Every year I reflect back on how incredibly thankful I am to those who serve our country, both related to me and not, and how fortunate I am to have my family, friends (old and new), my job, a roof over my head and a litany of other things we all have and perhaps take for granted through the year, but since 2014 I am especially thankful for my health and everyone at the University of Iowa Hospitals. November 24, 2014 was the Monday before Thanksgiving that year and I found myself with my daughter on the road to the hospital on the University campus. There was a snowstorm coming (that I later heard resulted in blizzard conditions) and we were catching the beginning of the storm as we arrived. We got me checked in for a surgery I was both eagerly anticipating and anxious about. Cancer. 6 months to live without the surgery. No way was I letting the storm stop me from getting there. I had an open radical nephroureterectomy (9+hours on the table) and spent the entire week of Thanksgiving recovering from a life saving surgery wth 50 staples holding me together and drains and tubes coming from places they really shouldn't be. The ironies in all this are that the cancer I was diagnosed with has only a 20% survival rate if caught early (mine was a late 3/early 4), most often affects people 20 years older than I was, and I was in the best shape of my life... training for my first half marathon (which upon diagnosis I was immediately told to stop). Talk about a stunner. This time of year is always a reminder to me of just how thankful I should be for the extra time I've been given and the blessings I've realized through it all. Remember to take time to appreciate those around you and don't take for granted they'll always be there. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone. Be blessed and be well.