Being Grateful

by Reija Sillanpaa 11 days ago in humanity

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude

Being Grateful
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

In March 2019 I was diagnosed with stage 3 womb cancer. I had to have radical hysterectomy, chemo and radiotherapy to treat it. Having a life-threatening illness made me value everyting I have so much more.

I am grateful for my family and partner

I moved to London when I was 19 and all my family are still in Finland. But that makes no difference; I know they are here to support me regardless of the distance.

I’m sure my parents would have preferred me to stay in Finland, but they never tried to discourage me from moving to London. They always fully supported and encouraged my siblings and I when we were growing up and provided us with lots of experiences and opportunities. I'm so grateful for that.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful sister and brother. There might have been times when we didn't get on when we were growing up, but now I couldn't wish for better siblings.

I’m grateful for my beautiful niece and nephew. They are both such loving and caring children. They bring so much light and happiness into our lives.

My partner Justin shares the number one spot with my family. If it weren’t for him, I probably would have packed my bags and gone home for my treatments regardless of the fact that The Royal Marsden is one of the top three cancer hospitals in the world. Finland has an excellent healthcare system, too, so I would still have been in expert hands. But I never needed to consider that option because of Justin.

He was absolutely amazing throughout and it can’t have been easy for him either. It is important to remember that serious illnesses have an enormous impact on those close to you, too.

I am grateful to have fabulous friends

When it comes to my friends, I have a strong, supportive network of friends.

Since my cancer diagnosis many have commented on how positive I am in my outlook. To them I say that it is easy to stay positive with all the love and support I get from family and friends.

can so grateful for all the fantastic friends I have both in London and back home.

I know my diagnosis was just as much a shock to my friends as it was to myself, Justin and my family. You just don’t expect someone of my age to be diagnosed with cancer, although the sad fact is that cancer affects people of all ages and many are developing cancer younger than before.

The incredibly dedicated doctors and nurses

I could not write an appreciation post without mentioning the wonderful NHS. I am so grateful to live in a country with such an excellent healthcare system. And not only is it excellent, it is also free for all.

I can never fully express my appreciation for all the doctors and nurses who have looked after me and continue to do so. I could not have received better care if I paid for it. I have experienced specialised doctors at one of the best cancer hospitals in the world in charge of my treatment.

And the nurses, I cannot praise them enough. They are so dedicated and caring. And they have such positive energy. This is so important, especially when dealing with a disease such as cancer.

And there is so much more to be grateful for

Other things that make the list of good things in my life is our flat with its balcony that allows us to do some urban gardening. I love our flat.

After years of living in flats with no outside space, it is great to have a balcony. We can now be outside without necessarily going somewhere. Something that was vital for our mental wellbeing doing the first lockdown!

I’m also grateful for my school and colleagues. They have been supportive through the treatment period when I was off work and following my return to work. I am so lucky for the opportunity to work there part time in a dream role doing intervention and some cover teaching because it means that I still have time and energy to focus on my writing, too.

I am grateful to have amazing things to look forward to like our cycle ride across Europe and fundraising for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

And, the is the big one, I am so extremely grateful and blessed to be cancer free now.

I am grateful for each and every day that I wake up.

Reija Sillanpaa
Reija Sillanpaa
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Reija Sillanpaa

Writer, reader, blogger, charity fundraiser. Find me on:

10% of what I earn on Vocal goes to Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

See all posts by Reija Sillanpaa