Nashua NH, Feb 18 – You know what happens when you don’t die, and then you KEEP not dying?? Years keep getting added to your age! Who knew?? And it doesn’t stop!
Five years ago I blogged I’m 65! That’s *really* old (you’ll be amused). But to be honest, as this magic “decade” birthday approached I was getting creeped out. I’m not alone: upon turning 70 in 2004, Gloria Steinem, who had famously declared “This is what 40 looks like” and “This is what 50 looks like,” told Time, “This one has the ring of mortality.”
But then there she was a decade later, celebrating turning 80 by going to Botswana and riding elephants. Turns out 70 ain’t as approaching-the-end as it used to be.
And then there’s that shameless pair of 80-year-olds, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda: executive producers (and stars) of Grace and Frankie, which Wikipedia says has become the longest-running Netflix original series ever, at 94 episodes. (The photo is from the crazy-girl video they did a year ago for Wired, at age 80 and 81. Now they’re older, just like me.) (And you.)
Me? Well, the Tripit travel tracker says I’ve racked up 1.2 million miles in 25 countries; next month I’m adding Croatia, and in June my first lecture to Korea. Our movement has become global.
At home I’m thrilled to see formerly-newborn Zoe tearing up the courts in first grade, and to attend Mom’s 90th birthday party last summer, and to have beaten pre-diabetes by using apps and becoming active for the first time in my life. Yes, ME. I bought a treadmill last year – and I use it.
Change is possible – even after 65. Today my local YMCA “kicked me upstairs” from the Enhance Fitness program to their new, more strenuous “MX4 Active” program.
Thank you, good healthcare!
Last night I had dinner with my PCP, the famous Dr. Danny Sands, and today I wrote to my oncologist and urologist, David McDermott and Andrew Wagner, thanking them for all this.
Please, everyone, never forget: I am alive today thanks in part to great doctors and nurses, thanks in part to luck, thanks in part to an early immunotherapy that usually doesn’t work, and thanks in no small part to the fact that my care team encouraged patient participation, which led me to get invaluable advice from my online patient community. (Dr. McDermott said as much in my first BMJ essay.)
Let all the good things that have happened for me be examples of what we gain – and sometimes lose – when healthcare does or doesn’t achieve its potential. Let patients help!
Also born with me:
- Cybill Shepherd, of “Last Picture Show” and TV’s “Moonlighting.” Born the same day as me.
- John Hughes, director of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club.” Same day.
- Dunkin Donuts – same month. See the “DD 60” birthday cup in the cake photo above? It’s from this month a decade ago. “DD 60” – “DD” like me, and we were both 60 a decade ago. How appropriate!
Carolyn Thomas says
That’s how it works, Dave – you just keep having birthdays! Thanks for the link to the charming Wired video with Lily and Jane – what terrific role models for us all.
Happy 70th to you – you are exactly two months older than I am!
e-Patient Dave says
It’s fun up here – c’mon in!
Danny Sands says
Bart Carlson says
Happy Birthday! And, enjoy the journey!
Miguel A. Tovar says
Happy Birthday, Dave!
“ Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.”
From the famous poem ‘Ithaca’ by Constantine Cavafy.
Houston Galloway says
Awesome article. I’d like to think the Barbershop Harmony and the community associated with singing together had a small part also.
Dave deBronkart says
Yes, absolutely! In this post I focused on the medical aspects but my chorus was such a strong support.
George Carlisle says
I may only be three days younger, but I still look up to you! I was impressed by your connection with Cybil Shepard, until I realized I was born, almost to the minute, with Dr. J, Julius Erving!
e-Patient Dave says
Our connection with birthday partners is exactly as useful as our expertise in astrology. Great to hear from you, George.
(For those who don’t know, George was (among many other things) my first mentor at giving speeches oriented around audience relevance and impact.)