Saturday, August 5, 2017

Birthdays and Other Things For Which I Am Grateful

To give a little context about my view of birthdays, my mother made a major deal out of birthdays. I never much cared about birthday cakes because my mom baked both a rhubarb and apple pie for each of my birthdays. For whatever reason, she loved planning  “surprise” parties for me, and as an ungrateful kid, I complained about how I didn’t like surprise parties until I got really surprised when there was no surprise party, and I moped for most of the day. So birthdays have always been a big deal to me.

Given my current cancer schmantzer circumstances, my birthday on August 7th marks one more journey around the sun for which I am quite grateful. Originally, my 3rd chemo treatment was scheduled for Monday, but since I had no intention of spending my birthday hooked up to IVs, I rescheduled for the next day. 

The good news about Round 3 is that I am learning how to cope with all of the new stuff that has been happening. As much as I hate taking meds, I have finally realized that I need to be pro-active about taking the meds if there is even a hint of nausea. I now keep gloves by the refrigerator because sensitivity to cold (which feels like sticking my fingers into an electric socket) follows for few days after a treatment. I have also learned that it is okay to feel like a slug for a few days after each chemo treatment.

Since today's blog is all about me and my gratitude for yet another year to wreak havoc and to raise awareness,  if you want to do something to help me celebrate my birthday, here are some suggestions.
  1. Write a letter to someone you love (family or friend or whoever is important) letting them know why they are important to you.
  2. Register to vote. Then do your homework about the issues. Find and support candidates (both financially and energetically) who most closely reflect your values.
  3. Write letters to the editor about issues that are important to you.
  4. Talk to someone whose world view is different from yours with the intent of listening and understanding.
  5. Donate to a cause that is dear to your heart. Here are some of my favorites:
  • Network for Public Education 
  • Ark Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 131, Howe, IN 46746
  • Matthew 25 Health and Dental 
  • Community Harvest Food Bank
  • Habitat for Humanity 
  • Planned Parenthood   
  • Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana                   
Do something unexpected and fun. 
  • Go to the zoo
  • Play miniature golf
  • Go to a playground and try out the monkey bars (or zip line)
  • Go to Zesto (or any ice cream shop) and treat a kid to an ice cream cone
My mother instilled my love of birthdays and my love of celebrating the passages in my life.  When I was young, the goal was to open as many presents as possible. This year I am grateful for all all of the lovely people who have touched my life in ways both large and small and for the kindnesses that I have experienced.  I am grateful for all who have made me smile.

In the words of Elinor Wylie, "In masks outrageous and austere, the years go by in single file; but none has merited my fear, and none has quite escaped my smile."


  1. Lovely sentiments. Happy Birthday Phyllis!

  2. Excellent reminder of what's important, Phyllis.

  3. Happy birthday, Phyllis! Thanks for this post.

  4. Phyllis, you are such a lovely person. You make me smile. And, I hope that your Birthday on August 7th will make you smile! Keep battling and all the Best.

  5. Thrilled for you to be here. Happy birthday!

  6. Now that it is officially your birthday in Indiana's time zone, let me be one of the first to say "Happy Birthday" and wish you a boatload more (or at least a dinghy full) of them!