March 2, 2017

Gratitude During Colon Cancer Awareness Month

By Guest Blogger Valarie Schlosser, patient, advocate, volunteer, Colon Cancer Alliance

Words are powerful. You should choose them wisely.

I've been looking for one word that truly expresses how I am feeling during Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and the message I want to impart.

The word for March 2017 is "Gratitude".

I chose gratitude because it aptly describes the totality of how I'm feeling this year. It's a word that expresses appreciation for not just blessings received, but blessings given.

Taking stock of the past year, it’s evident why I am truly grateful.

Health: In 2016, many close friends and family members battled serious, sometimes life threatening illnesses. At 51, I'm at that age where things start happening to your body. The past year has not been easy. In 2015, I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, but it's all good. I am still grateful for my health.

Life: Again, maybe cliché, but I have lost some friends, including my very best friend, my Mom. No matter what my struggles were, no matter what I had to face, by the grace of God I am still here, and as well as I can be. I am truly grateful for the gift of life.

Friendships: I don't think I can ever properly express how intensely grateful I am for my friendships. Friendships, like any other relationships can be tough and tenuous at times. This year was no exception. But through it all, they have been there for me and me for them. On so many levels, I am truly grateful for my friends

Family: If there's ever been a year that's tested the resolve of my family, it was 2016. I am truly grateful to have my family.

God: I have a strong belief in a higher power. I could have tossed away my belief and faith any number of times, but I chose to do the opposite. I've become more entrenched in my faith and the belief that God does, in fact, have a master plan for me. He is sending me messages that are very real and very profound. I am grateful for my continued belief and faith in God.

As I reflect on my own journey with colon cancer, I realize this feeling of gratitude has helped to sustain me. During Colon Cancer Awareness Month, my wish is that anyone who is going through trials in life can be thankful in the midst of their adversity.

Editors note: If you would like information on practicing thankfulness, visit

Next: Reduce Your Risk for Colon Cancer

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