Friday, August 14, 2015

Spare no expense

As I type this I'm sitting in a hotel room near Birmingham, AL.  I'm on my way to Dallas to pick up my other pup and drive him back to Charleston.

There is quite a bit of emotion wrapped up in this.  Leaving him with my mom in early February was one of the hardest emotional traumas I've experienced in a long time.  One of the things that allowed me to leave that house without him was justifying to myself that it was in his best interest....that my mom's stable world was a better fit for him than my own gypsy life.  Anyway - without going into too much detail - I'm headed back to get him.  I don't mind admitting - I'm excited.

Cody man!!!

There are a few things in life where I spare no expense. I have no problem justifying additional cost, distance, or effort if I can convince myself that I'm getting what I need.

My make-up is one of those things. 95% of my stuff is from MAC. They earned my loyalty many years ago and I've probably got a small store's worth of their stuff.

Another of those things is my hair.
Over the years I've put my hair into the hands of a number of people who ultimately became dear friends.  It's typically more than just a service-related thing for order to give my hair some "personality" it involves knowing a little about me.  It's a relationship....a long-term relationship.  And, in some instances, a long-distance relationship.

At the very beginning of my transition I had convinced myself that in order to be percieved as feminine I needed long hair.  As wrong-minded as that was, learning that I was wrong was an important step in the development of my ideals of feminity, masculinity, and who-the-heck-cares.

I'll never forget my earliest wigs.  While I tried to grow my hair out to a sufficient length I wore them to my first support group meetings, and on my initial tentative steps out into the world.  Funny thing is, they probably drew more attention my way than they deflected but that's the thing about a's not a rational thing, it's an emotional one. 

I will never forget the night I took my wig off...and it hasn't been on since.  I had recently come back from seeing Dr. O and my own hair was still very short.  But the wig was hot, it was unruly, and most importantly it put pressure on the spot in the hairline where Dr. O had made his incision.  It hurt. 

I decided then and there that whatever hair I had was the hair I'd use.  In a way - it became part of my identity.

In the early days I kept it long.  Eventually one of my hairdressers in Austin asked if I wanted to be bold and change things up and we cut it pretty short.  It stayed that way for 3 or 4 years before I eventually started growing it out again.

I've done some research and found a hairdresser that I wanted to entrust with a little bit of a shorter, layered, lighter style. Here's the result (pardon the crude's hard to take a good side picture of your hair in a hotel room bathroom mirror).  The mark of a good hairstyle in my book is that it looks just as good when you style it yourself as when the stylist does it at the salon, and how it looks a week later.

So far - I like.

I'm getting to ready to leave the hotel for the 10 hour drive to Dallas.  If all goes according to plan I'll see my mom tonight!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Time in a Bottle

Today is my 15th anniversary of SRS.  I didn't even realize it until someone sent me a congratulations text.  Lord, how time flies.

In the year leading up to this day I had a countdown on my computer telling me the number of days left until SRS.  When it got less than 100 I was thrilled.  When it got less than 30, I couldn't believe it.  And with it got less than 7 - well, I was amazed.  The good news is - I'm still amazed.

In the years that followed I celebrated this milestone date for the significant role it played in my life.  I typically celebrated it alone as it was a time for reflection, introspection, and appreciation that really didn't need anyone else to be special.  I'm sure I could look back over my blogs to see the things I've done over this last decade to mark this milestone.

Not surprisingly, it has become just another day.  I'm more aware of my FFS anniversary than my SRS anniversary as that actually had the larger impact.  I don't want to minimize or trivialize SRS but by the time it arrived I needed it as much for congruency and closure as anything.

15 years represents over 25% of my life.  That's crazy....

One of the things I came across recently while unpacking was a stack of video tapes that contain my family "home movies".  They're called "Memory" tapes because theyt're labled "Memories 1", Memories 2" and so on....sometimes with the accompanying dates.  I used to have a video production company so I always had a video camera around.  As a result - there are a significant number of Memories tapes.

When I was told I was no longer welcome in my house I left without taking anything with me.  In retrospect, I would have done that much differently as there are things I would have wanted if I had known then what I know now.  Regardless - I didn't have any of the Memories tapes.

In the years shortly afterwards my son brought me a pile of the tapes on one of his visits.  He said his mother would never watch them so he brought the ones he could find.  I've brought them with me here and there and everywhere, but it's time to transfer them to DVD.  I'd like a copy, my mom wants a copy, and I'd like my son to have a copy as it covers everything from the day we found out that we were pregnant to the day I left home in 1999. 

