the smell of my desperation has become a stench


Several mornings ago I woke up with severe lower-left abdominal pains. From 4:30 am to 6:30 am I counted the seconds between each throbbing ache, the seconds before my appendix would explode and burst through my stomach and all over my clean sheets. At 7am, provided enough evidence that the appendix is safely on the right side of the abdomen, so I immediately searched for some other explanation to freak out about, perhaps it was a hernia or the onset of menopause.

I am a relatively restrained freaker-outer, saving screaming outbursts for random appearances of cockroaches and opossums, but several mornings ago I couldn’t really hide the fact that I thought something was seriously wrong.

The thing is, I have had something seriously wrong with me physically far too many times in the past eight months. First, there were the more than 18 consecutive days of not pooping, the details of which I will kindly spare you. Then the bad back wherein I stayed in bed unable to move for more than two weeks, wherein the husband had to take a week off from work to make sure I didn’t fall out of bed and die alone.

If that weren’t lovely enough, both my husband and I then suffered over six weeks of walking pneumonia, a type of pneumonia that’s totally pneumonia but a type of pneumonia where you’re totally sick but not so totally sick that you can’t get up and walk around. We could walk around, sure, just like they told us we could walk around, but did we want to walk around? Six weeks of not walking around.

And then this… this lower abdominal frustration. I don’t think I’ve ever been so frustrated, my god, not again, I can’t be sick again, what the hell is going on, you can’t be serious. But, alas, the Mormon god was serious.

So I’ve got myself an Ovarian Cyst®, the kind, they say, that’s totally normal, it happens all the time. Nothing to worry about until it ruptures and you experience unbearable, body-wracking convulsions not unlike those experienced when entire houses collapse on your lower body. Hey, no problem.

So, I’m trying to figure out, what has happened in the last eight months to make me so susceptible to disease? Is it the most wonderfully reciprocated love I’ve found in the man of my dreams, rendering me helpless in the face of ugly bacteria? Is it just the fact that I’m getting really old and sagging in places only people in Kentucky should be sagging? Is it the fact that I’ve rejected Mormonism and the Mormon god is not at all happy about it?

I really think, seriously, after several minutes of deliberation, that both my husband and I are allergic to the dog. And that’s it. That’s it!

We’ve had the dog for over 6 months, and during that time everything has gone wrong. It is because of my dog that I have been smitten with an Ovarian Cyst®; it is because of my dog that my husband can’t breathe with phlegm-free lungs. I can safely blame the dog for everything, including the fact that both my husband and I will leave the house in our pajamas in the middle of a rain storm so that the dog can play with his best friend, the half-Doberman, half-Lab mix from one block over, after we’ve both promised each other that, no, we’re not going to give into the dog today.

The husband, now, has a nasty, nasty cold.

  • stupid bint

    2002/10/01 at 7:13 pm

    oh no! Ive been through all kinds of treatment for painfull ovarian cysts.

    They really are awful. Ive had hormone therapy and so many ultrasounds that Ive lost count.

    I hope you get some relief soon.

  • Marsh

    2002/10/01 at 7:54 pm

    A lot of illness is caused or at least exacerbated by stress. Stress like losing your job because of your blog. Stress like pissing off your family through your blog.Dogs are proven de-stress-ifiers, and have been introduced in leading mediacl facilities all over precisely for this purpose. Chuck is just what the doctor ordered — take two Chucks and call me in the morning.

  • Marcus

    2002/10/01 at 8:38 pm

    The BBC on couples sharing the same diseases:

    You’d better check your husband’s ovaries.

  • jimmypage

    2002/10/01 at 8:51 pm

    shoot the dog! ok, no… bad idea. nevertheless an option, especially if ‘dog’ somehow develops doggie walking pneumonia. but how could u? u2 love the dog – your first baby….. anyways, please keep sharing what goes through the mind of d00ce, whenever you get the chance. obviously you know that there’s lots of people out here that love the way u think and write. your site makes our days better, in some strange way. delight in your collective suffering? fuck, that’s messed up. sorry. -jp

  • stupid bint

    2002/10/01 at 8:51 pm

    You too can teach your dog to eliminate on command!

  • dclay

    2002/10/01 at 10:27 pm

    I spent a year thinking I had testicular cancer, a hernia, or something unknown to medical science. My friendly HMO doctor assured me (after about 35 coughs, is that wierd?) that I was fine. You’re fine. If push comes to shove, and you need a temporary dog keeper to investigate your theory, I’m your man…

  • shauny

    2002/10/02 at 2:36 am

    ooooh there was something suspicious about that dog from the very start….

  • peggy

    2002/10/02 at 2:49 am

    You’re right about the dog. Dogs wreck everything. I mean, just look at how the 2000 election turned out.

  • ismat

    2002/10/02 at 4:20 am

    In January, the doctor diagnosed me with an “early, walking pneumonia.” It pissed me off because I couldn’t even say I had out-and-out pneumonia; I mean, I felt like SHIT and I didn’t even have a dog. She shoulda told me it was pneumonia, period, and let me whine about it like I wanted to.

