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  • Meridith O'Connor

happy birthday to me!

Once you get to know me you will quickly learn that my sister and I reference unending amounts of Seinfeld quotes and other remarks from favorite T.V. shows and movies. We joke about how we have “no original lines.” One of my (many!) favorite scenes is when Kramer says, “It feels like Tuesday,” and Newman replies, “Tuesday has no feel.” Well, today happens to be my birthday, 29 to be exact, and if 29 had a “feel,” I definitely don’t feel that number.

Looking back, 29 seemed so old to me. So mature, so established, and maybe at the time it was. Yet in today’s society, 29 looks a lot different compared to what it did 20 years ago. I may be mature but I still have so much growing to do. And when it comes to being established—well, let’s just say I can confirm that the two vertical lines that stand between my two brows are settling in quite nicely.


Whenever my birthday rolls around each year, I end up reflecting on my life with chronic illness. I don’t know if other people do that but to me, my diagnosis and birthday go hand-in-hand. I wasn’t born with myasthenia, but life without it seems so distant. Myasthenia is like having another appendage now. It’s simply my norm.


Funny how I’ve now become accustomed to a life with MG compared to when I was initially diagnosed. The beginnings of myasthenia were like moving to a new country. It was uncomfortable, foreign territory, and it was going to take time before I became familiar with the people, places, and language. Talk about distant.

My birthday this year will be a quiet one, which I do not necessarily mind. Here I am, 29 years old, cozied up in my little apartment, feeling incredibly grateful for the life I get to live. I may not exactly be where I thought I was going to be at 29 but hey, I never thought I would thrive with a rare chronic illness. I’m not necessarily the most adventurous person but taking a leap into this life with myasthenia and using it for good is one of the bravest things I have ever done. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I found my way. I hope you find yours too.

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