Yeah, Happy Birthday to me! I’m not one of those types of girls who pretends she’s not getting a day older. I want to get older. I can’t wait until I’m 60. Do you know why? Because my doctor told me I wouldn’t see this birthday today. But guess what? I did and I am so happy. To be honest, I didn’t think I would see this birthday either but day by day, month by month and year by year, I got to 44 years old today!!! Happy birthday to me!
This four-year struggle with ALS has not been a walk in the park. Slowly, I lost the ability to walk, then I lost the use of my hands, my breathing is at 50% which requires me to use a breathing machine, two surgeries for a diaphragm pacer and a feeding tube, and a host of medications is just the beginning of this journey. I have seen every doctor from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, to Paris. I have tried everything from hyperbaric chambers, infrared saunas, acupuncture, Mexican healers, Indian healers, witch doctors, priests, Western medicine, Eastern medicine, holistic medicine and some lady in Arizona who professed that she could cure me by reading my feet in the back of a grocery store. Every day has been a struggle. But guess what? Every day, I keep waking up and I am still here. I know the real reason that I’m still here is the love that surrounds me.
I have learned that when a person gets sick, you realize who your true friends are. Some friends and family have disappointed me, but mostly my friends have been superheroes. My daughter holds my hand and makes me laugh through every procedure and is the reason I work so hard to stay alive. My husband is without a doubt the greatest man alive. He has been by my side for every second of every day and still thinks I’m pretty and tells me that we will be old together. My friends show up. They show up and don’t expect our relationship to be the same, but they crawl into my bed and make me laugh and make me feel normal. Jenny, Yolanda, Tom, Suzy and Jean-Claude, Christy, Susan, Teran, Mer, Amber, Debbie, Jennifer T.. My caregivers have been through the day-to-day with me and act as my arms and my legs and I am eternally grateful for their care. Paulina, Fode, Nabien, Daniela, Fofanna and Aminita.
Sometimes people say that I am so brave for what I go through. I wasn’t always brave, and I’m not always brave. But, when I do have to be strong. I have one person to thank. There was a little girl named Daisy Love in Santa Barbara, who taught me how to be brave. I knew that if she could keep a smile on her face and a skip in her step through cancer, then I too, could do the same. I wake up happy and I go to bed happy.
So, yeah, happy birthday to me.