On January 9, I will be 40. For some people, they view their 40th birthday with some sort of displeasure. I’ve always looked forward to my 40th. For me, it’s a milestone that I cannot wait to celebrate because it means I survived the worst of the worst.
2015 was one of my worst years on record.
I started trauma therapy to deal with PTSD caused by multiple forms of childhood abuses and trauma. Starting trauma therapy is good. The actual doing of and the aftermath has been very difficult and it has taken all of my strength to continue. But I persevere because I long for a day where something as “simple” as seeing people argue—even online—doesn’t cause flashbacks and panic attacks.
I think trauma therapy would be easier if I wasn’t also fighting one of my worst lupus years. In 2015, I had 11 or 12 (I lost count) trips to the ER for various things, like my heart and lungs becoming inflamed, multiple kidney infections, IV antibiotics, loss of eye sight, meningitis, and more. The dose of my weekly chemo was increased. I was on prednisone. And I had to start a new, really expensive and scary medication called Xarelto because Warfarin just stopped working. This, plus the addition of a few other meds has brought my monthly prescription costs up to $1,500 per month.
The last time my lupus was this bad, I had a stroke. It took me months to relearn how to walk, dress myself, go to the washroom without needing someone to wipe my ass, type, communicate, cook, and more.
We also had to get my affairs in order, including updating my DNR and more, because lupus is a fickle beast that can give no warning before something really really bad happens.
It’s been a scary year. I’ve had to take a lot a lot of me time and backing away from commitments in order to just make it through without giving into the darkness.
It’s been a scary year in a long line of scary years where I didn’t know if I would make it out alive.
But, I survived it. And I survived 40 years of various abuses and obstacles.
It is some sort of small miracle that I actually made it to 40 and am functioning. Based on statistics of the outcomes of people who survived the types of abuses and trauma I did, I should have an addiction problem, worked in the sex trade at some point, be homeless, not have finished school or gone on to post-secondary education, not have children or be abusive towards my children, and more.
But, I fought through all of it. I fought through every single thing that I dare not mention because it’s just too horrible. Even when I was kicked out at 15 and had to couch surf for nearly two years before being put in foster care, I still went to school and got straight As. When I was in an abusive marriage, I got out once the abuse happened in front of my child. Every time lupus tried to take me down, I have fought back.I beat the odds in the parenthood department and have an extremely good relationship with my children. I fought against alcohol addiction. I recovered from multiple bouts of depression and attempted suicide.
None of this was easy. Doing all of these things is fucking hard as hell. It is never easy getting out of these situations because you become conditioned. It takes some sort of small miracle to find any form of self-worth stripped from you by your abusers.
I’m going to be 40 and I still struggle with self-worth. I’ve yet to experience a day free from PTSD-induced somatic flashbacks. Surviving lupus and the lasting effects of a stroke will always be a daily struggle.
But, I’m going to be 40. I beat the odds. I’m here. If I can survive the first 40, then I can survive anything.
That is worth celebrating.