Happy Birthday To Me

Guess what I got for my birthday. A crick in the neck of epic proportions. Which makes me want to call it a river in the neck. Because you know how some people call a creek a “crick” and a river is bigger than a creek? That came to me in the early hours of morning – when I do my most creative thinking. Like the other morning when my nose was freezing and I started thinking about creating nose warmers. I even considered talking to Tori at Radioactive Girl about knitting some.

And guess what I get to do for my birthday. I get to go to the dentist where they will cram my mouth with disgusting goo. I’ll try to go to my happy place and pretend I don’t want to gag.

I’m not sure what’s going on for dinner tonight. All I know is I don’t have to cook.

Friday night we’re all going to a hockey game for my birthday. I love hockey. Not on TV, though. You have to be there in person. And I especially like it when there’s a good fight. I’m not sure why that is, either, because I hate violence. But my favorite game ever was when both teams ended up in the penalty box and the ice was covered with gloves and helmets and sticks. Good stuff.

Geesh! Is it just me or does this post read like something Eeyore would write?? I will leave you with my post from last year’s birthday.

My thirty-eleventh birthday is next week. It’s not a landmark birthday and nothing to get excited about. In fact, if I wasn’t so greedy as to want presents and a day of being spoiled, I’d just forget about it altogether.

But I don’t think that’s an option anyway. After the last year-and-a-half we’ve gone through, my birthday has become kind of a big deal. Instead of lamenting the fact that I’m middle aged, I need to be happy that I made it to middle age. Oh, I know that’s all very dramatic and it’s really not something I think of very often. Yes, I had breast cancer, but it was caught fairly early and my prognosis is excellent. There are so many worse things it could have been.

You may or may not know that I’m writing a book about my experience. It’s not a self-help or an inspirational book. It’s more of an Erma Bombeckesque look at what the past 18 months have been like for us. Don’t get me wrong. Parts of it are very serious. But I was amazed at the humor and the silliness that was borne of some of my situations.

As much as I would love to see this book published, I’m not going to hold my breath. If I do ever manage to get it into some semblance of an organized thought process I will try publishing. But even if it never comes to anything that’s okay. It’s a type of therapy for me now and it will forever be a record of what our family endured and learned through all of this.

So here’s a little excerpt from my story that has to do with my birthday:

In the spring of 2005 I had thick, curly hair that fell beneath my shoulders. I was also walking a few days a week with a friend. With the age of 40 closing in, I was in a desperate want to get into shape. You see, I had this plan.

For my 40th birthday I wanted long, curly, auburn tresses and a pair of red thigh high PVC stiletto boots. I wasn’t sure what would go in between my locks and the heels, but suffice it to say it was going to be hot. Todd would have his very own vixen.

Instead, I had a very thin buzz cut, 30 extra pounds and only one boob. Thigh high boots would have been a waste of money (and they ARE expensive) because I probably couldn’t have shimmied them past my knees. And whatever provocative little number would have accompanied the boots would have been too filled out in some spots, not filled out in others, decidedly dropping the sexy factor to somewhere around nil.

They say that 50 is the new 30, so does that make 40 the new 25? If so, what does that make 42? I’ll be going through reconstruction at the age of 41, so 42 is the next birthday I have a shot at.

Emotionally it was a little difficult to reach the landmark age of 40 in the way I did. My hair had started coming in, albeit slowly and still thin. I was actually scheduled for my last chemo treatment the day before my birthday, but the doctor graciously postponed it for nearly a week so I could enjoy my celebratory weekend.

Todd booked the two of us in a romantic little cottage up in Eureka Springs that we had stayed in several years earlier. The cottage had guest journals and I flipped back through the archives until I found my entry from 1995. It was a poignant moment to see the words I had written in such a different time. We were a young, happy couple with a baby and toddler at home. We were there to celebrate our 8th anniversary and enjoyed the romantic interlude from our hectic lives.

It was a good time for us. There were no thoughts of cancer or chemotherapy or reconstruction or hot flashes or, well, the list goes on. I was saddened by the way our lives had changed so drastically. I was heartened by the good and joyful life we had shared.

But mostly I was grateful. Even in the midst of a life threatening disease and all the problems associated with treatment, even with our husband and father living 1200 miles away, I had joy. I had the most important things necessary to a good life.

I had a husband who loved me with everything, even though I couldn’t wear thigh high stiletto boots and looked more like a GI than his wife. I had two children who were healthy and happy and who had stepped up to the plate when I was too tired or weak to do what needed doing. I had family and friends who loved me and lavished me with help and food. And I had a God who loved me and comforted me and promised me this, too, shall pass. I had everything I needed.

I am still shooting for the long, curly, auburn hair and thigh high stiletto boots for 42, by the way.

Dangit!! Looks like I’ll have to aim for 43, now.


