Category Archives: sickness

I’m slowly being murdered by my own face

me:  My allergies are killing me.

Victor: What are you allergic to?

me: Weed.

Victor:  Then stop smoking weed.

me:  No.  Ragweed.  It’s a pollen or something.  And it’s causing me to suffocate myself.

Victor:  Um…what?

me:  I can’t breathe.  I’M DROWNING IN ME.

Victor:  Unlikely.  At best you’re drowning in mucus.

me:  No.  Because I’ve already blown my nose so much that my nasal tissues are all inflamed and swollen so technically my own body is smothering me.  It’s like my nose has given up on life and is taking the rest of my body down with it.

Victor:  Sounds bad.

me:  It’s like a murder attempt that you can’t even report.  BECAUSE THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE.

Victor:  You’re making even less sense than usual.

me:  That’s because there isn’t as much oxygen getting to my brain.  It’s like my nose is trying to cut all the lines of communication.  HELTER SKELTER, VICTOR.

Victor:  You need to go lie down.

me:  And it’s not just my nose.  It’s my sinuses and my throat and my itchy eyes.  It’s like my whole face is colluding together to kill me.

Victor:  Hmm.

me:  Is that a thing?  “Collusion to murder?”

Victor:  Not when all the parties are from the same face.

me:  It should be.  When I die from this I want you to make a new law that makes faces accountable for murder.

Victor:  We’ll call it “Jenny’s Law”.

me:  No.  Call it “Treaties on Time Traveling Ninjas”.  That way people will look at it.

Back on tour…LAST LEG! (Probably)

First off, thank you.  Thanks for the amazing support you continue to give me and others here on this blog.

I’m feeling much better and the depression cleared away just in time for several doctors to encourage me to be tested for multiple sclerosis, which would be my third autoimmune disease and thus would complete my trifecta of your-body-wants-you-dead disorders.  Apparently though there isn’t a cure for it so I plan on just ignoring it and assuming I already have it, much like the polio, mumps and testicular cancer that Web MD assures me I have.  In other words, nothing more to worry about than usual.  Plus, MS apparently causes brain disturbances (which explains a lot) so whenever Victor accuses me of zoning out and not listening to him I just say “I HAVE MS, YOU ASSHOLE” and then I win whatever we were talking about.  Or possibly Victor angrily reminds me that I probably have no such thing.  I don’t really know because I’m not listening. Because I have MS.  Or because Victor is boring.  Maybe both.

Also, you aren’t allowed to yell at me for making fun of MS since I may have it.  Those are the rules of MS.  Also, I get the last slice of pie and I’m allowed to bring service kittens with me to help calm all of my sclerosis’s.  These are new MS rules I just made up but that doesn’t make them any less valid.

And in non (I probably don’t have) MS news, I’m leaving for the last leg of my tour tomorrow and there was another Chicago stop added on June 9th so please come if you can!

Leg three
But in spite of my lack of witticisms I would LOVE it if you’d come to see me on my last week on the road.  Here’s where I’ll be in two weeks:

Wednesday, June 6 at 7pm ~ Montclair, NJ

Thursday, June 7th ~ Blogworld NY

Friday, June 8th at 7pm ~ Brookline, MA

NEW: Saturday, June 9th at 12pm ~ Chicago IL (Center Stage at Printers Row Book Fair)

Sunday, June 10th at 2pm ~ Chicago, IL  (Sold out)

**********

So now, time for the weekly wrap-up…

What you missed in my shop (tentatively called “Eight pounds of uncut cocaine” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

What you missed on the internets:

This week on shit-I-didn’t-come-up-with-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome:

  • I got nothin’.  I’ve been depressed all week.  Your turn.  Entertain me, y’all.
This week’s wrap-up sponsored by In Stitches, by Anthony Youn.  Full of heart
and humor, a memoir about becoming a doctor that’s unlike anything you’ve
ever read before.  I haven’t finished it myself but I recommend you check it out here.

