My birthday is a key milestone

Today is my birthday. Happy days I here you cry!! I didn’t mention it for more cards and presents, just that it has a greater significance in my life, since my diagnosis. I had just turned 51, and once I was told my prognosis was poor, I really did believe that I wouldn’t see another birthday.

I couldn’t believe that if things didn’t go my way, I would be dead within 6 months. So many things that I would never do again, and as I had just celebrated my birthday, I didn’t see how I could be celebrating another one! I distinctly remember talking to my wife about it. Once all the treatment programme was put into place, and it was agreed that I needed a bone marrow transplant, which was due at Christmas, I felt that I might have a chance.

My transplant took place on the 19th December 2007, and that was my first birthday of the next part of my life.In transplant years I have just turned 4. I then made it to my next official birthday, although I was still quite weak at that time, (2008)

Since then, the birthdays have kept coming. I am quite a low key type of guy, and don’t normally like a lot of fuss and bother, but last year was my 55th birthday. My wife and I looked at that one as if it were a major birthday, like a 50th / 60th. Sue had been brilliant, as usual with her secret planning. We have some friends that own a hotel in Eastbourne, and she had arranged for a lot of our friends to join us for the weekend.

We all dined together on the Friday night, and went for a guided walk on the Saturday. We stopped for lunch in a cafe, and then arrived back for a celebration dinner. The restaurant was decorated in red and blue, the colours of my football team, Crystal Palace. At the end of the evening I was presented with a leather bound personal edition, history of CPFC. A unique present!!
As we get older, and our lives change, we appreciate things differently. Some things have a lower financial value, but a significantly larger sentimental value.For me, memories are the most important thing.I will aways remember being surrounded by my family and friends and having fun, during that weekend.
Even yesterday, the girls in Macmillan office had prepared a surprise little gathering for our team, to celebrate my birthday. It really was lovely that they had gone to that trouble.They were asking how I would be celebrating, and I couldn’t help reflecting on my conversation back in 2007. As each birthday comes, I become more grateful.
I am very aware that my life has entered extra time, and at 56,  I can’t really think of anything sensible, that people could buy me that would make my life any richer.I enjoy, just spending time with friends and having fun. I now lead a much more simple life than I used to.But I really do think that I have more satisfaction than I did.
Today is a celebration, in more ways than one. I am celebrating still being alive, to see my boys grow up, and I am celebrating the extra life and memories that I have had, thanks to the skills of my medical team at St Georges. Maybe I have also had my share of luck?
Do you have any milestones that you would like to share. What times are important for you? Feel free to share your thoughts.

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