Holding Space

With Shelly Vaughn

Thirty-Eight

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38… I made it to 38!! And I imagine that every year I grow older will be just as exciting. After facing mortality at a young age, I can appreciate how special each birthday is… and I don’t think I’ll ever be ashamed to shout my age from the rooftops. I’m cancer free and happy to say goodbye to 37, which was not my favorite year. I did not expect to spend this day in the hospital… I was actually looking forward to having a birthday feeling normal again. Guess that will have to be postponed until next year.

Though last night was peaceful for me, it wasn’t restful. (And the giant bags under my eyes are proof of that.) I woke up to my birthday morning accurately feeling like a girl who laid in bed most of the night without much sleep. But as soon as I finished breakfast and got a shower, visitors started arriving and it was amazing. Michael Clay Donnell, Keely A Smith-Jividen, Alli Herren, Becky Lockhart Kearns, Aubree Uhler, Barb Kline, Dorothy M Caldwell, Tina Heiberg, Susan Carpenter, Cinnamon Leonard… thank you for taking time out of your day to visit. Spending time with friends, especially having conversations that made me smile and laugh, was exactly what I needed to make the time pass quickly and make me forget how tired I was. I feel so much better than yesterday. My side is still painful, but I don’t feel “sick” today with fever and nausea like I felt the last two days. I know the antibiotics are working. When my sister asked what I got for my birthday, I jokingly replied “cellulitis”. But you know what Amy O’Shea reminded me of- I actually got the gift of healing. God is healing this infection today… and that’s really the best thing I could ask for.

A special shout out to thank my brother for sending a cookie cake and to everyone who sent messages and phone calls to wish me a happy birthday. The research nurse here brought me a cake, too. And when the woman in charge of cafeteria orders heard it was my birthday she brought me a piece of cake with a candle in it (though we couldn’t light it). My coworkers sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers and I got cool plants from Alli Herren, Susan Carpenter and Rob Vaughn. I have a windowsill and a heart full of love tonight. Though this isn’t where I would choose to be on a birthday, it turned out to be kind of wonderful.

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