Wednesday, November 18 at 5pm Pacific (8pm Eastern)
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Jeannie Gaffigan, comedy writer, mother of five, and wife of comedian, Jim Gaffigan, underwent surgery in April 2017 to remove a life-threatening tumor near her brain stem. Damage to her vagal nerve resulted in dysphagia. Jeannie initially required a feeding tube due to the inability to swallow and is currently undergoing swallow rehabilitation.
I could have written this from so many different angles. The fear I faced waking up in an unfamiliar body. The frustration of struggling to find help in a medical system so geared to common ailments and diseases and learning that there is no one who can help. The disgust at how women are treated and pigeonholed as “emotional” or “depressed” – being told “Sweetheart, you’ve just forgotten how to swallow” is so demeaning and disrespectful. Being an outsider in your own life – not taking part in family meals or celebrations. Work functions and events that all center around food and champagne. Friends that don’t know how to catch up if not over coffee, and family that can’t come to visit without planning a barbecue. Or how to deal with food, food and more food being shoved in your face everywhere: magazines, billboards, TV, in the streets, friend’s houses, supermarkets, restaurants, cafés, even in your own home. And how when you’re starving, it’s pure torture.