  • ME

    2002/10/02 at 4:31 am

    Well at least you are clever and according to a recent study [ ], “Clever wives [are] good for men’s health.” This bodes well for the Blurb.

  • Jen

    2002/10/02 at 4:36 am

    Hope you both feel better.

  • meegan

    2002/10/02 at 4:50 am

    i had an ovarian cyst too. the pain was unbearable. my doctor kept telling me that it was “very normal.” how the hell can pain like that be normal?!?

  • J

    2002/10/02 at 4:50 am

    Fate hates us. It hates to see us happy. So by being happy and having a wonderful marriage and an adorable puppy, you are taunting fate. Do not taunt the happy fun fate.

  • Sarah B.

    2002/10/02 at 4:58 am

    Again, my response is for you to send Chuck my way. I’ll take one for the team.

  • Libbyo

    2002/10/02 at 5:32 am

    Ha ha! Just be thankful they aren’t the kind that I had, with hair and teeth and the size of an orange… and now I have a nice ugly smiley face scar to prove it… Good luck with the thing. Ovaries frustrate me.

  • megchem

    2002/10/02 at 5:46 am

    Interesting….both you and Chuck have an aversion to pooping.

  • April Gem

    2002/10/02 at 6:36 am

    Good God. I had no idea Ovarian Cyst was copyrighted. I second Marcus’ suggestion; you should check your husband’s… er… hmm. Eh?

  • Mel

    2002/10/02 at 7:00 am

    Benadryl, (over the counter) for the dog allergies and take it easy on the booze Dooce. And eat well. OK, that’s it. Feel better.

  • illiterategirl

    2002/10/02 at 7:03 am

    watch out… if you start getting the cysts more often, it might be endometriosis.

  • Cyn

    2002/10/02 at 7:50 am

    Getting old sucks. Stress just makes things even suckier. Keep Chuckles out of your bedroom. This will help with your hubby’s dog allergy. I’m old and I’m a mom. I know these things.

  • Carrie

    2002/10/02 at 8:03 am

    I’m a new reader of your fascinating log – welcome back!
    Here’s my two cents (three, actually):
    One cent: Years ago, my non-copyrighted ovarian cyst had to be removed surgically, because it kept growing, dammit. Have the Dr. keep an eye on the size of that sucker.
    Two cents: Just because ovarian cysts are *common*, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is *normal*. A small cyst forms every month and an egg burst out of it, yeah, but if it keeps growing and is hurting you, don’t let anyone tell you, “Hush, honey, that’s normal.”
    Three cents: Although the appendix is on the right, appendicitis pain often radiates to the left side of the lower abdomen. Tricky devils, those appendix.

  • Jodie

    2002/10/02 at 8:51 am

    I’m so glad you’re back. Congrats on your marriage and ownership of Chuck. Enjoy the puppy breath, because pretty soon, his breath will be stinky.

  • Keith

    2002/10/02 at 8:57 am

    Beware those who might try to sue you for your registered Ovarian Cyst. The RIAA, for example. Hope you & the husband feel better — I’m well-versed in the art of being allergic to pets, it sucks ass.

  • mal

    2002/10/02 at 10:06 am

    hey, now. it can’t be the mormon god. i go to church every sunday like a good girl and i still get ruptures about once every 3 months. at least now i know that i can blame it on my puppy, too!

  • Jonah

    2002/10/02 at 11:08 am

    cow’s milk. it all comes down to cutting out cow’s milk.

  • matty

    2002/10/02 at 11:10 am

    1. welcome back
    2. i was relieved to see you had gotten away from writing about the dog, and then…
    3. word to carrie on the appendix thing… that was my first thought, having two friends who suffered the left-sided pain before having those vestigal fuckers removed.
    4. ovaries suck, but they are crafty. i know a woman who was told by doctors she would never have children because she only had 1/2 of one ovary. 20 years later she has two boys, 18 and 14. yeesh.

  • chrissie

    2002/10/02 at 11:39 am

    go on the blood type diet.I’ve been on it for over 2 years.It’s work though.
    if you have any questions there are lots of sick people here to help you out

  • jennifer

    2002/10/02 at 12:14 pm

    those cysts are a bitch…and then they bust out with the probe–good god. when they were looking at mine, they were telling me that cysts are sometimes made up of hair and nails amongst other gross things. i was totally freaking out because my friend had an uncle in peru that had a cyst on his nose that had a fingernail growing out of it, and the whole village put a hex on him because they were convinced the fingernail was a result of his being evil. and then he died.

    luckily, they just put me on the pill and they went away, i’m sure yours will too. did they give you nice pain pills at least?

    take care.

