Terminal Illness Makes Dallas Doctor Give Thanks Every Day

This Thanksgiving, Dr. Michelle Nichols is giving thanks for something that will likely cut short the number of Thanksgivings she will celebrate.

"So I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in July 2010," Nichols said. She was in remission until last June. "The breast cancer had metastasized to my lungs."

Dr. Nichols, a psychiatrist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, knows the statistics. 

"I pray for a miracle. I pray for healing, but I prepare for what's common." Nichols said softly. "That's maybe months or years."

Nichols and her husband, Dr. Greg de Prisco have spent the last 3 years remodeling a 100-year-old home on Dallas' Swiss Avenue, while they and their two daughters, Trinity and Grace, live in the carriage house.

"In my wife's mind, she feel like she's never going to live in this house," said Dr. de Prisco. "I'm certain she will live in the house." 

The couple invited friends and family to write Bible verses on the walls and under the counter-tops, as a reminder of their foundation.

"The foundation of this house is Christ," said Nichols, whose faith has powered her through the difficult diagnosis and helped give her perspective. "So even if my family is here and I'm not, I'm still, I'm still here. My presence is still here."

"Cancer is a blessing," Nichols said. "Because it has allowed me to focus on what is important."

Nichols, who has spoken to cancer survivor groups, says no one is guaranteed tomorrow, and you don't need a cancer diagnosis to appreciate and be thankful for today.

"Every day is a gift," said Nichols. "And I'm so grateful for that."

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