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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Belated Valentine to My Body

Dear Body,

In our 63 years, I have often forgotten to thank you or to say how much I love you. I do love you and I have come to admire so many of your features. While others of my generation look in the mirror and frown at the wrinkles on their face, the imperfections in their skin tone, thinning hair, and flabby chins I laugh. These superficial things mean little to me.

I remember when you and I were young and I saw you for the first time in a mirror. You were quite a charmer then. I smiled to see the blonde baby curls that transformed over the years to brown with golden strands and I smile today when I see that gold has turned to silver.

You have done many hard and complex tasks for me over the years. You have endured my anger and my frustration at the things you cannot do and repaid me with a gentleness. Perhaps the thing I admire the most about you is your ability to heal and to learn new and different ways of responding when you have been assaulted.

Without fibrinogen you have faced many challenges that most other bodies have not confronted. You have adapted to blood that will not clot and made me trust you when others told me you would be unfaithful. When the doctors judged you as being weak you proved them wrong. They said you would desert me in less than 10 years and when you did not they said you would leave before we had spent 20 years together. So now after 63 years, I love you even more. I am so grateful for the gifts you continue to give me.

I regret that I ever doubted you. I am sorry that I have wasted so much of our time together worrying about you.

You have never lied to me even though I have often ignored your warnings. Yes, I have even come to value the pain and fatigue you give me. You tell me when to slow down, get some rest, and when to call for medical assistance. I apologize for the times I have not paid attention to your needs, the weight I have gained, the times I have delayed treating an injury, and my stubborn streak that has overruled you.

Last week when I sat in the doctor’s office filling out the 5-page medical history, I checked off the list that is your resume: bleeding disorder, stroke, arthritis, seizure, high blood pressure, and cataracts. What great life experience you have had, I thought to myself. So, with confidence I check off the box that says “good,” beside overall health. Then I smile.