Recently, my husband and I turned 49 years old. Yes, we are exactly the same age.
Adam and I discovered this on our first date while we sat at a tiny table in a popular restaurant in Toronto’s gay village. We were just another couple getting to know each other, talking for hours. We chatted about our careers, funny details about our families, our favourite places to travel and where we’d still like to go.
“When were you born?” I asked him. He told me December 6.
“No way,” I said.
“Yeah, December 6,” he said.
I told him it was also my birthday.
So then I asked, “What year?” Adam said, “1968.”
I saw stars. You hear about this in the movies, but it really happened to me.
Full disclosure, I am a very sceptical person, so I asked Adam to produce identification. We were set up by a mutual friend, so I somehow thought that details about me, including my birthday, were shared in advance.
Sure enough, his ID proved that we are birthday twins.
Many people our age feel sad, depressed or even indifferent about getting older. Perhaps they feel that they haven’t achieved certain life goals or don’t have a partner to love. Maybe they’ve experienced tragedy and their life has taken a sudden turn.
For me, I’m happy for every year I get to share my birthday with my husband.
Back in the fall of 2016, my husband was diagnosed with Glioblastoma (GBM), the most aggressive type of brain cancer.
After he complained about hearing and memory loss, as well as feelings of exhaustion, a CT scan and MRI at the hospital proved that it was GBM.
The doctor shared the grim news with him along with all of the disheartening facts and figures.
Adam was alone in a hospital room with no one by his side but a man in the next bed recovering from back surgery, and his visiting wife.
Fighting tears and sounding scared, he told me as I drove down to see him. When I arrived, we hugged and I said that everything would be okay. From that moment, we began our mission to surround ourselves with the best medical professionals and support. Adam was 47 years old.
Over the next few months we experienced a lot. Two weeks following his diagnosis, he had a full craniotomy and the tumour was successfully removed. With 47 staples in his head, he left the hospital the next day and we began his recovery.
Most of our days were spent taking our mini poodle Ella for long walks, enjoying quiet time with our teenage children, and watching lots of old movies on TV.
At the same time, our daughter was preparing her university applications, and our son was beginning Grade 9. It was an important year for them and we wanted to help them through it.
We welcomed so many visitors, flowers, gift baskets and prepared meals. Honestly, I enjoyed the break from cooking. All of this made our house feel full of love and we welcomed every bit of it.
The weeks following were filled with radiation and chemotherapy treatments at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. It also marked our 48th birthdays.
Fifteen months have passed since his diagnosis and Adam remains cancer-free.
It’s impossible for anyone to predict what the future holds, but one thing is for certain: We are already planning our 50th birthday bash.