Saturday, December 31, 2005

Waiting for the New Year

(First, does anyone know how to get back to a normal format? I hat that it is now so wide, so hard to read. What did In accidentally do? Help!)

I have always thought that it is somehow wrong to wish time away. We are only given so much time on earth and to waste it wishing it were gone is at least a venial sin. But I cannot wait for this day to be over, gone, done, finished, because then 2005 will be over, never to return again.

I know I will still have to deal with the problems and repercussions of 2005 as  we move into 2006, but I can do that. (After all, I am Warrior Woman.) But this year has been worse than 2004, which was worse than 2003, the year I fell and my life spun off in to medical hell.

I have some hope for 2006. My house is clean and clutter free (or will be very soon), I am still losing weight, even as I add a variety of food to my diet . I miss all the good parts of my relationship with Rene terribly. But she  has only to get her stuff out of the basement, and she will be gone, and settled in her own home. (a good thing for her). And now I am free to dream into being the life I need to live. A renewed life of the Spirit. A Life centered around the feminine side of the godhead. A group of women who are also seeking Spirit My own space to become whatever is next.

These are not New Year's resolutions, just what I hope to find to fill my life again, to give me courage to go on with the medical stuff, and confront my inner demons a little at a time. And maybe, in time, find joy again.

I wish you all a Happy New Year, and am reminded of an old friend who always gave up his New Year's Resolutions for Lent,  by which time they were way too burdensome to carry out!

Blessings, Margo

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannakah

I wish you all a Joyful Christmas Day or Happy Hannakah.

I hope your family, biological or adopted, will be celebrating with you!

I pray for peace at thus time of joy over the birth of a Child so many years ago.

a Child born to tach peace and justice and minister to the poor and outcast.

Tomorrrow I will have Meg over for breakfast and present exchange.

Later I will go to Peggy's for a small Christmas dinner, then come home and nap.

It is a  sad time for me, But I am moving ahead and am grateful to God/ess.

May all feel the joy of the season deep in your hearts.

Love and Blessings, Margo

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Cleaning House

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               I I am still alive and okay in Southeastern CT. Rene's departure was incredibly painful, and still leaves a big hole in my life, but I am glad she's gone. It feels as if I can breath differently now, live without the pressure we created as our marriage disintegrated. ( Of course, I must point out that despite our Ceremony of Commitment, and  14 years together it was not a "marriage" because gays and lesbians do not have all their civil rights yet, but that is a whole other entry)

I have hired a local maid service-two women- to come in and clean the house. Cheryl and Diane have been working hard for almost 3 days, and all they have finished is the living room and two-thirds of the kitchen! On the other hand the living room, and  kitchen were not this clean when I moved in over 30 years ago! Rene and I petered out on  heavy housework after my accident. Part of me is angry that I have to pay a huge amount of money to catch up, and another part doesn't care if I spend all my savings(which will probably happen)-I am reclaiming my house room by room with their help.

My living room is wonderful, arranged as I want it, clean  and quite uncluttered(for me). I tend to attract clutter, so I'll have to work hard to keep all this up! I feel lighter in that room than I have in years. I am really pleased.

I do have some very dark times, but I am aware that I am waiting for the next part of my life to open up and claim me. It will take time, and winter is not an optimistic time for me, but I will make it through-Warrior Woman just keeps moving onwards, dragging me with her!

I am now over 300 e-mail journal entries behind- I am still dragging my exhaused self around to too many places, and purging stuff when I can, and struggling to get enough protein and water in. Collapsing in front of the boob tube to tune out the world has become my escape, but I will catch up, and I do like to comment at least some, so be patient with me.

I really can feel the care and concern that many of you have for me, and appreciate the thoughts, prayers and energy you send my way. I feel very blessed by my online friends-Thank you.

Happy Winter Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa to all and everyone!

Blessings, Margo

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Life Changed Today

Rene moved out today. We had been together 13 years and 11 months. She still has to come back and get Miya(her Chihuahua), tonight, she said, and a whole bunch of stuff that didn't fit in the moving van. She will need to bring help-her brother and sister-in-law, whom I have grown to love over the years, and a few others. That will be next week.

I haven't cried much yet, but the tears will come, because despite it all, I still love her. And I am both sorry and glad she's gone. Odd how emotions are tangled together, and you can flow from one to another in a nanosecond. I'm angry at her, grateful to her, terribly sad, and quite relieved. And I miss her terribly already.

Still, the house feels suddenly, wonderfully larger, and I will have space to put up more altars, to move furniture around, to smudge, and do ritual and live my own life. There is a very painful bitter sweetness about it all.

I am over 200 journal entries behind, and will let myself catch up slowly, but I hope you all are having a sane and healthy season, and that your Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, and any celebration I've left out is joyful.

Blessings, Margo

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Nearing the End

Rene and I are struggling through what we hope is our last week together. She is scheduled to move Wednesday, the 14th, but some snafu with the closing may push it to later . I alternate between grief and exasperation, as we both try to take the high road during this ending.

I am trusting she is packing only her fair share, and she is working not to hear sarcasm every time I ask her a question about the move. It is difficult and painful for both of us. She has been able to close down more than I can(or want to) so she is not seeing the good things we still have. I cannot stop seeing them, though it is time to move on.

I know that my new life will grow to be better than my life now. I will have room for more altars, more silence, more meditation, more solitude. I am waiting for images to rise from within, symbols to take in and learn from, a new sense of potential to surface.

And I am scared of being lonely, and having to do changes blindly, without knowing where I will be going, or where I will be lead. I'm scared about a lot of things- about money and friends(who will go with Rene, who will stay with me-it's inevitable), of how I'll get the snow off my car(can't shovel-heart condition), of having to purge a lot of stuff, for I know my clutter is bad for me, even of setting up my own routine-it's been 13 years since I lived alone.

But there is no doubt I will make a new life, accept change, even if I can't embrace it with wild enthusiasm. I am glad Winter Solstice is soon, for the re-birth of Light into the world is part of what this change is all about for me, and I plan to honor and cherish the gift of Light this year.

Blessings, Margo

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Still Alive and Waiting

I haven't written much lately, because there is nothing new to write about, and I don't want to fall into one long whine. Rene is still here, busily packing box after box after box, and even though her loan came through nobody seems to know when closing-and hence moving-day will be.

I am still stuck waiting for her to leave before I can do the grieving necessary to move on. I try hard not to take the low road and argue or snipe at her, but I struggle with it. I know the higher road will leave me happier in the end, and her, too.

I am still hoping she'll be gone by Christmas. Meg and my friend Peggy and I will get together for a couple of hours, and I will low key the rest of the day. I am going to put the tree up, with just lights and icicles, but that will probably be the extent of my Christmas decorating. These decisions have helped me, because I do not have the energy to get caught in the Christmas Chaos which rages in the outside world today.

This is one time of year I am sorry not to be a believing Christian anymore-I used to enjoy Advent and the religious aspects leading up to Christ's birth. I will have a small solitary Winter Solstice ritual, and am looking forward to that.

Phew! I am exhausted trying to be optimistic under these circumstances! Had to laugh(eventually) at one of my Dr's nurses. She was trying to cheer me up and told me she believed one only needed three out of four things in life to be happy. The four things were:

1) a good relationship
2) enough money to live on
3) a job one liked at least some of the time
4) one's health

I looked her straight in the face and took the low road.
"Gee, I said," I cannot claim even one out of the four."
Her face fell, and she mumbled something about the doctor being right in, and fled. For a few minutes I was bummed, then I began to see the funny side of it. She probably uses that explanation to cheer lots of patients up, and I'm probably the first one on whom it completely backfired

Despite it all, I am doing okay, and will survive Rene's departure and the Holiday Season. I am hoping that the people I care about will have a joyous season, full of friends and family and good food, and the blessing of the Christ Child who brings Light into the world, and peace, too.

Blessings, Margo

PS You can also find me at

Thursday, December 1, 2005

World AIDS Day

Today we mark the 18th World AIDS day.  HIV/AIDS is a global pandemic that has killed more than 25 million people, and infected 40 million people, mostly in developing nations. Bare facts, to be read, to pause momentarily over, feeling sad for a few moments before we move on to what ever's next.

But HIV/AIDS has changed the world in terrible ways, but(oddly enough) in good ways too. We have learned so much about viruses, we can talk more openly about protection from STD's, we have a whole new arsenal of medications, and .because our government took so long to respond, the Gay Men's Crisis formed, began protesting and demanding, which eventually pulled the GLBT movement out of the closet and onto the streets. This has affected how I live my life.

