Birthday thoughts

When I woke up this morning I had two thoughts:

1. I can’t believe I’m turning 37 today.

2. I’m so glad it’s not my 36th birthday.

amberbirthday

Aging is not something I enjoy. I can honestly say that every birthday since 30 has been tough for me. For years, I had irrationally believed that I could cling to my twenties indefinitely and when they were cruelly ripped away I was devastated. Also, my birthday falls right after Christmas, two days before New Year’s, and three days before my anniversary, so it’s not an ideal time. Therefore, my birthday isn’t something I generally look forward to. But that’s not the case this year. This year I woke up excited. I sang joyously while making breakfast, to the point where my daughter actually thought I was hitting the wine bottle a little early. But I hadn’t been drinking. I was just happy…and grateful. Grateful that it isn’t last year.

You see last year I woke up feeling much different on my birthday. I was sick. I was depressed. I was hopeless.

Many of you have followed my journey over the past two years and you know all about my health issues, so I won’t rehash everything. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can read both posts about it here: What I learned in 2013 and Be Still.

Last year my birthday was dismal. I was recovering from surgery, I had contracted C Diff infection and I was still undergoing tests for the mysterious pains in the upper right quadrant of my abdomen.

amberhospital

On a little side note: if you are reading this because you have C Diff infection, I want to offer you some encouragement and advice. My first tip is, stop googling it! Seriously. Reading about the infection online is so damn scary. I honestly thought the infection would kill me after reading about it on the internet. But it didn’t. I took the antibiotics along with a lot of probiotics (always be sure to take the antibiotics and probiotics at least 2 hours apart). I cut out sugar, caffeine, alcohol and all foods that feed bacteria, and for awhile even followed the Gaps diet. I ate a lot of fermented foods, drank kefir, took vitamin C and D, got plenty of rest, and once I felt well enough, I worked out. Anything to boost my immune system and strengthen my body. And I did pull through. It took only 2 months for me to kick the infection and I consider myself very fortunate. I won’t use the word “lucky” because I don’t believe in luck. I know that God pulled me through and that ultimately he healed me. But I do believe that the choices I made helped too, so that’s why I’m outlining them for you here.

After kicking the infection, I was still sick though. I knew my stomach wasn’t right, and the pain in my side was worsening. So I had more tests over the summer and was diagnosed with gastritis. I’ve been on medication for that ever since, and my body is healing more and more everyday. Some days I even feel 100% better.

When I woke up this morning I realized how blessed I am. I realized what a gift my health is. One I took for granted for 34 years. Much of the past year I have battled fear. Even on the days I feel good, I am fearful. Fearful that the infection will come back, fearful that the mysterious pain in my side really is something bad even though I’ve had every test known to man, and doctors assure me I’m fine.

But God has been so faithful to me in my challenges. He gently reminds me that I have nothing to fear. That he’s in control. That I can rest in him.

And today I feel nothing but gratitude. I have no idea what tomorrow holds, but today I am healthy.Today I feel great. I have a husband who loves me, two beautiful children, a supportive family and loving friends.

Today is worth celebrating.

Later we will go out to dinner and I will eat more than I should and indulge in my favorite red wine. And I will be happy and carefree. I won’t think about the challenges of the past two years. I will think about how blessed I have been in the midst of it all. But mostly I will revel in the moment, savor every second and be grateful for every breath.

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