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Boy, Am I Glad That's Over

By Mrs. Julien | Comment Diversions | November 22, 2012 | Comments ()


carved-pumpkin-550x366.jpg

As you read this, I will be pie-ing my way through (American) Thanksgiving. For some of you it's a long weekend, for others you're twiddling your thumbs through a workday. Either way, you all look a little too comfortable. Let's go with stories of fear and disaster to jolt everyone out of their torpor. Have you ever had a near miss? Clawed your way back from the edge? Thought, "that could have been so much worse?" Do tell. I'll go first:

I have This Thing. This non-life-threatening disease Thing that I don't like to talk about or use the Scary Name for because it tends to freak people out, and because I want to give it as little space in my life as possible. But here's the irony about This Thing: I've won the lottery with it twice. First, I won the bad lottery where I have This Thing and the doctor told me:

"Well, Ms. Julien, we know for sure you've got This Thing. That's all we know. We can't tell you how it's going to go over the long term. It could be mild, but that's very unusual. Likely, it will be awful and incapacitating. It may turn into an EVEN WORSE version of itself because it does that to a lot of people. Only time will tell. But you definitely have This Thing. So it might be horrendous, it will probably be disabling, and it's definitely incurable, but we've got our best people working on it. Can I show you something in a financially-debilitating pharmaceutical?"

So I said, "Okaaay", but with rivers of tears and terror because the monster that lived under my bed as a child had somehow managed to crawl up into the bed with me and wanted to snuggle. Then, after almost a year, I woke up and realised I couldn't spend my life in a constant state of red alert, and as time went on I gradually got used to that most trite of psychobabble ideas: the new normal. But I said I had won the lottery twice. Because, although I have This Thing, after 16 years of surprise cameos, it has turned out to be extremely mild. So far. It could still go meshuggeneh, but the longer it doesn't, the better my chances are that it won't. They don't know why. I didn't do anything "right" to prevent it and thinking that I had would be disrespectful to everyone who has a worse time with it than me. I've just been extraordinarily lucky, so I am immensely relieved that This Thing has been an annoyance and not a lifestyle. It's not over, but it could be so much worse.

And since it's (American) Thanksgiving , I just want you all to know that the experience has made me truly thankful for just how beautiful and precious life is.

Really?

Nah.



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  • ,

    Guys my age aren't supposed to get Thing 1, like I did. Fortunately, Thing 1 was easily removable, and I have a spare. Well, perhaps not so easily. Getting out of bed and moving around were unpleasant for a few weeks, but now you can hardly see the scar in my abdomen where they yanked that baby out.

    But while the doctors were dealing with Thing 1, they ran across Thing 2, which resides in a much more problematic area. Thing 2, Stage 1 is how they described it to me, with the hopeful addition that for 3/4 of people who have it, it never goes beyond Stage 1.

    So far so good. A couple times a year I have to get a CT scan and the day of misery that comes with it, but in the course of my treatments for these things I met a few people (as there always are) who are far worse off than I am. I usually hesitate even to mention my problems at all, because I wouldn't dare put myself in the same league with people who are dealing with SERIOUS illness, but Mrs. Julien asked, and I do what Mrs. Julien asks, since she always asks so nicely.

  • Mrs. Julien

    But, ",", it is always SERIOUS when Thing 1 and Thing 2 are involved.

  • ,

    Well, Thing 1 was serious in the sense that if it went ignored (and I ignored it for a month, or to be more precise, actually forgot about it) that it could lead to complications. I simply meant that the peanut on my nut was easily dealt with, involving a surgery and a couple doses of very mild chemo. It was not serious in the sense that it was immediately life-threatening, or that it forced a serious alteration of lifestyle, if you get my drift. I am pleased to report (and Mrs. , would be too) that I retain all the essential functions and my voice remained at the octave it had been. (So, guys and gals, check that sack!)

    I even got a good story out of the experience. Some point in the process involved getting a sonogram of my dangly bits. This was done by what seemed to be a young man using me for practice, while a rather attractive woman monitored his efforts. When he was finished, SHE took over and ... you know, despite the setting I can't say I wasn't somewhat aroused, with the warm jelly and the vibrations and all ...

    I came home and told Mrs. , it was the closest I'll probably ever get to having a threesome.

  • TheShitWizard

    After seeing a lovely, gracious, generous and brave old lady battle painfully with cancer over the past two years (after losing her husband to it just before her diagnosis), I'm thankful that she no longer has to deal with that pain, and that she went with us all around her. I'm also thankful that I can still wrap my arms around the rest of my family, and tell them how much I love them.