I brought the first one in to see what the output is like earlier this week - I'll let you know.

My ex-wife and I haven't spoken in a couple of years now.  She has her life and I have mine, and the only thing we've got in common is 20 years of memories and a son.  Although I had a strong suspicion that it would be wasted energy I wrote to her last week to tell her what I was doing, to inquire if she was interested in a copy, and to ask if I could borrow the Memories tapes she still has.  Needless to say, I haven't heard anything back yet and I don't expect to.  That's a shame, and I'm still hopeful that I can get them.

I'm actually looking forward to seeing what's on them.  Things were much simpler back then, or at least that's how I remember it.  Anyway - stay tuned on that front.

I've got quite a bit of traveling coming up.  Later this week I'll be starting out on the 1,100 mile drive to Dallas.  I'm headed there to pick up my dog, Cody.  I left him with my mom in February and was heartsick over it for months.  Anyway, my mom has asked me to come and get him and it is without hesitation that I'll be coming home with one more furry friend than I've got now.  But it will involve a 2,200 mile round trip over 4 days - yuck.

Then, I've got a dear friend coming to visit for a few days.

Finally, I'll be headed up to Rochester NY at the end of the month on my mom's annual birthday pilgrimage.  She's turning 86 this year.  It's the only time that our entire family gets together so I wouldn't miss it for anything. 

I'll travel back to Dallas in early October to participate in a conference there.  And I suspect I'll have another trip - or two - in between.  Now that summer is coming to an end, it appears that I'll need to dust off my suitcase. 

Back to the significance of this day.  For years there was only one other person who knew what this day was and she called to congratulate me every year.  She was a wonderful, very special person in my life who passed away a number of years ago.  Thanks to those who still remember and who remind me. 

Some who visit here regularly know that I've posted all the various correspondences, emails, diary entries, and background "stuff" that eventually ended up as my book.  When significant anniversaries pass - like today - I go there to re-live them (Trapped In Blue).  I hope I never forget where I've come from, or lose the appreciation of what it has taken to get here from there. :)


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

To "Feel"

I've got an interesting topic tonight.  Hormones.

I will never, ever, ever forget the day that my therapist told me she was ready to recommend me to start hormones.  Or, the day I visited the doctor who would become my transition-doctor for the first time to inquire about his hormone regimen.  Or, my first estrogen shot.  All were earth-shattering, life-changing experiences for me.

My doctor from those days is still practicing.  He's Dr. Ken Fisher at First Family Medical in Phoenix.  I make it a point to go and visit him every time I visit the Valley.  He never fails to complain that they need to make a movie of my book soon, or Brad Pitt will be too old to play him.  Too funny.  When I stopped by in June he said his trans practice was's hard to believe I first started seeing him in 1997 ir 1998...almost 20 years ago.  THAT makes me feel old.

At the time his regimen was a strict one.  High dosage of Premarin twice a day.  Spiro.  And, bi-weekly injections. 

Those injections became like crack to me.  I'd drive the half hour to get to the doctor's office at lunchtime from work, and I'd be both excited and nervous.  The excited part came from how they made me feel....especially the growth in the breast area.  The nervous part came from the fact that I still hadn't come out to my wife yet, and it became increasingly difficult to hide what was happening.

After SRS there seems to be no singular definition of what HRT for post-op transwomen should be.  I stayed on the injectibles for a long time.  Early on, I was too queasy to give myself my shots so I had my girlfriend at the time do it.  Eventually, though, I learned to do it myself and that's how it happened for a long time....until the vials of estradiol became too expensive.

Not long ago the price of a little vial had gone up to $200.  I can't afford that.  So, I switched to pills which were cheaper than candy.  But it's not the same...the effects aren't the same, the feelings aren't the same.  It might be the same drug but you couldn't prove it by me.  It was almost like taking my morning asperin...

A few months ago I found that the price per vial had come back down to reasonable territory so I started back up.  It was great....and all those same effects came back.  Sore breast tissue.  Emotional roller coaster.  I could "feel" it again. 

I don't have an explanation.  It has nothing to do with my blood chemistry, as my most recent levels were very high after almost a year off injections.  But these is something else there that can't be measured.  At least, for me there is.


