On a recent Thursday, I found out I wasn’t dying.
And before you get all literal on me: Yes, I realize we’re all dying from the moment we’re born, that life is one big death march, blah blah blah.
I mean to say: I found out I wasn’t dying imminently.
Here’s the backstory.
In November of 2015, following a car accident that introduced my face to an airbag at the exact moment the front end of my car was introduced to a giant metal pole, I had a CT scan.
Scratch that: I had COPIOUS CT scans. My liver had been lacerated from the strain of the seatbelt tightening against my body, so the dutiful docs in the ER took it upon themselves to do a comprehensive investigation of every square millimeter of each of my internal organs.
And the result? I had a nodule. On my lung.
Now, some more context: My mother had been diagnosed with a somewhat rare form of lung cancer earlier that same year. So to hear the words “nodule on your lung” was a tad bit disconcerting.
And BTW: When I say “tad bit disconcerting,” I mean I was in full-on fucking freak-out mode.
But I had a lot on my mind at the time. Namely, I had to be concerned about healing my broken bones, lacerated internal organs and figuring out how to both function as a full-time solo mommy (while not being able to even lift my toddler into a car seat or even hold her, for that matter) and attend client meetings sporting two black eyes and a broken body.
So at the time, they told me to have a follow-up scan at a later date.
Which brings me to this recent Thursday. After a CT scan of my lungs, I was notified: The nodule had disappeared.
I questioned the results, as rarely in life do things (especially bad things) just “disappear” within one’s body. But after an intense line of questioning directed at the poor, unsuspecting physician’s assistant tasked with calling me, as well as turning to Dr. Google, it did seem that on occasion, a lung nodule is actually a small infection, and they reconcile on their own.
And there you have it, people: It’s perhaps the one and only time in my life I’ve been lucky.
But that’s not the point of this post.
You see, when I heard the “you’re not dying” news, I was overwhelmed. And I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
But who exactly would I shout to — as an unmarried, unattached, single and solo mommy? Not my kids, of course, because I obviously hadn’t wrapped them into my lung nodule drama. Not my parents, because I didn’t want to be insensitive about my mom’s own lung cancer battle.
My next idea: Should I celebrate this new lease on life on Facebook?
Almost immediately, I was reminded of a recent conversation with a friend, who in a moment of flippant judginess, had said to me something that stuck.
“Is there anything you DON’T post on Facebook?” she asked with a roll of her eyes.
I’ll admit, I’m an active user of social media. I would estimate I post roughly 5-6 times a week, on average — consistent, but not annoying. Or at least that’s my hope.
So with my friend’s voice playing on “repeat” in my ear, I made the decision to not post my ‘not-dying’ news on Facebook.
Which I’ll admit, crushed me a little.
Yes, I realize I have friends i could tell, and I’m not trying to marginalize their role in my life. But most of them have jobs and lives and families of their own and aren’t routinely available at a moment’s notice. Nor am I complaining, because this is my reality and I’m totally fine with it. But the bottom line is that oftentimes, there is no one to immediately include in the amazing news. There is no one in my “favorites” folder eagerly waiting to hear from me. There’s no one to hug or high five. There is no one to raise a toast with at the end of the day.
So guess who I turn to?
Ahhh, here is the point of my post. We knew I’d get here eventually, right?
Facebook, in many ways, truly is my significant other. It’s the friend on speed dial, the cheerleader watching dutifully from the sidelines, the virtual toast after a victory big or small.
When my son was nominated for Homecoming King, for example, I posted it on Facebook. With his permission, of course. Because I was proud.
When my daughter played her first basketball game, I posted it on Facebook. With her permission, of course. Because she’s scary when she’s mad.
When my baby does something adorable, I post in on Facebook. Without her permission, of course. Because she’s just a baby.
I consider myself blessed to have the chance (and the technology) to share something meaningful with others. If they care, they can engage. If they don’t, they have every right to ignore it. But in many cases, news doesn’t seem “real” to me unless I’ve told someone; therefore, Facebook is my friend, because it makes my news real.
So to people who say “You’re obsessed with Facebook” or “You post absolutely EVERY MOMENT on it” or “Your kids are going to hate you when they grow up…” — I ask for some patience. Please understand that for some people, Facebook serves as a faceless friend, a companion, a necessary evil in a world that’s a little bit full of loneliness.
And guess what? Science says I’m better off for ignoring my judgey friends and actually posting.
According to a recent journal article, researchers found that people with more friends online are less likely to die than their disconnected counterparts.
There you go: I’m less likely to die if I post on Facebook that I’m not dying from my non-existent lung nodule.
I feel like it’s time for us as a society to stop judging other people and their use of social media. Some use it as a tool to stay connected; others as a means of fighting depression; still others, as a sounding board and much-needed resource for information, tips and discoveries.
Sure, some abuse it. I get it. But the next time you think to yourself, “Sheesh, this person sure posts a lot on Facebook,” consider: Is that really all that bad?
Because you have every right to ignore it or engage with it — and your friend may just need someone to offer up a virtual high five.
For me, I’m resigned to the fact that Facebook is my significant other. But hey: It doesn’t snore or hog the covers, so at least there’s that.