Third strike done and dusted. So far so good, touch wood. My body has taken a bit of a pounding lately. As a result, I’ve become a little obsessed about listening to it. That’s my excuse for creeping downstairs in the wee hours and easing the fridge door open. I needed strawberries. At three in the morning? Well yes. A small handful would do.

At dawn the first birdsong drifted through my bedroom window. Archie came in to share morning tea with me. He sniffed at my mug, gave me a plaintive miaow and tried once again. “Sorry,” I mumbled. There really was no milk in it. I’d totally ruined his day. His tail developed the telltale kink, before he slipped off in disgust. I think I’ll have to make him his own cup in future. Just because my routine has changed, doesn’t mean his has to.

The chemo swirling around in my body, has changed the taste of food. To be honest, most of it is unappealing…but not all. There it was again. A sudden and urgent need to eat a particular thing. Pineapple. Woollies to the rescue. In no time at all, I was biting into a juicy slice of the tangy fruit and my tastebuds were springing back to life. I googled its merits afterwards. Three guesses what it’s especially good for…

My body knows what it needs, long before I do. It wasn’t mad about the bland veggie soup I was spooning into it this evening, so I stopped. I’m doing my best to tune in. I can imagine you rolling your eyes in disbelief. Knowing me, I’ll imagine that I need milk chocolate next, or a generous slice of cheesecake. In fact I can picture a glass of pink bubbly and a sliver of camembert on a cracker. And guess what. I couldn’t stomach any of it, even if I tried. A glass of water with a slice of lemon hits the spot. And the rest of the pineapple is in the fridge.

Life revolves around food and drink. You would think I’d be miserable watching everyone else enjoying it. In fact, I’m not. I’ve learnt that if it’s not good for my body right now, I’d rather not have it. The price is just too high. It’s been far easier to change my habits than I’d ever have imagined. A gentle touch is what’s needed and that’s exactly what I’m doing. For far too long, I simply took health for granted. But not anymore. There is simply nothing more important.

As for Archie, his wishes are crucial. I need his midnight therapy sessions urgently. Milky tea will be on my bedside table in the morning.

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