  • Austinpepper

    2002/10/02 at 3:54 pm

    Yeah stress. When I was having some serious anxiety problems I developed irritable bowel syndrome…a lovely syndrome and I too will spare the details. But my doggies are good destressors so don’t blame the doggy. I’m so happy you’ve put dooce back up! Your wedding photos are so awesome and I normally think weddings are a big sham mess. I’m spending my money on the honeymoon. I mean if I ever get married.

  • Dave Thomas

    2002/10/02 at 7:35 pm

    Now that you’ve tasted the exquisite pain of getting health advice from random strangers, that cyst’ll seem like a regular peach festival.

  • Heather

    2002/10/03 at 3:44 am

    Okay, maybe I’m getting all Silvio-like, what with the umbrage at slurs on my heritage but the Kentucky slam really was a chapper. I have to say, it’s a good thing all us decrepit Kentuckians are so immobilized by our various ailments, otherwise I’d be riding my mule out to whup yer ass.
    Okay I’m better now.
    Seriously, regarding the ovarian cyst- ouch. I don’t think the dog caused it though. Someone else mentioned stress and I would agree that even good stress (getting married, having a new dog) can tax your body and weaken your resistance.

  • Chris

    2002/10/03 at 4:28 am

    Magnets. Whatever you do, stay away from magnets. And bananas.

  • smark

    2002/10/03 at 6:23 am

    two words: taxi dermy.

  • dooce

    2002/10/03 at 6:28 am

    dude, Heather, i mean no harm to the peoples of Kentucky. that there’s where all my family is from. if anything, i was referring to the people in Kentucky who are related to me. they’re all sagging.

  • Lin

    2002/10/03 at 6:47 am

    I just had surgery this past June, a laprascopy to be exact, to remove cysts and endometriosis. The lower abdominal pain can be completely a side effect of the cysts, or it could even be endometriosis. All I know is that it all confused me, with all the names of conditions my GYN talked to me about. i.e. polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc. All I know is that all the icky stuff was taken out of me in June, but lo and behold, the pain is back. YAY! (that YAY was one of sarcasm.) Oh, and for treatment, they put me on low-dose birth control.

  • ex southern babtist

    2002/10/03 at 6:55 am

    I periodically have that kind of pain too…but mine is always on the lower right side…I have been to the doctor several times. They determined it is not the appendix. I personally think it’s ovulation. My mother had the same thing all of her adult life before the hysterectomy. Did I spell that right?

  • ex southern babtist

    2002/10/03 at 6:57 am

    Oh, I forgot to mention the reason for the hysterectomy…FIBROID TUMORS, oh my

  • ME

    2002/10/03 at 7:43 am

    Where should I send my bill for my consultation? I hope you have coverage or at least Medicaid.

  • TODD

    2002/10/03 at 8:25 am

    Personally, I prefer your entries that are funny and/or ironic, but, hey, you’re the blogger. Sorry about your snowballing amount of ailments. It seems just when one thing stabilizes, it’s only time to have another thing come up. I think your copyrighted cyst should be priority one. Do some more research and talk some more to your doctor to get it handled in a timely fashion. The doggie ailments can be overcome too. My wife has a whole drawerful of inhalers so we can keep our lovely cats.
    Now, in reference to Kentuckians, I agree that it’s cool once in a while to hit your own gang. Just make sure you get all the nitty-gritties in there up front before morte folks get riled-up. If I too was from Bluegrass country, I would give my two cents for sure, sugarplum. Keep it rill.

  • David

    2002/10/03 at 12:03 pm

    I’ve got a stinking cold too, but I don’t think I can blame it on the dog. Well, not your dog. Hope the ovaries feel better soon.

  • Heather

    2002/10/04 at 4:48 am

    I’m givin’ you somethin’ on the serious tip. I have a friend who spent almost two years being sick right after marrying a wonderful man. Apparently, once she had someone to care for her and she wasn’t doing it for herself (so much) anymore, she was able to let go, which begat the onslought of sickness. Just think – only 16 months to go!

  • Heather #2

    2002/10/04 at 4:53 am

    P.S. So NOT the Kentucky Heather. Just needed to make that clear. I’ve renamed, so we can all be clear.

  • Todd

    2002/10/04 at 6:02 am

    As for the sneezing, coughing, weezing and phlegm, you may want to consider one of these. Especially if you have pets in an enclosed space.

  • Todd

    2002/10/04 at 6:03 am

    Arrrgh. HTML formatting turned off. Okay…

  • Igor

    2002/10/07 at 1:00 am

    Shoot the dog. Really, they’re the most adorable, charming and efficient fleabags on the planet. Don’t make a mess, just pop the dog, use small caliber ammo. Take a picture of the pooch first. Then take the husband’s and your own sweet little tush out to a place where they know how to pamper people and dump all the stress. Max out the health insurance and get yourself bugfree. Go home and look at the large blow-up pic of the dog and remember all the good times you had.

  • r3

    2002/10/25 at 1:23 pm

    My sympathies for your Ovarian cyst. I had one rupture, and it hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. Scared the hell out of me too.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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