Wow.

24 hours ago I published the hardest post I ever had to write.  I’m pretty open about my struggles with depression and anxiety disorder, but yesterday I finally decided I was ready to write about my issues with self-harm.  I can’t go into details because that’s a trigger for me (and for most people who self-injure) but I’m not sure what I expected.  I think I expected my hard-core friends and readers to say something supportive and then sort of back away slowly out of not knowing how to respond.  Instead, thousands of comments poured in.  All of them supportive, understanding, and so many relieved and hopeful that one day they could come out of the closet about their darkest secrets.  I was flooded with DM’s and emails from people who weren’t ready to come out but suffered from things I never would have imagined.  Many were from friends I’ve known for years, and I found myself wanting to say the very thing that I dreaded hearing myself.  “But you seem so normal.”  And the truth is that they are.  I once sarcastically said that “crazy is the new normal” but it’s not sarcasm anymore.  We’re all different.  Each unique.  But that uniqueness that sets us apart is also what brings us together.  Some people call it “the human condition.”  I call it “amazing.”

I can’t respond to all of the comments and emails and DM’s but I am reading them and I can’t tell you how completely unburdened I feel.  More importantly though, I want you to know what you’ve done for others.  I had a lot of emails telling me how much my post helped them.  I had many, many more telling me how the response to my post helped them.  So many people listened, frightened, in silence to see how the world would respond to something that so many think of as shameful or an aberration.  They waited for the condemnation or the silence but it never came.  Those comments you left changed lives.

Last night an email came in from a woman whose twin daughters had both committed suicide because of depression.  One had died only a few weeks ago and her mother made sure her obituary explained that depression had taken her child’s life, because she wanted people to know that it was okay to talk about it…because the more we admit these things the less we hide them away from the help we need.   Then I got an email from a girl who was contemplating suicide.  She said that after she saw the response to my post she decided that she wasn’t as alone or unfixable after all and she started the process of getting help.  You did that.  You saved someone with nothing more than the power of words.

During the night twitter exploded with #silverribbons tweets and I loved how many people made their own, or painted them on their own bodies to show support.  A lot of people asked me to offer them in my shop, but honestly you can make them for free if you have a nickel’s worth of silver ribbon and a safety pin.  If you do want to buy one though you can buy them here and here.  Any profits will go to donating new red dresses for The Traveling Red Dress Project (A project designed to celebrate women in their strongest and weakest moments).

immortal bird Tomorrow I’m off to New York to do something that terrifies me, but I somehow feel more confident now, and it’s so amazing that that could come out of such vulnerability.  Thank you.  Thank you for not crushing me when you could.  Thank you for making me stronger so that no one else can.  Thank you for saving me and for saving each other.

PS.  This post wants a picture so I’m borrowing one from the fantastic Brooke Shaden.  I don’t know what she meant it to symbolize but it’s how I feel right now.  Still broken.  Still stuck.  Still fighting.  But feeling almost weightless from having this secret lifted off my chest.  Thank you for helping me carry this.

PPS. I promise my next post will be back to sweetly-raunchy and unhinged, irreverent glory.

The fight goes on.

If you follow me on twitter you already know that I’ve been battling off one of the most severe bouts of depression I’ve ever had.  Yesterday it started to pass, and for the first time in weeks I cried with relief instead of with hopelessness.  Depression can be crippling, and deadly.  I’m lucky that it’s a rare thing for me, and that I have a support system to lean on.  I’m lucky that I’ve learned that depression lies to you, and that you should never listen to it, in spite of how persuasive it is at the time.

When cancer sufferers fight, recover, and go into remission we laud their bravery.  We call them survivors.  Because they are.

When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t.  We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.

When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate.  Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive.  We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker…but as survivors.  Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it.  Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand.

