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A Chronic Birthday

by InvisiblyMe
Various coloured balloons are at the top. Below is the title : A chronic birthday

It’s my birthday & I’ll cry if I want to. I’m not really going to cry. Not yet anyway, there’s still cake left. But I won’t lie, I do find birthdays a little rough. I wrote last year about birthdays with chronic illness and the sentiments still hold today. 

A Chronic Chaotic Week

I’ll be keeping this short and bittersweet. I’ll be honest, it’s been a bad week. Not bad like many people are going through right now, so sure, things could be worse. But it has been utterly exhausting. I feel like I’ve barely stopped all week. I know this is going to catch up and knock me over, but I can’t take any down time yet because there’s still so much to do. It’s been an endless stream of problems, hassles, worries, things to do & things going wrong. 

I’ve been without a laptop this week, so I’ve been rather lost without it. I do everything on there, including blogs, work and emails. Needless to say, things have slipped. I’ve been doing as much as I can for my parents, who are also shielding, so I’m the one going out doing the grocery shopping, going into town to run errands, sorting prescriptions and so on. I’ve not been eating well because I’m just too exhausted and in too much pain to do anything by the evening.

It’s felt like an endless game of whack-a-mole trying to get things done, where anything that could go wrong has gone wrong. And now I am ridiculously behind on a lot of things. 

I also had to take poor little Virgil to the vets yesterday. Unfortunately we couldn’t borrow a cat carrier from the vets this time due to coronavirus, so getting him there & back was a bit of a nightmare. He had a very bad tooth that was infected and had come loose, so it began sticking upward. This was the only big incisor he had left at the front. His mouth was swollen and you could tell he wasn’t quite himself on Thursday afternoon when I spotted the problem. I got him the first appointment possible on Friday, took him in and they agreed to remove the tooth because it was so infected and dangerous, though apparently they’re trying to do as little as possible there because of coronavirus. I’ll reserve my thoughts on that one! Over £200 but money well spent to get the little baby better. 

Anyway, I went back to pick him up a little while later and he was pretty out of it on the pain meds. He stilled looked cute, despite the blood-mingled dribbling. He’s also on antibiotics and clearly something didn’t agree well with him. I had to have my mum in the backseat to hold him. The car was boiling hot (one of the hottest days so far and we’re in my tin can of a car with no a/c). Then Virgil poops himself and it goes everywhere. I mean everywhere. 

We got home, I spent a while trying to clean the cat and then my car, which nearly made me sick myself, then I had to rush back into town to continue other errands. Saturday morning I had to go back out, so I picked up some extra groceries and bought a pet carrier so I can take him for a check-up on Monday. At least this time there should be no dodgy cat tummy!

I also had a bowel twist on Friday morning too. Luckily a catheter helped to straighten things out so I could avoid A&E. Spending the morning shoving a tube into my stomach was not overly pleasant, but I’m thinking of putting it on my dating profile as a party trick. My insides & the stoma aren’t quite right now, but it’s hanging in there for the moment. I just feel like a ticking time bomb waiting for it to twist again. Maybe my bowel is dancing to some music I just can’t hear?

The Reality Of Invisible Chronic Pain

There’s a lot of catching up to do. Thinking of getting everything done is laughable.

Now, I’m telling you all of this as a little mini me update because I wanted to show that you can look fine while being in agony and bone-deep exhausted. I also wanted to touch upon how you can try to pace and rest and look after yourself, but sometimes life has other plans. Sometimes we just have to keep going, because we don’t have others who can help or because there are simply too many things happening at once. These things happen and it might throw a big spanner in the works of your self-care, but don’t let it derail you entirely.

A photo of me, taken as a selfie, in my room with a skull canvas piece of art behind me. The walls are white and it's a bright photo as sunlight is coming through the windows.I've got brown/red hair that's just below my shoulders. I'm weight a beige Bambi t-shirt. It was taken when I was in chronic pain & absolutely exhausted though I look fine in the photo.
Never too old for Bambi. I look ‘fine’ & that’s the nature of invisible illness.

A Chronic Illness Birthday

Birthdaying with chronic illness isn’t always the easiest of occasions. There may be a degree of resentment for not having friends to remember it’s our birthday, the feeling of missing out on the joyous celebrations you’d hope to have, the feelings of loneliness if you’re spending it alone. Even if you have people in your offline life, you may be lacking those deeper connections you may have had pre-illness, when you were all on a similar level. With chronic illness, the playing field changes, others don’t understand, friends disappear… nothing is quite the same.

It can tarnish a birthday, but I think part of the problem is the build up and all of the expectations that come with birthdays. It’s a long list of ‘shoulds’ and ideas in our heads about how birthdays should look. We start to want those things, and when we can’t have them or they don’t happen, it’s not surprising we feel off kilter. Maybe you feel frustrated, resentful, angry, lonely or simply fed up, or maybe it’s a mix of everything. It’s okay to feel however you feel, you don’t need to feel guilty about being miserable or down on your birthday. 

Facing The Chronic Birthday Blues

When you boil it down, the whole notion of time is bizarre. It’s a social construct, as are birthdays. When you think about it, it’s pretty crazy that once every 365 days, we call it a birthday and there are balloons, cake, music, friends, parties, presents in shiny paper, days out, cards and well wishes from fiends and family. At least that’s what convention says. 

Of course we can do whatever we wish on our own birthdays, but therein lies a bit of the problem with chronic illness. We may not be able to plan or we may not feel up to doing anything other than surviving the day, much as we do every other day. But that doesn’t stop us from wishing we could. 

If you’re feeling shitty when your birthday rolls around, embrace it. Don’t feel you have to put on a brave face and recite all the things you’re grateful for while gritting your teeth. 

This year I just feel shattered and a bit fed up. I want to rest, I want a day of doing nothing. This week has made me relish the idea of slowing down after having to push so hard, making myself all the more ill. I mostly just feel tired and I can’t think straight with the pain. 

It’s your birthday and you can cry if you want to. 

