It's Wednesday and I'm spending quality time with Nila. It's hard to believe we have known each other for nearly two months. Time flies when you're having fun.
As I absorb the poison designed to heal me, my mind is stuck on three, seemingly disjointed, items: peaches, mailboxes and mornings.
My head is a peach these days. If I'm honest, it's more like a kiwi. But that comparison has already been coined. (Shout out to my favorite Bama girl and her entire family. I think of and draw strength from you every day.) I've never been too fond of peaches. At one point, I may have used the word "hate" to describe my distaste for them. And I've done a decent job avoiding them. Turns out, people don't usually try to shove peaches down your throat. Until now.
Now, my peach fuzz is a topic of conversation almost every day. Strangers and loved ones alike comment on it. It is rubbed, kissed, and gawked at more than my head ever has been.
Then we have mailboxes. Every weekday for the past 3 years, I have driven into my neighborhood at approximately 4:30 pm. I’m tired, hungry, and anxious to get home. I have two choices: make a left and head home, or go straight and check the mail. Most days, my cat and an after-work snack are too enticing. The bills in my mailbox don’t have the same draw. Getting the mail morphed into a burden, a chore. I avoided it every chance I could (sincere apologies to the poor postal worker who had to strategically shove a week’s worth of mail into our tiny silver box). I know I’ve uttered the words “I hate getting the mail”.
Nowadays the mailbox is full with “love notes” from my insurance company and specialists. Avoidance is tempting, but impractical. So, I check it.
John can attest to the fact that I’m not a morning person. God love him for waking up every day eager to start his routine (coffee, breakfast, gym, breakfast), but it has never come easy to me. I used to set my alarm for 30 minutes before I had to be at work, knowing full well it would take me at least 25 minutes to get out the door. I think I was overwhelmed by the monotony. I hated waking up. Now, my mornings are filled with a new level of uncertainty and anxiety. How will I feel? What appointments do I have? Will I get more bad news?
You may have noticed a pattern by now. These things I claimed to "hate" are now magnified by my diagnosis. And yet, I’ve come to see each of them in a different light. That attention directed at my peach fuzz? It makes me feel beautiful and adored and unique. Seriously. My eyes have never felt as wide and my brows never so perfectly quaffed. Even my skin feels clearer and my face feels thinner. I'm thankful for my peach. The mailbox I used to dread checking? I'm eager to open it because there is always at least one real love note from the people reading this page or the dozens (hundreds?) of prayer warriors from Cancer Hope. It’s a highlight of my day. Waking up in the morning? I don’t use an alarm anymore, so I often wake up to the sun shining through my window. The uncertainty I feel nurtures a certain level of hope. And at risk of sounding melodramatic, at least I get to wake up. Every day, I get to choose my path and my attitude. This has always been true, but now I believe it.
So, peaches, mailboxes and mornings: three things that I may have gone the rest of my life dreading or hating had it not been for February 14th and my first appointment from Dr. Dean Smith McGaughey III. It's been a while since I've posted about my Thankful List, but rest assured I add to it every single day. The best days are when I discover converts like these. Gotta love a two-point swing.
With love and determination,