My first moments of every morning are spent walking through it all in my head again, trying to find a way to make it not real. Maybe my biopsied lymph node was mixed with someone else's. Maybe my PET Scans were switched. Maybe I'm just achy from the flu. Then the morning pains set in. I squint my eyes open and stretch and realize that my legs won't extend nearly as much as they used to. I see the LIVESTRONG bracelet on my wrist. I feel the bulging, hard veins in my arms. I reach up to pull my hair back in an elastic band and then feel the stubble and remember that it's not there. I don't know if I'll ever get used to that first reflection in the mirror each morning.
I used to quip "You can sleep when you're dead" when I was upset that Craig would pass out on the couch at 7 p.m. after a long day of teaching. Now I see sleep as an escape, a chance to rejuvenate, a chance to not feel anything but whatever I want to feel in my dreams.
But then I get out of bed. I kiss Craig goodbye. I feed the dog. I make breakfast. I log onto work. The day begins and everything is okay again. I have a bright yellow graphic tee that reads: "Morning brings another sun." I used to think it was a pretty obvious statement, but now it holds a lot of meaning for me. Every day brings a new opportunity to fight even harder against this. It brings a new opportunity to enjoy something new, to make a new memory and to appreciate all the amazing things around me and realize just how lucky I am to be here.
It just might take a little bit to get back to that mindset after each morning's jolting alarm and reality flood.