How fitting that my 37th post on this blog is inspired by my 37th birthday. As I’ve said before, aging just doesn’t scare me anymore. In fact, I’m thrilled to turn 37, happy to be alive and celebrate another year of living on this planet. When you have cancer, birthdays take on a whole new meaning.
So I was disappointed when on my actual birthday I wasn’t able to do much of anything at all. Still recovering from the ablation surgery, I was in pain and tired and not really up for even leaving the house. SHL and I had to cancel our dinner out with my parents the night before, and our celebratory dinner planned for that night as well. I essentially didn’t leave the house or even get dressed in anything other than my sweats or pj’s for about a week. I was (and will always remain) grateful that the surgery went well, but my body was still healing and very, very sore. And after everything that I’ve been through in the past year, I think that this may have finally been the tipping point for my body, and that’s why it’s taking me a little bit longer than I had hoped to recover. After liver biopsies and MRI’s and treatment-induced colitis and procedures and countless blood withdrawals and being hospitalized, the ablation surgery just made my body realize that it has had enough. Almost 2 weeks after the surgery I’m still sore and exhausted but working on getting my energy back, eating well again and looking forward to the achiness going away enough that I can exercise. And with spring coming there’s going to be too many fun things to do to not be feeling well!
I had told SHL a couple of months ago that this year I really wanted to celebrate my birthday at some point with my friends; I felt like with everything that’s happened in the past 9 months it would be important to be surrounded by some of Team Lozer. Little did I know, he sent a “cover” email to my friends with my email address attached, and then a “real” email to everybody letting them know the plan. So on Saturday SHL asked that I leave the house for a while and when I returned, he and 2 of his band mates were setting up their equipment in our living room!
Shortly thereafter, as I was getting ready for the evening (all I knew is that we were going out to eat at a Mexican restaurant in Boston with our friends, and I thought that we were meeting everybody there), I heard the doorbell ring. Unbeknownst to me, Sean had asked that everybody come over to our house first! So we had a few drinks and my friends met my other friends and the evening was off to a rockin’ start. Then, surprise # 3! Instead of everybody having to drive into Boston, SHL had gotten a luxury van to take us all into the city! So we climbed aboard and headed to the restaurant in style. It was so fun to be able to go in 1 car– more quality time all together! (Here’s a selfie taken on the way!)
Dinner at Papaygayo in Boston was great; the ambience was fun, colorful, and festive. All 16 of us crowded around a long table and the margarita ordering started, followed by chips, salsa, and table-made guacamole. I loved seeing my friends all chatting away with each other, and especially loved seeing people talking to those that they were only just meeting for the first time that evening! After dinner I was surprised by dessert and a rounding rendition of Happy Birthday complete with birthday candles, so another birthday wish was made (I love birthday wishes!). Here’s a picture of my friend Heidi and I– we went to overnight camp together and have known each other since we were 10 years old! I think that we still look the same, don’t you?
In thinking about my birthday, I remember while out to dinner Kris Carr popped into my head and I thought about all of the good that she does, focusing on prevention and teaching people just like me how to be “cancer warriors.” I have been so focused lately on trying to figure out how I can make my mark on the world, how I can use something so terrifying as a cancer diagnosis to help other people, to make some kind of meaning out of all of this. And then it hit me: I may never be the Queen of Green Juice, and I may never really be able to make sense out of my cancer (who could?) but I have found my purpose, and it is to be with my husband, my family, and my closest friends. As I sat there and soaked up all of the love, I realized that there really is nothing more in the world that I want than to love, and to be loved. While I still hope to write a book someday, I don’t have to be scared that no mark will ever be made, that my purpose is fuzzy or altogether lost. My purpose is love. I know that you’ve loved me all along (and I you), but it took my world getting turned upside down to understand just how much none of the other “stuff” really matters.
The night before my big birthday bash, SHL and I met other friends out for dinner who couldn’t be with us the following night. My friend asked me if I was still thinking about going into life coaching and how my job was going and I explained to her that the honest truth is, maybe someday I’ll become a life coach or go into private practice, but for now, all I really, really want is to be with SHL, my friends, and my family. At this point in my life, I suppose my career just isn’t something that I’m so focused on. I always thought that my purpose was to become a mother, and while that could still happen, sometimes it seems as though that dream is drifting further and further away. So I can either watch as that twinkle dangles in the sky like a star afraid to shoot, or I can concentrate on a new purpose that feels bright upon the horizon.