Over the course of these last 12 and a-half years I’ve been writing blogs, the recurrent theme has been the importance of joy and laughter in our lives in spite of living with chronic pain and chronic illness.
It is often challenging, often elusive but always, life is there waiting to hand us a dash of humor if we have our radar out and aren’t buried in the depths of self-pity. In the most horrible bouts of pain, we can always find some time for a word of appreciation, a bit of humor even if it is just a smile in response to something happening around us. Laughter is truly the best medicine and lowers our blood pressure, strengthens the immune system and certainly brightens our day and the days of those who come in contact with us.
I know you have those days when you would like to pull a blanket over your head, grab your favorite soft pillow and just sleep, and that’s probably what you need as long as you don’t do it all the time. I think we all like to wallow but remember when pigs do it, they end up covered in mud. It actually looks like fun, if you’re a pig, but we human species;when we wallow, we begin to stink, need a shower, a set of clean clothes and the general pick–me–up that life uses to enrich and keep us cranking along. Okay, you can still wear your bunny slippers. I’m all for comfort to go along with cleanliness. In some way, being freshened up is good for the spirit and that’s that little unknown part of life that keeps us going.
It’s often a question of having our antennae out and ready to receive those signals of humor. I don’t want to embarrass any fellas who may be reading this but BE WARNED, this next couple of bits have to do with boobs. No, not Hollywood boobs but real-life boobs. In my case it’s boob, singular and an old one at that. Perky left my life years ago.
A mastectomy is the price I paid to continue cranking along and living, in general and I have to admit, the smartass in me came out strongly in the way I decided to deal with this tragic incident in my life. I cried, I demanded an immediate surgery to get that “invader” out of my body and looked heavenward and asked God why “She” would do that do me on top of all the other crap I had for years; two forms of destructive arthritis, severe osteoporosis and a bad gut, all including pain every day of my life. Oh yes, I did some wallowing but then I wrote a long poem called, “When Good Boobs Go Bad.” Then I felt better. Humor always works for me. Perhaps, it is due to my years as a nurse because most nurses and doctors I know lean toward the macabre when it comes to humor.
The one boob I have left is a constant source of amusement and inconvenience. Yes, I could have chosen to have an implant but didn’t want to be bothered and also know that whole procedure can be very painful. I thought I really didn’t need any more pain in my life. My dear man and I discussed it and he left it totally up to me. When you get old, due to the natural order of aging, that part of your body just slides lower on the priority scale. They also slide lower along with every other body part.
I hemorrhaged excessively during surgery in the chest wall and muscle mass and my tiny 5foot 1inch doctor had to put many thick gauze called abdominal lap pads onto me and literally climb on a stool and lean on me with her own body until the bleeding stopped. I had to be “wrapped” very tightly because of that bleeding and now find it extremely uncomfortable to have that area touched at all. That was before radiation therapy which left me with second degree burns on half of my chest and esophageal area. My whole way of dressing has changed. I layer my clothing and give it much thought when I am to be out in public. It would have been so much easier if I had had both of my breasts removed, but alas, I am stuck with this lone wolf, so to speak.
All of this is leading up to telling you how this has been a source of humor for me over these last four, almost five years. For instance, I did wear my Medicare paid for bra to my grandson’s fifteenth family birthday party. Please realize my family is accustomed to me and my bizarre sense of humor. I think they secretly adore me for it but don’t tell anyone. During our party I told my sweet grandson how I was giving him the honor of wearing a bra for the first time sense my surgery. After he laughed while blushing, not at all surprised at his Nana saying such a thing, he said, “This is really great. I will always remember my fifteenth birthday for the year Nana announced she wore a bra. Not quite as memorable as my fourteenth birthday when I got to go to NASA and the Space Center in Florida but I’ll remember it.” I hope he does. Before you ask…Yes, it was an uncomfortable experience for me personally and physically but humorous. We always laugh a great deal as a family and that’s the way I love it to be.
