Greetings from Jamaica! The sun is shining, and I’ve eaten my weight in food, and I am so very happy to be here.

I assume that that sentence will be true by the time you are reading this post. I, in fact, am cheating a bit and am writing this post in advance of my trip and scheduling it to appear while I am gone.

If I have done this correctly (and it’s very possible I have not), today should be August 9th. This glorious date is also known as my birthday. The big 2-9. Happy birthday to me! (And a one-day belated happy birthday to my beautiful, smart, best sister in the whole wide world. I love you sissy!)

My birthday cake from my 21st. Thanks mom!

This birthday feels like a pretty significant one for me, as I say goodbye to twenty-eight. It was right after my birthday last year, at this time, that I found a lump in my breast and my entire world changed after that moment. Twenty-eight was a hard year; a year filled with many lessons, challenges, and triumphs. I’m sure for most people, twenty-eight is not necessarily a particularly significant year in their lives. Eventually all the years start to mush together, and become periods of time or life-stages, rather than an individual 365 days. But in my case, I am quite confident that I will never forget the 365 days of being a twenty-eight year-old.

I think many people who have had cancer would say that birthdays take on a new meaning after you have been diagnosed. They truly do become a celebration, and an accomplishment, rather than just another year. I have noticed that most people view getting older and aging as something to fear, and something they don’t want to face. It seems everyone makes comments and complains about how old they are getting, or how much they’re dreading turning 30/40/50/60, etc.

I am no longer part of this massive majority of humans who fear birthdays and wish for eternal youth. I dream of getting old. I dream of turning thirty. Occasionally, if I’m having an overly optimistic day, I may even dream of what it would be like to be forty. Forty, right now, sounds ancient to me. I wish I could be forty right now, and have 11 more years under my belt. And if I’m really fantasizing here, I wish I were ninety right now, with all the life experiences one is supposed to have had. Ninety, with cancer. Still not ideal, but I’d take it over twenty-eight, with cancer.

I think getting older is a gift. It’s a privilege, to make it through another year, and have your health. It’s not a given, and it’s not your right. With each birthday you are fortunate enough to celebrate, comes a certain amount of luck. I feel very lucky to get to have another birthday, and to be able to share it with the person I love most in the world, while sitting on a sunny beach. I’ve earned this day, and I’ve struggled to get here. And now that I’m here, getting older never looked so good.

Here’s to twenty-nine, and the dream of thirty.

If you’d like to give me a birthday gift, please help fund breast cancer research, which is the only gift I really want. Thank you!


11 thoughts on “29

    1. Michele- Would love to read your blog as well, even if it is rainbows and butterflies! I too am battling breast cancer and write a blog and it is always inspiring to hear the words of others in this ‘club’. Please post your site.

      1. Good morning Kathy! My husband started a Caring Bridge site for me back in January when I couldn’t keep up with the emails, calls, texts, etc. Once I started feeling better I commandeered the ‘blog’ from him. Go to http://www.caringbridge.com type in michelecohen. One L, one word. Thanks for your request and please share your blog. I’ve only read blogs since being diagnosed because it’s truly the only way to get real information on what to expect, feel, etc. Best of luck to you!!!

  1. For being 29, you are smarter, wiser, wittier, insightful and on and on and on than this 41 year old who is also fighting breast cancer. Your posts have made me think in ways I haven’t allowed my mind to go to. That’s why I love your posts because they are so raw, truthful and thought provoking. I have a blog as well and people tell me I should write a book. After I read your posts I think to myself, shit if my army read Steph’s post they’d categorize my posts as rainbows and butterflies. I’m Polly positive in my posts because I’m afraid of showing my true self and emotion. I wish I could be more like you and put it all out there because. The good, the bad and the extremely ugly. I especially can relate to the part about the prividedge of aging versus the avoidance of the inevitable. How many years did I waste saying I don’t want to be 30, 40….. Now I’m living to make it to the next birthday and to celebrate that day like no other. Wow is all I can say right now. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us out here in cyber land. You are touching people in ways you will never realize. The true gift of cancer. Happy Birthday! Xoxo. Michele

    1. Thanks so much Michele, I always like reading your comments. I know for a lot of people, it is difficult to talk openly about all the bad stuff that comes with cancer. Even though I am pretty open about most things, there definitely are still things that I don’t talk about here and that are hard to face. I’d say it’s a good thing that you can keep a positive attitude through all this! I’m glad to know I am helping you though, and I hope things will be getting better for you soon. xo

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