Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another Year, Another Burger

Today is my 41st birthday.

The Burger King
When I was a kid I used to be a member of the Hungry Jacks Club (that's Australian for Burger King, folks). Right on time, the Burger King himself would write me a birthday letter and send me a years worth of vouchers for a free sundae, fries, whopper junior or whatever. And during the month of my birthday I could go in and claim my birthday gift. A free Whopper! It was so exciting to a ten year old girl, back in a time when going out for a junk food dinner was a special treat to be savored, and dreamed about for another year.

Now however, it seems my birthdays are officially sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

No special birthday letter, no vouchers for free stuff (would I really want  ACS swag anyway?), instead just a winsome melody from the likes of Harry Connick Junior, a heartfelt bleating by Justin Bieber or even a comedic message from Jack Black.  All with faces that say "Aw, it's your birthday and you have cancer. Poor you."  Gosh, I can't wait.  (Editors Note: In case my facetiousness is not clear here, I don't want a special ACS-branded message for my birthday thanks!)

I'll be starting my day off right with a celebratory hit of chemotherapy. Perhaps I'll yell out "chemo for everyone!" and we'll pull up our IV poles, gather around my Lazy-Boy chair in the Lazy-Boy-Showroom-From-Hell, and sing a stirring rendition of Happy Birthday to me. (Proudly brought to you by the American Cancer Society).

I guess turning "41" generally passes without fanfare, a bit like "14", "23" and "32", plus all those other ages in between.  It's not really a milestone birthday like "1", "13", "16", "18", "21", "30" and then the BIG 4-0.  But "41" is  a gentle reminder to start fielding jokes about getting old and complaining about turning "50" all too soon.  Middle age beckons!

I've begun to count birthdays.  Seven birthdays since original diagnosis, four birthdays since a serious bump in the road, and two birthdays since we encountered a major pothole. Perhaps my turning "41" might be a considered a milestone of sorts by the statisticians, but I think I'd just as soon as not consider turning "41" a milestone, thank you very much.

I'd also love to start complaining about turning "50" and the onset of middle age.

And I'd also prefer my birthday wasn't an event worthy of sponsorship by a cancer organization, unless of course it involves a free hamburger.

Happy Birthday to me!


My 2nd Birthday!

My 4th Birthday.
Love my outfit!


  1. Oh yeah! I cannot stand people complaining about getting old. If I can make 50, my kids will be almost grown. I will not complain!

  2. Aw, Rachel. I am sending you mountains of birthday love, snark and glow bracelets.


  3. Your fourth birthday outfit has the same unusual color scheme as the Burger King doll in reverse, but whatever colors you're wearing today: we love them!

    This birthday, every birthday is awesome to me after cancer. And you are a blessing. I've apologized for my "mushy" element. But I need to say these things out loud because I think you are incredible.

    Have a beautiful day! PIE! COWBELL! CAKE!


  4. Happy Birthday!!!! And welcome to the club!!!

  5. Happy Birthday! I had a Burger King Club membership as well. Them was the days, huh? No more free fries or a burger for me these days, but I do get a generic card from my life insurance company each year. Makes me feel oh-so-special!

    Rising my glass of apple juice to you this morning :-)

  6. Happy birthday sweetum! I say you get to celebrate whenever you feel up to it next. And make it a good one!

    *slides a whopper down the counter*

    May it be a snood year full of rebellious rants.


  7. Happy Birthday! You can have your cake and eat it too! Thanks for always cutting straight to the heart of the matter and inspiring me daily. You are a gift to all of us.

  8. Sending big, big birthday hugs and love to YOU ♥ xxxxxx ♥

  9. Happy Birthday and lots of love being sent you way. You are amazing:)

  10. Happy Birthday! I'm not complaining about birthdays except for the rude number gravity's doing on my face. I'm still here, so I rejoice at each new year. It is a bummer, however, that you're "celebrating with chemo."


  11. OMG! I was also in the BK Club! I do remember the coupons for one free thing per month. July 4 (when NO ONE was in the restaurant because of parades picnics etc.) I went in to claim my FREE chocolate shake. It was awesome.

    In our house, the birthday kid was excused from chores and got to choose what we were having for dinner. I hope you will enjoy the same deal!

