Birthdays. What is there to celebrate on your birthday? Friends and family join together to celebrate another year and look back on accomplishments. These accomplishments usually include your career, relationship, education or even material possessions (like a new car perhaps). People gather around food and make wishes on cakes, play games and even produce wagers about the future.
Now, lets take a second and think, actually think… What do you celebrate when you are ill? I am not talking about the type of sick where you just don’t feel well. I am talking about being sick to the point you spend more time in hospital than out. Its not like you can keep food or cake down anyways, even if you could eat it. Your exhaustion leaves you unable to participate in games and then wishing that there was only one person in the room because your head hurts so bad.
This week is my birthday.
I know you are thinking in your head, “Oh, Happy Birthday.” The thing is I don’t see anything “happy” about my birthday anymore. I have a huge mental block that has plagued me for almost six years. I don’t like to, nor want to, celebrate my birthday anymore. This lack of celebrating seems to bother people because family and friends want to commemorate the miracle I am still alive. Don’t get me wrong I know their compassion and frustration comes from love, which is dearly appreciated.
I actually want to take this moment to be honest and open with you. It is time to answer the question many of you have wondered about a critically ill individual but would not ask out loud. Do they want to celebrate another year?
Now I can only speak for myself but my answer is, no. No I do not want to celebrate or look forward to another year. If this is hard to hear I am sorry (especially to my family), but it is the truth. No I am not suicidal, and no I have not lost touch with reality. Let me discuss with you why I said no. I am not here to offend anyone or their choice to see things “half full”, it’s just I tend to be a “half empty” kinda gal.
One reason I hate to celebrate is because I never accomplish anything. When I say this I do mean in society. I don’t work and will never be able to. I can’t volunteer because how can I guarantee I would even be well enough to function. Not only that but I am no longer able to drive, causing me to find comfort indoors.
Some days, of course, are better than others. Although most days I am so sore and laid up that I can’t even do simple household chores. The nausea, the exhaustion, the pain. Those days seem to be growing in number. As the months pass the pain increases, and so does my narcotics tolerance. Worst of all, I can not have children. So with that being said under no circumstances will I even contribute to the human race, literally.
When the doctors tell you that the healthiest you will ever be is right now, you know that they speak the truth. Month by month, and then year by year my athletic body begins to betray me. At one point this body was in peak physical shape; which was the only reason I survived my initial brain surgeries. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. The weight gain from the meds is so unnatural my body struggles to accommodate for the added pressure on my joints. Even with the added weight this body disintegrates before my eyes. My muscle mass is almost completely gone leaving only fat, and my organs struggle to break down my medications.
Now, my specialists have done a great job keeping me alive and getting me out of the hospital as much as they are able. I am not saying that I am ungrateful for all their hard work. What I am saying is that all their hard work brings me up to another birthday. I am just not ready. I am having a hard time grasping reality.
The reality is that everyone wants to celebrate the fact I have lived another year. For me I see it as I have to live another year like this, but worse. My pain will get worse and I will continue to loose quality of life. There is nothing to stop it.
Sure I get out and have adventures that I am sharing with you, but those are only a handful of days within a year. How am I supposed to look forward to all the other days? How am I to look on the bright side? Yes I know there are things I should be grateful for, and I am. I need to be honest with you, the fact is that someone who is in true pain always asks themselves if they can get through another day. Try looking forward to asking yourself that for 365 days almost in a row. If you truly understand physical pain and can imagine it only getting worse, let me know if you like your birthday…
Trying to stay positive,