There is still, however, so much ignorance and fear and prejudice around HIV/AIDS that the distance we have come is not nearly enough. A neighbor said to me yesterday, "But things are better now, they've got these good drugs it's not as big a deal any more." I hear that more and more lately, and it infuriates me. I try hard to take a deep breath lest I launch into an angry monologue.

You see, I used to be an HIV Counselor and Educator first for a Woman's Health Clinic, then for the Department of Corrections, and while that life may be over, the passion burns as brightly as ever.

I want to point out the miracle of the multiple medications is wonderful, but they are not a cure. They are complex, cause  horrendous side effects, and must be taken on an inflexible schedule or the virus will mutate and re-attack harder. I want to say, how would you like to be chronically ill, exhausted, usually poor, and have to take public transportation to dozens of Dr's appointments and clinics, struggle to take 6 or 12 or 20 pills a day each at the correct time, and still have time for a life.

I want to say, most in the developing world who are positive have no meds available at all. They just sicken and die, slowly, worn out, like the generation of gay men we watched die in the 80's, often alone and untended. And most those in developing countries do not have access to condoms, or even honest information, and some of this is because of the policies of our United States Government. Often pregnant women have no access to even the small amount of medication which could raise the odds of having an HIV- baby.

I want to say, we are all in denial-even myself, because I had a blood transfusion last year and "haven't gotten around" to testing, because I know how safe our blood supply is. (It is safe, but not 100%) I want to go out and scream "Stupid" at the younger gay generation who are doing meth and bug chasing, because "so many are positive, I might as well be too" They, too, will lose their generation, only slower, and so much more expensively. And berate the heterosexuals and lesbians who think they are low risk or immune, especially those who are not in a truly monogamous relationship.

I weep for the number of women, especially black and Hispanic women, who are contracting HIV faster than any other segment-often because their boyfriend does drugs, or their lives are so difficult drugs seem like a way out of pain. And  I am enraged at our government which treats drug addicts as criminals, and would rather spend our taxes on an unwinnable war, or "just say no" and "abstinence only" campaigns, than on programs that really educate. Or or studies of better ways to treat drug addiction.

I could go on. I think about the HIV+ women I know in prison and miss them -and my work-so deeply. I miss some who have died, and worry about friends who are positive.

I gave pieces of this information to my neighbor, only calmly, factually, leaving the government's role in the spread of AIDS out entirely, so she could hear me, and she thanked me, said I must have been a good teacher because she learned a lot.  I thanked her back, and walked home knowing that I still am a good teacher.

And perhaps that's the piece I can do for World AIDS Day all year long, recognize my anger and frustration at the existence of the disease, and the apathy of not only ours, but many governments, and keep on dropping  pieces of education whenever possible in my daily life. Until I can find my way back to serving the community in some way or other.

Blessings, Margo

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


I know that a positive attitude makes life better, helps one live longer, more joyfully, attracts good stuff( like good karma) into one's life. I know that seeing the glass half full is healthier than seeing it half empty, that reaching forward in anticipation is as important as exercise for wholeness and happiness. I know that change is inevitable, and needs to be embraced and celebrated and maybe even enjoyed. I know that many people embrace the "fake it till you make it" school of living and flow forward with their lives quite well.

I know all this in my head, and believe it to be true. It's just that I can't seem to live it, yet, because my heart or soul or guts or some part of me hasn't caught up yet. The best I can do is act as if what I am doing(physical therapy, working out with Glenn, my trainer, going to a whole lot of counseling, from nutritional to psychological, keeping every Dr's appointment scrupulously, choosing not to fight with Rene)is actually going to lead me somewhere I need to be. Some days I believe this, others I can't.

But I am doing well in some areas. Since April I have lost 117 pounds, 98 of them since surgery, on 7/11/05. I continue to work the WLS program, so to speak, although I still hate it, and every walk is a kind of a very slow forced march (I am up to a half of a mile, a couple times a week, weighted down with oxygen) I am getting along well with my daughter Meg, who is 32, and I'm able to do my own errands-like food shopping-by myself again. I am beginning to make tentative plans for how to live after Rene moves out.

Goddess knows, I am trying. But , under it all, my glass still feels half empty, and leaking, and that I wouldn't recognize a full glass if it hit me on the head. I don't like that about me, because I know I miss out on good opportunities. My first response to every new thought, idea or person is always "NO". Then I have to work myself around to the place where I can remind myself how much this was a healthy, self-protective response in childhood, but unhealthy and unnecessary now. This takes time sometimes and I miss out on positive opportunities and changes.

Change still feels as scary as it did when I started this Journal, but I am beginning to realize how much I have changed (yes, often kicking and screaming and crying and whining) since my catastrophic fall on 8/7/93, and that my own inner strength has been tested and none of this has killed me. I'mstill coming to terms with lots of old, stuffed down feelings, but I am keeping  up the "act as if" because I cannot imagine that life will not get better, easier, happier at some point. Maybe sooner rather than later. That seems to be a bit of positivity with which to end the day.

Blessings, Margo

Monday, November 21, 2005


I wish I could be hiding in my bed, Roxy, my Chihuahua, beside me, with the covers over my head, eating ice cream and Cheese Doodles. Messy, but soothing.  Both bed and food are escape places for me, and only sheer grit and  willpower are keeping me from staying in bed for the next month or so. Surgery seems to have solved the run for food problem for the moment, but only because I hate to throw up. Otherwise I'd be eating.

I am not someone who leaps into change joyfully, optimistically, excited about all the possibilities ahead. You may have noticed this before, Gentle Readers. I also respond poorly to  major controversy, and J-Land has been so rife with it that I've  gotten way behind, and am still struggling to catch up. But I will eventually find my friends wherever they are, and comment, because it is important to me.

Yes, I hate the ad's and have written to all the suggested places complaining, threatening, and I have (just barely) reserved a place on Blogspot, but am not ready to learn how to use it yet-I am too discombobulated by real life now.I also hate the loss of the sense of community, and the corporate greed, and my own belief system which assures me corporate AOL doesn't give a damn about us, and will not change.

I am having a hard time right now thinking of something hopeful or positive to say. I am stuck in a dark mind set and unwilling to accept uplifting by those who want to "cheer me up." New beginnings, positive change, the chance to have my house back so I can make it my home again all are too far away to see in this darkness. Each day takes forever to crawl through.

What I see is Rene busily packing her stuff into box after box, and moving it into storage, but there is still no end in sight. No word on her mortgage, no timeframe for being out, just withdrawal and more and more silence or sarcasm from her. I miss her because , even though we can't live together, I still love parts of her a lot.

I understand that she is preparing for the split in her own way. She's looking forward to a brand new condo, and leaving me with the grime of the last few years, when we have both been handicapped and not cleaning house much. I'll have to hire someone to come muck out, but can't do it until she is gone. I am totally stuck.

I know I am not someone who gives up, that I stagger ever onwards with a stupid kind of courage that brooks no stopping. Even when I feelno hope I know I will get through the next month or so,  and she will be gone. Then, slowly, I can move on to claim my space and my life back. Until then, life sucks big time.

I hope your life is full of blessings, Margo

Monday, November 14, 2005

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy, Jig

The Poconos are as beautiful as always this time of year, and I spent a surprisingly blissful week sleeping in a motel, spending days with my parents and enjoying the freedom from Dr's visits and physical therapy and going to Glenn, my personal trainer. And from Rene.

And, to top the week off, on Saturday I spent most of the day with Becky of Where Life Takes You.
It was wonderful.  She is easy to talk to, easy to get to know, easy to hang out with, and we talked about everything from children to upbringing( and struggles to escape) to summer vacations. She wanted to have had a place like I had to go to every summer, rather than always going different places. I always felt gypped that we never went anywhere except the Poconos! And beautiful though it is, it seemed boring to me as a teenager who was essentially an outsider. Funny how that is. Now I think it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, off season.

Becky has posted some great pictures, so go take a look. My pictures will get posted sometime after Christmas, maybe, after I find the directions again and relearn all I've forgotten about posting pictures!

My parents are hanging in, thank Goddess. I realize that I treasure them more each year, even as they drive me crazy! Mom had a detached retina in Sept, and then problems, and more surgery, so she is stumbling around one-eyed, dropping things and spilling every cup of coffee she pours. But she's a tough old bird and determined to live more years. Dad has his own routine, which includes reading a lot and watching endless "Law and Orders" on TV, along with football and ice hockey.