  • Seth

    I'm sorry you have MS.

  • hippyherb

    18 months ago my mum died from a stroke. She was one of my best friends, and living with the void that her death has left in my life has been very hard. I am so utterly grateful to her for everything that she did for me, and for the laughs and hugs that we shared.
    6 months ago I started having back problems. I had to leave my job, which means my daughter and son have had to pay for most things, including all the treatments I have had. My children are my 2 other best friends. My teenage son dries my legs when I get out of the shower. They put my shoes on for me, walk with me, and encourage me when I don't think I can do 1 goddam more exercise.

    I am so blessed to have had 3 people in my life who love me as I am, who keep me going and who are there (in spirit as well).
    Even though I can only sit for 10 minutes at a time, I check this site every morning.
    So I am grateful to Pajiba for the laughs and the intelligent writing.
    Mrs Julien, you have always been one of my favourites, and I too miss you.
    When life is shit and bleak, sometimes the only thing you can do is hunt down a blessing, and count it.

  • Drama

    Way to damn much.

  • C_H

    I'm kind of in the middle of my Thing That I Will Eventually (Hopefully) Be Glad Is Over. This past year my dad passed away, followed shortly afterwards by my uncle, then when I went on hiatus from my job to deal with those things my mentor/supervisor/friend took said hiatus personally and decided that would be a good time to tell me what a horrible human being and awful friend she'd suddenly decided I was. In the time since, it's been a lot of trying to figure out the new family dynamic without key members, grieving for loved ones lost, looking for a new job/life direction, and trying to channel a This Too Shall Pass/One Day At A Time/Keep Your Head Up mentality, but it's still pretty tough right now. Thanks to everyone who shared their stories. It helps to know other people have been in similar places and made it through.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    It's the annus horribilis. I think we end up with one when we're young, and one when we're older. Mine was in '99, when my beloved great aunt died, and then my mother's mother, brother and father all died in a 4 month span. And a three year relationship ended. If you are lucky, you have support, or good work to distract you - and it does pass. Then you look back - and you know there was incredible pain - but you can't really remember it. Only that it was there. And that you made it through.

  • Rochelle

    It will pass. In a few years you will be the one nodding sagely and saying, "It will pass." And that's when you'll know it passed. Best of luck.

  • mswas

    ^^this is so true. You'll make it through and will give the sagest of advice. All the best to you

  • C_H

    Thank you to you both. Those few sentences were enough to make me burst out crying, which I think is a pretty good sign of "So… not quite past it yet."

    (That's me trying to make jokes while sad. Baby steps, right?)

  • Rochelle

    Baby steps are good. You're going to be ok.

  • Rialto

    Mrs. Julien,

    You are my favorite commenter and I have received so much enjoyment from your contributions.

    In fact, you seem to posting less than you used to and I was hoping that you would post more.

    I was worried that everything was OK.

    Your post clearly indicates your are more than OK.

    I wish you continued health and continued grace in the way you are handling it.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I'm totally fine, thank you. The Disqus blocker at my job is the bane of my existence though. I hope your This Too Shall Pass does so quickly. Please accept this virtual hug: //hug//

  • Mrs. Julien

    Oops. I'm stoned on pumpkin pie. That hug was for C_H, although I'd gladly offer one to you as well.

  • C_H

    Hug received. Thanks, and back at ya. //hug//

  • bleujayone

    *Looks at header pic...So when exactly did the Weeping Angels start hiding out in freakishly large gourds waiting to unleash themselves upon unsuspecting time travelers like angry pumpkin pies?

  • My Name Is For My Friends

    'bout a week ago.

  • Onomatapeon

    Where are the teenage boys putting cherry bombs in Coke bottles and getting out of the way just in time? My brother can't be the only one.

  • Maguita NYC

    I have this thing where my father passed away suddenly, and I am now finally beginning to understand and feel grateful for how this came to be.

    Suddenly, without pain, without long, cruel and inhuman treatments, without degeneration, without the mental degradation this thing brings to people usually. He passed away instantly in less than 1/8th of a second, while surrounded by his family, very much loved by all.

    On the second anniversary of his passing, I am grateful for the wonderful and respectful way he departed this earth. Although for a while I felt rage, and I am still taken by surprise at the most unusual moment by the deep painful realization of how much I still miss him, that ache that sears your heart so suddenly it leaves you breathless, I now understand that he passed away exactly the way he had hoped that some day he would leave this life. And as this sort of departure comes along in everybody's lifetime, I wish for everyone to depart the same way he did: Unaware, without fear, without regrets, surrounded by loved ones, having lived a long fulfilling life.

