About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's Not Funny

   At my bi-yearly dental appointment, the hygienist began with the usual arsenal of questions:  Any pain or sensitivity?  Any problems?  She then asked me to update my medical history form, where the list of my medications is so long it doesn’t fit on the lines provided.  Once the paperwork was completed, she reminded me that I was behind schedule for my x-rays.  I reminded her that because of the numerous CT scans and MRIs I had experienced, I had intentionally postponed my dental x-rays.  Then she nonchalantly asked what was happening with my legs.  I told her, as succinctly as possible, that it’s a chronic medical condition that I just have to learn to live with.

   And that’s when her mis-use of language, her faulty word choice, caused me to flinch.  “Autoimmune diseases are funny.”  Funny.  That’s what she said.  Billy Crystal is funny.  Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Cosby are funny.  Autoimmune diseases?  Not so much.  

   I had to ask, “How so?”

   “Well, they just show up.  People just get sick.”  I told my dental hygienist that’s the way it is with many diseases.  Who knows why one person gets cancer and another doesn’t?  There’s no logical explanations.  That’s life.  And life isn’t always funny.

   Granted, she meant no harm or insult with her offhand remark.  But as a writer, someone who is always browsing through a thesaurus looking for the optimal word to convey a certain meaning, and as someone who is still coming to terms with living with an autoimmune disease, I was disappointed with her word choice.

   I know it helps to find humor in life’s challenging situations.  However, it’s been three years now, and I still can’t find the humor in my medical condition.  I admit that I can see some positives.  I am no longer working and am spending more time with my son.  I’m writing more.  I’m trying to take better care of myself.    

   To me, autoimmune diseases are mysterious, curious, perplexing, and puzzling.

   I just can’t see the “funny” part yet.  Maybe, years later, I will.  But not now.    


  1. I must agree her choice of words to me was plain STUPID and very un-caring.You would think someone in the medical field would be able to come on with a better word than "funny".I am so very sorry that you are having to deal with this horrible condition,and I pray everyday that the pain at least eases up for you.I love you and I am very proud of you.

  2. No illness is funny. I don't fully understand your condition. I have prayed that it would go away and never return. You are a remarkable person and I am very proud of you.

    Love, Dad

  3. Honey,
    I still can't believe how people lack sensitivity in their selection of words.
    I guess most people don't think about the impact of what they are saying will have on others.
    Your writing is powerful and insightful!
    I Love You!

  4. I'm so sorry she said that to you!! Funny is not a word I would choose to describe what you are going through. I so so proud of you. I love you.