The two of them have worked out a cranky, but somehow mutually satisfying way of living together.(After 57 years of at time not so wedded bliss) It seems to involve much taking out and putting in of hearing aids, and complaining behind each other's back, but it works for them. I work hard not to be go between, which was my role in childhood and well into adulthood, too.

One of the things I realized in the Poconos was that I am still capable of moments of happiness. I really hadn't seen how stressful our life here has become since surgery, and more so since Rene decided now was the time to move out. Then, of course, she couldn't just pack up and leave, but had to find a placeand all that entails. I still cry sometimes, but I am also counting the days-she'll be gone by Christmas.

The ironic thing is that we're getting along fine, and we'll probably talk everyday once she's gone, but right now there are boxes everywhere, only a small part of her stuff is packed up, and I am struggling with the anxiety I hardly recognized before I went away because it was/is so much a part of our lives together. Being gone for a week made it much clearer that I really can't start my next life until she's move out.

Meanwhile, I am plugging along with my activities, trying to work my stamina up slowly, and doing okay except for every now and then, when I collapse into my chair and can't move for a few hours. Luckily, those time don't happen all the time now!

I am 254 e-mails behind in my journal reading, but I will catch up eventually, like by Christmas maybe?!? I miss knowing what has been going on, so I'll probably be a bit faster than that.

Blessings, Margo

Monday, November 7, 2005

Visit to the Poconos

I arrived safely in the Poconos, and am glad to be in this incredibly beautiful place. Most of the leaves are down, but the beech are holding on to their golden brown leaves, and tie pines are tall and whisper with an alpine wind, a lovely, soothing sound. I can't walk far, but I can stand in the woods and breath. Last night on my way out, I stopped and watched a small doe for about 15 wonderful minutes, amazed that she was unfazed by the car, or me talking to her.

My parents are doing okay, considering their ages (80 &83) and that they don't relly enjoy each other's company very much-after 57 years of marriage. They compete for my attention, and I try to share it fairly, though each is deaf and it can be a trial. Plus, of course, it is a constant struggle not to revert back to childhood responses.

I see the irony, complaining when I've been blessed with another chance to visit with them. What a contrary creature I can be! I spend the nights at a hotel, because their cabin is not set up for overnight visitors. And I use that time to grow up again, ground myself, and come back smiling and full of love.

I miss having Rene with me here-my parents love her, too,but am working on remembering what it's like to travel alone. It's a mixed bag, but I am doing okay.

I have rigged up Rene's laptop here, but they are sure I'm going to mess up their phone lines for good- they are real technophobe's, who nevertheless manage to have a list of computer related chores for me to do while I'm here! I can't read journals here easily, either, though I do check my e-mail, because they don't want me to be on the phone line too long!

I am hoping to meet a J-Land friend here, and am really excited. I'll leave you guessing for now, but will tell as soon as we manage to connect.

Blessings, Margo

Friday, November 4, 2005

I'm Still Standing, or at least Staggering Forward

I am alive and doing okay. Still sad, still crying at unexpected moments, but moving on, nevertheless. Rene has made a bid on a condo/duplex in an area of completely renovated old mill workers' houses. It's a nice size and a nice safe neighborhood, and has plenty of storage. I hope she gets it, because it would be perfect for her. Closing would be Dec. 10, and it's about a 20 minute ride from here. She has started packing up some stuff already.

We are getting along well. We were happy to have over 60 Trick-or-Treaters, and had a good time handing out little bags of cheetos, instead of candy, which I didn't want in the house. They went over big, much to our surprise. Kids in the neighborhood were talking about them  for days! Who woulda thunk it?

I am leaving to see my parents in the Poconos of PA on Sunday, without Rene. It's a little scary-I have not driven more than an hour or so since last spring, but I have to start doing more for and by myself. Now seems as good a time as any to start. My mom has had two eye surgeries this summer, and is not allowed to fly yet, but they will be heading back to CO mid-December. I am hoping all will be well during the winter and they will be back to PA come spring.

I am meditating and mulling around about my weight, my relationship with food, and with Rene, and how I cannot seem to move onward until she has moved out. Actually, as I write that it seems pretty silly. I am moving-going to the gym, to physical therapy, working to get my protein and fluids in, pushing myself a bit each day. It's just that I cannot see that movement yet, but getting my house in order will be an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual change-eventually.

Sometime after Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, I hope. Between now and then, I just plan to keep plodding ahead.

 I am behind on reading journals, and not commenting much when I do read, but I still appreciate the support I feel from out there in my small corner of J-land. As I have more time to look at the changes that have happened and are happening in my life, I hope to see more clearly how to respond with growth to the challenges I've been presented.

Blessings, Margo

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mourning the Loss

I am not someone who leaps forward to embrace change. Especially big ones. I am still sad, crying at unexpected moments, mourning the loss of what Rene and I used to have, and breaking down at the idea of splitting our lives, our silverware, our "go to Europe"money (to pay off our joint house credit card) our bookcases and books, the Christmas tree ornaments, all the little things which must be taken care of when one household becomes two.

"Are you sorry," a friend asks, "do you want her to stay?"


No, I am not sorry, and I do not want her to stay. It is time to split, past time perhaps, but the love I have for her has not dried up and blown away just because we need different kind of lives. In the past I would eat my way through painful times, stuffing the pain down with toast and honey, mint chocolate chip ice cream, sugar cookies. Food soothed and pacified, comforted and filled the aching hole.


Now I am letting the pain rise. I know I will not die of this kind of pain, but it catches me unawares. I am driving down the road to a new doctor's appointment, trying to focus on my top three issues, and suddenly I am sobbing so hard I have to pull off the road, because I realize I cannot put Rene down as next of kin anymore.


Rene has begun to look at condos, and I weep as she talks about them. Our hairdresser asks how she is and I'm crying again, he is a member of the community and is sad, too. Plus, I will probably have to change hairdressers because he is good therefor expensive. I go to tell a neighbor, and cannot stop the tears from flowing even as I tell her it is best for both of us. And I know it's true.


I see a lot of irony in the situation. The gastric bypass, which I chose  because I want to live a longer, healthier life, is what pushed us over the edge. She is not interested in losing any weight, and has continued to eat as usual. And she has every right to do so. She wants to be free to go to buffets with friends without guilt at leaving me at home, bring home bags of Chinese food, containers of chips, things that must be gone from my life. 


She is also  very uncomfortable around free flowing emotions. I deliberately chose a path which could only lead to feeling my feelings, many for the first time. She is a stoic, and sees me as hysterical. I see me as freeing myself from all those stuffed feelings, and mourning as the first step.


There will be other steps to take as I move ahead with this journey. For of course I will move ahead. I haven't struggled through the last two years to abandon the trip now. I am working on looking ahead to some of the good things-I can arrange my furniture and altars as I want, have only what I can eat in the house, not have to check in with anyone if I want to stay out late, learn to remember our good times and no longer focus on the difficulties.

It just takes time.

Blessings, Margo

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Beginning of the End

Yesterday was a sad day for both Rene and me. It became clear during our therapy session that our relationship is over. It has been a long time coming, and some who know us well will not be surprised, but I am still sad and scared and feeling lost. We've been together since January of '93, and when we said our vows to each other in '95, we meant them.

But people grow apart, enter different phases of their lives in  lopsided ways, get pushed around, and off kilter, by the things life throws at them, discover they have different needs, and all that has happened to us. All of this was beginning to happen before I fell and began this medical odyssey, but the last two and a half years have finished us off.


At 66, Rene wants to stay home and putter around on her computer, and stay up late and rise late(she worked second shift for 17 years) and not have to play nurse to anyone, nor deal with any emotional ups and downs.


At 56, I want to get in better shape, and get out of the house more, find people to do things with, and let the emotions that I stuffed down with food all my life come to the surface, so I can experience and/or look at them and grow from the process.

We've both known for a while that we were approaching the end, but having it out in the open is hard. I feel as if I ripped my heart on a jagged nail, and just have to wait a bit for the pain to lessen, the blood flow to slow down, so that I can breath again, begin to rally and move forward.

I think the worst part is that we have to tell so many people, who will be really sad. And even angry. The GLBTQ community likes to hang onto long term relationships, because until recently we have seen so few. They've been out there, of course, but closeted. We're pretty well known, not every couple has been celebrated with a picture of two dykes kissing in their local newspaper.

My daughter Meg will be devastated. She loves Rene dearly, and this is a difficult- but exciting-time in her life right now (more on that another day). She will be angry at me, for it will bring up my divorce from her father. I can only honor her feelings, and still let myself feel mine.

