Saturday was my thirty-first birthday. Normally, I get really excited about my birthday; it’s an excuse for everyone I love to have to celebrate me for the day. You can be selfish on your birthday and no one can give you any grief. The day is all about you. The child in me really enjoys that.
But this year, I felt like my birthday was bitter sweet. I made it to thirty-one, but would I make it to thirty-two? What about thirty-five? How many birthdays did I have left? How long would I keep the beautiful memories of the day?
To make matters worse, after my radiation treatment on Thursday I became incapable of keeping down anything more than Jell-o, crackers and water. Everything else would come back up almost the moment I finished eating it. I was sleeping in between nausea and vomiting, so I was feeling pretty miserable. In fact, I didn’t get to spend much time with my family that had come in from Utah and New York City. Instead, I mostly laid around feeling absolutely horrible.
But at least the back pain was going away, right?
The nausea continued all weekend, which put a damper on my party and made my emotions that much more labile. I would sit around and try to soak in time with people, the sounds and smells, the feeling of a hug from a good friend…I wanted to memorize every moment of everything to get me through the bad times and, if I should fall short of another birthday, to at least remind me what a really great birthday was like.
I did soak it up: I had a manicure and pedicure (thanks to my Aunts from NYC), went shopping, had a Karaoke party with my friends and family and had time with the people I loved. It may not have been perfect (damn nausea!) but it was a good day and it reminded me how loved I am by everyone around me.
Today, I finally started to feel better after my final –yay!– radiation treatment, except for a sore throat I was having. I tried to ignore it, but it hurt even to move my neck. When Milo arrived home from work, I actually asked to go to urgent care (if you know me, you know that is a huge deal!) to see someone about the pain. Good thing I did. Apparently the vomiting, and perhaps a virus, have caused an ulcer in my throat. The doctor wrote for some antivirals, told me to skip acids, carbonation and salt and to rest. So there we have it. I finally start feeling better only to feel sick.
Here’s to a better birthday next year (because there has to be one, Milo said so.)