The Food Thang, and My Birthday

I’ve loved birthdays since I was a small child. The day always seemed special, as if adding another official year to my calendar changed the entire course of the universe. I never once lied about my age because to deny my experience is to deny my life. The only time I skipped the party was 1998, when I was diagnosed with cancer two days prior.

Because of my current compromised immune system, I’m not supposed to eat fresh fruit or vegetables unless they’re cooked or peeled. Even a small amount of bad bacteria can make me very sick. However, I get a bit of a reprieve the last five days of my chemo cycle before the next infusion. Salad! Strawberries! Fresh salsa! And restaurants, which for the first sixteen days of my cycle are considered high risk.

This year, my birthday falls within those five safe-ish days. I can eat out and celebrate — as much as one can celebrate in the middle of chemo.

I’m 66 today, I have cancer — and dammit, I don’t plan on leaving this earthly plane anytime soon.

May as bring out the balloons and party hats.



Author: MeredithLaskow

Artist, writer, and unrepentant nerd girl.

14 thoughts on “The Food Thang, and My Birthday”

  1. I’m so glad that your birthday falls within this safe-ish period! I’m sure that all of the hearts of all of your friends are celebrating with you everywhere that we are. In fact, we’ll be planting some of our garden later today…and the colour scheme this year just happens to be orange and purple, so you will be in my heart and thoughts with each flower we plant into the ground…symbols of hope and celebration of life. Happy birthday dear Meredith! Enjoy every bite and blessing of this glorious day. Xoxoxoxo

      1. We started with orange marigolds, then some purple pansies, and the colour scheme grew from there. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, but it turned out quite beautiful. I’ll post pictures later. Every time I look at it, I can’t help but think of you, so yes, I guess my heart has christened this year’s garden our “Meredith Garden”. 🙂 xoxo

        1. I’m even more honored! When southern California is hotter than than the suburbs of hell this summer, I’ll imagine myself in lovely temperate Canada in “my” colorful garden with you, my beautiful friend ♥

  2. That’s great that the timing worked so you can actually go out and eat great food! Enjoy the day, the food, and celebrate your day!! Happy Birthday! ❤️❤️❤️

  3. Oh Meredith, I am so happy that today is a day where you can go out, where you an eat special food, where just maybe you can forget fighting the cancer for a day and just be a beloved woman enjoying a wonderful Saturday. I’ll go put on my purple shirt to celebrate with you!

  4. Yay Meredith and Happy [belated] Birthday, girl!!! I can’t believe I missed your birthday this year! Not sure why I left your name off the calendar when I transferred all the dates from last year. Sorry. Anyway, so glad to hear you could enjoy some good food …I hope the experience will help sustain you until the next “safe” days. I will send a “belated” card and another “get well” card is already in the mail. Keep it up. Then you can come to my birthday celebration of survival in Sept.
    I agree 100% with your opening remarks here about birthdays and age. I could not have said it better myself. Love you.

    1. Love you, Kathy! I’ll be doing radiation in September but hopefully won’t be too tired to attend your birthday party! — although it will be hard to beat last year’s blue moon 😉

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