I turned forty today, Sunday, November 23, 2015, one month after being diagnosed with breast cancer and five days after starting what is showing itself to be debilitating chemotherapy. So far, it’s wrecking me with nausea, mostly, but also fatigue, and in the hours just before I turned forty, diarrhea throughout the night.
Finally, finally, I got things under control later this morning. And even though lying in bed with breast cancer and fairly broken by chemo is a sad way to spend my fortieth, I felt such relief about feeling some relief, that I found myself also feeling grateful.
Maggie (the closest thing I have to a sister, as well as my Harrison’s godmother, and my soul mate and best friend and and and….) and Barry (her husband and Harrison’s godfather and a particularly stellar human being) came over with their boys and with so many flowers and with bagels that, miracle of miracles, I actually found delicious. Josh and the kids showered me with tender cards and precious gifts and the kind of love that I’m certain not many people on the planet ever experience, at least not in such purity and abundance.
Back in bed after the bagels, laid out on my fortieth because of breast cancer and chemo, I felt a strength that I don’t fully know yet. It was clear as could be that this is changing me, will change me, will help me become more of whomever it is I want to be in this life. There is meaning in here somewhere. There is a life that I’ve always wanted to live that I will uncover on this path. THAT is what I am taking for my fortieth birthday.