  12. Happy Birthday to you!!!! Your friends near and far celebrate your life and what you bring to us. Thank you for sharing it with me... for your late night visits and for your truly significant meaning you make for me with your insight, vulnerability, and blogging.

    love you. *wrapping you up in my love*


  13. I totally get that feeling of not wanting it to be a milestone - I remember my 45th birthday: 'I feel I should be glad. Glad that I am 45, that I am still alive. And yet it seems absurd that I should approach a birthday in my middle years and not expect to have been here to ‘celebrate’ it.'

    Here's to middle age for both of us, with fries. Love the snark. xx

  14. Happy birthday, Rachel! For me, every birthday is a milestone. It's my excuse to make everyone treat me extra special. :) Lots of love sent your way.

  15. Gosh what lovely messages from all of you. This is indeed a wonderful surprise. And it's so funny that so many of you remember the BK club! I used to like the coupons for a free milkshake - strawberry was my favorite. Still nothing said birthday like a whopper!

    Despite having to do chemo this morning, it's actually turned out to be a lovely day so far....... 41 is feeling pretty darn good right about now. xxxxx

  16. Rach, my love, I look forward to razzing you when you turn 50. When I turned 50, I was swallowing dilaudids & trying not to shoot myself before the back surgery to remove a herniated disk that was scheduled shortly thereafter. Sigh. Couldn't even drink champagne & felt like puking all day. At least the surgery was a complete success...

    When I turned 57 this year, my 3rd birthday after cancer, I bought myself a hula hoop -- which I can still keep going!! HAH! Take that, Cancer!

    I hope you can at least have a pie chaser with your chemo. With a little zofran on the side as needed.

    Oh, and by the way, you get EVEN SNARKIER in your 50's, so you have that to look forward to.


  17. Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy! I'm throwing HAPPY BIRTHDAY! happiness at you whether you like it or not! Kinda like that "Sonic smack" sound on the commercials. LOL! Have a blessed and happy and smiley and wonderful and love-filled day!

    *balloons confetti noisemakers*

    Happy cake-and-ice-cream day! ♥

  18. I think your 4th birthday attire looks strangely like Ronald McDonald's outfit.........did the Burger King know you were cheating on him?

    Yeah - who can we find to give us free burgers on our birthdays? Don't we at least merit a free burger for surviving?

    Have a Happy Birthday!


  19. Happy 41st Rachel!! Each birthday after the big C strikes is one worth celebrating.

    You are such a special person, and I'm so glad I got to know you through cyberspace.

    Lots of love your way...

  20. Happy Birthday you sweet lady. Everyday we should celebrate our birthdays. Each day brings new challenges and blessings. You heard from alot of friends today that dearly love you.[Not just today but everyday!] HUGS! Gail

  21. Happy Birthday!!
    As one already on the other side of 50, I can tell you it suits me just fine. I can't wait to harass you when you get there!!!

    I hope you had a splendid birthday and ate lots of cake.

    Your pictures are adorable. Ahhh the days of innocence...

    I hate that we both got cancer, but since we both did, I'm very happy to have met you and to count you as a friend. And I cherish all my friends a whole lot more these days.

    My best.

  22. Happy Birthday Rachel. Am also hoping to celebrate my 50th one day. Am looking at turning 46 in the fall after my radiation is completed. I think the ACS should send each of us a cake, or at least a cookie or a bit of pudding. No Justin Beiber crooning, thanks.

  23. Like Jody, I am feeling it is OK to be just a little sentimental. Birthdays are meant to be moments to cherish so, even after a dose of chemo, I am sure it will be Happy Birthday.
    Always in my thoughts xo

  24. I am so sorry I missed your birthday. It is an important day for me to celebrate too, for you have touched my life and left a mark. So, late as it is, I will celebrate, in some way, your birth today...because it has such meaning for me as I am sure it has for all who know you. Happy late 41st! Much love...nancy

  25. Happy Birthday - love the poem you linked... great post

  26. Happy late bday! I laughed out loud when I read this post...I am not a breast cancer survivor but created a site for my patients, so I always read blogs to see what I can improve on and include. Thanks for posting your very human stories. I will be putting your blog on my list of resources.
    Your Friend,
    Heather Flanagan

  27. Belated Happy Birthday! your post is interesting and it gave me a chance to know something about you. Thanks for sharing this!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.