Now, I obviously don’t want anyone upset or recommend crying on a birthday, but there’s no denying that it can be a disappointing or upsetting time for many. I’m fighting back against the need to hide how we’re feeling and take it graciously in our stride just as we feel we have to with everything else. For the one day a year, we can be honest if we’re feeling a bit shitty. Let’s take that one day and go from there, because being a bit more honest when we’re doing it tough might just take some pressure off ourselves.

After we get through the hurdle of how shitty it all is, we can rest. Then we can pick ourselves back up, say f*ck it, and get back on track. You deserve to have good days in your life, despite chronic illness. You deserve to feel loved, to feel fulfilled, to feel hopeful. And you absolutely deserve to start taking back a little control if your life where you can. Make more time and space in your world for the things you enjoy. 

After all of the busyness of late, and after spending my birthday morning split between tidying up and working, I’m most looking forward to an hour or two to do nothing. To just sit, rest, maybe read my book with a slice of cake. I don’t have presents to open so I bought myself a new Alice in Wonderland mug from the Disney site that I’ve been eyeing for the longest time. I love it! I also picked up a necklace on sale in Sainsbury’s (£3 bargain!) when I bought my cake.

Little treats for ourselves can pick us up. Don’t wait for others to do it, especially if you don’t have offline friends.

I’ve had cards from relatives in the UK, an email from relatives in Australia, and a card I bought for my parents to give to me, and I’m grateful for every message. They mean a lot to me, as do all of the comments on InvisiblyMe and the emails with my online friends, in and out of the blogging world.

It’s easier said than done, but forget about those that have forgotten about you, and focus on those that haven’t. Don’t forget the online community and your friends there because they count, too.

A Slice Of Chronic Cake, Anyone?

I bought myself a big chocolate cake this year so I’d be honoured if you’d like to share a piece of cake* with me today. I’d like to say a big thank you to all of you in the blogging community and my online friends for making the online world such an awesome place.

A photo of my birthday cake on the dining table. It's on a gold cardboard case. It's a simple large round chocolate cake, with chocolate curls around the outside. On top is a square of chocolate and some lines of darker icing. There are three lit candles. To the left is the Wonderland mug I bought myself.


Stay safe, everyone. Sending my love. Have a relaxing Sunday & a positive week ahead if you can. 

Caz ♥

*Virtual cake is fat-free, gluten-free, lactose-free & suitable for everyone!

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Nourish August 9, 2020 - 3:49 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I think it’s super important for people to realize that just because someone looks “fine” it doesn’t mean that they actually are. Happy Birthday, and I hope you feel better (your cat too). Your cake looks delicious by the way!

InvisiblyMe August 10, 2020 - 1:19 pm

Absolutely, there’s often more going on beneath the surface.
Thank you very much lovely! Have a great week ???? x

luisa zambrotta August 9, 2020 - 3:53 pm

i’m so sorry for your whole situation and iI don’t know if wishing you “happy birthday” may seem a little inappropriate

InvisiblyMe August 10, 2020 - 1:20 pm

It’s a bittersweet birthday but thank you very much, Luisa. I appreciate your thoughts  ♥ How are you at the moment? I hope you’re keeping as well as possible and that you have a good week ahead x

ashleyleia August 9, 2020 - 3:57 pm

Sending hugs and love! And chocolate cake always makes things better, even if it’s only a little bit. ❤️❤️❤️

InvisiblyMe August 10, 2020 - 1:22 pm

By that definition, more cake is needed! ???? Thank you, Ashley. Hugs right back at’cha. I hope you’re doing as well as possible & fingers crossed all went well with your application for disability, adding financial worries during the pandemic is the last thing you need.xx

D. Wallace Peach August 9, 2020 - 3:58 pm

I wish you a happy birthday anyway. Sending light and love. <3

violaetcetera August 10, 2020 - 1:45 pm

Happy belated Birthday. You are not alone, I’ve had bad birthdays because of my illness as well.You are so right, we are free to spend this day as we like to.
I hope things are getting better for you soon. xo

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 9:50 am

I’m sorry you know what it’s like too, Viola. Thank you for the birthday wishes. I hope you’re keeping as well as possible & that the week ahead is kind to you  ♥ xx

InvisiblyMe August 10, 2020 - 1:22 pm

That’s very kind, thank you! I hope you have a great week ahead ???? x

Lady Quixote/Linda Lee August 9, 2020 - 4:00 pm

Happy Birthday! You look absolutely beautiful. I am amazed by the way you keep going, regardless of how crazy your life gets!

InvisiblyMe August 10, 2020 - 1:23 pm

Aw that’s very kind of you to say, thank you lovely. I hope you’re keeping as well as possible ???? xx

Khushi August 9, 2020 - 4:01 pm

Happy birthday!!!
I can understand what it feels like to not have friends, with whom you can enjoy the day. I’m at the same place.
Nothing like an amazing chocolate cake with a good podcast, playlist or book!
Thank you so much for adding ALT text to your images! I’ve been following you since a while and being visually-impaired i welcome and love the change!!

InvisiblyMe August 10, 2020 - 1:47 pm

Oh Khushi, I’m so sorry you know what it’s like on the lack of friends or social life side of things. I do think it can make us more self-reliant and independent, but sometimes it also just hurts and feels rather lonely. Never forget the online community counts for a lot, and there are plenty of people here, myself included, that can relate and are right there with you, if ever you want to reach out. I’ll make sure to send a slice of virtual cake your way!

I’m so glad the ALT text is helpful for you. Not all of my older posts have it but I’ve been slowly going through every post to make sure all images are described so as to be as inclusive. Thank you for the comment, and I really do hope you can have the best week possible ???? xx

Money saving girl August 9, 2020 - 4:11 pm

So sad you had a tough time last week an in general with your chronic illness. I hope you can have a peaceful day today and rest a bit. Wishing you a better year ahead. Hugs and kisses! Stay strong! You are amazing!

