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LJI:1 Jayus
2009 was a rough year in my family.  It started off well enough: my sister-in-law was pregnant with twins; my boyfriend J and I were making plans to move in together.  Then on June 2, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

I had surgery and was recovering well.  I started on the special diet to prepare for the radioactive iodine treatment while also unpacking from our move.  Then in early July my sister-in-law had to go on full bed rest in the hospital, because the twins were trying to get out much earlier than they should.

On July 22, I did my course of radiation, to be followed by a week of isolation protocol.  On the same morning the twins were born, at just over 34 weeks.  They spent a week in the NICU but then were both able to come home.  In early August we did my first set of scans and everything looked clear, no obvious uptake of the iodine and my tumor markers were negative.  After one hell of a summer, things were finally settling down.

Early one Tuesday morning in mid-October I got a phone call from my brother which was odd, differing time zones and schedules meant we usually spoke on weekends.  We chatted for a bit about his newly intense caffeine addiction, how the twins were sleeping, how the whole family was adjusting to two new babies.  Then he paused;

“I’m not sure how to tell you this.  I had this weird dry patch on my cheek for a while and my doctor sent me to a dermatologist to get it looked at.  Turns out, it's skin cancer.”

I had no idea what to say.  I’ve read the phrase ‘all the air went out of me’, but for the first time I really knew what that meant.

“It’s basal cell carcinoma, which is the least dangerous kind of skin cancer, and I’ve been read the riot act about not using sun screen.  I’ve got an appointment to get it removed right after deer season, didn’t want to miss that.”

I knew if they were letting him wait until early December to have surgery it couldn’t be all that bad.  I finally unfroze, and asked a few questions.  He had already told our parents and said they got really quiet. After all, this meant both of their children got cancer diagnoses within six months, even if they were both ‘good’ cancers.  We joked weakly about not remembering living under power lines when we were kids, but didn’t have much oomph.

After the phone call I wandered into the living room where J was getting ready to leave for work.  He took one look at me and asked what was wrong.  Floating somewhere between sobbing and giggling manically I told him; my brother had just called and he had cancer too.  J gave me a big hug, and said,

“Just like a little brother, always has to copy.”

I laughed until I cried, and then laughed a little more.

***Here's my take on jayus.  For those of you who haven't been cursing Gary since he posted it here's the definition: “from Indonesian, meaning a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.”  Read more entries on this crazy topic here, voting will open early next week.  Also, I've been fully in remission for 4 1/2 years, P is totally fine as are the twins, and J is now my husband.***

Good wishes for continued good health!

Cancer is a really scary thing. I'm glad you are in remission.

It is, even if I had a "good" kind. I used to explain to people that on the spectrum from black death to fluffy bunnies, I had a fluffy bunny kind of cancer.

I'm glad you're still doing well, after such a scary experience.

Your husband's joke... somehow, just perfect, at time when you needed a little something funny. :)

Thank you, that was definitely not my favorite summer.

My husband is awesome at the one liners at just the right moment, in this case it was exactly what I needed.

This made me laugh- obviously, I'm glad everyone is ok, but the sentiment was really cute.

It made me laugh too. I told my brother about it after his removal had gone super well, and even he laughed.

great take, thanks for sharing!

I'm staring at your icon thinking "oooh, bubbles".

Thanks for the kind words!

Glad it worked out good for everyone!

Yes, after that one hell of a year we are all healthy and happy and the twins are about to start school this fall.

Thank you!

I had no idea radioactive iodine was being done on "hoomans" as I've only known it being done to cats with hyperthyroidism... Glad things are tinkering quite well for you in that aspect...

I loved how this played, between sad and happy, and the humor side of it all. I hope your brother doesn't let the tumor grow too large where it would be difficult to remove, as December is an awful long ways away!!!! Cancer is not something to mess with, as you already know, and have been taking care of yourself well.

Hope all continues to go well and your brother is alright.

Weirdly, this isn't the first time I've heard that cats go through the exact same procedure I did, I think it's kind of nifty.

My brother's cancer has already been removed, and other than twice annual visits to the dermatologist he's been holding fine as well.

Thanks for the kind words.

It was exactly the right thing to say.

(Very sad about your troubles.)

Yeah, my now-husband is pretty awesome at coming up with the perfect words. I'm glad I get to keep him.

Thank you, things are normal these days (for the new value of normal you acquire after all the crazy).

oh god. j's reaction is not funny, except that it kind of is. i probably would've laughed too. (and i'm glad you and your brother are both fine!)

It was the perfect way to break the tension and get me unstuck, which is what I needed.

Thanks for the good wishes and kind words!

(Also, love your SPN icon!)

(Deleted comment)
Yeah. Everything worked out but we are not allowed to make any jokes about it around my dad, who took the whole several months pretty hard. I don't blame him at all but both my brother and I use humor as a defense so we had to be a bit careful.


sometimes you have to laugh at it. thank you for sharing this.

Indeed, sometimes laughing is all you can do.

Thanks for commenting!

I love J's comment - I'm all for using humor to deflect any situation. Good on him. (I'm so glad everyone is doing well!)

BTW, THANK YOU for the package. It arrived awhile ago and I've been meaning to thank you. I really appreciate it!

I'm still impressed with his ability to come up with that line so off the cuff, it was exactly what I needed to hear to get unstuck in that moment. My family keeps saying that we had our bad year, and now we're done.

I'm glad it got to you and that it'll be put to use. It seemed silly to leave it sitting in my closet when I knew people who would make beautiful things instead. You're welcome.

I've known quite a few people with "good" cancers, but it never, ever feels like a good thing. This was well-written, I enjoyed the play of emotions.

I remember my doctor saying "if you have to get cancer, this is the kind you want to get" and screaming in my mind - what if I didn't want to get cancer? It's still better than the alternative, though.

Thanks for the kind words.

Awww... what a scary year, and what a perfect response.

It was just a summer of thing after thing all piling up, in fact I left a few things out of the entry because they broke up the flow. I remain in awe of J's ability to say exactly the right thing in the right moment.

It's good to see that everyone is doing fine, and congrats on the marriage to such a wise man!

It was odd, everything happened in one year and everything's been fine since then (knocks on wood).

Yes, I am super happy to have snagged J for my very own, his ability to say the right thing is just one of his awesome qualities.