I’m on the 17th Hole of My Life

Well tomorrow I start my 48th year aka the end of my 47th year. Think about it, we have a whole year happen before we turn 1, so officially we are celebrating the end of said year. So at the end of my 47th year and the start of my 48th year I am planning on doing the most low key birthday in recent history. I am going to the gym for the noon WOD, out for lunch with my friend Carol and then out to High River camping with mom and dad. My friend of almost 29 years is already out at the campground so I will see her tomorrow night for some cake.

It’s been really weird for me not to be planning and prepping for the big day. I think I have enjoyed it being so low key. I have been spoiled with a surprise party last Thursday (seriously the best surprise of my life), a supper at the Keg, a lunch at Pascuales, appies and cake at Joeys and next week my dance card is full as well. It’s been quite lovely. Thank you to everyone who refuses to let me NOT celebrate my day in a big way.

I don’t know where I heard it but someone said on his 45th birthday that he was starting the back nine of his life. I found that clever. If we compare our life to a game of golf we can relate…kinda. For the healthy, 45 would mean that you are just starting your 10th hole. On the stretch to the 18th. When we get to the 18th we check our score, we put our clubs away, we meet in the clubhouse and we celebrate.

So let’s look at this in terms of life. Upon our death or nearing the years of very old age, we check our score card. We sum up our whole life and go over each hole where we had a good shot or made a birdie or where we crashed and burned and took a snowman (aka score of 8). These are all of our life lessons. It’s our first kiss, first job, struggle with an addiction or unexpected tragedy, a new car, a marriage, a divorce, birth of kids, start of second career, debt, lack of support, living for others, people pleasing, it’s all the actions that led us to the clubhouse. Then we put our clubs away. We get our affairs in order.We put the materialistic part of our world away for good. Then we hit the clubhouse. And in these terms its our celebration of life with all our loved ones. The end of our life. We move on to somewhere amazing like heaven or whatever one believes exists for the afterlife.

Now in terms of my life I wasn’t supposed to get to the second hole. Somehow, with the grace of God, supportive loving family and a grit I was born with, I managed to get to the next hole and then the next hole. Once I graduated from University I was starting my back nine. Since then I’ve married, divorced, created a legacy with some very amazing accolades for my work in CF, started a business, ran a foundation and gathered many amazing people into my life along the way. I have friends that have been in my life for 40+ years. I’ve struggled with my health-getting a double bogey on a couple holes. I made my birdies and my bogeys and now I am starting my 17th hole. I don’t know how well this hole will go, especially knowing that I only have one more hole left after this one.

With this crappy disease, in the blink or an eye, I could be drowning in the water or buried in the sand and I might not ever get out. Ball lost, need to take a penalty shot IF I get out. In laymen’s terms that means I’ve taken on a setback. A setback in CF usually means a new reality. A new fight. I am finding that right now I need my oxygen more than I want to confess to. I’m not shocked as I have been living on the edge for 4 years,ever since I started using oxygen for sleeping and working out. I have a lung capacity of just 23%-27% on any given day. If a healthy person went from 98% -25% lung function overnight they would most likely die. My body just keeps getting weaker but adapting. Over my life I have lost a bunch of my clubs and in the end I hope to have at least one club to keep going. My metaphorical golf bag is almost empty and its a struggle to make the shots.

My wish is that over the next year/hole I get the opportunity to try a new drug that attempts to correct the malfunctioning gene in my body. Studies show an average increase in lung function of 15%. That would be life changing for me. Lots up in the air about this. I pray that I don’t decline to the point of needing a transplant. Once I get a transplant a cure for CF will be useless to me. I will just be trading one disease for another.

If I do face the end of the 18th hole, I hope that my clubhouse is full and the tequila is flowing. I want to thank all of those who have played with me on my course, I want to thank my Caddies aka family, I want to thank those that have watched my game and cheered me on, following me hole to hole. I also want to thank the doctors, medicine and exercise for keeping my bag as full of clubs as possible. I hope that one day my bag might get a new club or two, not holding my breath (pun intended), but hopeful.

So with that, I wish you all a great game and a full clubhouse.

With a full heart, a lived life and a resolve to fight I thank you for being in my life.

N

Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’

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