I had a facial this morning. It was my Birthday present to myself.
When the esthetician asked me if I’d ever had one before I scoffed and said, ‘Yes!’ and then added more quietly, ‘….it was awhile ago.’
But when I tried to remember the last time I had, I couldn’t. And once the air over my face was full on hot thick steam that fingered it’s way up my nostrils and filled my lungs, I was convinced I had never had this before. When the steaming hot towels were placed over my face and I realized I was starting to panic, I started to wonder what it was I thought I was missing. Although my skin feels amazing and I look much younger than I truly am…I really did not think I would schedule another facial. I had no idea it would make me feel so claustrophobic. I wonder if anyone else has had this same occurrence.
My Mother was claustrophobic.
I have a Birthday coming up. I used to do countdowns on my facebook account when I was on there.
‘Only 22 shopping days left till my Birthday!’ it would blare.
I still get excited about my Birthday, but I guess it’s more internal. No, that’s not true at all. Since here I am announcing it to the world. I don’t mind telling people when my Birthday is, nor my age.
Maybe it’s because people are always saying, ‘Wow! you don’t look that old!’ or ‘You have grown children?!!’
Perhaps once people stop saying those things I will feel differently…who knows.
Yesterday I had a client ask me about whether I felt anxious about getting older. I thought about it for a few minutes. I thought about my Mother crying when she turned 40. And how she broke down in a fit of tears when she saw her first grey hair. She was terrified of getting old. Mom pulled at her wrinkles constantly. She did not want to get old. No matter what.
And she got her wish.
Am I anxious about getting older? No.
When I crawled into bed with my Husband the other night…I was very tired. My shoulders were tight and I hadn’t realized it until they hit my pillow. I had been to the hospital that day. Two years ago I noticed a lump under my left arm. It was obviously an ingrown hair, I reasoned. I squeezed and poked at it to no avail. Every other ingrown hair I’ve ever had has worked it’s way out. This one will too, I comforted myself. A year later, the lump was still camped out in my armpit, quite satisfied with it’s site. Then it started to act up.
It grew bigger, it turned red…and it became extremely painful. I don’t like doctors. And I downright loathe hospitals. But it got to the point where I could not move, eat, sleep or work without causing pain. So my Husband drove me to Emerg. The doctor on call gave me a prescription to settle down the infected camper. One week later, all was back to normal. Oh sure, the lump was still there…but had gone back into retreat of the fiery storm it had created.
It bothered me now and then, I did not like the look of it. But nor did I want to aggravate it by excavating the campsite. He was quiet, wasn’t starting any fires…no problems that I could see. Over the last year, my Husband and I have eliminated sugar from our diet (among other things, but they aren’t important right now) I learned that sugar causes inflammation in our bodies and that inflammation can cause any number of illnesses up to and not discluding the ‘C’ word. It was not easy giving up sugar since it is the world’s easiest obtainable drug. But then my mind wandered to inflammation and I remembered the pain I went through. I shook my head.
‘I will not miss it one bit!’
Then one day about 4 months ago, my Husband and I were on a road trip to Montreal. He stopped for gas and there was a bakery in the truck stop. They had fresh chocolate macaroons. I figured a one-time sugar romp wouldn’t hurt, so I had one which became three. It was probably by that evening I started to feel a pain in my armpit. By the next day it was sore and growing worse. After a call put in to my new doctor (whom I had just finagled after almost 10 years of none) and getting a prescription to extinguish the fire again, we decided to look into having it removed.
‘Because…’ as she explained, ‘it will just continue to flare up as long as it is there’.
My heart sank.
My memory showed me images of my Mother getting cut open and the air igniting the ‘C’ word and it slowly spreading like lava over her body and melting her organs. I shuddered.
I have been in and seen the surgeon (as of 4 days ago) and he assured me it was not the ‘C’ word and that I had nothing to worry about. Other than he will be putting me to sleep for the procedure. As I climbed into the truck outside the hospital I realized I had to remind myself to breathe. I felt tears begin to sting my eyes and I shoved them back. I was going to be fine. I looked over at my oldest son and smiled. I brought him with me so that I would have a reason to be brave. I couldn’t show him that I was afraid, so I knew I would be alright.
It wasn’t until I crawled into bed that night next to my Husband, I finally felt safe. I let my shoulders relax against the edge of my pillow. I took a deep breath and in a near whisper I said, ‘I want to grow old.’
‘What’s that Doll?’
So I repeated it, louder.
He rolled over towards me and cradled me in his arms. I let out my breath and drifted off to sleep.
I want to grow old.
I want to have many birthdays.
I want to hear my Grandchildren sing, ‘Happy Birthday’ to me.
Only 6 shopping days left!