Death

A really dear friend passed away over the weekend.  And I had to find out over Facebook.  I knew him from when I lived in London.  He was an amazing guy.  Had the best personality.  The most infectious smile and could make anyone laugh for days.  We had plenty of mischievous adventures together.  Traveled to several countries.  And partied to stupid o’clock hours.  He could literally stay up for days and just go and go and go.

I was devastated when I found out.  Just in a ball of tears.  My husband had run out to the store and in that time, I learned of his passing.  When he walked back through the door, he saw the look on my ashen face.  I could barely muster the words… “Daniel suddenly passed away.”

There is a finality to death that you don’t fully appreciate until you are standing within its shadows.  With the door of life firmly shutting on Daniel, in that moment, I couldn’t help but think of CEO.  Knowing that you will never speak to your affair partner again is one thing.  But facing that you may outlive them, and grieve in the shadows for their passing later in life, is another.

I don’t know what is worse.  Dying young? Or living a long life- yet having to experience repeated grief and sadness, as everyone around you passes away.

 

 

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Music

It’s summertime.  And in my house, that means adventure.  I’m a big travel junkie and I like to travel to off the beaten path.  It’s one of the things I let go of, when I first had my kids.  And it’s one of the things I purposely restored in my life, after I examined my overall happiness post dday.

Last week, I went off the grid with my kids.  Packed the car up and hit the road.  Just the three of us.  We weren’t even out of LA when my daughter fished out a CD, which I didn’t even know was in this car (I rarely drive it anymore).  Traffic was thick, so I wasn’t really paying attention to what she was doing but the next thing I know, the lyrics started up and it took me back four years.  Memories of immense pain and longing bubbled to the surface as I kept my eyes fixated on the road.  I must have listened to this CD a thousand times, I thought.  Music put into words what my heart and mind couldn’t say back then.  I couldn’t believe she was actually playing this.

I think of you
I haven’t slept
I think I do
But I don’t forget
My body moves
Goes where I will
But though I try my heart stays still
It never moves
Just won’t be led
And so my mouth waters to be fed
And you’re always in my head

My mind instantly went back to CEO and how these words would echo through the chambers of my heart.  Every word from each successive song matched the emotions back then.  How apropos that I was on a journey, looking back at the most painful journey of all.

“Did you remember to pack my bathing suit mom?”

And just like that, I’m snapped back to reality. “Yes honey.  It’s in your bag.”

”Can we eat the chips now?” my son chimes in.  “Ummmm, no buddy.  We’re not even 20 miles from our house and you are already asking for food?!?”

The music fades as the kids chat about Pokémon, why I took their iPads away for summer and if we will see a bear (like last time we went off the grid).  I let their conversations drift into the back of my mind as the lyrics took center stage.  The next song begins and my mind suddenly travels back in time.

Call it magic, call it true
I call it magic when I’m with you
And I just got broken, broken into two
Still I call it magic, when I’m next to you

I remember being split between my husband and CEO back then.  Neither getting all of me.  It broke me into two- literally.  And definitely wrecked my spirit juggling these two relationships…and yet, there was magic between CEO and I.  Undeniable magic.

Dating an entrepreneur is fraught with difficulties.  First, they are married to their start-ups.  And their time isn’t linear.  This posed problems in our relationship.  I learned through knowing CEO that my love language is time- and there never seemed to be enough of it.  I need that face to face connection in all of my relationships.  Daily contact was there via technology, but nothing replaces looking into each others eyes.  Seeing the way his eyes danced as he recounted a story.  Or hearing his laugh.

As I drove along the highway, I reflected back upon the negative undercurrents of our relationship.  The lack of real, valuable time together.  Did I think we could improve the amount of time we spent together back then?  Most definitely.  I truly believed we could find a middle ground there.  I believed we could find our way.

And if you were to ask me
After all that we’ve been through
Still believe in magic?
Well yes, I do
Oh yes, I do
Oh yes, I do
Of course I do

My wanderlust was dimming and so had my conversation with the kids.  Vivienne looked over at me and asked, “Are you okay mom?  You seem distant.  Like you are thinking deeply about something.”