Rene and I have not set a timetable yet, or talked about it much more than to discuss who we need to tell in person, and when we can get ahold of them. It's difficult, because everyone has such crazy busy schedules. Should any of our family or friends read about it here first, I want to apologize in advance. I have had a very high need to share this here, for this is where I find support during difficult times.

I see the irony in talking about closing the prison door so another could open. I had my eyes on the wrong door. I will make it through this door and into the next life. I am continuing to do what I have to do-go to the gym, physical therapy, regular therapy, doctor's appointments, and working hard to get the required protein and liquids in, and will keep on keeping on, of course. The only other option is to stop cold, and that is unthinkable after all I've been through.

Blessings, Margo

Monday, October 17, 2005

But I Want to Go Back to Prison

I am slowly letting go of the idea that I can go back to prison. I am/was an HIV Counselor/Educator at CT's only Women's Prison before I took a terrible fall, smashed my right upper arm to smithereens, and ended up with chronic pain. I have held onto the hope of returning for over two years now, but I am beginning-just beginning- to admit that this is a fantasy.  

I need to be "100% " to return. Of course, I was never !00% to begin with, and you should have seen me hauling my 50-year-old overweight body through boot camp. Yes, a real march-around, do calisthenics, hurry-up and wait, learn prison rules, and how-to-take- down-a-prisoner-who-has-a-knife type boot camp.   

I was lucky in several ways. My friend Cindi S. was in the same class,  we drove together(one and a half hours one way), and kept each other awake in class. Also, the  whole class was made up of nurses and doctors and counselors, so we weren't competing with young go-get-em would be correctional officers. And(sadly) a man had died the class before from a heart attack, so when I mentioned my heart condition to my lieutenant, he blanched and told me not to do more than I could. Definitely no push-ups! I did finally learn to march, though. Useful stuff for an HIV Counselor.  

When I finally got to York, I was in pretty good shape, and knew that in a riot, I could put handcuffs on someone, or defend myself, if necessary, with a good right hook. (Not that any of that was ever necessary. The most I ever did was tell a bunch of inmates to sit down while a fight was going on, and to my surprise, they all did!) But I was not on narcotics.  

That is the real problem. I have been left with chronic pain which is intolerable without serious pain meds, and I cannot go back to prison on them. I would not, either, because my driftiness might endanger another staff member. And that is the ultimate sin, something to feel badly about forever.  

The thing is, I loved my job. It was the one I had been unknowingly aiming for all my life, and I was good at it. In a strange way, I loved a lot of the inmates,too. Flawed, angry, drug addicted, prostitutes, even murderers, most have been sexually and/or physically abused starting very early, filled with shame and self-hatred, but they are survivors, who manage to keep going despite experiences most of us will never know. They are women who want so desperately to change, even when they know they can't or won't.  

And the women who are HIV positive are some of the most courageous women I've ever known, especially the long term survivors who lived through the bad old days, many in prison. Their stories are heartbreaking, devastating, and yet they tell them with a hilarity that had everyone roaring with laughter.Then I'd go back into my office and cry.  

I was both liked and respected by most inmates. They called me the Gentle Giant, and would sometimes knock on my door(a real no-no in the medical unit) and come in with a bogus HIV question for a couple of minutes of peace and quiet. When I was not flat out busy, I'd let them stay, and talk about the weather, or their kids, or how to deal with a difficult cell mate. The highest praise I ever got was, "You treat me like a human being, not some sub-species of an animal." They still send me messages through Cindi S. who has taken my place there.  

Can you tell how much I miss them?  

Of course I don't miss the whole prison mind set, the rules and regs which must be obeyed, the way some( not all) CO's and nurses and doctors treat inmates like the scum of the earth, and that there is nothing a counselor can do about it. I don't miss the inevitable paperwork, or my crazy co-worker, who had serious emotional problems, and is now gone.Or the way the Big Brass always did their surprise walk-through's after we had been warned, the whole place cleaned up and painted, and all the inmates were locked down, so the overcrowding was never seen. Typical state bull$hit, under then-Governor Rowland, who is now in a Federal Penitentiary himself. For the record, Federal Prisons are cushier than state prisons, according to my sources, many of whom have been in both.  

Friday, I called and left a message for the guy who handles disability retirement, as my attorney has been urging. Luckily he wasn't in, because as I put the phone down, I burst into tears and cried and cried and cried. I'm crying now.   I know that when one door closes, another often opens up, and I have to close the prison doors firmly behind me, with me on the outside, before I'll notice other passageways anywhere else. Plus I am facing another surgery on my arm and rehab again (yeah, can you believe it? More surgery) before I can really look around much for something meaningful to do.  

This week I will start pushing forward on both these things-leaving the prison behind, and girding up my loins to fight Workers' Comp once again. Both are long term projects, but I guess there is no time like the present to start.  

Blessings, Margo              

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

In honor of yesterday, which was National Coming Out Day(Yes, I'm running a bit late):  

My name is Margo and I am a lesbian. I am a proud member of the GLBTQ(questioning) community. I hope I didn't leave anyone out; I think our community should be as inclusive as possible. Heck, I even like straight people. They can't help it, they were born that way.  

Someday maybe I'll tell my whole coming out story, which was relatively easy, compared to many, but today I will tell about coming out with a bang to all of New London County. At the time I was out to everyone I knew-family, friends, work, but Rene was not quite so out. She worked at Electric Boat, a Federal Contractor that builds submarines, and a place which was, shall we say, less open to diversity than many private employers.  

On September 21, 1995, Rene and I had a Ceremony of Commitment, which took place at the local Polish Club, of all places! It was quite informal, but we had 200 guests-all our families, friends, people I worked with, and friends even brought friends. We wrote our own vows, danced a lot, visited with everybody, and a great time was had by all. We had asked our guests to bring non-perishable food items for our local AIDS project in lieu of gifts, and we filled a small U-Haul!  

 My father offered a toast. " There is a long history in the Page family of marring good woman. Margo has continued the tradition!" There wasn't a dry eye in the house.  

 A friend from the local paper asked if they could cover the ceremony, and we said yes, as long as nobody else showed on the pictures, because not everyone was out. Eventually the article ran in the paper.  

Imagine our surprise, it was on the top half of the second section's front page, nearly as big as life: Rene and Margo kissing! And not a chaste little peck, either, a full on lip lock.  

The extroverted part of me came out with great glee, laughing and speculating on reaction( I actually have an in your face attitude about a few important subjects, coming out being one of them). Rene was a little less enthusiastic. In fact at one point, she considered rushing out and buying up all the copies of thepaper in existence, including going up on peoples porches to steal their papers before they got up.  

Eventually,though, she began to see the humor in the situation, for she, too, advocates coming out when a person is ready, she just hadn't realized how ready she was! I worked at a woman's heath clinic-they all loved the article. Rene went off to work full of anxiety, and was surprised that quite a few people offered congratulations, and no one else said anything. Much ado about nothing.  

The only negative feedback we got was a nasty letter in the paper from a local conservative Episcopal priest, who seemed to think we were doomed to hell for all eternity(although he put it more eloquently). And positive feedback? We had people coming out to us for months, even years afterwards. I had married women asking me how I had the courage to leave my marriage, patients at work telling me they really were gay, but slept with men so their parents wouldn't guess, stories that broke my heart, but were important for the woman to tell, and be heard.   

And good stories, too, we heard from a lot of people who said the article helped them get over the fear of coming out, at least to a friend or one family member. Our neighborhood rallied around us, too, congratulating us, offering food for the AIDS project, and began to treat us as any old married couple on the block. It was amazing, and wonderful.  

And so we came out to New London County with a bang, which had a lot of reverberations in a lot of lives. I am proud to have been in the first picture the paper ran of two lesbians kissing!  

Blessings, Margo                      

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Opposite Dragons?

 Addendum to Last Entry(Yes, Go Read It First)  

Of course I know that for every Yin there's a Yang, for every god there's a goddess, for all the darkness there's light and for every Dragon of Misfortune there's a Dragon of Good Fortune.

She, too, is huge, with shimmering, multicolored scales, but these sparkle in lights which glows from inside her and circles around her.   Her coiling and uncoiling and recoiling is a beautiful dance, without an even faintly sinister air, and her face slants upward, wreathed in smiles, which change from benign to happy to joyful to laughing uproariously. Her shoes fit. For all I know, she probably sprinkles fairy dust on those who catch her eye.  

I wouldn't know, however, because she is perched over the head of some lucky duck who also had WLS on July 11, went home 2 days later, recovered uneventfully, is exercising regularly, eating small, but fairly normal-ish meals, has lost an enormous amount of weight and can't figure out what all the fuss about problems is. You just follow the rules, and everything is fine. She cannot see her Dragon.  

