Monday, July 09, 2012

Today is my Birthday

Today is my birthday. I am forty-four years old. Despite Duchenne muscular dystrophy, I have made it another year. I am lucky to have come this far. Many people with DMD have not made it past their teens or twenties. When I was first diagnosed at six, the doctors expected me to die in my teens. I have proven them wrong again and again.

I refuse to give up on life, no matter how hard it gets. The negatives of living with DMD, which can be so dishearting and frustrating, are overweighed by the good things in life. A bad day when you are so frustrated that you feel like giving it all up can be remedied by the sunshine on my skin, the sight of a colorful bird at the feeder, the beautiful melody of singing birds, a sublime sunset, friends and family, my cat curled up at my feet. The simple things in life make it all worthwhile.

I don't consider myself to be a hero or an inspiration. I am just a person, trying his hardest to make it through the adversities of life and enjoy the ride at the same time. We all have our challenges, whether small or great to deal with. Mine may be larger than most, yet I don't think I would appreciate life so much if everything was rainbows and blue birds. There have to be thorns in life too.

As James Taylor sang, "The secret to life is enjoying the passage of time." As I get older, I realize the truth in this profound statement. Since we can not stop the inevitable passage of time, we should enjoy life to the best of our abilities. Each day I wake up, despite the hardships, is a celebration of life. You have to make the best of this short sojourn on Earth.

Next year at my forty-fifth birthday, I will be celebrating another victory over DMD and finding ways to enjoy life. I fight on in the memory of all those who have lost out to DMD, many of them far too young.