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Nov 28 | Written By Alexandrea Blue

As Thanksgiving approaches this year I realize that this year will look different than the past years. Technically not in a bad way but not my ideal way. When I think of the word "thankful" I think of my life, my family, God, and my friends. But this year I have so much to be thankful for and more. Weeks leading up to Thanksgiving I asked my oncologist team about 10 times "Will I be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family?" Knowing in my head what the answer would probably be....No.Yes, I was disappointed to hear that I would have to have Thanksgiving at home but I was okay with that. It took a lot of time for me to get over "well we will have to see how your counts look" because there will be no promises and you just have to hope that the next holiday your counts will be good. This year my hands are numb, my appetite has changed, I am weak, I am nauseous, I have cancer, but I am still thankful. I mean you're probably thinking "Alex, how can you be thankful when you're going through all of this" How could you not? I am alive. God is walking right by my side - My Nana Cynthia confirmed. He is by my side.

Something else that has been on my mind is my selfishness. You may not know that I was previously diagnosed with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder way before cancer and it took a huge part of my life and my parents. It felt like a disease that just wouldn't go away. The reason I am bringing this up now is that I remember I would get gifts for my birthday or Christmas and they would mean so much to me that I would "save" them. Weird, right? I would keep the tags on them, hang them up, and they would just sit in my closet until what I called "the special day." Now, thinking about that I am just speechless. Just like I said before Cancer Changes Everything. You become more aware of your blessings and the little things in life. Knowing that I could've passed away and I spent my time saving would be so upsetting. You never know when it's your time. So what I am trying to say is that whatever purse, jewelry, clothing, you have to WEAR IT. DON'T SAVE IT. I know that obviously, OCD played a huge factor in this because my brain thought the most unrealistic things and made me believe it. Let me tell you, I want to go wear everything in my closet right now. That will be the first thing I do.

There is so much to be thankful for every year but this year. This year means a lot to me. No family ever wants to see their kid struggle, see their kid battle cancer, see their kid in pain. My parents Stacey Blue and Chris Blue are the most admirable and inspiring people I know. Not just because they're my mom and dad but because they are warriors. They both became my "caregiver" on October 1 2021 meaning a caregiver for a child with cancer. Now I know they have always been the best parents and have always given me the best life. But I knew this would be tough for them. Caregivers have to learn a lot about cancer immediately. My mom and dad are no nurse, no doctor, no surgeon. But I sure as hell knew that they could be by the end of this. This month my parents had to both learn how to inject chemo into my leg for 3 days. THIS by far was as real as it could get. I mean we're talking full suite, with goggles, gloves, alcohol wipes, and a mask just to give me this chemo. Luckily, like I said my parents are warriors who did great. My mom forgot to squeeze my leg when injecting once but we won't talk about that lol!!! My dad did his part shaking and pain!!! I just want to say I am so proud of you both. Where would I be without my 2 best friends? My ride or dies. Thank you, mom, for taking me to every chemotherapy, every week, for cleaning my room for me when I can't because I am too weak, for being my shoulder to cry on, for binge-watching "In The Dark" with me until 3 am because the steroids were keeping me up. You have always been the greatest mom but I look up to you even more now. Thank you, Dad, for being my chef, for sending me endless prayer notifications morning and night to make me strong, for always reminding me to drink more water, for going to 7/11 and getting me Slurpees and nachos with jalapenos because I am craving it. You may not be able to come to chemo but in the end, we keep you in the loop and you strive to learn how to take care of me with cancer. We are a team. Without you both I don't know where I would be. We are #AlexBlueStrong

I would like to thank the University Of Michigan Mott's Children's Hospital. Miracle Workers. Just two words to describe them. I seriously wouldn't be okay without them. They are a blessing and I am so thankful for everyone I am meeting along the way. It feels so good to know that I am in good hands. When I first got transferred to mott's they still wanted to confirm my diagnosis. After confirming what St. Joe diagnosed me with I was then transferred. I am so beyond thankful that I am still considered a pediatric patient. After being in the hospital for almost 2 weeks I met the most amazing nurses. Nurses are brilliant and I am so thankful for what they do. It may seem like nothing good comes out of cancer but I promise you it does. I have met so many great nurses while I was inpatient. Emily, thank you for taking care of me while I was a new patient. I will never forget you and our endless chats about Netflix shows. Hailey, thank you for being so sweet and so kind to me. I felt like I knew you before I even met you. I would've loved to have you as my cheer coach. Amy, thank you for taking care of me every Tuesday with the infusion. Thank you for easing my worry and for the thoughtful gifts you always surprise me with every day. I will always remember the day that it was just you and me in the infusion room after being there from 10 am-6:30 pm. We talked about what we would eat for thanksgiving, Christmas gifts, and crafts while you gave me a bomb pop. Thank you motts for giving me the best oncology team that always makes sure that all of my medications are filled or re-filled on time, for coming up with a great plan, and for being on call. I am so thankful for the M portal. I message my doctors pretty often and they always reply instantly which makes me grateful because most of the time it is urgent.

In the end, I want to thank God. God deserves all of the thanks in the world. Without God, I wouldn't even be alive. Without God, I wouldn't have a warm bed to get into every day, warm meals every day, clothes on my body, and a roof over my head. Without God, I wouldn't be blessed with the best children's hospital in Michigan. God knew that this time in my life would come to a shock but He also knows what will happen after this nightmare is over. Which helps me keep hope every. single. day.



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