Regardless, today I feel proud.  I survived.  And I celebrate every one of you reading this.  I celebrate the fact that you’ve fought your battle and continue to win.  I celebrate the fact that you may not understand the battle, but you pick up the baton dropped by someone you love until they can carry it again.  I celebrate the fact that each time we go through this, we get a little stronger.  We learn new tricks on the battlefield.  We learn them in terrible ways, but we use them.  We don’t struggle in vain.

We win.

We are alive.

 **********

I wrote this post a month ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to post it then.  I was too weak from fighting to shout, and so instead I whispered this into the night and left it unpublished until I felt like I could speak to it with the battle-cry it deserves.  Years ago, coming out about depression and anxiety disorder was something frightening, but now people are more honest and open and so much of the shame has dissipated.  We may not have pink ribbons or telethons but we know that someone out there understands.  That is, until we’re honest about how it affects us.  I’ve never written about this because I can’t talk about it without it being a trigger but I think it’s important to be honest even when it’s scary.  Especially when it’s scary.

I self-harm.  I don’t do it all the time and it’s not enough to put me into an institution or threaten my well-being, but it’s enough to make it frightening to live in my body sometimes.  I’m far from suicidal.  I do it to self-sooth, because the physical pain distracts me from the mental pain.  It’s one of those things that’s impossible to explain to people who don’t understand impulse control disorder.  Honestly, I find it hard to understand it to myself and I’m working my ass off to fix it now before my daughter is old enough to see the things I don’t want her to see.  It is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I am safe.  My disorder is fairly mild and is becoming more controlled.  I’m in therapy and I’m not in danger.  I avoid triggers and I’ve found therapies and drugs that are helping.  I’m getting better.  But I sort of feel like I can’t completely heal from this without being honest about it.  So here it is.  Judge me or not, I am the same person I was before.  And so are you.  And chances are that many of your friends, family and coworkers are dealing with things like this.  Things that are killing them a little inside.  Things that kill people who don’t get help.  Silent, bloody battles that end with secret victors who can’t celebrate without shame.  I hope that this post changes this somehow.  I hope that you feel safe enough to be honest about the things you are the most ashamed of.  I hope you have someone there telling you “It’s okay.  You’re still the same person to me.”

I hope to one day I see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle and that they celebrate the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.

I hope one day to be better and I’m pretty sure I will be.  I hope one day I live in a world where the personal fight for mental stability is viewed with pride and public cheers instead of shame.  I hope it for you too.

But until then, it starts slowly.

I haven’t hurt myself in 3 days.  I sing strange battle-songs to myself in the darkness to scare away the demons.  I am a fighter when I need to be.  

And for that I am proud.

Are there sweeter words?

“It’s not cancer.”

That’s what my doctor just called to tell me.  It’s such a simple sentence, but I’m hard-pressed to think of one that’s nicer to hear.  “We just invented egg rolls that make your hair thicker” is close, but not by much.

I was a puddle of relief for about 10 minutes until I realized that what she was really saying is that I don’t have cancer in that one violently angry ovary that they spent a month examining.  Which means the rest of my body might be riddled with God-knows-what, and that’s why I think we all need to pool our money and buy an MRI machine that we can all share.  I’d put it on Kickstarter but they rejected my last application for bring joy to the world so I’m pretty sure they’re probably anti-MRI’s-for-everyone as well.

PS.  Thank you for being there to distract me when I was freaking out.  Seriously.  You helped more than you know.

This isn’t necessarily a real post

Yesterday I went to the doctor to check on the ovary that tried to kill me because it’s still being an asshole.  I asked the doctor (who was very sweet and quite awesome) if she thought it was cancer, and she smiled and calmly reassured me that “it’s not necessarily cancer.”  Which seemed very comforting until I was out the door and started analyzing exactly what the hell that meant.

For my own mental health, I’m telling myself that “It’s not necessarily cancer” is the same thing as “It’s not cancer,” but I don’t really believe me because I have anxiety disorder and I suspect I’m just lying to myself to protect me.  From myself.  I don’t know if that sentence even makes sense, but if it doesn’t I blame the cancer which I may or may not have.

