Stories

Finding Joy


by Josephine


I had been having medical problems with my colon since a very involved surgery back in 1989. At the time the surgery was performed I was only 30. I was told I had a rare and unusual sacralcoccygeal dermoid teratoma tumor. As I see that in type before me today it brings me great pain. That entity that was labeled as disease turned out to be the answer to many prayers from my heart, spoken and unspoken and OFTEN expressed in tears of depression and loneliness.


This year on August 27, after years of trying to get help with the consequences of colon surgery from Western medicine and finding myself frustrated and angry, I sought out help in a new arena of medicine. I was taught a technique of hand and healing touch therapy called Emotional Freedom Technique and the practitioner that I saw is trained in Brain Integration Therapy and Energy Medicine. She has gifts that are difficult to explain yet impossible to deny. Just a bit of historic context will help set the stage for the tremendous gift I received this year for our birthday! I have another living sister sibling. She never FELT like my sister. I would ask her to play dolls or listen to records or play school.


She hated being with me. For so many years I blamed myself. Why wasn't I good enough to love? Why didn't she like me? Why didn't she like to do the things I LOVE to do? What was wrong with me? I have been looking for the proverbial best friend forever FOREVER. From my earliest ability to remember, I have always felt sad and incomplete. I have tried joining practically every group that I came across as I grew up. Nothing and no one, not even my wonderful husband and two daughters, whom I love very much, could fill the empty space I carried inside me. This loneliness has haunted me all my life. However, in 1989, about 3 months after the colon surgery and removal of my dermoid anomaly, I hit a new all time low. I felt a shadow of grayness and blackness that followed me everywhere. I knew something was terribly wrong but had no idea what that something was. By the summer of 1995 and interestingly enough right around August 27 (in fact the exact date was August 30th) I ended up hospitalized for suicidal ideations. I had no specific plan for killing myself but I certainly had no desire to stay alive anymore. I wanted desperately to be in heaven. Today I know why.


One other piece to the history is that five years ago, I met a lovely new woman named Annette. Annette is also a gifted and intuitive woman. She named me JOY. I liked that but somehow knew it was not "exactly" me but had "something" to do with me. So I let her call me JOY for these last five years. I struggled inwardly with this concept because I really sensed there was a JOY and there was a JOSEPHINE. So how could they both be ME? Well, on August 27 of this year I got my answers. As I mentioned, I sought out help in alternative medicine from a practitioner named Kathy. I had a minor colon procedure to remove a polyp. Medically, it was not considered a major event. Emotionally, however, it became a storm of raging proportions. When I sought out Kathy in my despair I knew almost instantly there was something about "the day" that was important. I began to tell Kathy my story about the 1989 surgery horror that has kept me constantly struggling since with a compromised and difficult intestinal and colon functioning problem. Kathy stopped me about half way through my story about 1989 and begged me not to use the words démodé or teatime or tumor. She actually had a painful look on her face. She asked if we could please use the word anomaly.


I agreed with using the word but again sensed within me some volcano was about to erupt. She suddenly asked me mid-sentence, "Do you know anything at all about the pathology report done on this anomaly?" I said, "Yes". I proceeded to tell her that I knew there were hair, teeth, skin, and endometrial cells indicating a possible uterus. Both Kathy and I reached the same thought at the same time. THIS IS NOT AN ANOMALY THIS IS MY TWIN! Kathy actually spoke the words out loud for the first time in my life. She said, "This is not an anomaly, this is your twin." I said instinctively and immediately, “I know!”


She asked, do you know if it is a girl or boy? I said, "Girl, and I know her name; it is JOY!” Kathy confirmed that she was sensing all of these same truths. And my life changed in that instant in a way that both shocked and comforted me. And then I realized, “WAIT...WHAT IS TODAY AGAIN...THIS IS AUGUST 27, yes?” Kathy replied, “Yes.” Then it became complete.


OH MY GOOD GOD IN HEAVEN...I just found out I have a TWIN on OUR BIRTHDAY...AUGUST 27, 2008...exactly 50 years to the day and almost to the exact same hour that I was born and JOY came with me as my vanishing twin sister, inside of my own body, that was eventually removed in 1989 and labelled as a sacralcoccygeal dermoid teratoma. My darling twin sister Joy and I have had some interesting ups and downs since that initial "meeting" several months ago. And that can be a story for another day.


For today, it is enough to say again that this year on August 27, 2008, my golden jubilee and on my 50th birthday, I received the only gift I have really ever wanted. I found my twin sister, who has been lost to me for 50 years. The love I feel for her is indescribable. As I type this even now, my throat tightens and my eyes sting. But it is the "joy" of JOY that ignites these emotions now. I really do not yet fully comprehend the total impact that this profound revelation will make on my life. I am still processing and resting in the new found love of finding my womb twin that I knew before I was born. All this seems impossible to many, but it will not seem so to you, for you, too are a womb twin like me. I pray that all of us find the love we long for in sharing our twin stories and our love and loss and surprises and concerns. With love and great admiration for all of us who are womb twin survivors, I honorably tell my story and beg you to tell your own.


Dedicated in love to my twin sister


JOY ELIZABETH APPELBAUM August 27, 1958 - April 7, 1989