Now, for those who might be worried I am either losing it(or have lost it already), or think I am about to have this be the problem that stops Warrior Woman from staggering onward, not to worry.Active imagination is one way I do my inner work, and it only spills over here occasionally. When it does, I let it flow.  

Thank you all for your support and prayers and encouragement and love and affection. Because I have spent the last two and a half years as an invalid of sorts, you are more important than you can imagine to me.  

Blessings to You All, Margo

Saturday, October 8, 2005


  I am almost embarrassed to write this: Good News/ Bad News .  

Good News: I am off TPN( IV feeding) and the PICC line(which was sewed into my arm and threaded into my heart for the TPN) Is out!!!!!! I no longer sleep with the sound of the machine, or have to pee every hour or so, or be upstairs in my bedroom 12 hours a day! Freedom!  

 Bad News: Just before I went off it I began to feel weak, have shivering episodes, and the day after, Wednesday, I spiked a temp of 101.8 degrees. I spent several hours lying in bed soaking wet, sweat rolling down mybody and face and into my ears, too miserable to move. Eventually, I put towels over the wet sheets and slept.  

Called the surgeon the next day, and the first thing he did was have someone come take the PICC line out ( it was supposed to stay in two weeks "just in case"), then called in antibiotics. All day my temp was 99-ish, but we packed the car to leave for PA to see my parents the next day anyway.  

Alas, by 7 PM, it was 101 degrees again, so I called the answering service, eventually spoke to one of the docs, and there we were on the road to New Haven, yet again. We got to the ER at 10 PM and sent Rene home an hour later. I got a bed upstairs at 2 AM, and fell asleep by 4 AM. They woke me at 6. Big Gun antibiotics, IV fluids, and I was home by 4 PM the that day, Thursday  

Alas, my last chance to see my parents before they go back to Colorado had to be canceled. After Mom and I cried over the phone for a while we began to concoct a 83rd birthday party for my father in CT in Feb. Hope it works, and they both stay healthy enough.  

 So, how am I doing? Well, I hate plucky people, but one part of me is certainly moving pluckily onward. I got up this morning, made my protein shake, drank my fluids and kept going. I am refusing to cry in front of Rene, who is sick of the whole uncertainty thing-I don't blame her, I am too-I am telling callers that I am doing much better, concentrating in the part about being off the TPN, I am making appointment of one sort or another to fill up the time we were supposed to be gone. These are all the right things to do, I know.  

The dark half of me, of course, is waiting for the next shoe to drop. The image just arose. High above my head is the dragon of misfortune, multi-legged, many with pointy green leather, the kind the old shoemaker in some fairytale makes).She is huge, with shimmering, multicolored  scales, and she undulates above me, periodically blocking the sun and the stars until the whole universe is black as coal.  

Her face changes as she coils and uncoils and recoils above me. Sometimes it reflects a mild malice with a laissez faire attitude, others times She seems more angry, mouth frowning, eyes narrowed, calculating, other times, She is pure malice, big ironic smile, every tooth showing, eyes mere slits. And sometimes it is hatred pure and simple, shining out of Her eyes, radiating across Her face, and out into the universe. She carries great power, when She wants to, and uses it as She will.   

 Now and then, She'll glance down and notice me, often when I am staggering to my feet from my last crisis. Sometimes She lazily kicks out one of her many legs, loosing her shoe at me. It make a beautiful loop-de-loop and land softly, causing some very minor problem. Other times She kicks more vigorously, and that shoe comes right down through the air with the surprising wallop of a boxing kangaroo, and I end up back on my a$$ again. It's happened quite a lot lately  

Now I do not think this is something I did, or punishment for past wrongs, or because I am a Pagan. I think it is just life or fate or all random, and so many have it so very much worse than I do it is almost unbearable to think about. But I can still see Her, The Dragon of Misfortune, keeping her eye on me, one of her many legs swinging the next shoe to fall.  

Blessings, Margo                    

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Yet Again, Good News, Bad News

The good news is, I am managing to get down 30 grams of protein-mostly in the form of protein drink with a little yogurt on the side. The bad news is that I am not close to 48 oz of liquid required to go off TPN ( IV feeding) I am hoping my surgeon will bend a bit. There is another problem, too.  

I really only like cold beverages, mostly water. Ice cold. Before surgery, in mid-winter, I could chug 20 oz of ice water in one sitting with no problem and never feel cold. The last two mornings, I awoke thirsty, and tried to take advantage of it by sipping 10-15 oz of ice water in an hour or so, and was rewarded by my core temperature dropping like a stone.  

I couldn't stop shaking, ending up on the recliner wrapped in 2 quilts, with a scarf around my head, sipping decaf tea(which I do not like) while my body shook and rattled and rolled, my heart pounded-I had to take nitrostat-and I struggled to breath. It lasted 3 hours yesterday, but only 40 minutes today. I can learn, you know. I will call my doc tomorrow, but my friend who's a nurse said I gave classic symptoms of core temperature drop. She suggests tea or bullion first thing in the morning. Ugh. But I will do it.  

 I am still hoping to go to PA to see my parents with out the TPN- it is such a hassle to travel with the whole breathing apparatus stuff, that to add pump, pole, TPN liquid, and all the paraphernalia that goes along with it makes it almost not worth going. Alas, My Mom is not well, and I can no longer hop on a plane and fly out to Denver to see her if she takes really ill, so I am determined to go this week!   

Blessings, Margo

Monday, September 26, 2005

Can You Believe? A Bit of a Change!

Shhhhh.... Don't tell anyone.... Margo might overhear and get her hopes up too high, but there might just be the tiniest flicker of a light 'way down towards the end of this tunnel I have been alternately slogging and crawling through since August 18th.  

 I went to see my surgeon on Friday and was whining and moaning about sleep deprivation-I have been up to pee every 1 and a half hours all night long since Aug.18th- and he looked up and said, "have you tried any food?" Well, no, he told me not to. "Would you like to?"

Dumb question. Of course. So, we made an agreement. When I can get 15 grams of protein and 32 oz of water down, I can go on half rations of the TPM(IV food), to go in during 6 hours, so I can get some uninterrupted sleep. When I get to #( grams of protein and 48 oz of water, I'm off  all together. 

Tomorrow I start half rations of TPN. Yesterday I managed to get 18 grams and 30 oz of water in, and my stomach hurt, and I kept right on sipping protein drink(ugh). So far today I have 13 grams of protein, and 27 oz of liquid, and tomorrow I am going to have to do even better. I plan to be off TPN by the time I leave for the Poconos Oct 6th. If all is ok with my Upper GI scheduled Wednesday, of course.  

This is hard labor. Before surgery, I couldn't stop eating, and easily drank 64 oz of water a day. Now I have to force 2 Tbs of yogurt down and remind myself to sip, sip, sip all day long. It's all very odd.  

There, I am so relieved to have something good to write about I am almost giddy!  

Blessings, Margo

Monday, September 19, 2005

Just More of the Same

All day I have been wracking my brain about something funny and light I could use as a lead in to my Journal entry, because my life is so dismal I'm boring myself...but nothing has risen, so I'll be quick as I can.  

I have not written in over a week because I feel like a fly in amber, only not so pretty or interesting. Nothing has changed. I am still trying to increase my liquids, without much success. still attached to my PICC line, still getting IV feeding at night, still waking up every one and a half to two hours to pee, still dehydrated, still not losing weight, still stuck. And still trying not to let myself slip over the rim of the hole called Deep Depression.  

I am still doing many of the right things, too. I go out most days, to a doctor's appointment or shopping briefly, or for a ride with Peggy or Rene. I play at the computer, and read both newspapers, and take a brief nap, and try not to watch too much TV. I went to a local monthly WLS support group, which was a definite mixed bag. I met a woman named Tracey who reads my blog, ands now I read hers, which was great, and it was wonderful to be around others who struggle with the same issues I had before I had my setback.  

At the same time, I also felt so set apart from them, as they traded food hints, and protein powder drinks, and I cannot keep any down, cannot eat anything, I went home depressed as all get out, but determined to go again. At least I know that all the stuff I was worrying about before life went awry was normal!  

 I will rise from this funky place I seem to be inhabiting at some point or another-I always have in the past, so I believe I will this time, and hope to regain both a sense of perspective and a sense of humor when that happens.  

Blessings, Margo

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's My Birthday!