Honestly, I’m not even sure why I paid for that diagnosis. I already knew that I didn’t necessarily have cancer. Who gets a necessary cancer?

“So you have cancer?” “Yes, but it was necessary.” “Oh, good. There’s nothing worse than a frivolous cancer.”

I have to go back this week for more scans.  Scans which probably cause cancer.  And then the doctor will be like, “Well, the bad news is that all of these x-rays caused you to get cancer, but the good news is that we found the cancer by doing all these x-rays.  Yay for us!  And it’s a darn good thing that we did all these scans because they were totally necessary to find the cancer that was caused by them.”  And I think I just accidentally defined necessary cancer.

Touche, medical science.

You win this round.

PS.  Don’t worry.  I don’t necessarily have cancer.

PPS.  This post is more depressing than I would like it to be so I’m ending it with a picture of myself photo-bombing a picture my friend Chookooloonks took.  For those of you who are new here, I’m the one inside the wolf.

Stop yelling at me. The wolf died naturally of old age and kidney failure. And probably necessary cancer. I hear there's a lot of that going around.

People in the country need xanax too.

Okay, so first of all my kidney infection was doing much better until last night when I seriously considered removing my left kidney myself because it hurt so much but it’s behind me and I’m not that flexible so then I thought about calling a hooker because  you always hear those stories about people going off with a hooker and waking up in a bathtub of ice with one kidney gone and what I gathered from that is that hookers are good at surgery but I don’t even know where to find a hooker because we live so far out in the country.  Also, with the way my luck’s been going I’d get the one hooker who doesn’t know how to illegally remove a kidney.  So instead I went to the doctor again and he was all “Well, your pee looks fantastic” and I was like “…Thank you?” and he’s all “I just mean that the antibiotics are really working on the infection but your kidney’s are still inflamed so I’m going to give you a shot” and then the nurse came in and was all “Bend over.  This is going to hurt” and I just kind of stared at her because “Um…what?”  Apparently she had to give me the shot in my hip because it was ” much too big for your arm” and it hurt so bad I almost kicked her.  But I didn’t because I’m a grown-up.  And because they said that they’d call in a refill on my xanax.  But I suspect that the only reason they gave me that horrible shot in the first place was so that I’d be distracted from the pain in my kidneys and would stop complaining about it.  That shot is like the equivalent of “I’ll give you something to cry about”.  Then the nurse asked if it hurt and I was all “Nope!  Feels great!” because I was afraid that if I said it hurt she’d rip off my ear or stab me with a pen to distract me from the distraction pain.  I wasn’t thinking very clearly at that point.

Then I drove an hour to the nearest pharmacy to pick up the xanax and they were all “Oh, we don’t have xanax in stock. WE’LL HAVE TO ORDER IT.”

(This is a space to let that shit sink in.)

So then I called Victor and I was all “What kinda fucked-up, backward, hillbilly town did you move us to?!” and Victor was like “You might be overreacting” and I was all “Well that’s probably because I MIGHT NEED SOME DAMN XANAX” and Victor was like “Well, you certainly can’t tell.  Did you react this well when you were actually at the pharmacy?” and I was all “Are you even listening to me? THEY. DIDN’T. HAVE. XANAX.” Then Victor said “Well, I’m guessing they’ll stock up for next time” but he said it with less of a “clearly-they-are-trying-to-destroy-you” kind of tone and in more of a “Great. Now we can never go back to Walgreen’s” kind of way.  Then a squirrel bit me in the eye.  That last part is made up but it sounds like something that would actually happen to me.  That’s the kind of week this has been.  Also I haven’t had any booze or caffeine in 6 days because of my kidneys and I think I might be having withdrawals because my brain is mush and I asked the doctor if I could get some methadone and he said he “wasn’t that kind of a doctor“.   I don’t what he meant by “that kind of a doctor” but I’m assuming he meant “helpful”.