InvisiblyMe August 10, 2020 - 3:06 pm

Aww that’s lovely of you, thank you very much! I really appreciate that – I hope the week ahead is kind to you, Martyna.x

tidalscribe August 9, 2020 - 4:12 pm

Happy birthday and best wishes for a much better week and a cooling of the heat wave.

InvisiblyMe August 10, 2020 - 3:35 pm

Thanks lovely – I hope you have a good week, too! ???? xx

johnrieber August 9, 2020 - 4:27 pm

So sorry to read about your week…and thank you for helping us understand what you have to experience, so we can be more understanding.

InvisiblyMe August 10, 2020 - 4:53 pm

I feel like I’m moaning & being overly negative when I show a little honesty in how things have been, but it’s important to do it at least occasionally because we won’t be alone in feeling however we feel. Thanks for the comment, John – I hope you’re keeping safe & well, have a great week ????

Dolphin Girl August 15, 2020 - 11:21 pm

You’re also then helping others feel less alone. And we all care about you Caz. Not sure why it is commenting from this account but oh well…

Masha August 9, 2020 - 4:42 pm

Happy Birthday!!!!! hey that chocolate cake looks great, sending lots of love and blessings to you. <3

InvisiblyMe August 10, 2020 - 4:58 pm

Thank you very much lovely. I’ll save you a slice of cake! ???? xx

annieasksyou August 9, 2020 - 4:43 pm

As you know, we’re all wishing you the best and hoping you’re able to rest after that dreadful week and enjoy every morsel of your delicious chocolate cake. And I thank you for offering a slice. Yours is the only chocolate cake I can savour (I spelled that in Brit-write for you), as chocolate gives me migraines. I’m so glad that’s not one of your triggers!

A very big, safe, socially distanced birthday hug for you from across the pond.

Annie xx

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 9:55 am

You can feel free to use Ameri-write – I often end up writing in American English or using American pronunciation for certain things, perhaps because I typically only read and watch American stuff! I count myself very lucky that chocolate isn’t a trigger for my chronic migraines – I think that would be the straw that broke the camels back for me! I’m so sorry you can’t enjoy it without paying for it afterwards. Can you eat something like plain sponge cake, maybe with jam? I personally hate jam but at least you’d be able to have something sweet and cakey. Hugs right back at’cha, Annie. Thank you lovely  ♥ xx

Liz August 9, 2020 - 5:49 pm

Birthday wishes Caz and thank you for your offer of virtual chocolate cake.
I will envision my slice and tast of it, but I hope you are enjoying that cake too.

I have just been burnt out this. Partial burnt out though. Its felt a very long week and this weekend was to have alone time and do nothing than dvd’s.

Virtual hugs. X

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 5:00 pm

I’m sorry it’s been a tough week for you too, Liz. It sounds like you’re in need of a break, probably a longer one than just a weekend, too. I hope you did manage to do nothing but chill and absorb your brain in some DVDs. I really do hope this week treats you kindly so you don’t continue to get increasingly burnt out ???? xx

Tamara Yancosky August 9, 2020 - 4:52 pm

Happy Birthday!!! ???????????? I wanted t… wait… there’s cake left??? If I do a little tap dance for ya, may I have a (((big))) piece??? Sorry, I’m mesmerized at the mo… wait… there’s cake left???

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 9:56 am

I bought myself a big ‘un because I go for quantity over quality, so cheaper but bigger and I cover it in chocolate and toffee sauce. There’s plenty left. You can have all the slices you want TamTam! xx

susiesopinions August 9, 2020 - 5:01 pm

Boy, my heart goes out to you. You are always in my prayers. Birthdays are an ordinary day for me. Hubby doesn’t do anything. At least 11 years without a present. They just come, and go

And Yes, I would love ???? to join you in sharing a slice

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 9:59 am

I’m sorry birthday have long since been rather uninspiring, for lack of a better word, for you. If hubby doesn’t do anything, do you try to treat yourself? We don’t need to wait for just our birthday for that. I know it’s harder with the pandemic because you guys quite like eating out, but maybe there are other things you can still do, little self-treats because you’re worth celebrating, Susie! Sending a huge slice of cake your way ???? xx

James Viscosi August 9, 2020 - 5:16 pm

I’m sorry it was such a rough time, but that’s good news about Virgil, at least. I’m glad that got taken care of! The best thing about virtual cake is that there’s always more for everyone. Happy birthday!

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 10:00 am

I know you know what it’s like with pets, both cats and dogs, when you just want them better. I’m really glad he’s doing okay now. He’s a toothless wonder but he’s getting back to his care-free self! Thanks for the wishes, James. Take good care of yourself my friend.xx

Despite Pain August 9, 2020 - 5:24 pm

What a week you’ve had, Caz. Hope your bowel stops dancing. You are right about what people see compared to what is really going on. I sometimes think it might be for the best though. Do we want to look how we feel?

Poor Virgil! And poor you having to clean up. Oh, I don’t envy you that job.

Birthdays!!! One day in the year to celebrate getting older. Celebrate getting older??? I’m in my mid fifties, I don’t like getting older. Hmmm…if we were able to go back the way, it might be worthy of a bigger celebration!

Caz, you sound a bit like me – chronic illness changes everything, including friends and celebrations. I treat birthdays as just another day. Then on the day, there’s no disappointments and if I feel up to it, I can do something I want to do (but it does give the perfect excuse for a nice treat)

Thank you for sharing that delicious looking cake. You even made it gluten free so I’m having an extra large slice. Sending love – enjoy whatever you do with your day.

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 4:39 pm

“I sometimes think it might be for the best though. Do we want to look how we feel?” – You know, I’ve never looked at it that way. That’s such a good point. If we looked like how we felt we’d scare everyone on sight!

