Monday, July 09, 2007

My Birthday

Today I reached another milestone in my life--I turned 39. For most people this is not a particularly big deal, but for those who have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy it is a significant event. Every birthday I look upon as a personal victory against my disease. Last year, with my health problems and two month hospital stay, there were times I thought I would never see this day. But, the love and support of my family and friends and self-determination kept me going and enabled me to cross my bridge over troubled waters.

I had a big birthday bash on Saturday, July 7. I have had a party almost every year for the last 9 years. There is nothing I like more than spending time with family and friends. So, I use my birthday as an excuse to get everybody together. To me that is the ideal way to celebrate my birthday. Gifts are no longer important to me; to me the gift is being with friends and family.

The party was held on the nice, big lawn at the house of my sister, Bibbi and her husband, Rick. It was decorated in a western motif. There were hay bales, wagon wheels, and cow skulls scattered around the yard. There were cowboy hats for those who didn't bring one. The caterers had quite a spread of western style foods. I couldn't eat any of it, but I am glad the guests enjoyed it. I had my non western tube feeding. They don't have barbeque tube feeding. It was great to see the adults mingling and the children romping around. Everybody seemed to be having a genuine good time. The phrase eat, drink, and be merry truly applied.

The highlight of the day was the performance of the magician who performed some amazing tricks.He started his act swallowing fire (ouch!) One trick involved making a bird dissappear, then he took out a lemon, peeled it and inside was an egg. When he cracked the egg open, the bird flew out. In another trick he had a milk carton and poured out all kinds of drinks such as milk, chocolate milk, root beer, apple juice. The children really loved that trick. When he was done he ripped apart the carton to show that it was a regular milk carton with no hidden compartments. The most amazing was the finale when he levitated his daughter with a single broomstick to hold her up. I could not figure out how he did it. I always enjoy a good magic show, especially when I can't figure out how the tricks were done.

After the magic show, my 8 year old niece, Dallas Rose got up on stage and sang a song. It was very touching; I don't think there was a dry eye there, including my own. Dallas also had the idea to have a lemonade stand with the procedes going to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She wants to give the money to MDA during the Labor Day telethon in San Diego. What a thoughtful little girl! After that my sister had activities for the kids such as sack races and egg toss. It was great seeing the children enjoying themselves.

I returned home from my party feeling elated and blessed to have such a wonderful family and group of friends. I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate my birthday. Next year will be an even bigger milestone when I reach 40. I plan on being there.


alex schaefer said...

That was a great time! Wonderful to see and spend time with you. Your sister threw an amazing party!

Greg said...

John- You are truly an inspiration to all of us. Your party was the highlight of the summer. The opportunity to get together with friends and family to share stories and laugh was memorable. The entire day was perfect. I was also impressed with the magician and how he performed some of those tricks. Thank you again for sharing your special day with our family and huge kudos to Bibbi and Rick for hosting. See you soon.

Bionic Sisters said...

John, thanks for creating this great blog! Your party was a blast.. it's so nice to get together with everyone we grew up with and hear stories told over again or for the first time. You looked so much healthier and happier than when in the hospital and you're an example to us all to be all we can be every minute of every day. Your family is so loving and supportive, all of us are privileged to be a part of it! Loved hearing your comments on the magic show too :)

Sending every good wish always,

Bridget (Cantwell McDonald....)

Stacy Viva Biener said...

Your party was fantastic! I especially enjoyed chatting with you as you are a true intellectual inspiration to me!
Let me know if you decide to build a website as I have a great web designer to refer you.
Thanks for letting me share your special day. I can't wait until the next one.
Much love,

Kimi said...


Scott Sands said...


I'm tagging you to play Eight Random Facts! Please indulge me by playing along. Visit my blog,, and read my post of July 29th entitled "8 Random Facts About Me" for details.



Anonymous said...

HI John.. Sorry I havent had a chance to drop by to say hi but here I IM dave Harding (Lianne hardings brother-in-law back in Chicago).. jus twanted to with you a very happy belated birthday as Im sure Lianne would have done if she had been here with us.. Its so hard to think of her gone now going on 2 1/2 months..and I think of what all you have gone through in 39 years is so awsome.. I do wish you the very best and blessed days and years to come... feel free to keep in touch if you want ok?? Lianne did mention you several times when our conversations steered towards the support group.. hope to hear from you when you get a chance.. again Hope you had a great Birthday... Dave Harding(Liannes brother in law)

Jim Thomas said...

Jim Thomas here.
39 is good 40 is better.
Keep it going, your on a roll.
How is your crazy brother?
Haven't seen him in ages.
Pleaes tell him hello from me.
And your amazing sister...(she get's it from her parents) her spirit.

What problems have you sold recently?

Give my best to all,
and email me sometime.