I apologize for this whole post.  If I had some methadone I bet it would make a lot more sense.

Updated: For everyone asking me why in the hell I moved to this scorpion-infested, God-forsaken suck-hole, this is the view from my street:
Exploring the neighborhood

It does have some small perks.

And no xanax.  Apparently.

Fuck.  Now I’m mad again.

Comment of the day: If you decide to go through with the whole hooker kidney removal surgery thing, be sure to label which kidney she needs to remove. Because that would suck if she took your good one. Except I am pretty sure hookers take kidneys to sell on the black market, so if you label your bad one, then she will probably actually take your good one because how are you going to sell an inflamed kidney on the black market? Hookers don’t have time to worry about these kinds of things. They are paid by the hour, Jenny. So what you should do is mark your good kidney as the bad kidney so she will think she is taking your good kidney when she is really taken your bad kidney. Man, swindling hookers can be confusing. That is some espionage shit right there. But if you pull it off, you will have actually just screwed a hooker, but she will be the one that just performed an illegal activity. You win. Twice! Also, you should totally use Sonic ice to fill the bathtub because that stuff is the best. ~ Scott

And now I’ll never sleep again

Last night I couldn’t sleep so I got up and posted this on twitter:

I was prepared for the amount of people who said that it was just me.  I was not prepared for all the people whose night-time phobias put mine to shame.  A small taste:

Conclusion: You guys are totally weird.  And I know you’re going to point out that I was the one who started all of this with my fear of floating away but technically my fear is a recognized phobia so I’m pretty sure that makes me the normal one:

Fear of leprechauns is not even mentioned in the whole phobia list.  Conclusion: I’m less crazy than you. Except that I’m never going to be able sleep again because now I can’t stop thinking about the leprechaun axe murderers under the bed. Awesome. I’ve been infected.  But it’s not that big of a deal because I just spent the last two hours cramming all of Victor’s winter clothes under our bed so that there’s no room for anyone to hide under there.  Problem solved.  With science.

Updated: Victor got all pissy because he couldn’t find a sweater and I told him that he was just going to have to layer up with a bunch of t-shirts if he was cold because I had to use all his heavy clothes to save us from leprechauns and he totally freaked out in a really irrational sort of way.  Probably because he has fear of leprechauns burrowing into his winter clothes to make a cave to hide their axes in, which is not even a recognized phobia.

That man has issues.

Comment of the day: Fun fact: Nothing bad can happen to you as long as a PORTION of you is covered. Unless it’s your face. Then you will be murdered. ~ sarah

Let’s vow to never have 2009 again.

Tonight I’m sitting here at home reflecting on the success of my last year’s New Year’s Resolution, which was to never, ever come up with New Year’s Resolutions again.  It worked out well, if by “worked out well” you mean “failed to accomplish anything of value at all”.  Which I do.  So, yay me.