I’m sorry you know what it’s like with chronic illness changing the playing field so dramatically. It seems rather sad that the joy of birthdays get taken away, but I’m like you in trying to treat it as a regular day so as to not be disappointed (though sometimes that disappointment creeps in regardless). You can have as many extra large slices of virtual gluten-free cake as you like, Liz, and some virtual chocolate & toffee sauce, too!  ♥ xx

mimionlife August 9, 2020 - 5:33 pm

So sorry about your bad week. I pray today will be a better today. I pray you will enjoy a blessed birthday.

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 4:39 pm

Thank you very much, Mimi. How’re you doing? I hope the week is treating you well so far ???? xx

Aushi August 9, 2020 - 5:43 pm

Happy birthday dear ????????????????????god bless you????????????????????????????????????????

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 4:48 pm

Thank you very much, Aushi ????

gemmaorton August 9, 2020 - 5:46 pm

Happy Birthday! You know I’d share a slice of cake with you if I could! I’ll have some chocolate in celebration for you instead ????
I hope you and Virgil have a much better and more rested week. Take some you time and chill with a book if you can.
I don’t like the pressure of birthdays and new year, or Christmas really. We should treat ourselves and our friends any time we feel the urge.
Take care and stay safe. X

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 4:49 pm

Any excuse for chocolate is a good excuse ???? I agree with you on taking away those pressures and treating ourselves & others whenever we want to, however works best for us. Thanks for the lovely comment, Gemma. I hope you’re able to keep cool in this melting heatwave! xx

Blogging_with_Bojana August 9, 2020 - 6:16 pm

The disease may be invisible but you’re anything but.

What the hell, cry if you want to. I did today. A lot. So there….

I cried for myself, for friends who stopped being friends, the ones who disappeared (and I’ve had plenty of those). I feel better now. I don’t have a cake here, but I’ve got wine, so I’ll toast for you.

Happy birthday, beautiful, and many happy returns (hopefully no more bad twists).

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 5:07 pm

Oh Bo, I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling like that, and that you know what it’s like with so-called friends and difficult situations. I hate to think you’ve been crying. I actually feel too burnt out to cry. I wonder if it’ll just be building up and eventually the damn will burst. It can be therapeutic to let it out, if you can. I’m always around if ever you want to chat. No pressure, but if ever you feel you want someone to be there, even just to listen, just drop me an email. Drink your wine, make sure to stock up on some chocolatey treats, and be kind to yourself, as cliche as it sounds. Fuck those that have walked away, fuck those that have made your life more difficult, fuck all the schools you’ve had problems with and fuck all the shit that keeps happening. Focus on the good and on getting through all of this. By the way, I loved your latest piece, about the wind and being blown away. I wish I could let go enough to do that, too ???? xx

Ocean Ofelia August 9, 2020 - 6:58 pm

Some days just suck and days don’t discriminate between birthdays and regular days. I am quite pleased you were able to enjoy yourself despite it all. Hooray for the healing powers of chocolate cake and fabulous mugs! Peace to you!

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 5:08 pm

You’re right, some days just suck, that’s all there is to it! Thanks for the comment – have yourself a great week ????

gaillovesgod August 9, 2020 - 7:00 pm

Happy Birthday, Caz! Sorry for any discomfort or pain!
I pray God allows you so many blessed moments!
Thanks for sharing your cake! (Love <3 the disclaimer)
Hope kitty is doing better! I bet he thanks you!
Me and God love you!!

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 5:08 pm

Thank you very much, sweet Gail. I really appreciate your kindness. How’re you doing? I hope you’re keeping as well as possible and staying safe. Sending lots of love your way across the ocean ???? xx

Kevin Davis August 9, 2020 - 7:20 pm

Belated Happiest Birthday. May all the chaos subside sooner. Let the peace tranquil in you. Have a blessed year ahead and may this day keep repeating for many and many more years ahead. I wish a speedy recovery for the kitten too. Lots of love

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 5:09 pm

That’s very kind of you, Kevin, thank you! I hope you’re having a good week so far, take care & stay safe ????

da-AL August 9, 2020 - 8:00 pm

Happy birthday dear Caz! You hair as well as the rest of you indeed looks marvelous 🙂 You’ve been caring for others, getting round to yourself last — & here you are in this post, making sure we’re all ok too. You are truly lovely inside & out <3 Wishing you a year of vibrant health & happiness ahead.

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 5:44 pm

Aw that’s so kind of you, da-AL, thank you! I hope you’re keeping as well as possible – Have yourself a lovely week ???? xx

Sam August 9, 2020 - 8:51 pm

Love you Caz and I’m sending you a big birthday hug. You are a beautiful soul inside and out.

This week is my hubby’s birthday. He does so much caring for me and I so want to make his day special….however we all know “special” in the chronic illness world means something very different to the norm. I have bought him presents online but he gad to buy gift bags for me to put them in as I can’t wrap presents. He also has bought a card for me to give him (with strict instructions on the style I wanted for him????)

Ive ordered food online but basically the day will be very quiet, just the two of us sitting at home watching a movie and eating cake.

I love your cake and I hope you enjoyed every mouthful. Xx

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 5:48 pm

Happy (belated) Birthday to your hubby!! ???? Chronic illness birthdays may be completely different, but we can still enjoy some of the small things. I love the way you two work together to make it work, thinking outside the box and around the problems to reach a solution. I’m sure he enjoyed the gifts and the day, simply because you’re there to spend it with him, Sam. I hope you had a peaceful week together and enjoyed a good movie. Of course cake always makes things better too ???? Sending love xx

Sandee August 9, 2020 - 9:09 pm

♪♫Happy Birthday to you,♪♫
♪♫Happy Birthday to you,♪♫
♪♫Happy Birthday Dear Caz,♪♫
♪♫Happy Birthday to you.♪♫

InvisiblyMe August 11, 2020 - 5:49 pm

What a beautiful voice you have, Sandy! ???? Thank you very much lovely xx

LovingSummer August 9, 2020 - 10:20 pm

Stinks when we get to a special occasion and it all goes not-quite-according-to-plan, doesn’t it?
I also live with chronic illness and find that, no matter how hard I try, I’m usually feeling pretty rubbish on that special day. I don’t mind so much if it’s my birthday but if it’s someone else’s there’s that guild of letting them down, even if they’re understanding. So, big commiserations but even bigger happy birthday, and hope all the birthday wishes somehow soften the hardship of a body that doesn’t always play ball when you want it to.