    Mrs Julien, I hope your thing stays nothing but a thing, and wish you a long and happy life.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am beyond grateful. Happy Thanksgiving good people of Pajiba.

  • Half a year has passed the second anniversary of my own father's death, so I empathise incredibly, Maguita. Unlike your father's death, mine wasn't quite as happy. He died completely unexpectedly and unfairly; in a strange land surrounded only by strangers. He passed away in agony and in a state of mental degradation.

    Two and a half years ago I was awoken from a terrible, almost sleepless hangover by a phone call from my brother telling me that our dad had died overnight on another continent from two successive, completely unforeseen heart attacks following a gall bladder rupture that was caused by who-the-fuck-knows-what.

    A week before he left I had shared my first, and only, beer with him (I had started drinking quite late in life, and when I did start I eschewed drinking with my family because I had always instinctively rebelled against the sacred notion of a family.) Over the beer he asked me whether I thought this 'going away to do this thing' thing was a good idea. I said, 'yeah, sure, Dad. You've done harder things before and you've always managed to pick yourself up from them when they went south. If this one does, you'll get up again.' A week later he boarded a plane, and that was the last I saw of him until I was scattering his ashes under his favourite pine tree back home in a little town the Czech Republic.

    Ever since then, feeling completely and suddenly unmoored from any sense of continuity in my life due to having lost a father figure that I was only just beginning to bond with and understand, I have been through quite the rollercoaster of destructive behaviour - some leaving fairly sizable scars, both physical and emotional. Nonetheless after two and a half years I feel - or rather, hope - that some sort of mental equilibrium is being reached. Despite the meteor-sized devastation my father's death has caused, I can't help but shift perspective now and then to a more 'positive' outlook. His death - and this sounds fucking mawkish, and minimal in comparison - allowed me to see the value in family. And seeing as we're on the 'thankful' topic, I suppose I am thankful for that.

    Mrs Julien, I know you don't like to make The Thing a big thing, so I'm reluctant to mention it, but just this once: fuck The Thing. You are a force of nature and the thing doesn't even deserve capitalisation when standing in your shadow.

    To all my yank Pajiba friends - happy holidays and all that. Love and be loved.

  • Maguita NYC

    However you choose to express the deep sorrow of your loss. However you mourn the passing of a man you still so very much love. You lose your self in the agony of regrets. The could haves, should haves, and why didn't we haves. The understanding that you cannot rage, stump, shred, and step through the fabric of time just so you can go back to that specific moment and save the one you love, is the most enraging part of mourning. So you rip, stumble, and find your way through life. You pick-up the pieces of your lost self, and finally realize with bitter taste that life is for the living. You live happy, or you live bitter, the result is the same, you will live.

    Best make it worth your while and switch positions: Kick life in the ass and make sure to suck it dry of every drop, of any and all good things it could offer you. Best suck it dry with a clear mind, so you don't let it escape your grip. Your story oddly reverberated with the memories of my mourning period.

    On a Black Friday daybreak across the pond, I wish you nothing but courage in happiness, and the assertion of how much you Zeke are a very big part of what makes Pajiba interestingly and inherently different. No matter the state of your indulgence.

  • Alpimp

    That was a lot less clever than you thought it was.

  • becks

    This is such a strange comment. A day of introspection might do you good.

  • Xochitl Herrera Villarreal

    I think alpimp meant seth?

  • becks

    For me it looks like Alpimp posted 5 hours before Seth.

    My Disqus may just be messing with me though.

  • Jezzer

    Seth's comment wasn't even on the page when Alpimp posted. I went up and down the comments list when I first responded to see if there was a chance he was replying to someone else, but all the comments on the page at the time were people sharing their thoughts, experiences, and personal tales of triumph and tragedy..

    So, in conclusion, fuck him. Fuck him right in his peehole.

  • Seth

    Wait... am I getting fucked in my peehole? Because, if I can add a little drama, my mom is in hospice and I'm flying to California next weekend to see her. And she is not (probably) going to recognize me. And I guess that's fine if I am, I just want to know how one sided this blog is, cuz I'm having a shit year.

  • becks

    Your peehole is safe for now, Seth, but I'd keep my eye on it just in case if I were you.

    I'm sorry that your year is going so shitty. I can't imagine how hard it will be to see your Mom like that. Internet hug.

  • Jezzer

    No, no. Alpimp is getting fucked in his peehole. Probably. I was pointing out that Alpimp couldn't have been talking to you.

  • Seth

    That's cool. I'm sure alpimp is too. Things don't translate well on the interwebs, specially over the holidays. Cheers.

