Terri Libenson —
Living a living a life out loud…with humor, comic panels and talk balloons.
Jill Kaplan has ET. And two daughters. So does Terri Libenson. In fact they have so much in common you could be forgiven for thinking Terri, the creator of the popular comic strip Pajama Diaries is Jill, her creation.
In an extended interview Terri set us straight. She’s the kid who grew up in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, always drawing. She’s the one who drew her way into and through the graphics program at Washington University, creating that university’s first independent comics study course.
And where Jill is dominating and her comic husband Rob quiet, in real life Terri is a bit introverted and her husband outgoing.
She and Jill do share experiences and hassles but a girl needs a best friend right? And maybe the best is an alter ego that lets her process everyday life into a tension-releasing four-panel comic strip.
Back in 2009, suffering severe migraines and ocular light shows, Terri had a blood test that uncovered the cause: essential thrombocythemia. She had further testing done, discovered she was JAK2 positive. Baby aspirin and anagrelide brought her platelet levels down to where they didn’t interfere with her Type A lifestyle. She also turned to her drawing board and Jill to work out how she felt about things.
The result, a realistic but wryly humorous take on ET, is the first MPN comic strip to go international. And probably the first thousands of readers heard of ET. (You know her syndicate, King Features. These are the guys who brought Blondie and Beetle Bailey to our Sunday comics back in the day Americans got Sunday papers, along with Prince Valiant, Popeye, Hagar the Horrible, Hazel and all the rest.)
Today, The Pajama Diaries, reaches a couple of hundred newspapers in a daily strip and weekly feature. Terri and Jill are also on line http://www.pajamadiaries.com and appear in books and compilations.
And if your local paper doesn’t carry the strip, drop an email to the editor. Might as well support one of our own while lightening up our own days, right?
Books available from Amazon.com or Terri’s website store
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Comments on: "ET Pajama Party" (4)
This is great, and I shared it with my ET friends online. Only disappointed to see ET referred to as a bone marrow “disorder” or “disease.” Many doctors avoid telling patients that ET is cancer for reasons I can only guess at. This can be a problem for folks trying to get life insurance. If you do not reveal that you have cancer on your policy application, it can be grounds for nullifying coverage.
Thanks, Jean I do agree but we have to recall when the strip was published. Until 2011 he myeloproliferative cancer was referred to as a disorder. That year the World Health Organization officially renamed it a neoplasm and for some time thereafter there was serious dissent. Today there is no dispute.
I have been wondering the details of Jill’s (Terri’s) symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, and this little article answered my questions. I really enjoyed it! Thank you.
I love this. I even look like Jill, got exactly the same disorder…boy can I relate!!!