Jeannie Gaffigan: Finding comedy in a brain tumor

This kind of all started pretty quickly when
I was taking my kids to the pediatrician and I was super busy and I had to fill out all
these forms for my kids. But my pediatrician noticed that I was like
leaning to hear her and she said what’s wrong with your left ear and I said I just
can’t really hear out of it. She was like how long has that been happening
and I was like no idea. And so she said well that’s not good. So she referred me to an ENT and she was like
you’re going to go follow up for this and I was like I wasn’t but now I will. And she said I want to hear what they say. So then I felt like I had an assignment and
I’m kind of a rule follower so I followed with the ENT. He didn’t see anything wrong, put me on
a round of steroids and told me to follow up with him in a month. And then the pediatrician was like did you
follow up and I’m like I’m going back. So I went back and he was like you know you
might have something that I can’t see because I don’t really see anything in your ear
and there’s no reason that you should have this hearing loss because everything is functioning
properly in your eardrum based on all the tests that they did. And he thought I might have like an acoustic
neuroma or some kind of little t tumor inside my ear where he can’t see. He’s like it’s a one in a – what did
he say – ten million chance that you have an acoustic neuroma but we just want to rule
it out. So he sent me to get an MRI and then I got
the MRI and they saw like a pear sized brain tumor on my brainstem that was like in need
of an immediate operation. And we really did not know what was going
to become of me like really quick. So I had a couple of days to kind of mull
that over and in my book I really talk about what that period of time was like when I was
kind of facing this, you know, just when you feel like you can’t add anything else to
your to do list, all of a sudden something happens where nothing on your to do list matters
anymore. It was the first time in my life that something
like that had happened to me. So for some reason when I knew I was going
to have brain surgery on Monday and I was in the MRIs all day and cat scans and everything
all day on Friday at the hospital I felt this incredible peace like oh, thank god I know
what I have. I don’t know why but I felt that way because
it was so much better than not knowing what I had. So there was a period of time when I was in
this MRI tube for hours and it was hours. It was like there’s just going to be a three
hour test. I was like oh, okay. And it was so loud. It sounded like somebody was using a jackhammer
to get me out like I was trapped and they were trying to get me out, but you can’t
move and I was like are these sounds right. And all of a sudden everything struck me as
so hilarious and that it was so ironic that the sounds were so loud but I was like had
hearing loss in one of my ears but the loud sounds were in the other ear, but I wouldn’t
have been able to hear it on this side and I was like it’s like rain on your wedding
day. You know I was just making all these observations. So eventually they take me out of the tube. It ejects like automatically and Jim is there
and he’s like are you okay? And I was like write this down. Write this whole story down because it is
so funny. And I think that he reminded me of that because
after that a couple of days went by and then I had brain surgery and then it was like,
you know, the shit hit the fan for like six weeks. He told me he was like you were like writing
comedy routines in the MRI tube. And I was like I was. And he’s like yes. So a lot of the time when I was in the hospital
when I couldn’t really sit up or speak or really speak. I mean I could whisper. There were people who were really close to
me and my nurse Joe who I write about in the book who I rave about in the book, and I had
a big crush on in a hospital way. Like my nurse is here. That he could understand what I was talking
about but there were a lot of like lists and comments and observations that I had with
people in the room that they wrote down that I was like write this down because I will
never remember any of this in like a day. So when I actually did start putting together
like a manuscript to kind of memorialize this insane time in my life I realized that I had
this wealth of like interviewing my sick self. Like I was able to pull primary sources out
of this, I was like oh, Lizzie, do you have that list I made in the hospital and Jim had
shift schedules. All of this stuff is in the book. I’m like this is the schedule of what it
looked like when I was in the ICU with my family coming in. I have real documentary evidence of this insanity. There was so much that was funny about it. I also feel like if I had been a cellist I
probably would have written a solo piece about the experience. I think that because I’m a comedy writer
this was the way that I could process this trauma.

29 Replies to “Jeannie Gaffigan: Finding comedy in a brain tumor”

  1. I just got checked for cancer. And I Might just get shot filling up my gas next week 🙂 This is NOT how you plan and process life…

  2. Brain tumors aren't funny in anyway. My daughter died 3 years ago at the age of 29. You are lucky you survived but!! Brain cancer tumors are unpredictable. I wish you the best in your recovery. 🧠

  3. she's lucky, my friend almost died removing his brain tumor. he's now paralyzed on the left side of his body and blind in his left eye

  4. Am happy you survived your "super hilarious brain tumor." Many have not. (Including this family…several times over. Including KIDS that died.) "Laughing" at cancer is important for coping. But it is MORE important to get PISSED and "demand" Big Pharma give us the ANSWERS to cancer….not just more highly priced "treatments". I understand this was supposed to be a "feel-good" post. But…we have the answers to cancer, and Big Pharma, and its minions and financiers, will not let us have it. TOO BIG A CASH COW. Wake up people. Cancer is not funny.

  5. 0:32 "an ENT", not "a ENT". The fact that I have to make this correction more frequently with the passage of time, is not a good sign of the intelligence of America.

  6. Well, the super hilarious brain tumors are easier to survive from. The deadly serious ones are much more devastating.

  7. Consuming animal corpse pieces / menstruation (eggs) / lactations / secretions AKA "animal products" increases the risk of developing cancer 🤔

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