My birthday is next week. I remember my birthday epiphany in the MRI machine, and have since then encountered many occasions that have hammered home that machine's magnetic wisdom. A mother of one of my daughter's friends was diagnosed with liver cancer around the same time I was biopsied. She was deep into stage IV by the time she detected it and has since died, leaving a 16 year old daughter and husband. I am lucky, and I see birthdays as a numbered commodity for all of us.
The lure of more birthdays has kept me on my Tamoxifen and massive doses of antidepressants. It has led me back to my yoga practice without my old drive to accomplish more depth and advanced poses. Sun Salutes are enough for me. It has tempered my appetite for fatty, delicious foods and alcohol with very little regret...OK, maybe more than a little. Mostly missing the wine..sigh. It has also caused me to attack my riding with a refreshed vigor, kicking old priorities (read housework) to the curb so that I can climb into the saddle and conquer my "canterphobia," an unwanted side effect of the terror following my cancer diagnosis.
The desire for birthdays has changed me, mostly for the better.
This birthday will be my 49th. My wonderful husband and mother-in-law are throwing me a party. I don't think I have had one since I was 12. We will be celebrating the day of my birth AND the day after, when my new boobies are scheduled for installation. Soft, mushy implants to replace these painful 1958 Cadillac expanders. I will absolutely have the nipple reconstruction in the months that follow. My breast surgeon asked me: "headlights or no headlights?" I answered: "high beams." Some time in the distant future, after more than a few future birthdays, my Jean Harlow frankenboobies will make all the other ladies in the rest home jealous. They will go perfectly with my studded leather jacket and purple flame embellished wheelchair with a kick-start.