InvisiblyMe August 12, 2020 - 3:06 pm

I’m sorry you know what it’s like. I wish you didn’t. I get the feeling of letting others down; even if they try to understand and put us at ease, we can’t help how we feel. We can have the best of intentions and do all we can to get ourselves in the best place possible to do something on a birthday, but life doesn’t always go that way and neither do our bodies. Thank you very much for the kind birthday wishes. I hope this week is treating you kindly  ♥ x

Mrs. Ram Jam August 9, 2020 - 10:22 pm

Happy birthday, Caz! I’m eating a slice of imaginary cake just for you. ❤️

InvisiblyMe August 12, 2020 - 3:07 pm

Grab two slices! Thanks for the birthday wishes lovely xx

Tim O'Connor August 9, 2020 - 11:40 pm

I like what you said about birthdays being a social construct as it relates to the calendar. I often think what it would be like if we just ignored each year and saw our progression over time as seasons. I don’t use the word transition. The word “transition” is overused and for me has a negative connotation and infers I am supposed to move on with my life at certain periods given what others see as normal. Seasons repeat and give hope to sunny days following the storms. Sometimes I think of myself being at sea, the captain of my ship on a steady course amidst the storm. It feels safe and comforting knowing I am skilled at maintaining the course. I may not always know the destination but in each moment I ride the waves, knowing calm seas are ahead.

Take care and many blessings.

InvisiblyMe August 12, 2020 - 3:09 pm

I really appreciate your thoughts on it, Tim, and I think your perspective is an interesting one. I think taking away that one day a year and the social constructs would take a lot of weight off, and it would also be more beneficial to our wellbeing to see progression over time as seasons, like you say. Seeing ourselves as captains of our own ships is very empowering. No matter how rocky the ride, you have the skills to keep afloat and navigate around any obstacles, you just have to trust that you can do it. Thank you for the great comment ????

theresaly520 August 10, 2020 - 12:20 am

Hope you enjoy your birthday space as best as you can. Enjoying your casual wear and the cake looks yummy! 🙂

InvisiblyMe August 12, 2020 - 3:10 pm

Thanks very much lovely! Hope you’re having a good week ???? x

Svet Pavlovsky August 10, 2020 - 12:33 am

Happy birthday, Caz! I wish you many more years of beautiful writing ????, good health and happiness. I love your virtual cake, and would be happy to split it with you cause it is sugar free and low in carbs.

InvisiblyMe August 12, 2020 - 3:12 pm

Virtual cake is the healthiest cake there is! Would you like some toffee sauce with that? ???? Thank you very much for your kind wishes! xx

Lindsay August 10, 2020 - 12:33 am

Happy birthday, Caz! I recently celebrated a birthday as well. I, too, have a difficult time with birthdays, especially with a chronic illness. I feel like I lost a lot of my youth to illness (if 20s and 30s can count as “youth”), and each year I tell myself that I still have plenty of life to live and will feel better next year. Birthdays make me feel like time is running out.

Sending lots of love and chocolate cake for your birthday. Hope it was fabulous, and hope kitty is feeling better!

InvisiblyMe August 12, 2020 - 3:15 pm

Aww Linds. I’m sorry you find birthday tough, too. I’ll say it even though it’s bittersweet…
???????????? HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY!! ????????????

What you say about losing your youth to chronic illness is exactly how I feel. And now time is going to quickly, the years are being sucked away, and I’m getting older while in my head I’m back to age 19, waiting for my health to get better and my life to start. There’s so much pressure with birthdays and they have a way of making us reflect on the past and future, more so the future I think, which can be scary and frustrating all wrapped up in one. You’re not running out of time. I’m right here with you, feeling like I’m drowning and the time’s ticking down, too. Will can make all of this time count, even though it’s not going to look how we’d hoped it would or how it should. Hold on to that bit of hope for the brighter days. I firmly believe there’s every chance the days can get better in some way. Sending love xxxx

Greg Dennison August 10, 2020 - 2:18 am

Happy birthday! My birthday is coming up this week, and for the first time in over a decade I’m doing nothing, just because of all the restrictions still in place here.

InvisiblyMe August 12, 2020 - 3:28 pm

Thanks, Greg. I’m sorry you won’t be able to do much this year but hopefully you can still enjoy your day at home. Treat yourself to something, a good film, a nice dinner, some cake, all the small simple joys. Happy Birthday for yours this week! ????

Carolyn Page August 10, 2020 - 4:27 am

Happy Birthday for the 9th, Caz; I’m enjoying a piece of your calorie free cake as I write. 🙂

InvisiblyMe August 12, 2020 - 3:31 pm

It’s good cake, isn’t it? ???? Thanks for the wishes, my friend, I really appreciate it. Have yourself a lovely week xx

mentalhealth360.uk August 10, 2020 - 9:57 am

Sorry about your situation Caz, it can be frustrating with a chronic illness, particularly with a lifeline like your laptop. Nice to see you back and Happy Birthday – the cake was delicious, thank you! Caz x

InvisiblyMe August 12, 2020 - 3:49 pm

I’m glad you liked the virtual cake ???? You’re right, it can be pretty frustrating with chronic illness all ways around really. I’m very pleased to be back with my laptop, which really does feel like a huge lifeline for me. Thanks, Caz. I hope you’re keeping as well as possible.xx

Michelle Curtis August 10, 2020 - 1:08 pm

I’m sorry your birthdays are so disappointing, Caz. Few things highlight the loneliness more than holidays and birthdays. I applaud you being open and honest about it. They’re very valid feelings and I feel like this is something many of us experience. I’m sorry it’s been an especially terrible week, but I’m so glad Virgil is okay and I hope he gets a clean bill of health at his appointment. I hope you know you’re very much loved and appreciated by your online community and maybe it’s not the same, but we celebrate you everyday. I know my life wouldn’t be the same without you! Sending you much love and many hugs and wishes for better birthdays to come. Xx