  1. cubmommy on November 19, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Happy Happy Birthday Jen!!!!Have an awesome time on Friday at the hockey game! Nothing like burly men fighting. You deserve a great day!

  2. Trish on November 19, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Happy ‘thirty-eleventh’ birthday LOLYour writing reminds us of what it means to be grateful 🙂

  3. Sherry on November 19, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Happy Birthday!!! Isn’t it wonderful to count one more!? I’ve got one at the end of the month and I’ll be 30 million..but I’m happy to have it. Enjoy your meal tonight, whatever it is.What game are you attending?? NHL? Minor leagues? Enjoy..I spend half my life in a rink..and now that youngest has started fighting at his age level (testosterone/being nearly 16), I’m less enthused with that aspect. Heck, I’ll be honest. It’s the one aspect of the game I have never enjoyed. It just takes away from the flow of a good game. But that’s just me..this is your birhtday and you get to enjoy it ANY way you like!!! Got get ’em on Friday!

  4. Jodi_Lee on November 19, 2007 at 11:32 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Hockey, thigh-high stillettos…your posts never disappoint! LOLHave fun! And may you have a year full of faith, hope, and answered prayers!

  5. Zeek on November 19, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Happy Birthday woman!

  6. Terri on November 19, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Happy Birthday! Now go get some heels, a long red wig, and call yourself Roxanne for the rest of the day! Maybe not the scenario you imagined, but oh well!

  7. Becky on November 19, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    LOL, Jenster, that was an awesome post. Sounds like another chapter of that book…that book that NEEDS to be out there for other people facing that diagnosis. YOU GO, JENSTER! Hope you had a very Happy Birthday! God’s richest blessings on your 27th birthday! ;0)

  8. Tanya on November 19, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Happy Birthday!Really the thigh high boots have got to be ridiculously uncomfortable, and long hair always gets in the way. but having a loving husband is priceless!

  9. Anonymous on November 19, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Those that share a birthday with you also wish you a happy birthday. You are a great person.

  10. Cheryl Wray on November 19, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Happy HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!I hope you have a wonderful day!!!!

  11. Dev on November 19, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jen!

  12. Travis Erwin on November 19, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Happy Birthday, and you are correct Hockey is a great spectator sport.

  13. Marg on November 19, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Happy Birthday!

  14. Colorado Writer on November 19, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Happy Birthday! I say get the thigh-highs and boots and live it up!

  15. Jaime on November 19, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Happy Birthday!!!! 🙂 I will blog later about what happened today – enjoy your day! Heck, enjoy the week!!! 🙂 happy bday, girl!

  16. Lainey-Paney on November 19, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    Happy Birthday!

  17. Kellan on November 19, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    I wish you a very Happy Birthday!!! I also say you should get the boots and live the dream. Take care – Kellan

  18. Kellan on November 19, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    I wish you a very Happy Birthday!!! I also say you should get the boots and live the dream. Take care – Kellan

  19. Lori on November 19, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Happy birthday!! Have a wonderful time at the hockey game!

  20. The Daily "B" on November 19, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    Happy Birthday!! I hope you have a wonderful dinner and a GREAT dental exam! lol! Well, as good as a dental exam as is possible.Deb

  21. Swishy on November 19, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    Happy, happy birthday! And yes, hockey is much, much better in person 🙂

  22. Jan Jaffe on November 19, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    Have a great Birthday Jen.Perhaps some Barnes and Noble Gift certificates coming your way.

  23. KT on November 19, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Hi Jen, have a wonderful birthday! Katie

  24. Gretchen on November 19, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    Jenster, I hope you had/have a fab b’day. I, for one, can’t wait to read that book of yours from beginning to end and savor each triumphant moment. Start looking for those boots, babe…Cue Nancy Sinatra: These boots were made for walkin’…And that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days these boots are gonna-walk-all-over YOU. xxxooogretchen

  25. lahdeedah on November 20, 2007 at 12:02 am

    You still could cause quite a sitiation with those thigh-high red boots… (lucky Todd!)Jen, you are the real deal. While I’ve just “met” you, am thrilled that you’re thirty twelve and still here to make us laugh and think. And I know there are just throngs who feel the same way. Happy Birthday, girl!xoxoJill

  26. Stacy~ on November 20, 2007 at 7:48 am

    Girl, keep up those good spirits – I know one day you’ll have those long, curly tresses. And I am standing in line for your book – I want a signed copy 🙂

  27. Monnik on November 20, 2007 at 11:09 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!Hope you have a great birthday week. And that the river in your neck gets better. 🙂

  28. Lisa on November 20, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    *Happy Birthday!*Hm… I’ll be 42 in a couple of weeks…

  29. Shauna on November 21, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    I can’t believe what I miss in a couple of days. HAPPY (Belated) BIRTHDAY!!

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