I remember when I used to be a birthday month kind of person. Once I had kids all I wanted was someone to make me a cake (I’ll take my mom’s carrot, thanks) and buy me some clothes. I do like to go out to dinner still, but the whole thing became a little over-rated. It’s not like my kids have ever refrained from throwing a temper tantrum because it’s my birthday and isn’t that all a mom wants? So my birthday became less and less celebrated, by personal choice, each year. But now it’s my birthday and I have cancer and I’m like-Fuck Yeah-let’s celebrate being alive!
I have been thinking about the fragility of life and the uncertainty of the future. Deep, I know. Anything can happen. Someone could find a cure for cancer or I could get hit by a mack truck on the way to the spa. Wouldn’t that be ironic. I actually don’t think that there is any rhyme or reason to this dis-ease I have. All I know is that I’m treating it and hopefully it will go away!
When I was going through the IVF treatments for the surrogacy I did my friend Jessi and I would talk about how the doctor’s don’t really seem to know what they are doing. There are no “reasons” why people aren’t able to get pregnant easily. Sure there are some statistics that have to do with age, but for the most part, the doctor’s just can’t figure out why some people get pregnant more easily. It’s just a guessing game.
It seems that way for cancer too. I met with a genetic counselor a few weeks ago to see if I might have the BRCA gene or some other gene that may show that there is a predisposition in my family for Breast Cancer, but there is no one that we know of on either side of my family who has had it. It’s unlikely, I think, that I’ll have this gene. So then, why? No one knows.
If “they” knew why people got cancer, then “they” would probably be able to prevent it, or make it less likely and then some other disease would come along that would be a mystery. It’s like a natural selection thing. There are so many people on the planet. We can’t be invincible, something has to take us out.
I know this sounds a little morbid-I mostly don’t think I’m going to die, but I do think about life a lot and how I want to be. I still just want to have fun. I want to be happy. I want to be a good person. And I want the same for my kids. This isn’t a different birthday wish than other years. But this year is different, because I’m living through this cancer. It might be harder.
I can still do it though. I can have fun when I’m able and I can be happy when I’m able. I can be a good person. I can show my kids how to see the sunny side of life. I’ll also be sad and scared and angry and frustrated though.
As I listened to my dad sing “Happy Birthday to You” on my voicemail this morning, a tear fell down my cheek as I’m sure it simultaneously fell down his. Because who thought he’d be calling me on my 36th birthday knowing I had stupid stage IV breast cancer? It’s just all so fragile and we have no control around how we die, but we can control how we live.
So this birthday I’m celebrating, despite my precarious position. I will have fun and be happy and find gratitude in the life I’m living! I will show my kids that it’s important to have a day that’s all about you! I will pamper myself and I will party! And then maybe tomorrow I’ll feel sorry for myself, just a little.