Celebrating the Big 5-OH!

Celebrating the Big 5-OH!
This post was originally published on this site

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At the end of 2015, my body was doing all kinds of strange things. I was caught in a revolving door at the hospital and seeing every specialist known to man. But no one could tell me what was wrong.

On Jan. 1, 2016, I took a trip to Daytona Beach, Florida, to reconcile my life. Because of the aggressiveness of whatever I was suffering from, I was sure that I would not live to see 2017.

I got my lupus diagnosis in February, and medications were sent overnight. They didn’t kick in right away, but eventually there was a little relief.

My body has gone through many changes since then, and I have reconciled my life a few times. But that first time accepting that perhaps my time was up was the hardest. Every year since, I have been beyond grateful. I do my best to be positive, and to share my battle without making others feel sorry for me. I’ve given funny titles to things that happen to lighten the mood.

I have lived an amazing life. Before I got sick, if I wanted to do something, I would find a way to make it happen. My daughter would say it’s not a matter of “if” with me, it’s a matter of “when.” Even after my diagnosis, I lived abroad, climbed an active volcano, splashed in waterfalls, and walked with elephants. I can now mangle two languages – Spanish and Thai — outside of my native tongue.

I am living my life to its fullest. When I was diagnosed and had my mortality staring me in my face, I began being grateful for the things I can still do. I am angry about what I cannot do, but I make the most of what I can.

When I was 45, I thought my friends and family would be saying their goodbyes soon. On Nov. 2, I turned 50. And I decided to have a gathering.

When my guests arrived, I felt like total crap. Despite it being 80 degrees outside, I was wearing a sweater and was wrapped in a fleece blanket with a heating pad in my lap. I started to wonder if this party was a mistake. But these friends have only known me with lupus and they spoiled me. Food, drinks, and anything else I needed were brought to me.

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Kellie and her unicorn piñata. (Courtesy of Kellie McRae)

The magic happened when one of my friends arrived with a cake. I live in Mexico, and my birthday falls at the end of the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities. The cake topper was a bald, black girl with her face painted for the celebration, surrounded by sugar shards that looked like broken glass. It was so gorgeous that I didn’t want to cut it.

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A special cake for the birthday girl. (Courtesy of Kellie McRae)
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The cake topper was a nod to Mexico’s Day of the Dead festivities. (Courtesy of Kellie McRae)
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Kellie celebrates turning 50. (Courtesy of Kellie McRae)

I had such a good time and felt so loved. I am over the moon that I have been wrong every time I have reconciled my life.

Although lupus still gives me fits, I am proud and grateful. I’m 50!

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Chris Comish serves as the Publisher of the website, and is responsible for directing the editorial focus as well as putting the finishing touches on many featured articles.