Forty is a milestone birthday. I vividly remember my mom’s 40th birthday. I was 8-years-old. My dad threw a huge surprise party for her. My uncle and aunt had traveled “up north” from St. Louis. My dad hired a singing telegram, my mom got several hundred gag gifts, including an anatomically correct puppet with a finger hole for the male part of his anatomy. You put your hand in his butt, my mom quickly hid all the gifts before I could ask innocent questions about stuffing your hand up a puppet’s ass. I moved away after my brother’s 40th, I sent my brother-in-law underlined copies of “Fifty Shades of Gray,” and I threw my husband a huge party (his usually lands around Superbowl and during Mardi Gras).
My 40th is a little bit lower key. The only gift I care about receiving is the fact that my life has been spared (so far). I went to lunch with my husband and had a glass of wine. That’s about all I feel up for. Other than that, there is nothing extraordinary going on here. The kids are playing in the pool, my husband has a three hour rehearsal, and I’m worn out. One of the squadron members is bringing dinner by, and I don’t think they are aware of the significance of the day, they just volunteered to cook for us (I am thankful, most days I don’t feel up to cooking). There won’t be cake, or cupcakes this year. The picture above are of the cupcakes from my dad’s birthday a few months ago. I don’t feel much like celebrating. My life has been on perpetual hold.
It kind of makes me sad. Things are planned around chemo infusions and doctor’s appointments. Dinner’s out are planned on scheduled “good days.” Good days are defined by my ability to stave off fatigue for a few hours longer (usually I am about done around 4:00 PM), whether I will have nausea (1-3 days post-infusion), and what symptoms I am currently experiencing. Sadly, I am sicker seeking treatment, then I ever was before seeking treatment. It’s as if God snapped a finger, and my life changed.
If I hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer, we would have had a party, surrounded by friends and family. I would have had a birthday cake, and opened a bunch of gifts from my husband and kids. Today is just another day in the 15 weeks in the fight for my life.