17 Apr My Bestie Britt – Multiple Sclerosis and a Missing Eyebrow
I am blessed to be surrounded by a tribe of strong women who also happen to be my very best friends. I have my original BFF’s, my sisters, Bonnie and Zari. My twin in looks and mind, cousin Tiff. My down-for-anything cousin, ViVi and my creative soulmate, Pam. Today’s post is about the friend who keeps me in line, helps me dig my way out of any problem that I stupidly get myself into and basically makes sure I don’t make completely idiotic decisions on a regular basis. This story is about my best friend, Brittany AKA Jack.
Brittany is one of those people who just always has it going on. She has a master’s degree, was a home owner by her mid-twenties, receives a shit-ton of awards at work and is a competitive tap teacher whose competition pieces ALWAYS win first place. Her ass was on the Apollo show when we were in high school AND she’s a co-author of a book. Yeah. She’s that bitch. Even with everything going on, Britt always finds the time to take care of me AKA boss me around and make sure I don’t set my house on fire. I truly get on her very last nerve, but Britt always has my back. She even manages The Funny Momma blog!
There are only two times I can recall in our 15+ year friendship that I’ve had to actually had to take care of Britt. Let me rephrase that. There are two times in our friendship that Britt actually allowed me to take care of her. She’s a pretty independent mother fucker. The first story gets pretty deep and is actually pretty hard for me to write about, but the second will leave you guys in tears. Laughing tears. I promise.
The first time I had to “take care” of Britt was in 2011. She had been dealing with random migraines all of the sudden. Britt was never a stranger to a good headache, but they started to get progressively worse and worse. She was also dealing with major pain in her arm. Eventually the migraines came every day and lasted all day, leaving Britt unable to do much. It got so bad and intolerable, that she went to go see a doctor. The doctors administered a series of tests to identify the source of her uninvited issues. I, personally, just figured she wasn’t drinking enough water (she’s a juice head) because I never could’ve imagined anything could actually be wrong with Britt.
I typically speak to Britt every single day, but normally it’s me calling her to annoy her with a hilarious joke I saw online or to blab on for 45 minutes about a sub-par topic that she has absolutely no interest in talking about. I’m always calling her and, in-turn, annoying her. So whenever Britt calls me, it’s either one of two things: 1. I did something stupid and she was calling me on my shit. Or 2. She has some juicy gossip for me. However, in May of 2011, one of our calls went quite a bit different than any we’d ever had before.
When I answered the phone, all I could hear was Britt crying. And not baby crying. Real life, something-is-very-wrong crying. Did I mention that Britt NEVER cries? I was terrified. What was going on? Did someone die? Is she hurt? Was she in an accident? I almost lost it and I hadn’t even found out the reason for her tears. I knew, since Britt chose to call my dumb ass, I needed to man up and fix whatever problem she was dealing with. After finally catching her breath, she calmed down enough to tell me that the test results were in and she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. What. The. Fuck.
Side note: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, auto-immune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s central nervous system causing communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. In a nutshell.
I was overwhelmed with emotion, but I had to push them to the side and be there for Britt. I told her it would be OK and that I was there for her for whatever she needed. Even though I didn’t know what “being there” for Britt entailed because, like I said, she was always taking care of me. She got it together and said she was going to get a second opinion. I seconded that motion even though deep down I had a feeling the results were accurate. She was seeing the best doctors at John Hopkins for God’s sake. I just kept telling myself, “If this was you, Britt would fix it. So you have to fix it.”
As soon as we got off the phone, I went home and googled everything I could about this bitch of an illness, MS. I was up for days looking for the answers. I had to make this right. I had to find some glimmer of hope to share with Britt. I sent her new, experimental drugs that promised to alleviate the symptoms, brought her vitamins and oils that would lessen her pains and bought her a shitload of fruit snacks (her favorite snack because she’s a child). I looked up treatments, remedies and most importantly- a cure. But there isn’t a cure- at least not yet.
