That's right! Today is my 39th birthday and I've never been happier about such a significant number! After the last few months, celebrating a birthday feels like a privilege. Birthdays have never bothered me anyway, it's always been just a number to me until the last few years then, birthdays started to feel like a timer on the count down. My body felt old because of the Ulcerative Colitis and all it's symptoms. I also had the nagging question of "When will this stupid disease turn into cancer?" I forget what the odds are but it's something ridiculous like 80%. Ha! I get the last laugh here! Turning 39 and starting it HEALTHY!!! Or maybe I should say thirty-fine, as my friend SuZanne says...

Today is also my parents 43rd anniversary! Happy, Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad! Is that not an incredible fete these days?! It's almost unheard of with the divorce rate at 50%. They have always been a great example for my sister and me. I think they are some of the few who truly have no secrets between them.

I must be really getting used to my ileostomy. Last night I had a dream about it, a first I think. It wasn't a bad dream, it was just a fact--a part of me--like a belly button in this dream. Also, the other night at Thomas' basketball game we were visiting with some other parents about diabetes. One boy's father was just diagnosed with type 1 and another boy on the team, who also has type 1, was showing him his insulin pump. At some point it was brought up that I also had an "owie" and before I realized what I was doing I had lifted the corner of my shirt to show off my bag! I can't believe I did that now. I guess when you feel good it's much easier to accept an alteration to your body like this. The most incredible thing to me was that no one turned in horror, or vomited, or even cringed. This confirmed that I am not a freak. It seems that most people will accept something different if you can accept it for yourself. As long as you feel good about yourself then it really doesn't matter what others think anyway.

I can't help but think of soldiers who are maimed in war or accident victims who suffer the loss of limbs. These are visible reminders that they are not "perfect" anymore and they must deal with ignoramuses who can't handle it. They must fight a hard battle of accepting their new normal. I feel very shallow and selfish when I have a pity party over my ileostomy. I can at least hide my bag, no one knows unless I tell them. There's no hiding a missing leg or arm. The funny thing is, I view their loss as a badge of honor. A sign of true bravery on so many levels. They faced something horrible and came out on the other side ALIVE. Maybe having a colon and large intestine is highly over rated...

Can I just say how much I LOVE feeling good? My stamina and energy are slowly coming back. I am completely disease pain free and now that my surgical sites are healed I feel... dare I say it? Normal! I cannot wait to get back in the gym and on the tennis court. There is so much I want to do!

The last 6 months have taught me that life is short, health is a blessing and that neither should be wasted. Every day should count for something. Breathing should never be taken for granted. Life should be lived fully and abundantly.


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