A Birthday Gift

Yesterday, I hopped off the exam table, exchanged baby pictures will all the oncology nurses, and burst into the fall air outside of the clinic. Though it’s warmer in Virginia than I’d like at this time of year, the leaves have become crisp and copper.

All of my scans and blood work are clear. My oncologist told me not only will she take out the mediport in my chest, the last piece of foreign material in my body, but that everyone in the hospital who was part of my surgery still asks about me and are still rooting for me.

I started my car ,and my gaze fell on wide windows across the street on the fourth floor of INOVA Fairfax Women’s Hospital. It was a year ago when I was a resident across the street. There are many things I hardly remember or try not to but a good deal of mundane ones which have stuck.

I remember the broccoli and cheese soup tastes delicious when it’s the first time you’ve been allowed to eat solids after two days of liquid beef broth diets.

I remember laughing until my stitches hurt as Daddy told jokes.

I remember asking Kevin what he wanted to eat because I would always max out my dining order.

I remember my mom becoming a pro at finding the nice hospital gowns which weren’t as faded and borrowing my hospital grade heating pad.

I remember my brothers sitting at the end of my hospital bed as if I was telling a story.

I remember figuring out how to hold the IV pole between my legs in a wheelchair so we could go to the NICU.

I remember asking the nurses if the person made it when I heard alerts over the intercom that someone was escaping the hospital.

I remember taking two laps around the hallway when they only asked me to do one.

I remember the friends that matter reaching out.

I remember both Lucas and Abalos families praying together.

I remember holding our precious son for the first time.

I remember being alive.

Today – I’ve turned 28 – and my greatest gift is today. 

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