When I was a child we moved pretty much every year.  My dad was an academic in a very specialized field, and we went from university to university for my dad to help establish biophysics departments - not unlike being an "Army Brat", I suppose.  I went to 6 different schools in 7 years, and when I think back to my childhood it's all centered around what grade I was in and where we were living.  6th Grade: Lindberg Elementary in Kenmre NY.  7th Grade in Santa Barbara, CA.  8th Grade near East Lansing, MI.  9th Grade at Kenmore Jr. HS.  10th and 11th grades at Kenmore West HS.  And 12th grade at Queen Elizabeth HS in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

I hated all that moving.  If you ever get a chance to talk with my mom she'll tell you that the mark of making a place "feel" like home is putting stuff up on the walls.  After a while, we knew we'd have to pack everything up again in a year so we didn't even both unpacking some of it, and we stopped putting stuff up on the walls.

When I got married one of the vows I made was to change that - to live a more stable life.  And I succeeded, too.  My ex- and I bought our first house near Rochester NY in 1982 and lived in it for 15 years before moving to Scottsdale.  Needless to say, anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows I've got my traveling shoes back on and I've live in more places than I can remember since being asked to leave home in 1999.

The reason I mention any of that is that I've spent the last few days putting things up on the walls.  My lease on this house is only a year (although I'm hoping it will be longer) but it's critical to me to make it "feel" like home.  I don't care if I'll need to pack it all back up again....for now I'm home.

As I've unpacked I've come across all kinds of interesting things that have been tucked away in boxes.  I really do need to go through some of it and throw some of it away - but that task will have to wait.  I'm still enjoying the discovery part.

With all this recent attention on Caitlyn Jenner I've seen lists of "Transgender Pioneers".  I think it was Groucho Marx who said, "I'd never join a club that would have someone like me as a member."  Well - I've got two things to say on those kinds of lists. 

First - it's good to recognize some of our history.  I'm concerned that the history will get forgotten, and that would be a shame.  I'll never forget speaking at a University and being asked to talk with the cast of a student production of Rent.  It became apparent very quickly that none of those kids knew anything about the AIDS epidemic in the '90s and the huge impact it had.  It was central to the entire plot, but these kids were born afterwards and had no memory of AIDS, or the quilt, or any of the history of their community.

Second - any list of pioneers that doesn't have the REAL pioneers - people like Jamison Green - on it is an imcomplete - and ultimately flawed - list.  It is unfortunate (but understandable) that all this visibility on celebrities (actors and actresses, models, producers and directors, children of Hollywood) seem to make our history significantly shorter than it is.  The key is that I don't think most of the early pioneers ever really wanted attention in the first place so being overlooked on recent lists isn't a big deal.

Anyways - those are my thoughts tonight.  I'll continue to do's actually kind of refreshing to be back here just writing the first things that come to my mind.  Onwards!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Extended Vacay


I appologize (again) for my extended vacation from my blog.  There's no reason for it other than the fact that I seem to spend less and less time in front of a computer these days and more time out actually doing things.  I suppose that's good news, but know that I very much appreciate those who have written to touch base, check on me, or indicate that they miss my entries.  I'll try to be better at it going forward.

I'll start by providing a brief synopsis of recent events in my world.

First off - my health.  After all those tests we learned three things:  (1) there is a benign "mass" the size of a golf ball on my liver that we'll watch (2) there are no indications as to what caused the internal bleeding that put me in the hospital so we'll watch that, too and (3) I'm generally pretty healthy. 

The downside of all this is measured in both cost (I've got relatively high deductibles so there is quite an OUCH factor) and that dealing with insurance is a pain.  I don't want to go into details because it'll get me riled up, but I'm disputing a couple of claims.  Lordy.

So - health seems to be fine for now.  My heart is good.  My psyche is good.  My overall outlook is good.  There are certainly minor complaints here and there but given the various dynamics that make up my world most of them seem to be in balance.  Plus - it's summer - and I absolutely love this time of year.

The biggest news is that I moved into a house on July 1.  Eternal thanks go to my friend Colin for helping me on that brutal day we moved everything from storage into the house I'm renting.  It's a 4-bedroom house in Charleston and I'm absolutely loving it.  I love the floor plan, I've got a little yard with a lawn, the garage is big enough to handle my various vehicles, it's convenient to things, the master bedroom is huge, it's bright....I can't think of a downside. 

Our neighborhood faces a large pond and there are geese and turtles there.  There's a sign warning of the possibility of alligators but I haven't seen one.  Regardless, it makes for very pretty walks in the morning or later in the day; sunrises and sunsets look amazing when reflected on the water.

Sunset on the pond in front of my house.
Evening storms rolling in make for pretty colors.....The pond in front of my house.