  • becks

    I'm going to guess that he posted the "Drama" comment below also. Mostly because I like to concentrate all of my hate to one recipient so it gets white hot and strong like a Care Bear Stare.

  • Drama

    Still to much, GTFO it already. He could have just replied to the actual comment by hitting the reply button. That however may have been to easy.

  • becks

    I honestly have no idea what you're trying to say to me here. You were a jerk. Alpimp, who may or may not be you, was a jerk. People said so. Not a lot of drama involved.

    (Also, and I don't want this to come off snarky because it isn't intended that way, the word you're looking for is "too", not "to".)

  • Seth

    If alpimp meant me, I am sorry. If have been tested for it and I don't have it, one of my very best friends in the world has been tested and does have. Her article sounds exactly like what heard from our doctors. Btw, my friend w it is a medical doctor. My thing turns out to be nerve damage in my spine, just below my skull, C2 in fact. I have phantom pain all over my body. It sucks, but no one give a shit cuz you can't see it. But since I have been through it, I surmised MS. And it sucks either way.

  • Jezzer

    I am unsure who you are directing this to, but if it was at all directed at the author of this article and what she wrote -- or to anyone else who shared a personal story of hardship -- I sincerely hope that you receive just as much empathy to your life tragedies and just as much human decency as you've shown here today.

  • mswas

    My father died suddenly of a massive stroke seven years ago. In the years since, I find myself even more thankful for the happiness, blessings, and love I have in my life, because I know how it can just be GONE in a second.

    I see my friends, my family, my coworkers, and yes my Pajibans worrying about all of the small, petty crap that's consuming their lives, I wish that they too could see things this way.

    When I'm watching cool car chases, fixing something that's broken, or telling really bad jokes, I'm reminded of my father and wish that he were here; but honestly if he hadn't been taken from us so suddenly, I don't know how happy I would feel today. Thanks Dad.

  • Chelae

    I've been feeling sorry for myself because I have to deal with my crazy family. And then a long lost cousin got in touch with me. In the decade since we last had contact, he became a she. She has been feeling sorry for herself because she feels rejected by our family. After we talked for awhile, she realized the older members are not rejecting her for being transgender, but are treating her the way they treat each other. So she feels like she's still part of our crazy crazy family, I have a cousin back, AND I feel justified in my self-pity. I actually appreciate that my family are just asshats, not bigots.

  • I am glad your Thing has not been as bad as it could be, and I hope fervently that continues to be the case.

    I lived without health insurance for many years, but as I was young and (I thought) healthy and, well...poor, I did not worry much about it. And then I went to Planned Parenthood on account of I didn't want babies, and they did the obligatory examination. Turns out there was big trouble in Lady Town, the sort that required surgery, and not the in-and-out of the office kind. More like the "do this now or things will be very bad indeed" kind. Only I was still poor, and this was so long ago that hospitals didn't have to take care of you if you couldn't pay them (yes, I am old).

    So, I worked multiple jobs all summer and saved every penny - aided by the fact that I was so stressed out that I almost never ate - and negotiated (!) with a teaching hospital near my parents' home to do the surgery for X amount of cash. I can't believe I managed to do that at 23. They couldn't believe I waited four goddamned months to arrange for surgery. I pointed out that I was poor and surgery ain't cheap. Duh. Turns out if I'd waited even another month, surgery wouldn't have done it, which might have been a motivating factor in the hospital agreeing to giving me surgery at 2/3 of the price.

    So when folks wonder why I support Planned Parenthood, the HPV vaccine, and/or the Affordable Care Act, I tell them that story.

  • TheOtherGreg

    I also have a Thing, though not, I'm sure, as scary as your thing. I only found out a few years ago, well into middle age, that I have had ADD my whole life. I found out at a time when I was being treated for depression, but the diagnosis of ADD made so much sense that the depression pretty much went away. Some of the reasons I've struggled with certain things became clear, and I had something specific to deal with. So the depression was scary and inexplicable, but is now replaced with ADD, which I'd rather do without, but at least I can try to cope with.

  • vaskark

    Your story hit me right in my feels. My thoughts are with you.

  • Thanks for sharing, Mrs. J. What a wonderful attitude! Your family and friends definitely won the lottery when you came along.

  • mswas

    Yes we did.

  • hapl0

    Thank you for sharing, Mrs. J and I hope everything turns out well for you.

    Have a great Thanksgiving! :)

  • PNB3

    Sorry to hear you have This Thing. Going through the same thing with my wife. Remitting is always best. Hopefully they'll come up with a real treatment before This Thing gets worse. Happy Thanksgiving.

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