re-engage my historical research skills.

I'm blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who work like emergency personnel in times of crisis. They are the most amazing crowd of cheerleaders and supporters as I move through this journey. Somehow, I managed to surround myself with love. It's humbling.

Most importantly, I am grateful for Ryan.

Being the primary caregiver is one of the most challenging jobs anyone can do. Ryan is now the primary income provider for the household along with the stress of keeping an eye on me and stepping in when things go south. He also provides reality checks when I get ahead of myself. He has his work cut out for him.

My 52nd year was as epic as I could have hoped for - lymphoma or not. I had a chance to experience so much, hang with friends and family, try new things, learn a lot, and live my most joyful life - even when "Life Be Lifin' "

As we move into the holidays - I wish you and yours a peaceful holiday season.