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 7:39 am

I do think it’s important to validate these sorts of feelings, even though some may think it’s overly negative and how we should instead just think of all we’re grateful for, because a lot of people will go through it. It’s human and it’s okay, it’s just a shame we have to feel guilty on top of feeling rubbish.
Aww that’s so kind of you, Mykie, thank you! Lots of love to you, my friend ♥ xx

Darnell Cureton August 10, 2020 - 3:32 pm

Virtual Chocolate Cake! Its worth two slices, but you have so many community friends I’ll only take one. Everyone should get a piece and wish you a happy birthday. Hopefully Virgil is on the mend and you dont have to add the “twist” as a dating trick. Thank you for sharing Caz. Hugs to you all the time.

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 7:43 am

There’s more than enough for two slices, Darnell. I’ve got some toffee & chocolate sauce, too! ???? Thank you for the kind wishes, I really do appreciate it. How’re you keeping? I hope all’s going as well as possible and that work is going okay, too. Sending hugs right back at’cha. x

Holly August 10, 2020 - 5:57 pm

Dearest Caz, first and foremost, Happy Birthday! I wish that I lived closer so I could spoil you on your special day, and help out with all the busyness going on. It makes me sad that your day (and week) was so chaotic and stressful. I get it, though. Sometimes, life is just plain ridiculous. Sometimes, stuff happens that we couldn’t anticipate and would love to wish away, but know we can’t.

You’re right – we shouldn’t have to put on a show, or follow some expectations set by a society that is clueless anyhow. We feel how we feel, no matter the day. Perhaps a good rest is exactly what we need, and there’s nothing wrong with that! You should be able to spend your birthday any way you choose. Love the mug and the cake, by the way. Thanks for sharing a slice with me. Yum! 😉

I’ll be honest, I sighed when reading about your week. I’m so sorry for everything that has been going on. “When it rains, it pours,” seems to happen far too often in life. Have you had any time to just enjoy some quiet yet? I genuinely hope so!

I’m sorry to hear about Virgil too. Bless your hearts! You mentioned taking him back to the vet today (Monday). How is the poor baby feeling? I know he is so grateful to you for the love and care you show him. I hope you and he get to curl up together in bed shortly and just nap away the day!

Thankful to hear you have your laptop back though. I know that must have been a huge relief for you. When online becomes our primary source of like-minded individuals and encouragement – being without it can feel overwhelming. Believe me, I know how you feel!

Sweet Caz, you are beautiful inside and out. I’m grateful you are here, being you. I’m grateful you recognize that YOU are enough and you don’t have to pretend to be anything or anyone else. You’re awesome, just the way you are. I pray each day someone new comes into your life to bring encouragement, hope, and friendship. You deserve everything wonderful that heads your way. In all sincerity, if you ever need me, you know where to find me. I’ll be here in a heartbeat if I can. ???? All My Love, Holly

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 8:25 am

You’re right, we should feel okay to feel however we feel, without feeling guilty or bad for being negative sometimes. It’s exhausting putting on the ‘I’m fine’ exterior’. I’m very much looking forward to a break and some rest, hopefully after Friday. Although then I’ll be catching up on everything I’ve not got around to!

Thank you so much for your kind wishes. I wish you lived closer – at least this side of the world! You have such a kind heart, I really appreciate it. Sending lots of love to you my friend. Sty safe and as well as possible ♥???? xx

Ann Coleman August 10, 2020 - 6:31 pm

Happy Birthday, Caz! I’m so sorry you’ve been having an especially rough time lately. I’ve always admired the way you are so honest in sharing what is going on in your life, as well as advice for others who are struggling with chronic conditions. You are a gift to the blogging world, and to the world in general!

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 8:40 am

I think honesty is important, even if it’s not going to be popular. I just wish I and many of us could get rid of the guilt that comes with feeling negatively sometimes. Thank you for such a kind comment, Ann ???? I hope the week is treating you kindly! xx

Ann Coleman August 14, 2020 - 12:37 am

You have nothing to feel guilty about. Of course you’re going to have negative thoughts and feelings sometimes…I can’t imagine coping with a chronic illness (or illnesses) without having them. That doesn’t mean your illness defines you, or that you won’t also have moments of happiness!

Michelle August 10, 2020 - 6:35 pm

I’m so sorry you’ve had such a crazy week. Hopefully you’ll get to relax and enjoy some down time soon.
I’m glad your port kitty is ok. Poor thing! It’s always hard when they’re sick because they can’t tell you what’s wrong.
I hope you have a wonderful birthday!!!

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 9:03 am

It’s heartbreaking when pets aren’t well, isn’t it? I’m glad to say he’s getting back to his usual self now! Thank you for the birthday wishes, Michelle. I really appreciate them. I hope you’re keeping as well as possible ???? xx

Yiena August 10, 2020 - 8:39 pm

I’m so sorry dear!! Regardless please do try to enjoy life bcs really it’s so short and we can’t afford any regrets esp in these times… Happy birthday Caz! Here is your cake ???? and a drink ???? a gift ???? and celebration~~~ ???????????????? ????

