It is Sunday morning and my euphoric feelings from Friday have not stopped…in fact, things have gotten much better. I continue to have these little revelations of things I can do and my wounds are healing very fast, parially by sheer will I believe. Yesterday morning I spent a good bit of time in the yard with Dominic raking leaves into a pile and then re-raking the pile after he jumped, dove and ran straight into it. I just kept raking. I don’t even want to get rid of the pile because he is having so much fun with it.
The day went along like you would expect a typical Saturday to go until around 6PM. Before leaving for her trip earlier this week, Angela asked me if we could delay celebrating my birthday (which was on Wednesday), to Saturday. This was fine with me because on Wednesday my surgery incisions were still quite sore and she was going out of town. So, she made plans for us to go to Aqua Blue, a sushi and seafood grill near our house, and then to catch some music at Londzells. Renita offered to take Dominic for the evening so we could be on our own agenda. I was really looking forward to this and the anticipation reinforced the good mood I was already in. Late afternoon comes and I packed up Dominic in the car and took him to Renita’s house. By the time I returned it was just past 6PM and when I walked into the house, Angela had put away all Dominic’s toys, turned on some jazz, candles were lit on the table and some others were flickering near the kitchen. And on the table, there were little dishes of snacks; some crackers, grapes, cheese, a crazily delicious pepper jelly spread that we really like. I thought it was a little strange that she had done all this since we would be leaving to go to the restaurant soon, but it looked nice, the candles smelled nice, the music was good, I was in a great mood, so I complimented her on her work and said I was going to go and get dressed for dinner. I go to my closet and pick something out. At one point, Angela yells over to me from the bedroom, “Hey I’ve got a surprise for you, stay right there.” Now remember, I am in my closet. I finish dressing and she has not returned, so I try calling to her to see if she really meant for me to literally stay in my closet but she doesn’t answer. Angela is pretty good at coordinating surprises (Within five minutes of that thought, I would be elevating that opinion to – Angela is the grand master of coordinating surprises). After a few minutes, I have to use the bathroom, so I leave the closet and go over to the bathroom. I am trying not to look around at all, not wanting to get myself in trouble for busting the surprise to soon, but there is no sign of her. I come out of the bathroom and finally she calls from the kitchen and says I should just come down there, so down the stairs I go, wondering what she could be doing. And as I am walking down the hallway to the kitchen she says, “I might have invited some other people to dinner with us,” and I turn the corner to find Joe and Gemma standing there in my kitchen holding out a glass of prosecco for me! Now for those of you who don’t know Joe and Gemma, they are our very good friends who we love dearly, but who live in San Francisco! But they were in my kitchen last night!
The snacks and wine now become a little more obvious and it occurred to me that maybe the dinner I thought I was going to with Angela was just a smokescreen, but it turns out we really are going to Aqua Blue. But when we get there, Madison and Beverly Wilhelm and Stacy Bowers are sitting there waiting for us! They are neighbors of ours here in Alpharetta and wonderful people. We get wine, we get sushi, we get some kind of little crack infused warm crab dip, and we are having a great time. I keep glancing around at everyone there wondering if this is real.
But wait, it gets better! After I finish my dinner, Angela slides a little envelope in front of me. I start to open it, and I am sure I am not the only one who tries to predict what a gift will be while I am opening it. This time, I am thinking, I bet this is a gift certificate for a massage. She has given me gift certificates like that before and I always appreciate them – and they fit perfectly in an envelope. Well, nope, it’s not a massage. I am reading it and it is a voucher for a three night/four day vacation at the Sol Melia Playa Conchal. That is incredible! I immediately think, “Cool, I don’t know much about Punta Cana, but it is supposed to be nice.” For some reason I thought this resort was in Punta Cana. Then, someone else at the table asks, where is that and Angela says, “It’s in Costa Rica!” WHATTTT!!!!!
COSTA RICA!!!! Again, some history, Costa Rica is a special place for me. I have been fascinated with the country since the late 90’s and have done a lot of research about it. At the time that Angela and I met, I was starting to make plans to move there. I wanted to go live in another country for a year or two and that was the country I chose. You may have guessed that my plan changed when Angela came into the picture. But we did take a vacation there, we got engaged there and it is one of those places that is always in my mind as a destination I know I want to go back to. In fact, returning to Costa Rica for another visit is #55 on my life list on this website. And now it is going to happen.
There is no questioning the fact that I am the happiest person in the world right now. And that is one hell of an achievement considering my state of mind just a few weeks ago. I still have problems, and they are significant. From the point of view of a normal life, I have some serious obstacles to overcome yet, but the difference now is that I remembered how to be happy. I forgot that critical life ingredient in October. I succumbed to the idea that my life had become pitiful and that all was lost. I have had several good experiences over the past few weeks to remind me that life is good, but it is only as good as what you make it. These experiences, and some world class motivational speeches have come from my wife Angela, who, if I did not fully know it before, I now know to be the best woman and the greatest wife a person could have. At certain times over the past six months, she has frustrated me because she pushed me to do things I did not want to do. At those times, I would sometimes think, doesn’t cancer give me a pass to just be idle for awhile. In retrospect, those were exactly the moments when I needed her to force me to be tough. This year has been much more of a mental test, than a physical one. I hope I passed.
I took a significant step this weekend in establishing my new cancer journal/organizer concept and I know that will be an important ingredient in my new life. I also received some unexpected praise from my mom and one of my cousins – same compliment on the same day – that have injected a shot of energy into my entrepreneurial tendencies.
Today, we are going to pick up Joe and Gemma and go on an adventure up to Tallulah Gorge to hike, take in some fall scenery and experience some deep south cuisine.
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