Unexpected Places

9 Oct

October 7, 2010

I believe things happen for a reason and that life lessons are often found in the most unexpected places. And I believe that today someone was telling me to snap out of it…

It was definitely a “poor me” day. I was feeling sorry for myself for a variety of reasons:

  • I have no hair.
  • My head is itchy.
  • I have a cold.
  • Bobby would rather that his dad take him to school instead of me. (Translation: “I’m embarrassed that you’re taking me to school with that scarf on your head.”)
  • Wine, pepsi, and coffee–normally my favorite things–do not taste good to me because of the chemo.
  • My cats have fleas.

Bob came home early from work, dragged me out of my pity nap, and together we picked Bobby up from school. We thought he’d be so happy seeing both of us in the car. Wrong. He was in a snit for a variety of reasons:

  • Bob waved to him while in the carpool line.
  • He didn’t hear his carpool number being called because the lady spoke too softly.
  • He didn’t know it was his car because there were two people in this car. There are never two people in his car so how was he supposed to know it was his car? (Translation: why is mom here with that scarf on her head?)

Life sure is tough for us. (sob)

And if things weren’t bad enough, we got turned around trying to find an easier way out of the subdivision (yes, the subdivision we’re in daily) and ended up heading in the opposite direction of where we needed to go. Bob eyed a sign for Wendy’s and since he had two sulking snitty people in his car, he suggested stopping for something to eat. Fast food can usually cure crabby moods.

Usually. Not today though. Bobby was still a little uncomfortable with my new look (as was I) and grumbled as we got out of the car. As I opened the door, I noticed a young teenager looking (glaring, staring) at me. Great.

I gave my order to the woman smiling behind the counter and was so self-absorbed that I didn’t even realize how short her hair was until she said “did you lose your hair?” I said yes and that I was in the middle of chemo treatments. (poor me)

She told me that she going through treatments too. But unlike me, she was happy for a variety of reasons:

  • Her hair was starting to grow back. She just changed the chemo treatment though and is not yet sure what effect this new drug will have on her hair, but she’s so happy to have it now.
  • Even though she drives over an hour for her weekly chemo treatments, she doesn’t mind doing it because her doctors are helping her. 
  • She is scheduled to work the 3 days following her chemo treatments and although she doesn’t feel good, she’s glad to go to work. It keeps her mind off of feeling sick.
  • Even though she’s been fighting this cancer for 4 years she’s happy that she’s in a clinical trial now because there is hope that this new chemo will work for her.

Oh my goodness. And I complained about an itchy head?  I felt about as big as the salt on my french fry.

As we ate, this dear little lady would come by our table and talk with us. With a smile on her face, she talked about her life and asked us about ours. She radiated optimism. 

Fate? Serendipity? God? We were meant to go to, of all places, Wendy’s. Here I thought I needed dinner but actually what I needed–and what I got–was not on the menu. I was given a big slice of humble pie. 

After saying goodbye and wishing her well, we left the restaurant with our stomaches a little fuller, our hearts a little heavier for knowing the journey she must take, and extremely grateful for the journey that we’ve been given.  Although not easy for us, it could have been so much harder.

We left feeling lucky and blessed. 

So… the next time I feel like complaining about my itchy head or my lack of energy, maybe I’ll just hop in the car and drive to Wendy’s for another slice of that humble pie…. and not complain that the coffee doesn’t taste good.

(Please send a prayer or two up for the smiling lady behind the counter at Wendy’s. We don’t know her name but God certainly will.)


5 Responses to “Unexpected Places”

  1. Margaret Kulis October 10, 2010 at 3:18 am #

    Such amazing things happening to you these days. I know a guardian angel is watching out for you. I’ll send some good wishes down to the Wendy’s on Peterson — what a sweetie and a fighter. Next time you and Bob go to carpool, one of you will just have to duck down so it looks like there’s only one person in the car. Just make sure your head isn’t itchy because of the fleas! 🙂

  2. Fawn October 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    Since we don’t know her name I decided to think of her as Wendy and now I can’t stop humming that “Everyone knows it’s Wendy” song! You have been so positive through everything that it’s hard to imagine there is someone out there that you feel is amazingly positive.

    See you soon!

  3. XO M October 10, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    “It Could Be Worse” – An expression I could never completely accept and appreciate…until your story brought home the simple truth of those very words. You are strengthened by knowing this Angel at Wendy’s.

  4. Noreen October 11, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    Up until now a Frosty was my Holy Grail at Wendy’s, but you found your guardian angel. Our prayers are with all of you.

  5. Diane October 11, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Cathy – you ARE that lady behind the counter to me.


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