A few days later, when I actually saw Britt in person, I broke down crying. I know. I know. That was the worst thing to do especially since I wasn’t the one who was sick. But I truly felt like I couldn’t do for her, what she always does for me. I couldn’t fix it. And it killed me. So now Britt was trying to console me because I’m crying because she was sick. See how she is always fixing shit?
I wish I could say that was the first and last time I cried about B having MS, but that would be a lie. It took me about six months to get my shit together. Again, I know I’m the worst.
Since that phone call in May 2011, I haven’t seen Britt cry much at all about MS. After getting confirmation from the National Institute of Health (NIH), she accepted her diagnosis. She went through a period where she wasn’t really talking to anyone, but I knew this was her way of wrapping her head around the situation and figuring out how to move forward. After a couple months, Britt picked herself up and faced MS head on.
Seven years later, she has made it through two spinal taps, in-home IV treatments, countless hospital visits, countless MRIs, two hip surgeries (one being a total hip replacement) and more, and she handled it all like a mother fuckin’ gangsta. Although I can’t technically fix anything, I make sure to accompany Britt to every surgery and treatment. I’m always sure to come prepared with hella fruit snacks and a list of hilarious “knock knock” and “walks into a bar” jokes to irritate her soul.
Confession: I also just like to be there when she wakes up from her anesthesia because she always says very inappropriate and hilarious things that mortify her parents. It’s the best.
This MS journey has not been easy for her at all. She has good days and she has bad days, but she trucks through this shit. It amazes me all the time with how incredibly strong she is. And STILL, with all that going on, she manages to make sure I don’t burn my house down. Oh yeah. She’s a real one.
Side note: I planned on going deeper into her MS journey. However I have gone through my entire box of tissues writing these first couple of paragraphs, so I’ll save the rest for another time.
The second time I had to take care of Britt, was probably one of the most equally hilarious and shocking events that I’ve ever had the pleasure of taking part in. You see, fuckery tends to find me wherever I go. Whether I put myself in a dumb situation or I witness someone else’s screwed up circumstance, I am no stranger to crazy scenarios.
Brittany, however, tends to steer clear of situations that could jeopardize her reputation. She thoroughly thinks everything through before she makes a move. Me on the other hand, I’m more of a do now, ask later type of gal. But this time, Britt had gotten herself into a very, VERY sticky situation. Literally. Just like the first story, it all began with a phone call.
Me: Jay’s funeral home. You stab em’, we grab em’. (My absolute favorite way to answer the phone).
Britt: KATRYCE! I’m about to cry.
Me: Huh? What’s wrong?
Britt: My eyebrow. My eyebrow is gone.
Me: Wait. What?
Britt: MY EYEBROW IS GONE! This bitch at the nail salon waxed off half of my eyebrow!
Me: Come on, B. It can’t be that bad.
Britt: I’m coming over to show you right now! You have to fix it!
Whoa. This was the first time Britt actually told me to fix an issue in her life. This meant I really had to step up to the plate. She came to the right person though. I have been doing my own makeup since I was 13 so any eyebrow issue should be easy peezy, right?
Now let me tell you a little something about Britt. She only occasionally wears makeup (she only lightly dusts bronzer on her cheeks), she prefers sneakers over heels and 99% of the time she rocks a bun on top of her head because she has more important things to do than to spend hours in the mirror each day. Even though she doesn’t care much for mascara and foundation, you can always count on Britt’s eyebrows being slayed to the GAWDS. That is, until that one apocalyptic day she decided to go get her eyebrows waxed by someone new.
The nail salon was right around the corner from my mother’s house, so I knew she would be there very soon. I ran to my mom and baby sis, Zari, to fill them in on the eyebrow dilemma before Britt arrived. Even though I didn’t think it would be as bad as she was making it seem, I wanted everyone to be prepared just in case. Let’s just say, I thought wrong.
I don’t think I ever moved as fast as I did the moment the doorbell ring. Britt was here and it was my turn to save her! When I flung the door open, she had her hands covering her forehead. She was so embarrassed and didn’t want to show me. I reassured her over and over again that it would be fine and it probably wasn’t that bad.