Mood: cautiously Hopeful  

Today is my birthday; I am 56 years old.  For me, today starts the new year, as fall begins to creep in, bringing cooler nights and sweater weather. This is my favorite time of year (at least until spring arrives, then spring is my favorite) and I start looking forward to trees changing color, to crackling through dead leaves on the ground, to a trip to the Poconos to see my parents before they go back to Colorado.  

 I would also add it's the time of years for Courtland apples and cider and doughnuts and soups and stews and Halloween candy, but this year is different. I'll look forward to being able to eat applesauce and yogurt instead, I guess.  

Having a birthday on 9/11 is a mixed bag now. The date is etched forever in our consciousness as a country, a day of horror and sorrow and fear. It changed our world, and not for the better.Not to celebrate it would let the terrorists win, but celebrating it is difficult, too. And now we are in a winless war, with so many more dying and being maimed, all young men and women, scarred for life, physically and emotionally. And then there is the disgraceful response to those so terribly affected by Katrina... I will NOT go off into a political tirade, but these are discouraging times.  

This year, like last year and the year before, we are low-keying my birthday. Two years ago I was just out of the hospital after surgery because of my fall at work, and last year I was deeply depressed and feeling hopeless, though I was faking happiness pretty well for my journal.  

This year, despite everything, I am less deeply depressed, though perhaps more anxious. I know I have more medical stuff ahead of me-I need a second surgery on my arm-and I am entrenched in a battle with Worker's Comp, which has decided I no longer need meds for my chronic pain, let alone the surgery. I have a disability hearing coming up, and expect to be turned down because I do not have one big overriding problem or disease, but a accumulation of many little ones.  

And yet, today, on my 56th birthday, the sun is shining and the air is cool and Rene gave me beautiful Swarovsky crystal stud earrings she brought back from Europe, so I will accept the gift of a quiet day and let all the problems wait until tomorrow.  

Blessings, Margo

Monday, September 5, 2005

First Attempt

  Yesterday I ventured out to a neighborhood cookout. It was my first "social event" since surgery, and it turned out to be a good deal more difficult than I had anticipated. Everyone was truly glad to see me, which was nice, and I was glad to see and talk to them.  

The problem was, they all asked how I am doing, which posed quite a dilemma. Should I give them the truth and say, "shitty and depressed?" No, there must be something better... I settled on, "I'll be fine in the long run, but in the short run it's been difficult." Most people immediately changed the subject-it was clear they didn't want to know any details.  

So I would brightly counter with, "How are you? How has your summer been?" Then nodded and smile as person after person told me all about their vacations and activities. A couple of people realized that the contrast between their summer and mine was large and petered off, embarrassed, but most just went on and on and on.   It did give me the brief illusion of being part of the group, though. It was good to hear neighborhood news, but difficult to join in the conversation, because after the first 30 minutes I was feeling exhausted. Not surprising, since I am dehydrated, hungry, and stuck in a cycle of small problems which sometimes seen insurmountable.  

Then the food came out. Everyone rushed off to get some except Rene, who has been kind enough not to eat in front of me. I told her to go ahead, that of course I knew I would have to be around people eating, so she, too, went off to load her plate. Everyone came back and began to eat and talk about how good stuff tasted and who made what...  

 ...and it all became too much for me. I grabbed my oxygen tank, struggled out of my chair, said, brightly, "Well, I think I'd better head home before I'm too tired to walk! It was wonderful to see everyone" and walked across the lawn, past the pool, and out the gate to dead silence, while every person at the picnic watched me, even the children. After I turned the corner, I could hear voices start up again.  

Now, I know this will not be my reaction forever, I have to learn to be around people who are celebrating with food, and eventually I will beable to eat some, too. But I felt so conspicuous and out of place that it was physically painful, and I was glad to get home to cry.  

 I record this, not as a pity party, but as my first attempt at regaining some small part of my life back. Life continues to be so diminished, that I need some hope for life in the future.  

Blessings, Margo  

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Difficult to Understand

As I have been watching TV coverage of the incredible devastation cause by Katrina, and then not watching because it is so overwhelming, all I can do is send small pieces if energy and prayers to all those so terribly affected. And, of course, send money. I feel sad than I cannot bring stuff to one of the collection site, but I'm not out much these days.

Like so many, I am grateful for all the blessings in my life, and have finally shut down some of my whining and moaning about my own situation. Human nature is a funny thing, isn't it? So many people all around the world are so much worse off than I am, and sometimes I get caught up in my own misery and forget this.Many people in J-Land have written so elegantly about this feeling, that I am not going to add more.  

I have also been meditating a bit on Mother Nature, who gives us moonlight and autumn colors and blue herons fishing in still ponds, and hurricanes and tsunamis and earthquakes. Creation and destruction, both integral to life on earth, but so difficult to understand.  

Blessings, Margo

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

PICC Line Setback

I am once again home from the hospital-this time the local one. Early Sunday morning I rolled over in bed and pulled my PICC line out. For those who don't know, it's an IV line that goes into your arm and threads its way up and around and into your upper heart somewhere, that you can use for IV feeding(TPN) or antibiotics. I use it for the former.

I woke up with Roxy, my Chihuahua, at my side happily lapping something, thrilled because the bed had never offered such ambrosia before. It was my liquid  "food" pouring out. I panicked a bit when I realized the PICC  line was out of my arm, then called the company providing the TPN, and the sleepy nurse said it might have broken off inside, I probably should go to the ER. So we did, arriving at 6:00 AM.

A very long eventually later, the ER doc was sure he felt it in my arm, not listening to me when I told him that he was feeling scar tissue, and admitted me, around 2:00 PM. I was scheduled for a removal and insertion the Monday morning. They came for me at 1:45PM, took me to radiology and told me that if we had measured the PICC line that came out, we could have known if any was left inside!

The X-rays taken the day before showed nothing, but a radiologist had not gotten around to reading it yet. We called Rene at home, she measured the length of the line that came out, and it became clear that it had all come out, andnobody-especially me- would have had  to do all the worrying about free floating pieces of plastic tube floating around in my arm or heart! Such stupidity, not on my part(how was I to know) but on the part of the nurse and ER doc.

I'm home now with a new PICC line, hoping I can have a few quiet days before the next shoe hits me in the head.

Blessings, Margo

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Twice I have tried to make an entry to say I am still alive, still plagued but little problems and big, and am struggling onward. Each entry actually had a smidge of humor. And twice AOL ate the entry. I am swearing up a storm, but will spare you because I'd rather not get TOS'd. I'll try again tomorrow or the next day. Margo

Sunday, August 21, 2005

"Just a Small Setback"-Yeah, Right

  I am home from the hospital, with a very small hole in my pouch that apparently burst through a little more than a week ago. I went for what everyone believed would be a routine Upper GI, and low and behold, a pinhole that lets food trickle into my abdomen. The solution? No food in the pouch for two to six weeks. They are calling it a small setback.  

I am devastated. Not by the setback itself, or even by the 12 hours a day I must now be hooked up to a feeding tube, though neither makes me happy. I am devastated that they have to pump in more calories than I should have by my doctors WLS standard, because I need extra calories to heal.  

Now I know, it's still less than before, and I know I have to heal, and I know this is just a not-too-common but small side effect of the surgery and I know it could be so much worse, and I know a setback does not mean the end, etc, etc... I have heard so many look -on -the -bright side facts in the last few days, that they sound like platitudes, and all from people who have not had to choose to go through the hell that is WLS(and people still say it's the easy way out)  

But I have gotten through so far, concentrating on the recognition that this is the prime time for weight loss, that it gets harder after the first couple of months, use it well and wisely, and I certainly was. I had lost 53 pounds, and was proud. So far I have gained back 5 pounds. And I can't even call the pharmacist at the company which makes the food replacement stuff to find out how many calories I am forced to take in until tomorrow because he's not available on weekends(This is something Dr. Bell suggested I check on, because most feeding liquid is made to fatten people up! )  

All I do is whine and I mourn. I am still exhausted from no sleep in the hospital, and sad and enraged and stuck and miserably sorry for myself. Sorry to spew my misery out into J-Land, especially during it's Second Anniversary Celebration. I want to celebrate, too, but cannot dredge up the necessary energy.  

I don't want anyone to panic on my behalf- I will crawl out of this pit as I always do, I just am hating that I have to be here yet again.  

Blessings, Margo     

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Margo's update

Hi everyone

It is me again ------ Rene

I have an up date on Margo We went  back to Yale Hospital for a test to see why she was having pain 2-3 hours after she ate.  She also had an upset stomach at the same time.   The test revealed that there is a small leek in the new stomach that has not healed yet.  The solution is not to eat or drink anything for 2 to 6 weeks. All fluids will be interveinous (sp).  At first it will be in the hospital ---  3 or 4 days ---- and then at home with the watchfull eye of a Visiting Nurse.

