Happy birthday to me
It’s that time of year again, where I celebrate the happiest day of my mother’s life (albeit I’m sure my brother would disagree): my birthday!
Today, I’m 41 years young. Hooray! Wait … huh?
Okay, I’m not actually 41. I’m 44. Hang on … am I sure?
Problem is, time stopped for me from 38 to 41. And now I get confused about my real age.
Severe ME / POTS
At 38 I became housebound and often bedridden with Severe ME and POTS. Lying in bed, in total silence due my noise intolerance, staring out the window at the brick wall of next door’s adjoining house – for days and weeks on end. Or, on a good day, taking a ride on my stairlift down to the sofa to sit and stare out the window at the back garden. No TV or music. Minimal interaction with anyone; not even Pete (my partner), because I struggled to speak. The incoming and outgoing mental processing required for conversation would exacerbate all my other symptoms, including headaches, nausea and bone crushing fatigue. This level of severity lasted three years.
Then, thankfully, my condition gradually started to improve. Finding the right combination of meds to help manage my POTS placed my body under less strain – which likely helped my ME to improve (I’m not cured, far from it. I still struggle, but I’m a fuckload better than when I was Severe).
I’d like what I’m owed please
I can handle getting older (just!). But what I do grapple with is feeling 3 years older than I should. With every birthday and every new wrinkle and grey hair, I grudgingly feel like I’m owed those years of my life I missed out on. For fear of sounding like a toddler being refused an ice cream, I want to scream “it’s NOT FAIR!” I shouldn’t be approaching mid-forties; I should be early forties. I mean fuck – I didn’t even get to have a party for my fortieth.
Gratitude with a side of steak
I’m one of the lucky ones. As much as I want those years back, I am genuinely so grateful for the years I’ve had since, and the ones in my future. So many people with Severe ME/POTS aren’t so lucky.
Every year since my 41st birthday, I’ve been given the greatest and most precious gift that I will never take for granted ever again: steak.
Joke! I mean quality of life
Anyone else lost track of their age due to chronic illness?