This New Year’s Eve I’ll be home with my family, thinking about all the people who bothered to put up a Christmas tree and who will spend all day tomorrow lugging decorations back into the attic and I’ll wonder “What is wrong with those people?”  Then I’ll tuck Hailey in bed and drink enough to dull the pain of my shoulder, which I’m fairly certain I dislocated trying to do the “new cough”.  FYI…the “old cough” is the normal one that’s totally worked fine for the last thousand years.  It’s the one where you cover your mouth with your hands when you cough.  The “new cough” is the one where you cough into the crook of your elbow because apparently that spreads less germs except when I try to “new cough” into my elbow I’m not actually flexible enough to do without pulling a muscle and then even when I do make it, my elbow isn’t big enough to contain my mouth so spit flies all over everyone nearby.   I’m honestly not even sure how the rest of the world is doing the new cough unless they all have arms like flying squirrels or possibly everyone is just fucking with me and I’m the only one actually doing it.  Also, I’m getting lipstick all over my sleeve and  I guess I’m not stretching enough before because now my shoulder is all sore like I have Polio.  Also, I might actually have Polio.  That’s the kind of year this has been.  The kind where you may or may not have Polio.  I guess what I’m trying to say here is can we go back to the “old cough” in 2010?  Because my shoulder hurts like hell.  Plus, when other people do the new cough I automatically think they’re raising their arm to backhand me and so I involuntarily flinch and raise my arm to hit them back and then everyone feels awkward.  Or maybe we can compromise and the “new-new cough” can be coughing down the inside of your shirt.  Which is kind of awesome because then your shirt becomes an automatic hanky and the lipstick stains will go inside the shirt so they’ll be less visible.  Plus, all the contagious germs stay on your boobs so if you get molested while you’re sick you’ll totally be able to identify your attacker later by his cough.  Or by his dislocated arm in case he doesn’t get the word about the “new-new cough”.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m pretty sure I have Polio.  And that I wish you a wonderful New Year.  Mostly the last part.

Happy New Year, my sweet friends.  I love you and your flying-squirrel elbows.

Comment of the day: Ok, absolutely true story of the new cough gone awry. Last night I’m at a Chinese restaurant–not that the cuisine type matters here–and this kid of about 9 or 10 does the new cough thing. Only instead he sneezed. Snot ALL over his sweater. He was at a table with his entire family, grandparents, whatever, and he was covered in snot. The entire table stopped eating and just stared at him. He looks at his mom and said, “I just did what they told us to in school!” and she said, “Yeah, ok, in the future, if you have a napkin RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, sneeze into that.” Words to live by. ~ etain

If I wake up as a puddle of blood tomorrow he’s going to feel really bad.

me:  I’m dying.

Victor:  You’re not dying.  You have a cold.

me:  I have hemorrhagic fever.

Victor:  Did you just make that up?

me:  No, I’m deadly serious.  First of all, I have a fever, and last night I had a nosebleed, and now my teeth are bleeding.

Victor:  I’m pretty sure teeth can’t bleed.

me:  My gums then.  Whatever.  The point is that I’m hemorrhaging internally.  Probably to death.

Victor:  I think you’re confusing hemorrhagic fever with gingivitis again.

me:  I don’t have gingivitis.

Victor:  Well you also don’t have hemorrhagic fever.

me:  It feels kind of like the Ebola Virus.  But like, totally worse.

Victor:  Where are all the forks?

me:  I think I’m bleeding out of my eyeballs.

Victor:  Try to do it over the sink.  Seriously, why don’t we ever have any clean forks?

me:  My nose just fell off.

Victor:  Why are all these dirty dishes in the washer?  Why would you go to the trouble of loading the dishwasher and not just start it?

me:  I can’t feel my legs.

Victor:  Great. Now we have no forks.  Way to go, hon.

me:  My heart just stopped and now I’m craving brains.

Victor:  And of course we don’t even have plastic forks.  If you use all the damn plastic forks you need to tell me so I can buy more.

me:  …braaaaaains…..

Victor:  How the fuck am I supposed to eat spaghetti with a spoon?

me:  *gurgle* * associated sounds of decomposition*

Victor:  Motherfucker.  So I guess I’ll have to go buy the forks since you’re too sick?

me:  …braaaaaaai-

Victor:  Fine. I’m taking your car.  I’ll be back in a bit.

me:  *sigh*

Disclaimer: Only the first few sentences of this post have actually happened.  The rest is a reenactment of what I assume will happen later this afternoon when Victor realizes that we don’t have any forks and I die of spite neglect whatever made those Nazi’s explode at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I’m pretty sure that was hemorrhagic fever too.

Comment of the day: Just be thankful it’s not *Hemorrhoidic* Fever.  Cleaning up exploding brains would be the LEAST of your worries. ~ moooooog35