When Life Hands You Papaya

In the midst of my first major life plot twist, I vividly recall my Dad comforting me, and encouraging me to seek the good in every circumstance. Somewhere within the pep-talk he offered the phrase, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, and immediately I burst into tears and fired back, “but all I have is papaya.”

At the time, I was convinced papaya tasted like up-chuck, and at the moment, my life seemed to taste like up-chuck too. I was a kid who had just moved to another country and was working through the ups and downs of culture shock. Ten years later I look back and laugh, because indeed, life seems to bestow plenty of papaya upon its subjects.

In case we haven’t met, my name is Kaley. I’ve packed a lot of life into 21 years, with plenty of ups, but also plenty of downs. I’m on a journey of embracing each season as it comes, whether it’s taking a moment to lament and grieve, or sharing my victories as I make big steps in recovery from my variety of physical and mental health challenges.

And this is my dog Phyllo! Having spent years debilitated by my illnesses, Phyllo was being trained as a task-trained service dog. However, after making large strides in recovery thanks to Mayo Clinic, I am no longer needing constant medical monitoring. Phyllo’s new job description includes retrieving the mail, boosting household morale, and keeping us physically active.

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Kaley, wearing a black and white floral dress, sitting with Phyllo the golden retriever on a red couch in the middle of a grassy and wooded area.