I’ve shared with you other occasions, like the time our little Yorkie, George pooped on the floor just before our new Neato robotic vacuum rolled over in that direction by the back door. Memorable humor. Now we are very careful…don’t want to go through that again, ever. Recently I shared with all of you the wonderful padding brought about by using feminine pads to make pants more comfortable if one has a bad and painful back. My Mom always told us to wear clean underwear in case we were in an accident and taken to the hospital. Wonder how she would feel about that if she was still living. She would probably just shake her head, laugh and say, “Oh, Sue.” The other day, actually it was Halloween, I had a thought stuck in my mind regarding a gift I wanted to give a friend and wanted to shop around an interesting store we have downtown with many collectibles and antique items. I was in pain and miserable but determined. After a few minutes of shopping, I had to seek out a chair and was beginning to lose my sense of humor when I found what I wanted and Jim was having a good time looking at some old documents. We picked out a couple of other items for Christmas gifts and went up to the check–out stand.
Just as an aside let me tell you here in our town, all of the shopkeepers hand out candy to the Trick or Treaters. It’s a great idea, keeping children in one local spot, away from wet, darkening streets and keeps the parents from too much walking, some pushing strollers. Our somewhat grumpy shopkeeper sat a large bowl of candy in front of my husband about the same time we walked up to the counter and he took a piece and ate it. Just as he reached for another piece, she began to bemoan the fact that the year before, she had spent $80 on candy and still ran out. She was quite certain she was going to run out of candy this year, also, as she glared at my dear guy. Children of all forms and styles of Star Wars and other Disney costuming began to pour in. Our clerk questioned each child, as if they were taking the candy to trade for drugs and I began to laugh. Regarding my opinion and his two measly little pieces of candy; we left $100 in her register and think we overpaid in regards to the candy.
Please my dear friends and readers, try to find the funny side of life, especially when you are in pain. I know it helps me immensely. I get these humorous ideas stuck in my head. For instance, we watched a veterinary show the other day when the vet was on a farm and one of the farmers cows had a terrible problem with abdominal distention. I believe cows have more than one stomach but I don’t know which one was in trouble. The vet proceeded to cut a small hole in the side of this poor distended critter, shoved in a long tube resembling a garden hose and immediately, results. Flatulence poured out of that poor beast. I can only imagine the odor in that farmyard. Now, when I have gut trouble, which is almost daily, witnessed recently by a morning spent in our local emergency room, I think of that cow. Why can’t they just do the same for us humans? I’m a nurse and I don’t have an answer for that. The direct approach seems so much more humane than what we do to some patients. Hang onto those funny images and use them as needed, okay?
Remember “A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 15:22, RSV Holy Bible.
Tonie dear, my deepest appreciation for posting this for me today. I know you had a big day yesterday and are not well. Much love, Sue
You’re welcome. I was off the computer for most of the day yesterday. We were doing other th8ngs. Just happened to see your post on Msg as we were driving home. I see one word to edit, sorry I didn’t read it before I posted.
Tonie, I know you’re going through more pain and problems right now and hope they find the answer very soon. I pray the rheumy will get back to you tomorrow and be able to see you if necessary.
Big day for me as I made it to the store with Jim and we shopped Safeway. Very festive as they like most large stores are combining leftover Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas…foods, decor and floral stuff. It was actually very festive if not also jumping the gun a bit..that’s retail for you. I am exhausted. Getting my tooth final crown tomorrow and on Thursday getting worse knee injected..really need it.
Well, we did it again. Jim and I forgot our anniversary again….OUR FORTIETH !!!! Well we should go out to dinner as soon as I can eat regular food again. I want lobster. Haven’t had any in ages and it’s a favorite but so speedy. Love you and hope you get to feeling better so please rest. Much love, Sue
Sue, I’m still laughing. Kind of needed that today, so thank you. Gentle hugs, Janet
It was lovely
And yes humour is good
But mine can be a bit sarcastic..but even that sees us both right here.maybe it’s more of a wry humour
I know you are sore I hope it’s easier today for you and all is bearable
Chris, just love long entry. Enjoy every moment of your DD’s wedding and tell us all about it. Thinking of you and praying you and John stay well. Love, Sue
I love humor. I love laughing. B. And I get silly sometimes, mostly laughing at ourselves ! To me, it is the funniest. But, I too have a warped sense of humor. My mom’s family, of course, hadn’t much entertainment growing up, except each other. She had a great sense of humor and made us all beware. I think she passed it on. My father was a quiet man, but was a big jokester. So we get it naturally.