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 10:24 am

You’re right about those regrets. Thank you for the lovely message, Yiena! Have a great rest of your week ???? xx

(Kitty) Cat Strawberry - Meow! August 10, 2020 - 8:30 pm

Happy birthday!!! Sorry I’m late and so sorry to hear that you had a rough time on your birthday, but you are right, with chronic pain and illness people can look so normal and even cheerful on the outside while suffering badly inside and wanting to cry or scream. I used to get so disappointed with my own birthdays when I first lost touch with the people who had called themselves my friends. I’d get these expectations of what should happen on my birthday and then wanted to cry that it all didn’t happen and I used to get seriously upset that my birthdays were cursed or something. But these days I think you should do whatever makes you feel happy on your birthday. It’s the one day you can do whatever you want to and if that includes lying in bed most of the day then do that 🙂 I hope your cat is feeling better now, and I really hope you are better too. Sending you lots of hugs and another virtual cake 😀 <3 <3

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 10:23 am

I’m so sorry you’ve been through all of that with losing so-called friends, and knowing too what birthdays can be like. Even if we say to ourselves that we don’t care, sometimes we can’t have it. We want no expectations, but I guess the hope for more just lingers under the surface. I hope now you can take your own awesome advice and make your birthdays your own, forgetting those that haven’t been there for you, rewriting the rules of what birthdays should look like so you can just enjoy it. I feel like I’ve skipped my birthday this year because there’s been too much to deal with but I’ll make some time over the upcoming weekend hopefully to chill out a bit. After all, it’s only one day on a calendar, who’s going to notice if we move it? ???? Thank you for your lovely comment. Sending hugs – I hope the week’s treating you kindly so far ???? xx

Mimi August 10, 2020 - 9:48 pm

Sending so much love to you and your cat and despite the times and all you’ve been through this week, happy birthday the cake looks delicious

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 10:24 am

The cake is delicious at least, I just wish it were even bigger because there’s not much left! Thanks for the kind wishes lovely ????xx

Jay August 11, 2020 - 3:05 am

Happy birthday!

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 10:25 am

Thanks, Jay! Hope you’re having a good week guys ???? xx

Wendy August 11, 2020 - 5:49 am

Happy Birthday love. I’m sorry things are so crappy right now. I’ll take a slice of that cake and celebrate you! You are an amazing woman and I hope all your birthday wishes come true.
Does your cat have many other teeth? We adopted a cat recently and he had to have all of his teeth pulled. He has stomatitis. His is autoimmune, it attacks his gums so he was in a huge amount of pain. And he smelled awful. Now he’s a new kitty! He is gaining weight, playing, his coat looks better…. it’s amazing! He has captured our hearts. I hope your cat feels the same.
Love you lovely lady.

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 2:42 pm

Thank you for the kind wishes, Wendy  ♥ I’m so sorry about your poor kittykat. I’m glad he’s got you looking after him and giving him a loving home, not to mention a chance at life. I hope he can continue onwards & upwards, with lots of happy meows & tail wagging! xx

Wendy Holcombe August 14, 2020 - 7:15 am

Oh love, don’t feel sorry for him now, he’s getting much love and being spoiled. He’s the most loving cat I’ve ever met. I’m so grateful they didn’t euthanize him (that’s what he brought in for) and saw his potential.
He has already brought much joy to our family, and I know he is happy now. He’s 12, I hope he has lots of happy years to come.
I only told you about him because it’s such a heartwarming story, I think.
Love and hugs, I sincerely hope things get better for you.

Terri, Reclaiming Hope August 11, 2020 - 1:35 pm

Oh Caz, I just wanted to sit and cry with you after everything you’ve been through this week. I’m glad you were able to get Virgil taken care of. I hope he heals up nicely and that the antibiotics do their job. I hope this upcoming year of your life will be a good one – you so deserve it! I also hope things settle down schedule-wise for you so you can get a little rest and relaxation. Sending lots of love and hugs your way!

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 2:47 pm

Thankfully little Virgil is getting back to his old self now, which is lovely to see. Thank you for your kind wishes, Terri. I’m hoping for things to quieten down soon – I really want/need a day of doing nothing! Sending lots of love, I hope the week is being kind to you my friend ????xx

forresting365 August 12, 2020 - 2:32 pm

OH SWEET CAZ!!!! Good Lord! Your week DID SUCK big time. I am so sorry!!! My mind is blown that You are taking care of Your parents while going through Your own chronic illness. That’s off-the-charts A LOT!!! You’re an Angel. All the way around. And I’m happy Your cat is better but…WOW! I commend You for not vomiting. I might well have!!!

AND….HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!! I am sooooo sorrryyyyy! I have had birthdays like that and TOTALLY get it. There is SUCH pressure, as You say, in our society about what Birthdays are supposed to look like and when ours don’t…which I don’t know hardly anyone’s whose really does that often!!!….then there’s something wrong with us and our lives. Same with Valentine’s Day. And Christmas. Anniversaries. It’s just a set up for depression. Sounds like Yours was particularly lonely this year. I hate that and am truly sorry. If I lived near You I’d bop by some flowers or something!!! Thank You for the virtual cake!!! I’ll joyfully take a slice!!! And Thank You for writing this. I think it’s truly helpful…this honesty. Many of us feel this way now and again and it’s always such a gift to know we’re not alone. Sending You HUGE HUGS….wishes for a quality of ease to Your weeks ahead, both with Your illness and all the rest that’s on Your plate….and a happier Birthday next year!!! ????????????

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 3:14 pm

Oh believe me, I came very close to puking when cleaning my car!

Thank you so much for this amazing comment, Katy, I really appreciate it. You get what I mean exactly with the pressure and expectations. It’s not helpful and only leads to disappointment or worse. I know it’s not always popular to be negative but I do always want to be honest because I know there will be a lot of people who can sadly relate, and it’s okay to feel however we’re feeling.