Finally, she removed her hand to reveal a giant chunk of her eyebrow gone. Well I be damned. An entire half of her eyebrow was gone. Think Frida Khalo, but the opposite. It looked like she had just been initiated into a gang where you have to make those little slits in your eyebrow. Only, the person who did Britt’s slits was drunk, so they just said fuck it and took half. It was, indeed, that bad.
Because I am the most immature soul on the planet, instead of comforting Brittany, I died laughing. Like rolling on the floor, tears pouring out of my eyes, laughing. Didn’t help that when my mom came downstairs to see what all the ruckus was about, she started giggling too. Oh and then Zari and her friend came upstairs and started laughing too. Poor Britt. She just stood there looking at us; angrily blinking in disbelief. Also, trying to refrain herself from kicking me while I slapped my hand on the floor while erupting in an obnoxious laughing fit.
Finally, I got myself together and stopped laughing. I stood up, grabbed Britt’s hand and walked her to my mother’s bathroom which was a utopia of makeup. My mom found an eyebrow liner and brush combo in her makeup bag. Now it was time to teach Britt, the girl who never wears makeup, how to do her eyebrows. I told her to lightly fill in the area that was missing. She then proceeded to fill in eyebrow so heavily that she looks like Bert from Sesame Street. I couldn’t help it. I busted out laughing again!
I know, I know. I am terrible. But shit like this NEVER happens to Britt and I just could not believe this was really happening.
After I few more tries, she figured out just the right amount of liner to apply. Finally, we go back downstairs and everyone assures her that you can’t even tell she missing an entire chunk of her eyebrow. Things calm down and bit.
That is until Britt remembers that she actually paid the shop that sabotaged her brows! She was so busy cussing out the lady who ripped her eyebrow off, that she blindly gave the owner of the shop her card in the midst of the chaos. Hold up. Hold up. Hold up. First she gets her eyebrow waxed off and then she still paid? Who was this girl and where was Britt? Next thing I knew, Britt and Zari were in the car headed back the nail shop to get her money back.
Britt and Zari have their own special relationship. Rather than try to tone Zari down or reprimand her for the crazy things that she does, Britt tends to encourage Zari’s extra-ness. Once Zari heard that Britt paid that nail salon for anything, she was ready to ride and be B’s back up. I would’ve gone, but if we’re being honest, I would’ve probably laughed the entire time and provided absolutely no assistance. So it was best that I stayed in the house.
When they arrived at the nail salon the doors were locked because the shop was about to close. Zari knocked on the door and ask if she could quickly get her eyebrows done. Once they opened the door for Zari, Brittany ran in behind her like they were about to rob the joint. Zari convinced the owner that Britt was an eyebrow model, who was going to be in her sister’s wedding next week, so basically they ruined Britt’s entire life (this is what I mean when I said Zari is extra).
Zari somehow ended up behind the register teaching the owner how to process the refund. Meanwhile, Britt spent the entire time cussing out the woman who snatched off her eyebrow while repeatedly yelling, “YOU RUINED MY CAREER. YOU RUINED MY LIFE!” Whoa. And I thought I was the dramatic one.Long story short, Britt got her money back and I helped her build a faux eyebrow.
It took MONTHS for Brittany’s real eyebrow to fully grow back and even after it grew back it took MONTHS for her to ever trust anyone near her eyebrows again. Let’s just say she went through a sexy, bushy eyebrow phrase. Although I am glad my bestie’s eyebrow made its triumphant return, I very much miss being able to threaten to wipe her eyebrow off every time she was being a little biatch.
Moral of the story is get yourself a kick-ass best friend like mine. Oh and if the person who does your eyebrows doesn’t give you a mirror when they’re finished, they probably just ruined your face!
PS. Every year Britt creates a team and participates in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Walk MS DC event to increase awareness about MS and raise funds for research to find a cure. If you are interested in joining her team, the MS JACKers, and/or donating, click this link. Let’s help Britt kick some MS ass!