I will let you know how things are going as I find out more.


Monday, August 15, 2005


Depression is such a difficult and insidious disease with which to have to live. It creeps around the corners of the mind like faint tendrils of mist, almost unnoticed, then settles in like a pea soup fog without warning. Forget little cat's feet fog, this one's more like wet woolen blanket.  

People who have only been through brief or transitory bouts with depression, even those who have been felled by the death of a loved one and managed somehow to drag themselves back to life don't understand long term, chronic, repetitive type of depression. It can be like living in some frozen outer limit of hell, crawling out, then falling back down over and over again, a recurrent nightmare.  

I have worked long and hard in the fight against depression. It is no longer forever lurking right there in the shadows, ready to grab me if I am ruffled by a stray breeze. I take meds and work very hard to live in the light. And I do well, a lot of the time, not looking over my shoulder, not looking only down, living my life the best I can.  

I  have learned that no depression will last forever, and  I have crawled out of any number of dark periods, and will continue to do so. I no longer believe depression is my birthright and can claim how strong I am.  

But it still slips in unnoticed sometimes, like the fog, and I move from cup-half- empty to cup-never-gonna-have-a-drop-in-it-again. And suddenly people on all sides are telling me I have to make the decision to think positively and act-as-if and stop being so negative, and I am catapulted back to all those who told me to "just cheer up" and "just move on" when I was so depressed that I could not get out of bed.  

I say, I will do my process, I know how,  I always do, just back off, give me time. But too many don't or can't. This week three important people in my life have pushed too hard at me: work not to be so negative and things will get better. That feels like: hurry up, you are wallowing. Of course, all this serves to make me see only the negative, to put up defenses like crazy, because I feel unheard and discounted.   

I can see my depression clearly now. I think it's normal under the circumstances, I know it will get better as I do the things that work for me. I can certainly understand their frustration, and comprehend that they think they are helping me. They are wrong though, because looking at the positive is the next stage, one for which I do not yet have energy.  

Right now that energy has to go into drinking Glucerna and water and not throwing up. Into getting my necessary meds in and keeping them down. Into getting to tomorrow when my surgeon's nurse wants me to call again. Into the struggle of finding a new doctor and a new shrink who can evaluate my meds. Into the energy to do 6 or 7 minutes a day on the stationary bike, and into not stumbling because I am dizzy a lot.  

This entry is not a pity party, although some will think so. This entry is a concrete reminder to me of where I am, of what my priorities must be, and that I must not beat myself up for responding negatively to people who care about me. They are wrong to be pushing now, and I must find the energy to acknowledge my own negativity, and still tell them to back off for a while.  

I'm not sure what direction the world sees me moving, but I know I'm stumbling along at the right rate for me.  

Blessings, Margo

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Setbacks Galore

One step forward, three or four steps backwards.

Rene said today she cannot stand my knee jerk negative reaction to everything, which was bad before, but much worse now. I am not too happy about it myself, but oh, lordy do I not have much energy to work on that change at the moment(and it does take energy.)  

We both agreed that for two years we have been saying life's got to get better if we just hang in, but today we recognized that it has not gotten appreciably better, and much worse since my bypass. It will get better, I do know this, but apparently not soon.   I called my surgeon's office today because I cannot get anywhere near enough food and water down as I need (especially water.) By 2:00 PM my stomach starts to hurt, and aches until I fall asleep. His nurse put me back to 3 ounces of food a day( I had been approaching 4 a day) and told me if I was not better by Tuesday, she'll have me come in for another barium swallow. I am probably just healing slowly, but better safe than sorry. 

And my Primary Care Physician of 10 years- who I like and trust-a rare combination-"fired" me today, because he believes I am using too many or trying to get more pain meds than I should. It was a shock, then a terrible betrayal. Luckily, he's wrong, I am proud of never once taking more meds than were prescribed by my pain management doc, and usually taking a lot less. I ended up between pain management docs recently (Worker's Comp issue) and made the mistake of calling him for help, then crying when his nurse called back 24 hours later to tell me no.  

I hate the medical system, and I feel betrayed by a doctor who could not even take the time to offer counseling or a place to go if he does think I am addicted. I need another top notch PCP, now, immediately, to take on my complex medical situation, not an easy thing to find in this (or any) area.  

 It has not been a good day.  

Little Orphan Annie would say, "The sun will come out tomorrow!" and all I can say is, yes it will, to another 90 degree day with high humidity so going to out tomorrow (which I have to do) will cause chest pain and SOB. Bah Humbug.   Setbacks are difficult when one is feeling fragile anyway, but I will slog through this, too, and emerge. I always do. I am just really tired .  

Blessings(and we all need them), Margo  

Saturday, August 6, 2005

MagogoS'S Musings on a Changing Life

 Mood: Pensive

Two years ago today, at 7:45 AM my life changed so radically that it is still hard to believe. I was at work at the Women's Prison, when I got up to run to the bathroom before the day began. I didn't know the phone cord was wrapped around my ankles and took a fall that rocked the whole Medical Unit. You can read about it in my first Journal entry, July 21, 2004(I have yet to learn how to link entries-maybe someone could tutor me). 

 I not only broke my right elbow, but shattered my right upper arm to smithereens(it was no longer connected!) and damaged the radial nerve, probably beyond repair. I spent 16 days in the hospital, had surgery, came home with a frozen shoulder and elbow, an uncontrolled drooping hand, and what eventually turned into chronic pain.  I have not been back to work since, although it was my dream job-HIV testing, counseling, and education, and running an HIV positive support group. I still miss the inmates dreadfully.  

This was the catalyst for the changes which have now taken over my life, dragging me along, sometimes kicking and screaming, occasionally flowing along smoothly with surprising (to me) courage.   I've learned a lot about myself. First and foremost is that while I hate change, I can be rather good at it at times. I went into physical therapy a fragile mess, and emerged 15 months later with the ability to move hand, elbow and shoulder close to normally. I have learned to cope with more pain than I ever thought possible, both acute, then miserable moderate to low, long term. I have accepted I will have serious radial nerve damage for the rest of my life. And I had to fight Workers' Comp every two months for more sessions  

I have become Warrior Woman with the Medical System, fighting and demanding and refusing to see mediocre doctors, even when I am sobbing with frustration between phone calls. And lately it has been literally screaming with frustration between phone calls, which is more satisfying somehow.  

I started going to a gym seven weeks after surgery, literally staggering in, mortified by my size, clumsyness and weakness.Now have a personal trainer(this still make me laugh) to whom I have been going for almost two years. I will never be buff, but I am stronger and slightly more mobile. I lost 45 pounds, gained 60 back and said, enough, never again. I spent hours researching Gastric Bypass, and chose to do it despite all I knew it would bring into my life.  

Of course, not all change is wonderful. Being home full time has lead to depression and self-pity and a real loss of identity-am I still an HIV counselor even though I may never go back to it? It has been hard on Rene, who is happily retired, to have me home and often miserable, and has put such a strain on our relationship that we're now in counseling together. And my WLS has not helped at all, causing more tension in the house.  

Still and all, change is inevitable, and while I will probably never go skipping happily forward into it, I now know that I can live with and (eventually)embrace the changes I am given by life. It will never be easy for me-my poor mother made that impossible-but I now know I can do change when it is thrust on me, and even choose to change when I know it is right for me. Not bad work in just a couple of years.  

I started my Journal one year and three weeks ago to muse on my changing life. I never dreamed that the support I would get from my new friends would often give me the courage to keep going during some very bleak times-but it is true. Thank you all so much, you have come to mean the world to me.  

Blessings, Margo            

Thursday, August 4, 2005


  It feels now as if the world falls into three sometimes overlapping categories. The first is that of friends and neighbors, many of who care for me a lot, who are concentrating on the outer aspects of this thing I'm going through. They ask, quite sincerely, how I'm doing, tell me I look thinner already around the face and belly(and I do) and inquire if I am feeling better yet, any healthier, any more energetic, any thinner yet.  

I am smiling at them, to the best of my ability, and saying the correct things, thank you for complimenting me, for the support you offer, no I'm not feeling more energetic or healthier yet, but that will come, I know. I'm working at it, eating as best as I can, riding my exercise bike. All this is true, plus it is what they want to/expect to hear. And I truly know they are working hard to be supportive and I honor them for it.  