I love to irritate grumpy clerks. Good for Jim.
While waiting for my dental appointment at the dentist, I had a bit of tooth break off, in the back at and where a cavity is. Just called and left a msg. Not looking forward to it.
Also, msged my rheumy about the red swollen whelps , which now have bruises that are covering a lot of my body. The muscles in my legs hurt so bad if I touch them. Swollen. Poor Bwas trying to make me laugh by squeezing my knee last night and I created instead. Poor man was so upset that he hurt me. We were supposed to take a nice hike today where the wild ponies are in Grayson Highlands. Beautiful this time of year. But it is raining and I don’t want to get sick, so we will go Thursday. He is understanding and supportive. And gets angry that none of my family takes the time to know what I go through. I got over that years ago.
So….laughing is where I remain today. As we sit at the table with our coffee and computers to see all the silly news of the world and sad.
Take care all
Tonie, loved this entry and look forward to your getting some health answers so you can continue to enjoy your new life, your new hubby and your wonderful mountain life this holiday season. You may have to make yourself calm down some of the baking and cooking if you are not as well. Overdoing it is never good but as ever, pick and choose but please stay safe and get in touch with that rheumy right away. Love, Sue
I think the last paragraph on your post is poignant and I thought about it and pictured you two..it felt like a togetherness instead of facing everything all alone
I do wish you could improve and get to do what you want
Janet, thanks…laughter is such a wonderful feeling, isn’t it? SO little of it sometimes. Love, Sue
Sue, sorry I didn’t get over here sooner. Wonderful!
Tonie, Sue, all who can relate – how lucky are we to have mates who can “get” us.
Hope you are all doing well today. We took a little leave of absence today. Well, this afternoon. Drove up in the mountains, further up. In the Appalachians, the other ones I live in and around. To a place called Grayson Highland Park. We went there a couple years ago to see the wild ponies there. We took Ceasar. Very chilly up there. But got to walk further this time, in better shape in someways, lol. And walked a little while on the Appalachian Trail , which runs thru there. I spoke with a kid who has been on it since June. Started in Maine and still has 500 miles to go. He was from Chicago. Amazing to me. It is a very rough trail. We are all tired. We stopped at a little place called “Aunt Bea’s”. They are a chain of down home food based out of Mt Airy NC, named after Aunt Bea on Andy Griffith Show. That is where Andy was from, and where he based the place “Mayberry” on. Anyway, I was sitting there with my vegetable soup and hushpuppies, and looked around me. THe place was full up of older folks, and even older folks along with high school kids. And guess what ??? NO ONE was on their phone. All were having conversations with each other. Made me feel all warm inside ! Or was it the soup ? FIrst time I have seen that …..well in a long time ! Maybe there is hope after all !
Love to you all
Love it, Tonie! Glad you had such a good time.
I am glad you got to go there tonie and enjoyed it
It sounds real good…soup too
I know what you mean about on the phones…..I’m sometimes guilty of that too tho…maybe as dh doesn’t hear to talk so that is what I do!
Raining and cold here today
But went to the pre diabetic clinic..I’ve lost some more weight…still too high a bmi though
Hah…then went for a scone
It’s our armistice day Sunday 100 yrs since end of ww1
Lots of things go8ng on..on the coast all around the uk they are sand drawing on the beaches faces of some of those lost.and will disappear with the tide ..bells ringing all over… light beacons being lit in the evening
Speacial services everywhere my dad would have loved it
We will go to,our village and every year on this day at 11 am they sound an air raid warning and all in the village stop for two mins it’s lovely and good to see
I shall call to see my mum and dads after with poppies to place
My dd got married yesterday it was great to go to
All good fun
How’s your friend and her mum
Brenda and Janet
And I know there is an operation coming up….
Are you going to any of the ceremonies at all
Or maybe just see on tv
Back to do some late washing
Chris dear, it is Veterans Day here on Sunday as well. No, since we did not have the involvement as deeply as England did during both WW’s, because this country was only invaded once by the Japanese and we do not have as much sentimentality but still, many of us honor the dead and the day.
