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.)