The view from my front porch.
Moving in was a brutal day.  I've moved more times than I care to count, but 90+ degree humid South Carolina days can sap the strength from even the hardiest of us.  By the end of the day we had just finished before some wild thunderstorms opened up on us.  After a shower, some fresh clothes, a couple glasses of wine and some pizza, and sitting on the back porch watching the lightning show it was a day I won't forget.

We move lots of the boxes into the garage so I'm bringing it into the house and putting it where it belongs little by little.  I'm fairiy well along in that, but it's an ongoing process.

Boxes staged for put-away

Work is going well.  I'm still working on contract in Charlotte but have the flexibility to work from home most of the time.  That makes all the difference.  The thing that changed the dynamic of spending most of my workweek there, and weekends in Charleston, was my visit to the ER.  It was depressing being in a hospital in a town where I have absolutely no friends - where I have no support network.  That experience changed everything from being "ok" with the convenience of it all to forcing a better long-term solution. 

I've been pulling my stuff out of the place in Charlotte I've been staying little by little and there's only a small bit of oit left.  I've got one more trip left and need a trailer for that - now that I've gotten rid of my truck I don't have anything to bring the mattress home with. 

The last time I posted that I was in a good place is just before my health issues.  I'm just enjoying this while it lasts.  Honestely - I know I've said this before, but it's true. There are not enough hours in the day to do the things I want to do.

The weather this summer has been a typical Carolina summer.  Hot days in the mid 90's, very humid forcing heat index into the low 100's, and often a late afternoon/early evening thunderstorm blowing thru.  I love it.

A curtain of rain - dead ahead.

In broader community news, Caitlyn Jenner's new reality series started over the weekend.  I'm confident it will be well done and will extend awareness of trans realities into places we've never been before.  I shared on FB that I won't watch it - not for anything it is or isn't other than I don't watch reality shows.  Besides, I'm sure I'll hear enough about it thru other venues so there's no need to watch it myself.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Calm

Good morning.

I had a marvelous weekend.  The weather was beautiful, I spent most of it on a motorcycle, and I got to spend some time enjoying some of the coastal charms of this beautiful state.  All things considered - it's a shame it had to end.

I decided to share my "news" on FB.  People are finding out in all kinds of different ways and I wanted to remove the chance that things get blown out of proportion.  At this point all we know is that there's something in there.  I hope we learn more over these next few days.

Ironically, the liver thing isn't the reason I was in the ER in the first place.  Tests are going on on that front, as well.  Now that I've recovered the pressure to figure that out seems to have waned.  The good news is that my blood is good, and biopsies they've done on various "things" they've taken from inside of me have turned up clean.  That's all good news, but doesn't get to a cause.

One of the frustrating things is that everything seems to take a week.  When all this first happened the soonest I could get into the doctor was a week.  Then, it took another week to do all the tests.  Now, I'll go back to see the doctor a week later.  I suspect he'll want to do a biopsy of the "mass" and that will probably take another week (or more).  I'd like to speed this whole thing up.

That said, I don't know that any of it has sunk in yet.  I "feel" good, and although the weight of knowing what little I do know at the moment is always there I don't let myself dwell on it.  I haven't cried over it yet.  And, I'm thankful to have people in my life to help focus on other things during this time of investigation.

On Friday night I had originally planned to spend the weekend with some of my dearest friends in Charleston - their kindness and love towards me has been one of the reasons the city feels so much like home.  Instead, I headed out for some time alone then ended up in Myrtle Beach for a friend's son's lacrosse tournament.  I probably put 500 miles on the bike over the weekend but it was worth it.

Lacrosse under big, puffy clouds....

On the way home I went through a brief shower.  It was the first time I've ridden in rain, and it actually felt wonderful.  Cooling, cleansing.  I stopped in Georgetown - a quaint little city halfway between Charleston and Myrtle Beach - for lunch.  Watching the boats, smelling the sea air - that's why I enjoy it here. 

The Boardwalk along the waterfront in Georgetown, SC

I am under no illusions that things are not about to get busier than I'd like them to be so I'm treating this as the calm before the storm.

I asked my doctor for a list of therapists I can talk with - I miss having that kind of outlet.  When I transitioned one of the best parts was finally having someone I could talk with who could offer constructive, thought-provoking feedback.  I realize there are many who feel that the requirement for a year of therapy as part of the Standards of Care is intrusive but for me, it was wonderful.

