Goodbye to the month of May (and good riddance)


I still haven't seen the new scar. Is it even a scar yet? In the hospital we called it 'the incision.' My mom offered to take a picture of it for me, but I declined. Before surgery I took pictures of my lower back (not too easy to do by yourself), just like I did of my pre-scar abdomen.

At least I don't have to get used to seeing this new one. I'm still not used to the one on my abdomen. I have loved getting used to my tattoos. Sometimes I still can't believe I got them, and that they will be there forever, in all of my future.

If I ever decide to wear a bikini in said future, and I may not, I've decided that if children ask me about my scars, I'll tell them I was impaled on a pirate's sword, and lived to tell the tale. 'I swear by my tattoo.'

We had a visitor last night.


Oz was not expecting another cat to come by my bedroom window last night, as he made clear with his unholy-sounding meows. Initially I was worried he'd hurt himself and needed to be taken to a vet. But no, he was just guarding me, the little sweetheart.

For the past few weeks, these lyrics have been running through my head.


Down once more to the dungeon of my black despair!
Down we plunge to the prison of my mind!
Down that path into darkness deep as hell!

Pretty overdramatic. (Especially considering they're from Phantom.) My surgery's tomorrow, but since I get to sleep through it, that will be the easiest part. Here's hoping to a clean, quick recovery. Last time was, well...basically those lyrics.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'd love to see if you can come by. Thanks for all the love you've shown me during this. See you on the other side.

In light of all the much more important and dire situations in the world, I really think I need some more navel-gazing, don't you?


The slightest difficulty is becoming monumental again. The locked porch door keeping me from my mail. Clothes that won't fit right or go together. The overwhelming feeling that once my door is locked I need to stumble over my cluttered apartment and head straight for my cat hair-infested comforter, letting it hold me and love me and warm me and keep me as long as it pleases, who I am to deny it.

I've only ever fully cleaned my cubicle twice: both before my medical leaves. Tonight on my desk I found notepads that on the last few pages held notes I'd jotted down in the last week during phone calls with nurses and receptionists and schedulers and neurosurgeons, only to find similar if not the exact same notes at the front of the pad, from less than a year ago.

Less than a year. And here we are again. My fridge is an altar to impulse purchases and leftovers, with those holy remnants from my mother's shopping trips back in October. Things that I need to clean out before she arrives this weekend. Beverages with November pull-dates.

My cane sits propped in the corner by the garage door, saving the place where the shower chair sat for so long, and will soon sit again, aching to hold me as I'll try with everything I have to stay upright.

When I lay on my side, I've been searching my lower back with my fingers, wondering where the scar will be, how it will heal. Will it be tender and purple like its reflection on my stomach. Or will it heal quickly and be a mere ridge to the touch, easily forgotten and ignored.

Oz is moored on my shoulders as I move around from sink to table to bed. How will I stand his absence in the hospital. When I wake up in the middle of the night and search for his warm square foot with my feet, only to remember him zip codes away. Will I worry about him. Will he miss me. Can I live without morning cuddles anymore now that I've grown accustomed to them.

Trying to prepare for my hospital stay is like preparing to leave the world. My work, my friends, my home, my life will continue to exist without me, as I lay in bed, helpless and useless as oxygen and morphine pump in to make up the spaces left from the emptiness inside. All that is good about living will be lost. For a season only, but lost all the same.

I worry I lose too much.

(Un)Fortunate Side Effect of Medical Crises (for me at least): Reckless spending

Just shelled out 30 clams for this out of print treasure:

Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990). Why? Because I had need of it.

I don't know no love songs, and I can't sing the blues anymore


On Friday my family is going to the Carole King and James Taylor concert in Portland. In my days at the hospital and in recovery at my house, my mom read me Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller. It's a biography of three of the most influential female singer-songwriters in the 60s/70s: Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, and Carole King. Considering James wrote music with Carole, dated Joni, and married Carly, he showed up all over the book, probably more than any other side character.

In a weird sense, this concert will be closing out my first-surgery act, as we embark on the second surgery and all the meaning and memories it will have. But James and Carole transcend even that, as I listened to their music often as a child, and well into adulthood. Jenny and I attended a James Taylor concert less than a week after 9-11, and it was sob-ville. I'm assuming this concert will be equally emotional for me, though of course in a different way. I'll be happy if I hear Fire & Rain, Sweet Baby James, and You Can Close Your Eyes.

you have suffered enough and warred with yourself, it's time that you won


By this time next week, I will be lying in a bed in the pre-surgery room. I will have a warm-air blanket over me, and I will be in nothing but long socks and a gown. An anesthesiologist will be choosing a point on my arm for an IV, and I will be wheeled away from my mother into the surgical room, kissing goodbye my stamina, balance, appetite, energy, continence, and in some ways, sanity for who knows how long.

So today felt like a good day to dump my therapist! Drop her, fire her, sack her, let her go. To get out of there.

It's been a long time coming, but last week's session was the last straw. I sat across from this woman spilling out my fears and desires and all I received was basically a 'tough shit' and 'I hope you are dealing with this in ways that I approve of.' Today I went in and told her we were done. I thanked her for the work she'd helped me accomplish, but I needed a therapist who was more curious, more compassionate, more eager to not just let me sit back and do all the talking and all the work. But going into someone's home and telling them that you are firing them and the reasons why is one of the scariest things I've ever done.

But I think I realized that next week I'm doing the other scariest thing I've ever done, AGAIN. And there was no way in hell I was going to give her all my experiences and vulnerability surrounding it if I didn't feel like she gave a damn about helping me figure my feelings out. Her approach felt like 'it is what it is' and that's the last thing I need right now. I need a therapist who shows interest in me, who cares what happens to me, who shows EMOTION and active listening in response to what I'm telling them. Maybe that's 'touchy-feely' as she put it, but yes, DAMN IT I NEED SOMEONE WHO FEELS.

I've got some referrals lined up, and after second surgery I'm excited to start a new leg of my journey in therapy, now at least knowing what I want and need.