Mindful Monday – Living Our Gratitude

affection-appreciation-art-424517At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. Albert Schweitzer

Gratitude is the mother of WhereWeGoNow. As I healed from my diagnosis, mastectomy and reconstructive surgeries, it was gratitude that pulled me up and through the emotional turmoil. It was gratitude that revealed the gifts of cancer and helped me absorb the losses. It was gratitude that inspired me to create a community for other survivors to share our new normal lives beyond cancer.

Gratitude also made me a compulsive thank you letter writer. I’m not talking about polite thank you notes written from social obligation. Oh no, I‘m talking about raw, openly emotional missives from the heart. I had to let these very special people know I couldn’t have done it without them.

Probably because they came from the heart, these letters always made me feel vulnerable and I usually put off sending them for days after they were written. To a person, however, the response was always kind, appreciative and truly touching. What really struck me in fact was how happy they were to hear from me, which I really never expected.

Last May I wrote an email to a very special medical professional who gave me incredible support and guidance. She responded, telling me how happy she was to hear from me, especially as she was now struggling with career decisions.

Last week she sent me an email saying it was her turn to thank me. My earlier email had helped crystalize for her what she loved doing and she set about getting back to it. Now, she was happy to report that she was back on track and happily pursuing her passion.

Her email brought tears to my eyes. Before I sent my email, I struggled with insecurity and was uncomfortable reaching out to her. Now, she was thanking me for inspiring her to follow her heart and find joy again in her career. My gratitude had come full circle.

Is there someone who made a real difference in your healing? Have you ever told them how much they mean to you? Does their impact on your healing inspire you to give back to others? If so, I’ll leave you with an inspiring quote I love:

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

Survival > Existence,




Deanna J. Attai, MD's picture


Debbie – sorry I’m just getting to your Mindful Monday post on Tuesday night, but what a beautiful post! Many patients are thankful and appreciative – it shows in their eyes and their hugs. But the written words are what often bring me to tears – tears of appreciation and gratitude that I was able to make a difference in their lives. Gratitude does definitely come full circle, and thank you putting into writing what I often feel.


Debbie's picture

Thank You for Making a Difference Every Day

Dr. Attai:

I’m so happy to hear from you at any time! Thank you for letting me know how it feels to be on the other side and how important our words of gratitude are to you. The medical providers who made me feel like we were in it together are the ones who did the most to help me heal. Thank you again to all of you who are skilled technicians and feeling healers. You mean the world to us.

Survival > Existence,



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