Oh 2014, It’s Been Bittersweet.

This year started off really effen terrible. I guess the best way to review it would go something like this.

The highlight of my year started exactly one year ago today when I received the best news I’ve ever heard in my life. For the past 22 years my brother Jason has been undiagnosed with a genetic disorder along with his 18-year-old brother Sean. When describing the boys to people my parents and I would compare their movements to Cerebral Palsy, but that wasn’t what they had. Their characteristics such as muscle spasms, the way that they eat, and the way they get around are all the same but they have completely polar opposite personalities. Over the years my family has experienced moments where we all feel like science experiments. We’ve had skin removed for testing and liters of blood drawn, but eventually it was all worth it. We received a call on December 31, 2013 from Dr. Kravitz, a Neurologist at Rush University in Chicago. She left a message on our answering machine that she finally had a diagnosis for Jason and Sean. My mom cried. How could you not? She called me at work and as I was standing in a bank vault I learned that my brothers are the only ones in the United States that are missing the Genetic Mutation BCAP 31. It happens to be in the arm of a protein and carbohydrate gene. Six pairs of that Gene are missing. There are 6 boys in France that have this. The oldest being 22, almost Jason’s age. Jason seems to not be as involved as the 22 year old. I want to bring awareness to this situation and I hope that 2015 brings that. On the not so bright side, I am a carrier of this gene. I always had a feeling, but the confirmation felt like a kick in the crotch and it brought tears for my eyes for a minute. That was until I put a bright spin on my thoughts. It’s pretty cool to think that I can create my own daughter using science thanks to gender selection and gender counseling…but not for a while.

Later that night we went to my Aunt and Uncle’s house out in Algonquin, IL. It was New Year’s Eve, so naturally we were celebrating the good news and wishing on a happy and healthy year. However that was not the case.

At the time my grandmother (mom’s mom) was suffering from pancreatic cancer. It was heartbreaking to watch it eat her right in front of us. After being told in the month of February that they couldn’t do anything else to fight the cancer, she quickly got worse and passed away in hospice on March 7, 2013. Waiting in a hospice center for someone to die feels like Hell’s waiting room. It’s the saddest thing to know that every patient in there had hours left until they were carried away in a hearse. It will drive you insane having to wait for a loved one to pass.

In April of last year I celebrated my Grandmother’s memory by going to Las Vegas. I remember telling her that I was afraid to go because I was scared that something would happen to her while I was gone. She told me not to worry. I didn’t have to. I went there with her back in 2004 for my eighth grade graduation and we had a great time. I thought of her a lot while I was out there.

In May, my Great Grandmother, aka Nana, aka my mom’s grandmother passed away after a long battle of dementia and old age. She was 96. This woman once had the health of 10 horses and outlived her daughter due to cancer. Although she didn’t quite remember who was who my grandmother visited her the most. My Nana was a religious Italian woman. It just so happened on the night my grandma died she called her name several times. Shortly after, she started to stop eating, she didn’t speak much and then she passed on May 17, 2014. Two days later, my Aunt’s Greek Uncle passed away. We were so tired of the whole “death” thing that I grabbed a pamphlet for a “Career in Funeral Service.”

In June, I was the proudest sister in the world when Jason graduated high school. It was a happy moment that was much needed and he celebrated with a cheeseburger from his favorite restaurant. I also went with my cousin and her husband to get tattoos, which was quite hilarious. I was tempted to get another one myself.

In July my dad and I bought new tickets for our Chicago White Sox game because we got rained out on the 30th of June. I just so happened to buy tickets for Elvis night without even realizing it. It was a great game and I got to watch plenty of Elvis impersonators fall from the sky.

In October I got to ride a bull at the Mall of America and make an ass out of myself. I also got incredibly drunk at my cousin Jesse’s destination wedding in Minnesota.

In November I had a very memorable birthday week with the people I love. My birthday was Monday, November 17th and on Sunday my cousin and I bought some booze, took a train to get some Cuban food and then got tipsy at Eataly and ate cheese for two hours. My dad picked us up around 11pm and we drove around for about an hour and a half learning about architecture from my dad. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my first hour as 25 doing anything else. On Monday my boyfriend took me to Glazed and Infused because that’s where I wanted to go. We then stopped for two of my favorite things in this world, tea and sandwiches.

In December it was warm as hell and I finally got to take my little Seanycakes to see the Lincoln Park Zoo lights. He was as excited as I hoped he would be.

The holidays were hard. They always are. As you get older they are not what they used to be and it’s sad to realize that the world can’t be viewed through rose-colored glasses anymore. Each year brings a new chapter of life and you just learn from all the bullshit. It really does make you a stronger person.

To end on a light note, by December 31, 2015 I would like to have a full-time job that doesn’t feel like work and to take a few vacations that last longer than 4 days. I would also like to be financially set for my future and 20lbs lighter.

Happy New Year Everyone!

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