Warning: Jenny… Do not read this blog.
I have to take a brief pause today from our cooking marathon to brag. No, Gracie did not volunteer at a homeless shelter on Christmas. She was too busy reading Chelsea Handler’s latest novel. No, David did not win the Nobel Peace Prize. He was too busy screaming. No, my weekend caregiver did not learn how to do my makeup. She was busy still trying to learn how to make toast. No, I did not find a cure for ALS. I was too busy watching Vanderpump Rules. I wanted to brag about someone else today.
I received a ton of emails last night from readers asking me about my friend. Now, in life, you have friends and then you have friends. You know what I’m talking about. There are the friends who accept your invitation to a dinner party and then there are friends who accept your invitation to meet you in the recovery room after surgery.… Elective or nonelective :-). My friend, who you guys have asked about, is both. She is the girl that shows up during the sunshine and the thunderstorm. I am talking about my friend Yolanda. But we never really call her Yolanda. No, we mostly call her Yo, Yo-Yo or Yogi Bear. You might know her as one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Now, you know my obsession with reality TV… The Housewives in particular. When Yogi told me that she was going to be on the Housewives of Beverly Hills, I shamefully was so fucking stoked. Shameful because it’s rude to be a voyeur in the lives of others. Fucking stoked because I love being a voyeur in the lives of others. Interestingly though, since Yolanda has been on the show for the past three seasons, I think we’ve discussed it maybe two times. We have other stuff to talk about…
What other stuff do we have to talk about? It turns out that Yogi and I are both sick. Very very sick. I have ALS and Yogi has Lyme disease. The first friend I called when I was diagnosed with ALS was Yolanda. I called my other best friend Jenny after because I was too scared to call her. I knew my news would kill her. But, I knew that Yolanda would be strong… Strong for me. That’s who Yolanda is. Strong. Dutch strong. Of all the experiences that Yolanda and I have been through for the past 12 years, they were just training wheels for what was to come. People close to Yolanda have a saying… We say, “What Would Yolanda Do?” Yolanda always has the answers whether it be about boyfriends, husbands, health, decorating, children… Everything. She just always does everything right. I was like a spaz running around Santa Barbara and Yolanda was the rock. Yolanda and I had coffee Monday through Friday for four years straight at Starbucks in Santa Barbara after we dropped off our children at elementary school. Then we would have our favorite lunch together (goat cheese salad). Then, sometimes we would have dinner together at her house with all the children (chicken and pesto pasta). We spent hours every day solving the world’s problems… Well, mostly Yolanda solving the world’s problems… I was busy smoking cigarettes. We have been thick as thieves ever since.
Yolanda is like the big sister. She’s more mature, you want all of her clothes, she makes better decisions, you don’t always agree with her, she’s there for every holiday, she will defend your honor, she knows what’s best for you and in a crisis… She is there. Just like a sister. When I had my diaphragm pacing surgery, I was in the recovery room near dead with a collapsed lung and Yolanda comes running through the door to be by my side. The next thing she did was open her purse, took out her makeup bag and did my makeup. She wasn’t going to let me die ugly. That’s what you call a friend.
After I got sick, Yolanda and I would talk all the time and she would always ask how I was. I would tell her everything. I’m sad, I’m scared, I’m frustrated, I’m getting weaker, I can’t move my legs, I just took four oxycodone, I just fell on the bathroom floor and smashed my face, etc.… I told her the truth. When I would ask how she was she would always say, “I’m great.” But, as the months rolled by I could tell a change in her voice. I would still ask her how she was and she would still say that she was great. She never complained about anything in her life because she knew that whatever she told me was nothing compared to what I was going through… Until… Until she got sick. I didn’t even know that Yolanda was sick because she never told me. Yogi sat in bed month after month staring at the ceiling while Lyme disease was ravishing her brain. I had no idea because she didn’t tell me. She didn’t want to burden me. But now that I know she is sick and I am okay with it, it’s all we ever talk about. We decided we are going to get through this together. We talk about juicing, the value of tumeric, how hard it is to find kale in Paris, stem cells, blood brain barriers, mitochondrial supplements, flaxseed, hyperbaric chambers, oxygen therapy and anything else regarding our diseases. After that, we talk about our children. After that, we talk about our Davids. After that, we laugh. We always laugh and say, “WTF. How can we go from two healthy Santa Barbara girls, raising our children, loving our Davids, excited for the future to two Santa Barbara girls sick as dogs unable to get out of bed. As usual, Yolanda has all the answers. She knows that it is her mission and responsibility to find a cure for Lyme disease. All of you Lyme sufferers are lucky to have her on your team because she will not stop until she finds a cure. It never once crossed my mind to find a cure for ALS. I am only now realizing from all of you that maybe, just maybe, I could help other people with or without ALS through my blog by inspiring all of you to live the day with eyes wide open and to the fullest. Yolanda knew the purpose of her disease from the get-go.
I am saving all the good stuff about Yogi for my book but I thought I would tell you the most important part. You know how in your worst nightmares the thought crosses your mind of who would take care of your child if you passed away. You know you’ve all thought of it. For me, it is a reality. I actually really had to think… Who will take care of Gracie? Who will take care of Gracie like their own child? Who will nurture Gracie? Who will guide Gracie? Who will steer Gracie straight if she gets out of line? Who will make sure that Gracie will have a successful life and make the right choices? Who will hug her? Who will be the shoulder that Gracie cries on? Who will continue to raise Gracie with ethics and morals? Who will tell Gracie how much I loved her? Who will tell Gracie how wonderful her mother was? Who will replace me? That person is Yogi. This is not an easy question to ask of someone. Yolanda did not hesitate and said that she would of course take care of my Gracie as her own. I believe her. So, knowing how much I love Gracie and knowing how judgmental I am, now you can see the kind of respect I have for Yolanda. This is the person I chose to take care my daughter with all of the love that I would. So you see, even though I have ALS, I am lucky because I have Yogi.
I received a bunch of emails last night from blog readers asking me about Yolanda because of last night’s episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. If you haven’t seen it, check it out ASAP because you will see the reality of reality television. My Yogi Bear.
*Something you don’t know about me? Yolanda and my other best friend, Jenny, are both my best friends but they are not exactly in love with each other. I think they actually hate each other. I think it’s funny. So, out of fairness, tomorrow’s blog will be all about my Jenny. You are in for a treat. After that, we will learn how to master carrot cake.