A Birthday Wish
“What do you want for your birthday?” It’s a simple question but one I was afraid to answer. Why? I don’t like asking for things I can’t have; I stew in disappointment.
Still, I thought for a few minutes and gave an honest answer: time. Now, with my birthday just a week away, December 17th, I know that exactly what I want.
“Yes, it’s the only thing I want, more time.”
He knew exactly what I meant. I wasn’t asking that someone play God. No, I wanted to stop rushing around for work, running errands, and going to doctors. I realized I needed time with the people I loves and doing things I enjoyed.
You see last year my wish was to live; to simple exist. For nearly two years, I went to innumerable doctors, had enough X-rays and scabs for my physicians to fear the level of radiation in my body. If you added it up, I probably donated the entire volume of blood in my body. I waited on nearly a half dozen biopsy results, was cut open four times and spent an eighth of my salary, or just about for medical bills and medication.
I suppose it was worth it because I’m still here; still fighting but alive. However, that simple question about my birthday wish reminded me I wasn’t living; I was, am just existing. I keep drifting right back into the lifestyle I had before I almost lost my life.
I thought I’d changed. I was more open with my friends and acquaintances about my illness, thinking I’d have more support. I even say down and did the toughest thing, spilled my guts in a memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House, about what if faced before last year. I rushed it to market when my agent failed to close a sale or even get back to me most of the time. I do so because I didn’t want to leave this Earth without sharing the message I felt I was meant to deliver; misdiagnosis kill but can be prevented.
I felt like I begged and pleaded for everyone I know to spread the word about my book, to buy a copy or to gift it to someone else. Yet, I watched the sales numbers and emails from strangers and realized the people who were supposed to nearest to me, dearest to me had let me down.
Desperate for the compassion and support I was lacking in my darkest hours, I reached out blogging and email to update my progress or lack thereof. I often got no response.
Disillusioned, I wondered many times over the last year why my life didn’t matter to people Id believed in, helped, and loved. I questioned why I had survived, if I was destined to battle my illness alone. I doubted if I had a purpose.
Every time I was at my lowest a small voice, I say God but you can call it what you want, told me I wasn’t done yet. I had more to do. It wasn’t my time to go. I was wrong. I had a select few people on my life and that’s all I needed.
So, the last time I heard the whisper I decided to let go of those who didn’t supper me in lieu of the few people who did. I released myself from the pressure of sales numbers and decided to do my best sharing my message, no matter what. I vowed to make better use of my time.
Now, all I want this year is more time to share what I’ve learned about chronic illness, life and death, faith and medical mistakes with those who need it. I’d like to figure out how to take more time away from work to be with the people who get and support me and my mission; that loved me even when I didn’t have one.
About the Author:
Nika C. Beamon is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House, released in 2014. In 2009, her first non-fiction book, I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful, Single Black Women Speak Out was published by Chicago Review Press. She’s also the author of two mystery novels.