Depressing: Holidays and Health Scares

Oh my God, it’s over.  The holidays, I mean – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year – are all over.  Even Groundhog Day.  Here I sit and it’s February 5th, and the holidays were all a blur.  I don’t even know if the ground-rat saw his shadow or just the shadows of the thousand people standing around him, or anything.  Maybe he just chucked a beer can at the mayor and called it a day.

I’ve written before about the mess that Florida makes of the winter holidays, with the non-festivity, and the uber-materialism and general lack of anything that I look forward to in the “most wonderful time of the year.”  This year was even beyond that.  We had a health scare in our house, and it overshadowed all of the turkeys, saviors, trees, presents and happy returns.  My wife had a lump on her thyroid, and despite all good news from the medical community throughout the process, well…my wife is unequal parts paranoid, hypochondriac, and control freak.

So she found the worst case scenarios, assumed them to be the case, and systematically disbelieved everything that she didn’t read for herself on the internet.  Including her own medical chart and doctors.  So from just before Thanksgiving, through Christmas and New Year, up to her thyroidectomy on January 13, and even today to a certain extent, we were in crisis mode, with constant (and I mean CONSTANT) need for reassurances that her expected-to-be-benign, self-contained lump was not, in fact, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse taking up residence in her neck, and throwing lassos of cancer to everything attached thereto.  I love my wife, but it drove me just about to my breaking point.

Things were bad, people.

So in the midst of that was the year’s most anticipated day for children, the Big Show, Christmas.  Festivity kind of gets dampened when one’s wife has a crying fit, then huddles on the sofa for hours.  Which was pretty much de rigeur for the month of December and the first half of January.  But, we managed to provide a good day for the kids, or at least they all said so.  Presents they liked.  A feast on Christmas Eve.  And several panic attacks and meltdowns.

The health stuff that overshadowed everything kind of echoed the general unpleasantry that the holidays here seem to bring, and it all combined to really make me feel like I just phoned in the holidays this year.  Just went through the motions.  Presents for the kids didn’t prompt the same slavish dedication to finding just that perfect gift.  More like “oh, they’ll like that, what the hell, let’s get it.”  It worked, they liked it.  Dinner was awesome, the treats were epic.  Cookies were made and consumed, trees were procured from my wife’s hometown in Michigan. (yes, 1,400 miles from our house in Florida)  Said tree was decorated and awesome.  Yada yada yada.

And when January 2 arrived, we undecorated the house and took down the tree and it was like it never happened.  Fear and negativity reigned over the house once again until her thyroid was removed.  They still kind of do.  I’m glad the kids had a good Christmas, but for me…not so much.

Footnote: pathology on my wife’s thyroid showed that the big 3cm nodule that appeared before Thanksgiving and dominated my wife’s consciousness for two months was completely benign.  The littler, 1cm nodules that we knew about were also benign.  And then they found a tiny, tiny 3mm “microcarcinoma” that nobody even knew was there — too small to even show up on an ultrasound.  My wife is a thyroid cancer survivor.


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