I'd go so far as to suggest that the fact many of us stop seeing a therapist as soon as we can is actually a hole in the safety net.  Once you've made all the moves to permanently be who you are having that continuing sounding board can be very important.  Many of us - including me - don't take advantage of it.

But now that I'm at this stage I've got a number of things on my mind that I need to discuss with someone.  The physical questions currently on the table are part of it but there's more than that.  Anyway, my doctor recommended 4 therapists that she thought would be good for me so I'll choose one and see where that goes...

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Invader

In my last post I shared that one of the outcomes of a recent visit to the ER was that a "mass" had been discovered on my liver thanks to a CT Scan of my abdomen. Actually, the CT report indicates that there are two unidentified "things" on it, but one is significantly larger than the other.
Tonight, thanks to a 2-hour MRI session at the hospital, I got my first glimpse of the invader.
An MRI image of my liver.  I'm told that the "mass" is the white splotch on the left.

I don't know anything more now than I did before the MRI, other than to see this image of it.  Apparently, a doctor will analyze it today and provide his analysis before sending it to my GI doctor to discuss next steps.  I can't imagine that we're just going to do nothing, so I assume the next step will be a biopsy.  I've got my follow-up appointment with the doctor next Thursday so we'll see what he says.
The good news is that my frame of mind is good and I'm feeling fine.  If I hadn't ended up in the ER a couple of weekends ago I would never know it was there, so that visit may end up being a blessing in disguise.  Regardless - the fact that it's as large as it is seems to indicate that it has been there a while.  The next thing is to determine what its intentions are.
Some that I've shared this with seem to feel that the hormones I've been taking these last 15+ years may play some role in all of the maladies I'm dealing with at the moment.  Perhaps, but I don't know that there's any way to definitively know that.  And regardless - I'm not planning to stop taking them any time soon.  Cut back - maybe - but we'll have that conversation when a doctor who can say with some authority that it would help or not can explain it to me.
That's all for now.  Life goes on.  For now.  The weekend is upon us and I'm looking forward to spending a couple of days with some dear friends and getting some much-needed "down" time.  Somehow I'm thinking that this is the calm before the storm, so I better enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, May 25, 2015

I'm Back. Again.

It's hard to believe it has been 2 months since I've shared here.  Part of the reason is totally practical - for some reason they blocked my blog at work.  I find that the quietest part of the day is the morning when I first arrive so that's when I'd stop and write something.  Well, I can't do that anymore.

Part of it is that just when I think things are settling down something comes out of nowhere to throw it all out of whack again.  That happened recently - more than once, actually.  I'm not ready to share all the specifics because I'm still trying to figure it all out myself.

For some reason I revisited my "original" blog recently.  I've been "blogging" for a long time.  My first blog entry was June 8, 2004...almost 11 years ago.  I could swear it has been longer than that but that's the first "official" entry I could find.

One page is from 2008, when my puppy Maggie (now curled up next to me) was just a pup.  Here it is.

I look at the various events and people from my life who have led me to where I am now.  Some of those people and things have faded away, others have weaved themselves into the fabric of my world, and others have become foundational elements.  Good decisions, bad decisions, wisdom (or lack of it)  in choosing friends and placing trust, strongly held beliefs that transform themselves into life decisions....they're all part of this tapestry that makes up my life right now.

All that said - I apologize for being away so long.  The story written into my blog is the story of my life, and this is the largest hole in that story that I can remember.  Rather than write one long blog entry to try to plug the hole, or leave it unplugged, I'm going to write a number of entries over the coming days to fill in some of the blanks.

There won't necessarily be a rhyme or reason to them.  They won't necessarily be in any order.  We'll just wee how this goes.

My ER room - I spent a night of my life here.
I'll start by sharing that a week ago tonight I was in the Emergency Room at a local hospital for the first time in my life.  The thing that put me there was a day full of internal bleeding and intense pain that I just couldn't handle by myself anymore.  I had gone to a local Urgent Care clinic and they sent me to the ER.

The "situation" was a sudden one, that came upon me with no prior warning.  I spent all day Saturday in Myrtle Beach with my motorcycle for Bike Week and had a wonderful time.  20 miles into the 3+ hour ride back to Charlotte I was overcome by waves of oddness.  I've fainted before and know what it feels like - what I was feeling are the early stages when everything starts to go all white and that high pitch noise starts up.  It's dangerous when it happens and you're standing up.  It's crazy dangerous when you're heading down the highway on 2 wheels at 65 miles an hour.

