From the whomb
I find it very hard to believe that it’s been twenty-nine years since the day I was born; it feels like with everything I have been through and accomplished in life I should be so much older. 6 Schools. 13 different places I found myself living. 39 Hospitalizations. 2 marriages. WOW! Just reread that and felt overwhelmed. I guess it’s why certain people over the years have said I have an ‘old soul’, because most people haven’t gone through in their entire lifetime what I have had to endure in my short twenty-nine years, especially with regards to my battle with Cystic Fibrosis.
I called my mother last night to get some details of the night I was born. I also can’t believe that it was the first time we were having the conversation. I know almost every detail about my being diagnosed with CF at three months, but knew almost nothing other than the time of when I was born. I guess this in a way is symbolic of how much the disease has captured my attention and the attention of those around me who watched me grow up. My Mom said it was a rough Christmas that year because she was uncomfortable from being 9 months pregnant. She was so excited though as with her first child, my big sister, Kayla. She recalls having a very good pregnancy, with no issues whatsoever.
December 30th, 1986. I googled what the weather was like that day because Mom didn’t remember. It was -4c, cloudy and very high winds. My mother, Charmaine was admitted to St. Claire’s Hospital after her water broke early that morning. With very little happening, Dr. Sevier’s intern decided to start her on the drip to try and get things moving along, and soon after decided to have an epidural. It was soon time for her to push, but things took a scary turn and Mom remembers very little after that. My heart rate was dropping rapidly, and it was determined that the cord was wrapped around my neck, cutting off oxygen supply to my brain. Things happened pretty fast after that Mom said, as they literally reached in and pulled me out, unwrapping the cord along the way.
At 19:33, weighing 8lbs 9oz, Jamie Lee Francis Chafe was born into the world.
Mom said it took about half an hour for me to transition from a blueberry to a bright, peach colored baby because of the issue of being corded. She was very scared but once she held me in her arms, saw that I was ok, she says that it was the ‘greatest relief’. Not knowing she was expecting a boy, she was excited to now have a girl and a boy. And a mommy’s boy she got!! Little did she know at that time that there would be more of those uneasy moments throughout the life of her precious baby boy. I guess maybe a little foreshadowing? So that’s that! How I came into the world.
I discussed in the blog prior to this one how difficult my 28th year was, so it’s been really difficult for me to look forward to turning 29 with anticipation. With that said, nothing pisses me off more than hearing people complaining and literally dreading turning another year older. Growing old is a privilege denied to many people. So yea, I have had a very shitty year, but to be honest I am still in shock I made it through and I am blessed to see another birthday.
It’s funny cause I remember being a young boy, 8-9 years old when I learned the reality of the disease I suffer from, and at that time of course the average life expectancy was nowhere near what it is now, and I remember thinking, “If I live to be thirty, I will be ok with that!” Kids at that time were lucky to start kindergarten, so I was already beating the odds, and it appears I am still doing so. When I was sick back in 2012 I was so convinced that that was it for me, that was the end and here I am, almost 4 years later and still kicking.
As I grow older though, so do my fellow friends and fellow war mates. Having friends with Cystic Fibrosis was really rough this year. I lost a total of 14 friends, Megs and Cory taking the greatest tole on me because they had such a direct impact on my life and who I am. I guess words are words, and no one will ever grasp how much I mean it when I say that I continue my own war with this disease in their honor. I fight with it every day not only for myself, but for them. Because even though fighting everyday with this demon is a challenge and can be very exhausting and I would just rather not have to deal with it sometimes, I STILL get to deal with it. In my own dark moments, I complain to myself about how shitty life is, and their defeat reminds me of what’s important. And that is that I am still breathing. For them. For me.
I’m pretty sure this time next year I will be having my mid-life crisis. I think the reality that I will have made it to see 3-0 will just be a very overwhelming experience for me. I am already working on big plans to celebrate, (please God I am still here) with my family and friends in Las Vagas. I’m really hoping that the people who mean a lot to me will be able to make the journey to help me celebrate the milestone and nothing short of a miracle.
The year ahead
But first I have to get through twenty-nine. My biggest goal for the coming year, and I guess goes along with a new year’s resolution is just to get back to ME. I spent 171 days in the hospital this past year so I feel like I have lost a little bit of myself during that time, and I want it back. I want to get back into reading as much as I did because I find it really good for my soul and meditation. I haven’t been to the gym or walking since I can remember, so I really want to get back into that. I am giving up soda. (Some reading this who really know me are laughing), but I am serious. I hate how it makes me feel and I’ve seen what it can do to rust on a car, ok, so I really don’t need that shit in my body.
Since I can remember I have wanted to write a memoir. And thanks to my Aunt Heather who has already written one for sending me some tools to do so, I plan to do that in 2016. Since I can remember I have wanted to write my story on paper because I truly believe that it will be inspiring to others. To overcome what I have in my lifetime hasn’t been easy but it has shown that we can get through a lot more than what we think we can, and we can rise above spiritually the hardships that befall us in life to make up better people.
My health has to become priority again, which means I have to find a better balance between work, pleasure and personal life. After all, I am no good to no one if I am in a hospital bed. And I do know that emotional and spiritual health have a direct correlation to physical health and well-being so if I get back to doing my self-care then I think that will give my body the boost it needs to get me on the right track to Vegas!
A heartfelt Thank-You
There are no words to express the gratitude towards the people; family, friends, acquaintances I see at the grocery store who ask about my health, people reading this blog – How does one manage to find the words to say Thank-You for the love and support I have and still receive on a regular basis? It’s like the words don’t exist in the English language to express my gratitude to have you all along for the ride. I feel like I have a bunch of warriors standing at my side so that when I can’t perform at my potential, you guys pick up the slack and make life worth living. So if thank-you is what can be said, though I feel it’s not enough…..Thank You. From the bottom of my heart.
Please raise a glass with me to 29, and 2016!!!!
Peace and love,