Scotti: A Little Life Update

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I was in the middle of writing about my favorite pieces of 2020 when I received a call from my doctor. “Do you have a second to talk?” he asked.  

I had just had two MRIs the day before. One was my annual breast MRI (I get a mammogram and MRI yearly since both Mom and Shana had early-onset breast cancer, and I share the same ATM gene attributed to their type of cancer) and since my symptoms of facial droop hadn’t yet cleared up—something I had originally attributed to Bell’s Palsy—I had one on my head as well. Just in case.

And so it happened that I found out I have a brain tumor on the last day of 2020. One last little parting gift from the Year From Hell.

It’s benign, which is obviously the best part of this otherwise pretty shocking news. But it will have to be removed—most likely surgically—sometime in the near future, which brings about a whole host of other questions and unknowns. As someone who suffers from anxiety in general, I’m not great at dealing with unknowns.  

“I suppose it could always be worse,” I said to my therapist after telling her the news, trying to stay positive! and feeling guilty that I wasn’t grateful enough for the things I do have. “Sure,” she said. “But let’s not put icing on a poop cake. It’s still…a poop cake.”

Which is now my favorite analogy of all time.

I’ve been doing a whole lot of processing lately. I oscillate between feelings of guilt that it could be so much worse…and fear, anger, sadness…all of the feelings. I’m trying to be optimistic without venturing too far into toxic positivity that could ultimately make me feel worse. The poop cake keeps it all in perspective, because sometimes it’s just freaking hard to put a positive spin on things like brain tumors.

There are positives, of course—I have a family who is incredibly supportive and loving. Shana decided to stay another week to help us get the house organized (post coming soon on that!) and Zack’s family made me a bunch of cards with Bible verses and inspiring quotes along with a playlist for when I need a little pick-me-up.    

So when I sat down at my computer again to write about my favorite pieces of 2020, at first it seemed so trivial. Like, who cares about fashion right now?? But, I mean—I do. It’s one of those things that brings me joy—and I’ll take joy wherever I can find it, especially now with the GIANT POOP CAKE in my future. Looking back over my favorite posts from 2020 (and your comments on them!) reminded me that we still managed to have some fun in an otherwise really tough year.

So…cheers. To finding more joy in 2021.

(There’s always wine.)

Sometimes it’s just freaking hard to put a positive spin on things like brain tumors. “Sure," she said. "But let's not put icing on a poop cake. It’s still...a poop cake.”
Sometimes it’s just freaking hard to put a positive spin on things like brain tumors. “Sure," she said. "But let's not put icing on a poop cake. It’s still...a poop cake.”

XOXO,

Scotti

78 COMMENTS

  1. I had a benign brain tumor (meningioma) removed in 2004 when I was 29 years old. If I can answer any questions for you, please let me know! Wishing you well! 😊

  2. Thinking of you Scotti! WTF 2020…I am sending you and your family positive thoughts, love and peace over next steps. XOXO

  3. Scotti I’ve always really admired you. Your posts are always interesting and helpful, and you have this sixth sense of style and SEXINESS that just seems to come so naturally to you. Not to mention a beautiful family and (not the first time I’ve brought this up in this space) the best butt in the world. This is a reminder that no one has the perfect sexy life we imagine they have when we see them on the internet. I’m so sorry about your diagnosis. I’m out here rooting for you and I know so many others are, too.

  4. What a scary, unexpected, unwelcome end to this crazy year. I am very glad to hear it’s benign- I think I held my breath for the few seconds before I read the next paragraph. No experience with brain tumors but lots with anxiety. I’m glad you have a therapist. It made a world of difference for me. I’m still anxious but I have a much better toolbox. And for me, 2019 and early 2020 really put that to the test. Hoping for good things in 2021 for you and your family.

  5. Scotti, I had a benign brian tumor (meningioma) removed in 2010. I can definitely identify with all the feelings you mentioned. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Praying for you and your family.

  6. I’m glad it is benign and I’m glad that you found it on the last day of 2020 so you can leave all the bad stuff behind you. Wishing you good health and happiness in 2021!

  7. Well! Way to end 2020 with a bang! It’s like your doctor’s timing was…perfect. I’m sending you much, much love from San Francisco, and much relief that it is benign. Sam

  8. Well f@$k. That sucks. I’m so sorry to hear this news…I teared up a bit reading this. (I have screenshots of your tattoos for inspiration so I obviously know you 😂). Stay strong. Break down. Feel it all or feel nothing….it’s all ok! You’ve got this, lady! (And sometimes you won’t..it’s all ok) ❤️😊 positive vibes for you.

