I’m not ashamed to tell you that today is my birthday!!!
I’ve never been one to try to ignore the passing of each year. I wish that more adults (especially women) openly acknowledged their birthday but sadly as we become older many of us try to sweep the importance of the day aside.
Your birthday is YOUR Day. Because of your existence, the world is a different and a changed place. I don’t feel that saying that is being egotistical. It’s the truth. Celebrating the day your energy came into being is significant and needs to be acknowledged. The fact that any of us are here is truly a miracle.
I rarely share my own story but feel it is something I need to do today. At my birth, the physicians were shocked to discover I was born with a rare form of spina bifida. Unlike most cases of spina bifida, I was born with a small sac at the base of my skull. It was only during surgery that the surgeon discovered a portion of my brain was in this sac. I have a small plate which closed the brain (and the skull grew around it). Additional tests showed that I was missing my first vertebrae and two others were fused together. (Truth be told, I should be at least two inches taller than I am.)
About 5 weeks after my birth. I was in the hospital for a month after surgery.
My parents were told to prepare for the worst of everything. There was a chance I wouldn’t be able to walk. Due to the issues with my brain and skull, they were uncertain if I would have learning disabilities. I was simply a case that had not been readily seen. Although I have had issues, my body has always been one which “almost” had the worse case scenario – but it never did. An example is that I almost had a cleft palate. I’ve also had two rhinoplastys (nose surgeries) due to the fact that I did have trouble breathing.
It was only once I was an adult and sharing my story with a new doctor that he pushed his seat back, shook his head and stated. “You know it’s amazing that you are here. I’m guessing there were doctors who thought you wouldn’t be.” After this conversation, for the first time in my life I researched my condition and discovered how rare my case truly was and that it is a shock,surprise, miracle that I am here and completely functioning without any problems.
Until then, I had never thought about it. Those limitations my parents had been warned about truly never came to be. I learned to walk and talk on a regular schedule. I’ve excelled in school and I never met a challenge I didn’t like to take. (That is likely due to the fact I was always told I probably shouldn’t do certain things. Being told I shouldn’t do something only made me want to do it more).
My life could have been much different and more difficult. I was born to parents who had the ability to financially, physically and emotionally care for a child with health concerns. We were blessed with incredible health insurance and I was surrounded by excellent health care professionals and individuals who loved and believed in me.
I would have preferred to have been born healthy with no concerns. I would have preferred to have not always felt I had something to prove. However, these events have made me who I am and have made me a better person. I also know that because of my own health issues as a child that I was drawn to the medical field. My own history has enabled me to help others.
Last year a friend shared that her recent birthday had really bothered her. I understand what she was saying and I won’t lie – I wish I didn’t have some of the wrinkles of the last year and that I could lose weight like I did when I was 25. However, I’m choosing to be thankful for another chance and another year. I’m believing in some way that my own life can help others to get through their own struggles.
Today I am celebrating that I am alive. I am healthy. I do not live in pain nor do I suffer from a chronic or terminal condition. God could have chosen at my birth for the surgery at 6 days old to not be successful or for something else to have happened. He has given me a good life. It is a miracle that I am here.
Hopefully your story isn’t as dramatic as my own. Nonetheless, your birthday day is still significant and needs to be celebrated. As you approach your next birthday, think about your own story and the importance of why you are here. Think about the lives you have touched by simply being you. Embrace the day that is truly your own.