The two bikes on the right are my babies.  
I pulled over to the side of the road and collected myself for a few minutes.  As I assessed my options the one that seemed best was to find my way home.  So, somehow, I did.

It was only a week ago, but my 12 hours in the ER was surreal.  I couldn't change the channel on the TV so it was stuck on the infomercial channel - that would be funny if it weren't also cruel to have to listen to that.  They put me on pain meds and antibiotics.  They did a CT Scan.  They kept me there to make sure the bleeding stopped and I didn't spike a fever....and at 6:30 Monday morning they let me go home.

The reason I share any of this detail is that the focus of what happened that night changed when they analyzed what they saw on that CT scan.  The list of diagnoses included a half dozen things ranging from high white blood cell count to internal bleeding.  But the thing that jumps out is that they found a "mass" on my liver.

When the doctor told me about it she emphasized that they don't know what it is, and it's not necessarily something bad.  The first place your mind goes when you hear this kind of thing is the big C - and she said that at this point it's merely something they can't explain that needs further investigation.

Several years ago I lived in Austin and had a dear friend there.  Her name was Julie Nestor.  She was a little older than I was and had transitioned there all by herself.  After I came out at work one of my lesbian friends had a friend who knew her so they tried to make sure we met one another.  We did.

Anyway, I could fill a number of pages of stories of our adventures.  But the one that's important here is an email she wrote me titled "What a life".  In it she told me that doctors had identified a "mass" on one of her kidneys and had determined that it was malignant.  Within a year she was gone.

So - when I left the hospital there were 2 different issues....the bleeding (and pain), and the liver mass.

This past week, when I started feeling a little more human,  I went to the GI doctor.  We're actively investigating both issues.  The most important event in the short term is an MRI of my liver, scheduled for Thursday.

I can't really say how I feel about that because it's not affecting me right now.  I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't gone into the ER.  But knowing it's there, and that it shouldn't be there, leads to a whole bunch of other questions running through my head right now.

I had an investigative internal procedure on Friday and they knocked me out for it.  They wheeled me into the procedure room and the anesthesiologist explained that he was going to inject something into the IV.  He said it might sting for a few seconds, but then the next thing I'd know it would all be over.

My mind still clings to the many times I've faced a similar threshold.  The first time I had surgery - my tonsils were removed in 1971 - they used ether.  I still remember the black mask and watching the room seem to get further and further away, and the voices in the room echo before everything went to black.

Other similar moments are cherished actually memories.  I'll never forget the OR before FFS, and SRS.  I made it a point to repeat my wife's name as in hopes that, if something bad happened, she'd be the last thing on my mind.

Well, this was nothing as complicated or difficult but it showed me how far we've come.  I was thrilled to wake up and not be in pain.  And I have long since stopped repeating that name.  It means nothing to me now.

So there you have it.  I'm feeling better every day...almost 100% again.  We still don't know what set it off, what caused it, or what is on my liver.  The good news is that we've ruled a number of things out and are narrowing the possibilities.  That process continues.

The mental part of it is big.  As I lay in the hospital last week the nurse asked me if I had anyone locally that they could call, or who could pick me up if I needed it.  As I thought about it the depressing reality was "no".  I really have no friends in Charlotte.  I work there.  My co-workers and I get along great but we're not on a level where I'd want to share too much personal medical information.  For all intents and purposes, I was all alone.  And that sucked.

So -

Regardless of what happens, I am taking active steps to change that.  I need to be around my support network - friends who care about me and who I'd trust to take care of me.  I have active support networks in 3 places...the closest of which is Charleston.

Things are convenient right now.  I really don't want to go into details, but if I could sum up my little world in one word that's what I'd use - Convenient.  Well, this little episode has reminded me that there are more important things than convenience.

It has also reminded me to appreciate the people in my world a little more.

I haven't shared any of this outside of this space.  I figure that if you're reading this - especially after my extended absence - we're connected somehow.  I need ways to express what's happening and how I'm feeling and this blog has filled that void for a long time.  I don't plan for that to change anytime soon.

I'm also paying more attention to the little things.  I'll end with a few pictures I took last Saturday - the day before the "incident" - while in Myrtle Beach.  We had been out riding for most of the day and came back to the hotel for a bit of a rest before heading out for dinner.  I went for a walk along the beach - the later afternoon sun is wonderful for photography.  Anyway - I took a few pictures with my camera I kind of like.  So - I'll share them.

The sun rising over Myrtle Beach

Life is good.