Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

11.26.12 | By

Thanksgiving Day. It is a special holiday for millions of families across the U.S. to gather and eat bountiful food and watch endless hours of football (and for me, the Macy's Day parade). But most importantly, it is a time for families to give thanks for all that they are grateful for over the past year.

As I recount all of the Thanksgiving dinners I've spent with my family, I find it interesting that often topping the "thankful" list is health.

Health, as defined by Webster's dictionary, means soundness of body of mind and freedom from disease or ailment.

"Freedom from disease" are very powerful words. But in a country where hundreds of millions of Americans currently suffer from disease, these words are often absent from many dinner conversations and Thanksgiving Day celebrations.

Good health is something many of us take for granted but it is also something every one of us hopes to achieve so that we can have more time on earth with our loved ones.

Over the last year, there have been at least three health scares in my family. At one point, a relative of mine who lives with type 2 diabetes thought she might have to undergo another open heart surgery. And another relative thought his ulcer could be pre-cancerous, but thankfully it wasn't.

The good news is that the majority of my family is healthy but for those who currently suffer from an ailment, they are doing everything they can to control their disease through healthier eating, exercise and strictly adhering to their prescription drug regimen. The latter is of the utmost importance because their physicians have said that their conditions will worsen if they do not adhere to their medications.

It has been a tough year for many families and there isn't a day that goes by that I tell myself how fortunate I am to have relatively healthy family members.

But as I reflect on the year, I think about the people I met who either have a spouse or mother who suffer from Alzheimer's, a neighbor whose father passed away from a sudden heart attack and a dear colleague of mine who suffered from a stroke and is no longer with us.

Every loss, every story leaves an imprint in all our lives. But they also give us hope that there will be less suffering in a world where disease impacts each and every one of us either directly or indirectly.

So while celebrating during my family's Thanksgiving feast this year, I gave another toast to health. But I did do so knowing that many of my family members are still with me because medical innovation has provided them with the tools they need to help them and millions of other families around the world fight their disease.

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