I made your cheese scones last night. They were awful and so bad it was funny. I think we got mixed up in our metric to US measurements. I won’t give up but will try again. I will try to figure it out. Glad the wedding was so beautiful. Did they take a honeymoon? Love you much, Sue
Tonie, Sounds like a wonderful day, long time coming. Glad you feel a bit better. Still need some answers though. Aunt Bea’s restaurants…what a great idea. Love the humor and simplicity of that show. My goodness, sounds like a step back in time. Wish we all could. That’s why we just have flip phones.Love ya, off to have my left knee injected…hope it helps. Taking along my silver bullet to bite on during injection.
Laughter is so good. Although not related to illness I have have loved getting to a time when my grown up children can now look back and laugh about the difficult times we went through as a family, due to seperation and divorce. My mum usdd to say it would come but it was hard to believe at times. Laughter really is the best medicine although I would imagine that it is often mixed with tears with all your health needs. Much love Alison x
Alison, I’ll bet those hard times made your kids more capable in life. I know that’s how it worked for my kids. Yes, a day without laughter is only half lived. A meaningful Veterans day for you as well across the pond. Always love hearing from you. Keep laughing and finding daily joy or beauty. I planted some winter flowers yesterday in the cold. Hope the winter isn’t too severe here and there.Love, Sue
They have all done so well considering what they lived through, and life eventually brings change for all of us. I had planned to go to a charity concert but had to miss it as I had over done things in the week and woke up exhausted. Just had a day of rest with Christmas films galore and Im feeling stronger today. Im about to watch the ceremony. Take care..Alison x
Well what a to do with the scones..what a shame……I bet the soup was good tho
I made some today with what I can eat..it was only chicken, white pasta ,tinned carrots.and potato ..I’ve read you can have tinned carrots with the diver..,Parmesan ,stock and after grated cheese on top of it …all ok so far see how it goes
How did the injection go
Yep they went off in the combi camping..but where they went to had floods so they had to decamp to another place .bad weather and her bad hip,has returned all the dancing I suppose…..so am concerned but she will no doubt enjoy it … she just keeps on going!
Chris, Wow, Debbie sounds like she inherited your spunk. I will work with the recipe for scones..Following that one it was too much milk so I had to add more flour, so screwed it up. Probably work out better next time. I wonder what the difference is between our biscuits and your scones? Also, does anyone know the difference between small white beans and navy beans? They look so similar in size. The soup was delicious but oh boy…even taking Beano we both almost had to explode. Good thing neither of us smoke.
The injection yesterday was great. It is already helping my worse knee, left, and I made appt to have both done in four months. The physician assistant does a better job than the ortho doc. Probably more practice.Methorexate last night so pooped and low energy today but did manage to plant a couple of pots on the front porch. Red cabbages, one white one, lavender and yellow violas and two Cyclomin in purple and white.Love you, eyes going. Sue
Busy week, and weekend to come up. B is off o Fla for 10 days on Sunday. SO maybe I will slow down a bit while he is gone. We had too much to do all week. And the church Thanksgiving supper is Sat so working that. Yes, rest on Sunday. Say a prayer he gets his green card straightened out.
Sue, the scones are the same. Just cut in triangles ( the one I did). And adding flavors to it, but other than that it is a biscuit recipe. Bet that is where we got them from.
Glad all are doing okay. Please take care and I will check back in soon.
Tonie, Chris and I were sharing her recipe and it didn’t work. We got our metrics and US ingred. mixed and confused. I always make my biscuits with buttermilk when I go to the trouble. You know you have my prayers for this business with B’s green card to get resolved. Oh my, such stress. Busy day here for us, also. Hope your work project ended well and you are resting right now. Love, Sue
Alison dear, always love your remarks. You are a true fellow poet. Yes, turning the coal of life into gold seems to be a life long challenge. Stay strong but don’t fear those down days. Cherish life. I went shopping with Jim for a Thanksgiving turkey today and it will be the first I’ve cooked in four years, since cancer entered my already painful life. I am so thankful this year for still being here. Yes, rest is never overrated. I am lying here now on the heat alternating it with ice due to that faulty injection I got in my left buttocks three months ago. I didn’t know nerves could spasm…now I do. It just keeps on coming, but we just keep on living. There is such power in being thankful and enjoy each blossom, each dessert, each sunrise and today was a gorgeous day here but only after a thick fog lifted. Such a metaphor for life. Love ya gal, Sue