Paint the Parking Spot Pink

Paint the Parking Spot Pink
Recently, I flew to the Bay Area for a checkup to ensure my cancer is still gone. I perform a ritual every six months: Buy a ticket, pack a suitcase, reserve a car. It always takes a long time to find a parking space near the hospital, so I allow an extra hour to drive around in hopes of getting lucky. Once, I used a nearby parking garage, but I’m pretty sure I could rent a four-bedroom apartment back in Missouri for the price I paid for that crazy indulgence. The problem with parking on the street is that the meters let me pay for only two hours at a time. I know that rule is designed to keep space-hogs from monopolizing parking spots all day, but my cancer checkups sometimes take a long time. I plugged my credit card into the slot, set a timer on my cellphone, and dashed through a neighborhood that by now feels familiar. After chemotherapy in Palo Alto, I switched to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for surgery and radiation. In some ways, this gritty part of San Francisco feels like home. I’ve made art here with other cancer patients, and through UCSF’s Firefly program, I’ve exchanged letters with medical students. My daughter Lauren and I baked cupcakes for doctors and staff members. I even have fond memories of the time someone
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