  9. Dear Scotti, I’m thinking of you and hoping for a speedy recovery. It sounds like you are focusing on all the positives. Surgery is always scary. But here’s to getting it out and recovering and getting back to what you love.

  10. All the good vibes are being sent to you. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. So glad you have had your family with you. Sending every positive thought your way! ❤️

  11. Scotti…I’m so sorry. Your family is so strong. I’ve always admired that. You will get through this and be even stronger. Show your kids that you can do hard things ❤️

  12. Scotti!! I’m so sorry to hear this. I admire your condor and honesty on top of your great style and beautiful smile. (Plus, the “poop cake” phrase is awesome…putting that on in my back pocket…thank you!) Sending lots of love, healing and peace.

  13. Oh my word. This news would make absolutely anybody’s world turn upside-down. As if things weren’t upside-down enough already. So many of us will be following and rooting for you and your sweet fam. Wishing you lots of love and support and many many years of future health to look back on 2020 and tell it to f&$# off forever.

  14. Oh gosh, Scotti- what terrible news. I’m so sorry. I love the support group you have in your beautiful family as well as your entire TME “family”. Sending good vibes, healing thoughts and warm hugs.

  15. Thank you for sharing with us so we can journey with you. Please keep writing about fashion! The joy it brings you is contagious.

    Frozen 2 has become my favorite Disney movie because of the line (and song) “all you can do is the next right thing.” Hugs

  16. I hope the love and support you’re getting from TME family feels like a giant hug whenever you need it. You’re strong (and sassy, and sexy, and resilient, and amazing). And it will be hard. We’ve got your back.

  17. Scotti, thank you for sharing your real with us. If anyone can face down the poop and come out okay, I think it’s the Ostwald girls–you guys are so strong, and you have so many gifts. I know I speak for all your followers when I say we send our very heartfelt hopes, hugs and best wishes for you right now.

  18. Sending you and your family love and good thoughts for a speedy recovery. This absolutely sucks. I am so so sorry. Please know that we are rooting for you and appreciate your contributions to TME, your talent and pizazz. Take care.

  19. I held my breath as I read your words. Thank you for sharing with us; it takes energy and strength. (Well, that’s you!) We are all standing with you and alongside you as you take the next steps.

    Tearing up a bit thinking of that for you. Pulling for you all the way, Scotti. Much light and all the good vibes. And wine! Yay!

  20. Well, the good things are your sister was there when you got the news, it’s benign, it’s operable, you have access to medical care and family support. And it’s still shitty and scary and infuriating and sad. None of these things are mutually exclusive and you have the right to feel any way you feel, no matter how much worse it could be or how many good things you have going for you. We see you.

  21. I’m so sorry to read this, may you have strength and courage when you need it and may you feel deep in your bones the loving kindness that so many are sending to you.

  22. GAH!!! Poop cake indeed!!! Praying that you will have all you need to get through the surgery and recovery. Thank you for sharing your heart. Definitely holding you in prayer. Thank God for sisters (I have two)! Much love!!

  23. Oh Scotti. I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. If there’s any internet-friend I know who can take this on and still look good, it’s you. Your TME followers are with you and love you. This is your journey…you are allowed to share as little or as much as you like, and we’re here for it no matter what. xoxo

  24. Well I held my breath while I read this and exhaled deeply when you said it was benign. But that news as great as it is doesn’t remove the scary from this diagnosis. Praying for you and your family. Hugs and hopes for a speedy recovery.

  25. Thank you for sharing your life journey with us! I am so sorry you are dealing with this “poop cake” 🙁 I will keep you and your family in my prayers! xo

  26. I’m so very glad to read of the wonderful support from all of your family. I wish you a speedy recovery and peace as you move through this. Take good care.

  27. Oh Scotti, we are so so sorry to hear this news. What a plot twist!! Praying for love and light to envelop you in the hard moments/days. I also pray that your faith and hope would be somehow encouraged through this.

