Celebrating Chapters 37 to 51

Another birthday. The 51st, to be exact, and I am as excited and thankful as I have been with all of the others I've been blessed to see. In spite of a pandemic and its effects. In spite of the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis that randomly popped up in the 37th chapter of my life and its effects. Oh, there's going to be a celebration. I'm inspired by the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (of whom the nation recently had the pleasure of celebrating his birthday) when he said, "If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward."

I can't have a party, but I can celebrate

My desire is to, like birthdays of old, plan a party inviting family and friends. We'd come together and play games, laugh, talk, eat...the works! But at this juncture, social distancing is still encouraged and large gatherings are discouraged, masking, sanitizing, awaiting vaccinations, positive virus results still occurring too much (for my comfort). Additionally, compounded with all else, I'm still not quite back to my baseline since falling and breaking my foot several months ago. The hindrance with this is that I'm unable to get into my car, so I'm pretty much even more homebound. But, as I said before, letting Dr. King's words inspire me, there won't be a party, but there's definitely going to be a celebration.

Reflecting on my first birthday after my MS diagnosis

I think about my 38th chapter. That was my first party after being diagnosed with MS in the middle of the 6th month of my 37th chapter. I entered the party donned in a cute red jumpsuit - and with my shiny pink cane. Two parties later, chapter 40, was epic. I planned my own 40th 'surprise' birthday party! Go big or go home right? By then, I was walking to my guests yelling "Surprissse!!!" in my black pantsuit - and my silver walker.

Birthdays over the next decade

Over the next decade, there was a party each year and the assistive devices have changed from a silver to a pink walker, then a red wheelchair, and as of chapter 50, a brand new black one. Chapter 50 granted my wish of me and my children, Justin and Jessica, taking a day trip to Washington DC to sightsee around the MLK and Lincoln memorials. The following day, family came for one of my infamous parties. MS was gracious enough to allow me somewhat of a 'break' for a couple of days to usher in my newest chapter, and I was grateful. Paid for it thereafter, but I didn't care. I've come to acknowledge that it just is what it is.

I will keep moving forward

And now, here is chapter 51 approaching on the 21st of this month. Although MS progression has occurred over the years, I've welcomed and celebrated each new chapter of my life. I'm not going to stop. Pandemic, MS, whatever else...it's just a part of my chapter, my life and if I can't celebrate one way, I'll do it another and if that way isn't feasible, I'll just find something else. There will indeed be a celebration each time because I think I deserve it. This walk (no pun intended) isn't easy, yet I'm determined to move forward, determined to live while I am living, and determined to do so by my personal motto, "to OVERcome and not SUCcumb."

I will celebrate no matter what!

One thing that I enjoy doing especially during my birthday season is making music videos. I choose songs meaningful to my life, my chapters. The very first one I did was to a song called Pieces Of Me by Ledisi. You can view it here. The last, Chapter 50, was by the late Nina Simone, Feeling Good which you can view here. Chapters 37 to 51 were definitely 'new days' from pre-diagnosis years, but I am just as happy to see them as any other. So no matter the changes, circumstances, or situation, rest assured that somehow, someway, as many Chapters that come my way, oh, there's going to be a celebration!

Welcome, Chapter 51...Happy Birthday to me! 🙂

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