Thankful for the Gift of Life

When it comes to giving thanks, I know exactly where to start — by sending the universe a heartfelt thank you for the gift of life.

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004 and triple-negative breast cancer in 2010, and in my 52 years on the planet, there have been other health issues, too. I’ve had my battles, that’s for sure. One might be tempted to harbor resentment about the piling on, but I don’t. I choose to look at it another way. This body of mine is a trooper. It fights back with a vengeance and I’m darn lucky to reside in such a resilient body.

I’ve taken fairly good care of myself and while I can’t claim an excellent track record, I’ve certainly made healthy lifestyle choices. Rather than feel anger at the twists of fate, I figure those healthy choices have contributed to my ability to fight back.

Multiple sclerosis forced me change the way I think about every aspect of my life. Triple-negative breast cancer made me consider my life as a whole.

This year I’m thankful for the gift of life; to be able to wish my children a happy Thanksgiving; to plan for Christmas; to look ahead to the new year.

Whatever your burdens, I hope you have reason to be thankful, too.

This bit of thanks appeared on my personal blog a few weeks ago and I’d like to share it here:

I sing and dance when I feel good. Not well, mind you. My younger son was but a toddler, trapped in a moving vehicle with his off-key mother, when he said, “Mom, can you please sing inside your head?” That about sums up my talent.

My singing is important, though. It’s a sign that I feel good. It’s not just a good mood thing — it means I feel healthy and have extra energy to burn — and that’s not always the case.

While preparing dinner last night I was in fine form, groovin’ to classic rock and belting out some fairly horrific sounding notes. Then I considered my husband, working in our home office, and wondered if I was annoying him. How could he concentrate with my off-key chorus? But it felt too good to stop.

My precarious health situation this past year means that he appreciates just about anything I do, simply because I’m here to do it. That’s got to wear off eventually, right?

At dinner I asked the question. “How long will it last? How long will I be able to get away with making a racket before you quit appreciating my mere presence and ask me to cut it out?”

Thoughtful pause.

“I’d say pretty much for the rest of your life, babe. Sing all you want. I like to hear it.”

‘Nuff said.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and may you truly appreciate your blessings.

Image credit:

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of “No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis.” She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and a regular contributor to Care2 Healthy & Green Living and Care2 Causes. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo


Jane Barton
Jane Barton6 years ago

I keep seeing the word FAITH in a bunch of posts. Please define FAITH. Faith in WHAT, in WHO, WHY? What does faith have to do with this story? This story is about being happy to be ALIVE. Faith is irrelevant to being ALIVE. Being alive is about being HAPPY. I could care less what happens after I'm dead, it's being alive that counts. Being alive is EVERYTHING, being dead is NOTHING. So where does this faith thing come into the picture?

Angela R.
Angela R6 years ago

Thank you for your story. I have Cystic Fibrosis and had to come to grips with death at an early age due to everyone I knew that had it dying off. It started off with depression but as more and more years go by, I see my disease as a gift to open my eyes to the world and be truly thankful for my life no matter how long that may be.

William H. Russell
William Russell6 years ago

I would like to see faith being true, but of course people who have faith usually are talking about their mythological, unprovable, invisible,supernatural, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient spook, who are trying to push their beliefs on others who have already come to the conclusion that that being doesn't exist. Facts and truth however come from investigations and repeat performance.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

Faith does involve truth and experience of the truth!! Just because YOU are not able to make a commitment doesn't mean that others are wrong!

William H. Russell
William Russell6 years ago

Faith is definitely NOT the answer as faith is believing with NO PROOF!!!!

Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence6 years ago

Faith is the answer!

Mary B.
Mary B6 years ago

William, People of 'no faith' ruin it for themselves everytime they think they must make a big deal out of others useing the words of their own faith.What is this surge in athiests thinking they have to insult people anyway? Do you really think we haven't heard your script before? I am not an athiest or a faith person because there's always more to understand.Every moment you waste being in conflict with someone over things neither side can ever 'prove' is a little part of your life gone.

Sutra Magazine
Sutra Magazine6 years ago

Love is the best gift, Love will never fail

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

great article, thanks

William H. Russell
William Russell6 years ago

Too bad so many people have to ruin a perfectly good story by bringing their fairy tale into it, as this is a secular story, and people have to put an invisible unprovable supernatural spook into the mix. Too bad others have to ruin it for people of NO FAITH!!!!