  28. Scotty, I’m there with you. In 2019, I was diagnosed with a benign spinal tumor in my neck. It took four months to properly diagnose. For four months we weren’t sure exactly what it was, while my mind spiraled to the worst. They’re still trying to determine if it’s growing and if I’ll need major surgery to remove him (I named him Schmitty – he’s a pain my neck, so of course he’s male :).
    In the meantime, I have this very quantifiable reminder, 6mm from my spinal cord, to take care of myself so I’m in the best starting place when surgery is needed, to enjoy the movement and walks I may one day struggle with after surgery, and all the tight neck squeezes my little ones will give.
    I don’t know anyone else going through this, so thank you for sharing and keeping it real. Neurosurgery is scary. Positivity is good. Walking the line between positivity and toxic positivity is very smart. My best advice for today (on a morning where I’m struggling to finish my workout), listen to the music artist MILCK’s remake of the song Ooh Child.

  29. I am so, so sorry to hear this. You and The Mom Edit blog have brought JOY to so many us of, especially when it was much needed during this last year. I hope you know how much this community appreciates you. Sending good vibes and wishes for a speedy recovery as you tackle this poop cake.

  30. Hi Scotti, thank you so much for sharing – what utterly shitty news to receive as a crappy topper on a crappy year (more poop puns). I had a vestibular schwannoma removed in 2013. It was SO SCARY to receive the diagnosis and I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. If you and your docs decide to remove it surgically, come down-state and see the docs at UM – I had my surgery at UM (I’m in Ann Arbor) and my experience was great. Contact me if you want more info or recommendations.

  31. Oh, Scotti! I am so very sorry to hear and will add you to my prayer list. If you’re looking for some laughs and inspiration from someone who went through something similar, check out Jeannie Gaffigan’s book “When Life Gives You Pears.” She tells her journey of her pear-shaped brain tumor and it’s absolutely hilarious, emotional and beautiful. XO.

  32. Sending virtual hugs, Scotti. Love you all at TME and when one of you is hurting, I feel a pang! I adore pics of you and Shana together, probably because I have always wanted a sister–you are SO lucky to have each other and I know she will help you through this bump. 2020 did indeed suck and most of 2021 will not be much better but there is light at the end of the tunnel. You have a myriad of “virtual sisters” routing for you! Be well and we <3 you!

  33. Scotti, I’m so deeply sorry that this is happening to you. Please know that you are in my prayers daily and I do truly believe they work 🙂 Looking at that sweet mama of yours, I know you are genetically built with an internal strength that can conquer anything. Having your very own hero sister will prove to be a source of silent strength when you need it most, I know, I have my very own as well. My own momma would tell me at my most difficult times “think good thoughts”….took me a long time to truly understand what she was saying, but I get it now…so Think Good Thoughts, Scotti and i’ll be over here praying really hard that in your times of need, you’ll feel the support and strength you need to do just that…and let’s not forget you have your very own Angel Dad who’s looking over you too! May that comfort you! All the best to you, it’s gonna be alright…

  34. Hi Scotti,
    I don’t know you, but I sure enjoy reading your posts. I’m thinking of you and sending best wishes and good vibes your way. You are very brave to write about this and your message of hope and strength is inspirational.

    Cheering you on from Nashville!
    Amy

  35. I’m so sorry to hear this! I appreciate the vulnerability and honesty of sharing it here, and I’m sending you all my well wishes from NY.

  36. Scotti,

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Sending you all the healing vibes for the best possible outcome. I’ve only been following this blog for a few months, but I feel like your personality really shines. Your posts are honest and sincere, and you seem like such a wonderful person.

    I remember reading that you like epic fantasy. Have you read Stormlight Archive? If not, I think you would love it, and it would be a great distraction from the poop cake. There’s a quote my husband loves that seems to suit you:

    “The most important step a man can take. It’s not the first one, is it?

    It’s the next one. Always the next step, Dalinar.”

    Lots of love,

    Maggie

  37. This news really sucks. And I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Please know that your fans all feels as if we’re neighbors and we really do care about you and your family. You’ll be in prayers at this neighbor’s house.

  38. I have NO WORDS that will properly convey the level of gratitude I feel towards all of you guys…the love is overwhelming and so humbling!! I appreciate each and every one of you…thank you thank you thank you for taking the time to comment. It means so much and I’m absolutely blown away. ❤️❤️❤️🙏🏼

  39. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Thank you for helping over the years this (quite non-glamorous) reader to inject a bit more glamour into her (fashion/beauty) life. Wishing you well and sending positive thoughts.

  40. what a crap way to end 2020! I’m so sorry to hear this. Wishing you a complete recovery and glad you have a strong family to support you.

