Birthdays Stir Mixed Emotions

Frankie Perazzola avatar

by Frankie Perazzola |

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growth, accept, personal trainer, channeling energy, COVID-19, distractions

My 27th birthday is this week and I don’t know how to feel about it. I am definitely not one of those people who dislikes getting older — yet. Until I was diagnosed, I always looked forward to birthdays. Now they are markers of my disease’s progression. I thought time would make it easier to handle, but FA is different than anything I’ve experienced.

In my last column, I shared some of the emotions I felt after a conversation with my grandmother and how I was emotionally “hungover.” For a few days, I was pessimistic and angry and it didn’t feel good. I had to turn my self-discipline up to an all-time high and push through. I woke at 5:30 every morning and headed to the gym. At home, I stuck to a routine of working, writing, and listening to podcasts. I stopped documenting every meal I made or every time I went to the gym. It was refreshing to eliminate that pressure. I stayed more present and focused on me.

My birthday also leads me to be more nostalgic. I love looking at old photos and videos from years past and seeing who was in my life at the time and what I was doing. Recently, I have been trying to focus on the good memories and address and dismiss the bad. Looking at old photos tends to spark emotions I thought had subsided, but I am thankful to have a calmer approach when those feelings of sadness arise. I guess it is a part of the growth.

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Hard work, small achievable goals, and being back on a schedule helped me pass through the emotions I thought were going to send me spiraling. Investing in activities that help me grow as a person sharpens my coping skills. It’s been a while since I have had this kind of self-discipline. I feel powerful and almost in control again. Well, in control of the things I can. And it feels like this is what I need — small reminders and encouragement from myself. I’m actually starting to get a little more excited about turning 27.

When reading my column, remember that I don’t disclose every single thing that happens to me. I write about my troubles often, and I know that sometimes I will contradict myself, but I try to share what I am feeling at the moment. I appreciate the fact that I have this column as an outlet for my thoughts. Thank you all for reading!


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Tim Muranelli avatar

Tim Muranelli

Happy Birthday Frankie!

My name is Tim Muranelli, from NY

I came across your column last night, as I was reading up on my father's FA. I found myself reading just about all of your posts...

Very inspiring, keep up the good work! I would really like to chat with you further and share some of my experiences having a father with FA.

Stay positive! Happy birthday!

Frankie Perazzola avatar

Frankie Perazzola

Thank you, Tim! I appreciate you reading!

Sandro Fahr avatar

Sandro Fahr

Happy Birthday ,

Greetings from Germany, even with 48 you can still live relatively well with FA " (diagnosed in 1982) life is too beautiful to hang your head !!!! sry for my english


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