Monday, July 23, 2012

Mammograms, Pink Hair and a Hootenanny

                                          "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History"
                                                          -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich                                            

I'm turning 44 next month, and I'm throwing myself a party.
A fantastic birthday party with a big fat cake, decorations, food and music. 
"Don't you want to wait until your 45th birthday to have a party, Keisha?" my pragmatic husband, Alex, asked.
"That's a more important birthday. 44 isn't as big of a deal." 
I suppose that's practical. 
44 isn't a "big birthday". 
Yet something about this year has me fired up, and I want to make ever single minute count. 
I didn't really know why until I went last month to get a mammogram. 

Right before I get to put my breasts in a radiation vise, I fill out the medical form I've filled out so many times before.
Name- Keisha Gallegos
Have you ever had a mammogram before? Yes.
Do you have a family history of breast cancer? Yes.  
Who? Mother. 
Age when diagnosed-43.

Funny~they never ask you what ever happened with all that cancer business.  
She died, I want to say. 
My mother died. 
At 45. 
Of breast cancer. 
She found a lump just a few days before her 44th birthday. 
Her 44th year was filled with fear, confusion, surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.  
She lost her hair, her health, and her dignity.   

My mom never had birthday parties as an adult.  
She would always say her birthday was no big deal. 

On the other hand,  I am a celebrator! 
I'll celebrate anything...birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, the first Thursday of the month-whatever.  Any excuse for a party.  
So when I realized that I am the same age my mom was when she was diagnosed with the disease that ultimately killed her, I decided that I was going to celebrate my 44th year in a very different way.  
I am in the prime of my life~happier than I've ever been.
I'm married to the love of my life for 21 years. 
My kids are happy, healthy, productive people.
I have better relationships now than ever. 
I'm doing work that I love, and watching my clients dreams come true while I live out my own.
I am taking better care of myself emotionally, physically and spiritually than ever before.
I have a lot to celebrate.  

Alex asked me if I wanted him to take over the party planning. 
"No," I said casually. I am actually quite proud of the fact that I am throwing my own party and I don't care who knows about it.
I'm not going to wait for a more important birthday to celebrate my life. 
I'm going to shake my booty for any old reason I feel like it. 
Arbor day, flag day, or even my un-birthday. 
AND I put bright pink streaks in my hair.  
Because I can, and because I'm never going to be as young as I am today.  
That's why. 
Because since when do I give a rip about being practical? 
Not now, and hopefully not ever.
Go out and do something to celebrate yourself.
Don't wait for a "good reason".
You are here, you're alive, and you are worth making a fuss over. 
Tell me what kind of a soiree you throw yourself- today!