Archive for December, 2011

Well, My 50th Birthday Sucked, But Thanks For Asking

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

What’s that, you didn’t ask? It’s alright – you probably knew it wouldn’t exactly be a highlight of my life.  But truthfully, even I was unable to fathom how bad it could be.

Allow me to preface this account by telling you something about myself in relation to health and aging. I’m generally pretty disciplined in taking care of my body – not psychotically so, mind you, but I do run well over 20 miles per week, take vitamins and herbal supplements, keep an eye on what I eat so my weight stays roughly the same, even use Swiss botanical skin formulations on my face and neck. Oh, and as long as I’m being honest, get regular Botox treatments (not to mention I’ve tried wrinkle fillers a couple times and use an off-shoot of Miracle Grow for my thinning eyelashes).

So perhaps I’m a bit fixated on staying young, or at least looking young… It’s all healthy stuff, right?

I don’t know who let it slip to my boobs that I was about to turn 50, but low and behold, almost to the day of this egregious event, they decided to develop “symptoms” noticeable on my yearly mammogram. Uh-oh, what was up? Of course, one is dragged over this particular bed of nails via an agonizing, drawn-out process: first the routine mammogram, then a “call-back” for a closer look at the offending breast; another mammogram, followed by a week of internet-research-fueled obsession before finding out I have to have a “needle biopsy.” Just one of these words – “needle” and “biopsy” – is ominous enough, but put them together in relation to your boob, and obsession turns into contemplation of impending death.

How irritating that I couldn’t be allowed even a few months, much less a few years, of being “over the hill” before my aged and decrepit body started its downward spiral! Shouldn’t there be some grace period wherein I can get used to my new senior citizen status? But nooo, I’m practically having my 50th birthday party in a doctor’s office! This is the thanks my body bestows on me for trying to be health-conscious? So glad I bothered – not.

I must say, however, I am blessed indeed to have three beautiful children – two of whom are even out of the house – and the world’s greatest boyfriend. Knowing I would be having a celebratory dinner with these loved ones, I was completely content to spend the evening of “my real birthday” with my 12-year-old daughter. Of course, this little plan was upended when she got a better offer from one of her middle school friends. The mere fact of my reaching a half-century milestone was an obvious no-contender for an overnight with Melissa. This was still fine, though, especially since I managed to make last-minute dinner plans with a close girlfriend. I was really in the mood for prime rib anyway, so perfecto – we would meet at a place down the street where they had it on special.

After confirming with my friend, my little one’s overnight fell through, as so often happens when 12-year-olds commandeer their own social events. In the end, I guiltily left her by herself for a couple hours so I wouldn’t disappoint my girlfriend, who seemed very excited herself about the prospect of dinner out. My prime rib turned into a chicken salad, however, when the waiter told us they had already run out of the special (probably I had been beaten to the punch by those early-dining old people who would be in bed by eight!) I resolved to arrive before five next time. At least, though, it was an occasion for that ever-precious girl talk. After a light-hearted run-down of my breast issues and upcoming biopsy, I listened as she confided about her current marital difficulties. Since I had been in her position not that long ago and a veteran of divorce, I could understand her feelings. We parted after dinner, me wishing her luck with her lazy, selfish husband, and her wishing me luck with dodging breast cancer. Oh, and Happy 50th!

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, really. Who can deny all the birthday perks? For me at 50, they included all of the above, plus some little extras… A pathological ex-boyfriend, who had ransacked my condo four years ago when I broke up with him, decided to text me a friendly “Happy Birthday,” making the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I realized that sociopathic stalkers, like elephants, never forget. Oh, and my $10 birthday coupon from Victoria’s Secret – I’m still trying to figure out how I managed to drop $50 on one bra even with their special “gift” – and so many solicitations from the AARP that I’m going to join just to make it stop!

At this point, I maintain that the number one best thing about turning 50 is when it is over. Thank heavens that I can return to my normal life of successes and problems without having them backlit by the gloriously blinding glare of my mortality. I am positive big ol’ 60 will be much better, especially since I have vowed to book a cruise to Cabo for that one. Of course, I’ll have to look into the onboard food poisoning situation beforehand.