  41. Scotti, Geez! I’m so sorry! What a tough thing for you and your family. If this past year taught me anything, it was to find the small joys, like you talk about in your post, and to try to stay in balanced thinking and not going into doom and gloom or overly positive. I call it zen thinking. Also, the Calm app is helpful for moments when I’m just so overwhelmed. Hang in there! You’ve got this! Kim in Oregon

  42. Well that truly is a poop cake. I wish you strength and determination and GRACE above all else in this new journey you are facing. I feel I have gotten to know you and all of the TME contributors over the last years, and you are dear to your readers in ways you cannot imagine. Your family is there for you, and we are too.

  43. Scotti, I’ve liked your fashion/beauty content here for years, and have really enjoyed getting to know your heart through your comments on social-justice-oriented posts. Wishing you all the best in dealing with this epic poop cake. You got this.

  44. Definitely Poop Cake, Scotti Ostwald Oja. But how AMAZING is it that you have this ARMY of awesome women cheering you on?? I’ll be right out front, wearing an off the shoulder top, sequin joggers, leather earrings and UGGS (how well do we know you, girl???). WE ADORE YOU!

  45. I’m so sorry!!! Ugh, poop cake for sure. I’m so glad it’s benign, though. When I was younger I had a benign tumor called a cholesteatoma in my middle ear. I think it’s technically a type of skin cell growth that behaves like a tumor. I had surgeries for it and it’s gone today, but I still have a hearing loss and tinnitus. I’m also never able to go diving, but that is ok because I kind of hate water and I’m terrified of the ocean, lol. I’ll take the tradeoff. My thoughts are with you and your family during this time. xoxo

  46. I loved how Deborah worded it—you are dear to your readers. She nailed it. You are. I’ve been holding you in my thoughts and reading through all of these words of love from all of us and felt compelled to comment again to say how deeply you have touched us and to thank you. I love how down-to-earth, truthful, sassy and just … special … you are. I rarely use that word, but it’s you. This outpouring of fierce support and care is here because of YOU: because of all you give to all of us—and everything you are that just shines out from your writing and photos too. May the love and joy you bring to the world come around to you and help support you in this time. xo

  47. I am a breast cancer survivor and went through my battle when my daughter was only 1 year old. It’s a whole other level when dealing with concerns for yourself and then the added fears and concerns when you add littles into the mix. A giant poop cake indeed! Sending so much love and light to you and your family. We love ya, Scotti!

  48. I had brain surgery at 38 when my son was 16 months old and then had another baby!! Your sweet children will get you through. You’ve got this!! 🙂

  49. Sending a huge hug and tons of positive thoughts your way. Health news is sooo hard and your therapist sounds like an awesome person to help with that. You are very loved and I hope you feel all the support coming from this community that you have helped build. Xoxo

  50. I’m so sorry. I literally gasped when I read it. You are lucky to have such a supportive tribe around you. I know you will get through this. Sending love and light.

  51. Dear Scotti, I am a TME reader and follower for many years, but this is only I think the second time I have weighed in; the first was I think yesterday on the books to read entry. Anyways…. I am so sorry to hear about this. Any kind of tumor is awful, though if you had to choose, clearly benign is better than malignant. But in the brain – yikes. You are brave to be sharing this on your blog; I appreciate your honesty and authenticity. My very best wishes to you. Everyone’s lives are fraught with challenge but this, at the beginning of 2021, after last week’s heist on Democracy? This is indeed poopy cake. In the my own personal trials, I have found that it is freeing to give myself time and permission to sulk. Not forever, but for as long as I need which, paradoxically, is usually much shorter than forever since I give myself permission. :-/

  52. This post. It kind of takes my breath and reminds me of several years ago when our then 3 year old son was diagnosed with a totally different diagnosis but one that resulted in an extensive cranial vault reconstruction. It was devastating and hard and exhausting. And people said the craziest things in an attempt to be helpful. Oddly enough, the one thing that DID somehow comfort me was simply , “It is what it is, and here we are”. Here WE are. Together as a family, facing this awful thing together. I said that to myself so many times It became my mantra. So that is what I am writing to you with much love in my heart.

  53. Scotti, I am sorry you have to deal with this brain tumor. Your blog has brought me joy through escapism in difficult times. Light-hearted topics like fashion and the zest for life you all have on here lifted me up when I had heavy things to deal with. I will be praying for you for peace throughout these unknowns. I hope you have many years ahead of you, but if not then I pray you would know peace with God. No, fashion doesn’t matter a whole lot in the long run, but doing something with all your heart and bringing joy to others does.

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