Would you like some toffee sauce with the cake? I wish you were closer too, we could have afternoon tea and cake together! Thank you so much lovely. I hope you’re having a good week so far  ♥

Lavenderandlevity August 12, 2020 - 6:35 pm

You might look ‘good,’ but not ‘fine’ if anyone is really paying attention. That smile is a little too forced and plastered on. That’s a very spoonie definition of “I’m fine,” if one knows the tells…

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 3:22 pm

Damn, I thought I could pass the test! Honestly I think it just gets harder and harder over time. You’re right, it’s knowing the tells and knowing what life with chronic illness is like that can make us spot when someone is anything but fine underneath the surface.xx

Michele Anderson August 13, 2020 - 12:42 am

It sounds silly to say “Happy belated birthday,” but I’m glad you were born Caz. Your voice to the world is important and so is you being you. You had a horrible stressful week and you should feel what you want to feel. Taking care of an animal is a lot like raising kids. I hope Virgil is feeling better and I hope you can have some relax time and get to feeling better too. Take care. xo

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 3:27 pm

Aww thank you so much, Michele. Virgil is, thankfully, getting back to his normal self, which is such a relief. How’re you doing lovely? I really hope you’re keeping as well as possible  ♥ xx

Michele Anderson August 15, 2020 - 11:15 pm

I’m doing well Caz, and I’m so glad Virgil is too. Hope you’re feeling better. xo

Bacardi Gold August 13, 2020 - 8:20 am

Belated Happy birthday! I wished you had a painless day…

InvisiblyMe August 13, 2020 - 3:30 pm

I suppose we can’t always get what we want but next year I’ll have to ask for a pain-free one! ???? Thank you for the birthday wishes – I hope you’re having a great week!

Khushi August 15, 2020 - 7:38 am

belated happy birthday!
I can understand the feeling of not having friends.. I’m at that same place.
I commented the day you posted this blog post but somehow I think I was unable to post it.. may be I was using my phone to comment which I never do 🙂
thank you for adding the ALT text in the images on your blog, it really helped me to realize that chocolate cake might be so amazing! I love chocolates!
I hope you had a lovely day despite everything and you were able to switch off and relax! nothing like a good book, podcast or playlist to relax!
hope you’ll add ALT text to other social media as well!
stay safe xxx

InvisiblyMe August 16, 2020 - 12:19 pm

Hey Khushi, thank you so much for your comment. I’m sorry for the glitch with the early comment so I really appreciate you coming back and trying it again. I’m sorry you know what it’s like with friends, or lack thereof. Do you feel you have friends online, some sense of belonging? The people online count, too. We’re made to feel that they don’t, that it’s not ‘real life’, but for many of us the people we ‘meet’ online become the true support system.

I’m really pleased you find the ALT text helpful! I’ve learned a lot in my time blogging but knowing about ALT attributes is something I wish I knew from the beginning. I’m actually in the very slow process of going back through all old posts to add ALT attributes where there aren’t any to try to make the blog as inclusive as possible. I hadn’t known about them on social media or that it was possible to do so. Do you follow InvisiblyMe on Facebook, Insta or Twitter? I’ll get onto that next! I’ll Thank you again for the kind comment – Take good care of yourself and I hope the week ahead is kind to you ????

Dolphin Girl August 15, 2020 - 11:29 pm

Been thinking about you and Virgil….
I thought I had messaged you but evidently I hadn’t.
Honestly, your real life friends ate kissing out. Though it can’t feel that way. I hope this week gets easier, that the rains stop flooding and that the sunshine here in the UK brings some sunshine into your world.
I’m glad the antibiotics have been helping V and hope they continue to do so.
Sending hugs across the miles.
You add so much light into my world….

InvisiblyMe August 16, 2020 - 1:13 pm

Thank you for such a kind comment! Really, it means a lot to me. How’re you doing lovely? I hope you’re keeping as well as possible. Fingers crossed the sunshine comes back soon. It’s so often extremes in the UK, isn’t it? Scorching hot for a day or two, then rain, grey skies and oodles of flooding. Sending hugs right back at’cha ???? I hope you have a good week ahead! xx

3sistersabroad August 16, 2020 - 12:07 pm

Oh my goodness I cant believe I missed wishing you a happy birthday…so happy very late birthday…What a horrible week…your poor kitty, the shitty car and the heat…and then a birthday amongst it all. Chronic illness…what are we supposed to look like…all hagged and grey…argh..Happy Birthday xx

InvisiblyMe August 16, 2020 - 1:25 pm

I guess we should be glad we don’t look ‘chronically ill’, whatever that looks like – I picture a cross between Frankenstein & a zombie! Thank you so much for the kind wishes, I really appreciate it. I can’t believe it was a week ago already, when the week has just gone by in such a blur. I wanted to postpone my birthday but I’m still desperately trying to catch up with everything so it might just have to wait a little longer. Maybe the government will rule this year a wash out and decide we don’t have to count 2020, so we can all knock a year off our age ???? Have a great week ahead lovely xx

Nick August 19, 2020 - 9:55 am

Wow, you’ve been having quite a time of it, haven’t you, Caz? And every problem seems to become more complicated and challenging in these days of Covid and social distancing. Sending love and virtual hugs. x

InvisiblyMe August 21, 2020 - 5:11 pm

You’re right, everything seems to become more complex and challenging during these pandemic days. How’re you keeping, Nick? I hope you’re doing as well as possible, and thank you for the kind virtual hugs! xx

pikachu1014 August 20, 2020 - 9:37 pm

The cake was vary good

InvisiblyMe August 21, 2020 - 5:15 pm

I know, right?! ???? xx

Gemma August 21, 2020 - 6:41 pm

Sending you belated birthday wishes Caz. I hope you managed to find some down time and relaxation after all of the recent challenges you seem to have faced. And chocolate cake always makes things better!

Gemma x

InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 5:07 pm

Thanks for the kind wishes, Gemma! I’m still trying to get through things & catch up. I might need to get another chocolate cake in for when I get to the end of the to-do list ???? xx

Gemma September 2, 2020 - 11:18 am

Great idea! x

Christy B September 3, 2020 - 11:28 pm

Oh Caz, I’m sending a gentle hug your way and thinking of you. Chocolate cake helps for sure, as do blogging friends xx

InvisiblyMe September 4, 2020 - 2:46 pm

Absolutely, blogging friends & cake are the best, what a mighty combination! Thank you for the gentle hugs, much appreciated & right back at’cha! I hope you’re keeping as well as possible, Christy ???? xx

johnlmalone March 30, 2021 - 9:10 pm

always be prepared to treat yourself is a good slogan; especially if others are slow to ‘come to the party’ 🙂


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