The second category is those who recognize that I have been through a physical trauma, and will continue to suffer pouch pain and vomiting for months to come. I was not a great candidate for surgery (most gastric bypass patients aren't) with my added problems of 30 years of diabetic damage, heart condition, and need for oxygen, I did not exactly bounce back, In fact, I have just moved from dragging myself across the floor on my hands and knees to lurching upright into a stagger. Adding small bits of food one at a time has been a difficult problem which has left me with belly pain almost full time, and I am not close to my food and water requirements yet. But I'll get there.  

Most of these folks have had major surgery of some type, or chronic pain, and I do appreciate them a lot, because they "get" how wearing pain and exhaustion is over any length of time. I am still not sleeping well, and every excursion-to Wall-Mart or a doctor's appointment- sets me back on energy reserves.  

The last category is a small one, consisting of the few people who realize that I am not just wallowing around in misery, but slowly and in my own obscure way processing a loss as big as the death of a beloved spouse. Most people don't get that I love food on many, many levels, and that in many ways it worked well for me. It looks and smells and tastes good, it is a center around which people gather to socialize, to connect with each other, to cement bonds.  

It also worked extremely well for me emotionally. It calmed me when I was enraged, comforted me when I was sad, filled me when I felt emotionally empty, soothed me off to sleep, pacified the pain of life-both physical and emotional, and enabled me to keep on living when times were really bad. Even being fat, then obese, then grossly obese was not a deterrant.The fact that I knew it was killing me didn't matter for a really long time.  

I would go back to eating in a minute if I could, and live obese and deal with the prejudices and rude comments and negative judgements, except I don't want to die yet. WLS is the only tool available to me to force me to move away from my addiction to the way food makes me feel. And I am already getting pressure to accept the changes, and move on. 

This is what few people get.. It take energy to move on, and I am teetering on the brink of an energy abyss. The best I can do now is get up in the morning and take my meds and force down two tablespoons of egg or yogurt, and deal with the physical pain, and sip water as much as possible and ride my bike for seven minutes and get through the day as best I can. When the crying jags hit, I try hard to summon energy for them, too. And when I feel anger, I let myself yell swear words. This is all the all I have energy for right now.  

I am truly grateful to all the people in my life who are trying so hard to be supportive, and most especially for those few who fall into all three categories.The the support that helps most, however, is the emotional understanding and patience of those who can just sit with me in my pain without trying to fix it, or push it along. Their honoring of my process is a gift beyond words.  

Blessings, Margo          

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Boring, Boring, Bored

I would like to say my sense of humor, or even just my sense of equilibrium is returning, so I can begin to get on with life a bit, but alas, it has not happened yet. I wait with baited breath, and believe me, so does poor Rene. She is very tired of what she sees as my over neediness, and I just feel sad and lonely. 

But I am doing somewhat better, thank Goddess. I have the pain under control-both old, chronic pain and the new stomach pain, and life always looks slightly rosier when I am not hurting so much. I went to my surgeon on Tuesday, and got a clean bill of health, as far as the surgery goes, and had lost 29 pounds. In two weeks. How incredibly bizarre this whole process is.  

I am now allowed six ounces of soft food a day, along with all the sugar,calorie free fluids I can force down, My drink of choice is water-ice water-which has always pretty much been my drink of choice anyway. I am not getting enough yet, but am working up slowly.  

As for food, I am eating two tablespoons of cottage cheese, with a bit of unsweetened applesauce for breakfast. Two tablespoons of yogurt for lunch, and one egg, scrambled, for supper. So far I have kept it all down, although it is running right through me, if you know what I mean. Am I hungry? Sort of. It's head hunger, the desire to eat even though my pouch does not really want more food crammed into it.  

We went out and bought an exercise bicycle today, because I simply cannot walk outside in the heat and humidity, dragging my oxygen tank behind me-I get chest pain and shortness of breath. I absolutely have to start an exercise program, however, so tomorrow it is five minutes on the bike, twice a day.  

Am feeling as dull as this entry tonight. Sorry, surely sometime life will become more interesting and well rounded. Please be patient with me!  

Blessings, Margo

Friday, July 22, 2005

Eleven Days Post-Op

For the last week I have been living and healing, way too slowly, in Southeastern CT. I am still having more pain than I expected. but have enough meds to cope. I am still trying to work up to the amount of liquids I must ingest, but am getting slightly closer each day. And ten days after surgery, I am still trying to figure out what the hell I've done to my life, and have decided I still have no clue.  

Warrior Woman was extremely useful to me while I was hospitalized. I called upon her energy and spirit when I needed to and I am very proud that I was not a patient patient who suffered in victimized silence, nor was I an inconsiderate bitch. I handled the situation fairly well, and am grateful for WW's courage, so available when I needed her.  

Now Warrior Woman has hung her axe up over the mantle, folded her robes around her, and settled back into my psyche. I am left feeling stuck in my recliner, and in my new life, without the next image necessary for movement forward. I am not worried. I know a new image or concept will rise from deep inside me, will arrive from somewhere outside me, will emerge from somewhere. These interim times are very trying, however.  

I am overwhelmed by the unknown (Have I recently mentioned I struggle with change?). I don't yet know how Rene and I will work out meals. Right now she is quietly making and eating food as inconspicuously as possible, but not secretly. I stomped up one side of her, danced on her head, then stomped down the other side when she told me she'd eaten at MacD's. And I had asked her where she ate. Plus I don't even like their food. Overreaction, perhaps?  

Acquaintances called to say they were too busy to drop by, but suggested "doing lunch" soon, and I quietly put them off, then slammed down the phone( after I was sure they had hung up) and screamed what part of loseing 150 lbs did they miss? I won't be "doing lunch" with them again, if they are too busy to support me now, when I need support. Moody, perhaps?  

The truth is that I have to change to accommodate the world. Just because I had my stomach made into a pouch the size of my Chihuahua's brain doesn't mean I should expect the world to stop doing food just for me. Rene will eatout without me until I can go along and nibble something. Acquaintances and even close friends will forget and ask me to meals for which I am not yet emotionally prepared. And I will rage and cry and struggle and still put on a smiling face when well meaning people ask how I'm doing. A few real friends get the truth, of course. I'm doing shitty day by day, but okay overall.  

My whole world has revolved around an unhealthy relationship with food. It would be a little much to expect to form a newer, more healthy one without trauma and struggle and mourning and self-pity and rage and hopelessness, tempered by no more than a pinch of earnestness, a golf-ball size stomach pouch, and the eternal sipping, sipping, sipping of ice water. But I am working at it.  

Blessings, Margo  

Friday, July 15, 2005

So Far, So -So Good

I am alive and doing well-or as well as can be expected- at home, thank Goddess. And all of you. I truly felt surrounded by light as I went into surgery, and I am profoundly grateful. The hospital experience was not an easy one, but I got down right demanding, and eventually got the pain under contril. At one point, my drain moved, causing pain to rise to a level 9. and while the nursing staff tried to pacify me, I called Rene collect and told her to call the doctor's office. He arrived within 15 minutes! Empowerment!

Being home is a real blessing, although it's still and hour by hour struggle to get water down, to get my meds in, to keep pain at bay. I am not sleeping for more than an hour or so at a time, but my own bed, and my recliner, are wonderful.

Will try to write more tomorrow. And thank you all so much, again.

Blessings, Margo


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Home from Hospital

Hi, Margo is home and she will make an entry as soon as she is up to it.

Thanks for all your prayers, messages of strength, and good thoughts.


It's me again

It's me again I had hoped that by now that Margo would be home and be making this entry.  But... sad to say you have to settle for me (maybe for another couple of days).  As I told you before the surgery went well, actually textbook case.  However Margo's there was one compulation with the drain in her side.  It seems that when she was moved for a test that the drain inside moved and was causing a lot of pain, and the staff did not pay attention to it at first.  At was only after she called me at home and asked me to call the doctor in New Haven at his office that the gave the pain the attention that was needed.  The end result was that she received the pain meds that were needed. Then they removed the drain and the pain level dropped.

She is still in a lot of pain, which the staff doesn't seem to want to address -- they, I am sure are not use to Margo's unique situation of being on a lot of pain meds for the pain from her arm and shoulder as well as all of the compulations that have resulted from her fall in the summer 2 years ago...  Of course all of this has stress and in turn a difficulty in her breathing which becomes labored at times.   

The good news is that they have been able to manage the "upset stomach" and she has been able to keep the 2 oz, an hour up.   In any case she will not be home until at least Friday, and that I think will be subject to day by day results.

Please keep her in your prayers and thoughts and continue to send her energy and strenth.