“Yes sweetie.  I’m fine.  Just going over in my head everything I’ve packed.”

”Did you remember the bacon for Zane?”

”Oh crap.  I didn’t pull it out of the fridge.  Can you google for the nearest Whole Foods on mommie’s phone?”

Needless to say, we had a little detour before we got out of proper LA.  It was a nice break from what had been going through my mind.  But the second we got back in the car, my daughter continued to play the album with the significance lost on her.  Each song was like a journey into my past.

Got a tattoo that said “together through life”
Carved in your name with my poker knife
And you wonder when you wake up, will it be alright oh oh
Feels like there’s something broken inside
All I know
All I know
Is that I’m lost whenever you go
All I know is that I love you so
So much that it hurts

Urgh- the pain started brewing in my chest.  The hurt was unreal back then.  In an instant, I was brought back to the turmoil of loving two men.  One I had built a life with.  And one, I had fell in love with.   My broken heart realized I needed to box up that love and ignore it for life.  I loved Nial so much and this song tore at my heart, every time I heard it.  Memories came flooding back.  Me- leaving my house for the first time, after I had confessed.  Driving away from my neighborhood.  Then once I was at a safe distance, just screaming at the top of my lungs.  Trying to get everything out, so my kids wouldn’t see my pain.  I was conflicted.  Truly.  Knowing I had purposely dropped an atomic bomb on my relationship with CEO so I would be forced to do the “right thing”, even if my heart was utterly in love with him, was gut wrenching…

“How much longer till we transfer freeways mom?  Do you think we will be able to find a swimming hole or waterfall once we get there?”

“Don’t you fret my pet.  Mom’s got it covered.”

The melodies faded into oblivion, while giving birth to the next song.  Miles tick over on the odometer as the road opened up.  As I juggle the past and present, memories of Niall continue to flood to the surface.

For a second, I was in control
I had it once, I lost it though
And all along the fire below would rise
And I wish you could have let me know
What’s really going on below
I’ve lost you now, you let met go but one last time
Tell me you love me, if you don’t then lie, oh lie to me

“Are we going to stop for lunch on the way?”  Zane asked softly.  “Yes darling.  We will get lunch soon.’

And then the keys on the piano begin.  Notes take shape.  Softly, yet full of every conceivable emotion.  It rhythmically tells the story of my heartbreak, note by note.

A flock of birds
Hovering above
Just a flock of birds
That’s how you think of love

And I always
Look up to the sky
Pray before the dawn
‘Cause they fly always
Sometimes they arrive
Sometimes they are gone
They fly on

A flock of birds
Hovering above
Into smoke I’m turned
And rise following them up

Still I always
Look up to the sky
Pray before the dawn
‘Cause they fly away
One minute they arrive,
Next you know they’re gone
They fly on
Fly on

So fly on
Ride through
Maybe one day I’ll fly next to you

They fly on
Ride through
Maybe one day I come fly with you
Fly on
Fly on
Fly on

I’m stronger now.  I’ve forged a new path.  But it’s in moments like these, I realize just how far I’ve come.  And how I can listen to Coldplays entire Ghost Stories without bursting into tears.

And yet…I still miss him.

Thats what 4 years post Dday gets you.

Sold

I had a dream last night.  It was so vivid.  I had walked into a restaurant, and as I did, an extremely well dressed man turned away from the bar and approached me.  He was easily over six feet tall.  As we side hugged and said our hellos, the quality of his wool coat was not lost on me.  He was dressed impeccably down to his perfectly shined shoes.  And wore a sheepish grin on his face when looking at me.

I was wearing black slacks and a black sleeveless silk blouse + sexy high heels and a small clutch purse.  I think I had gone to the restroom or something and I was weaving my way back to the table, where my daughter was waiting for me.  I had noticed a man trying to make eye contact with me, as I moved through the crowd.  But I never broke my gaze to look at him directly.  But the gentleman who began to speak to me did- while turning his body towards mine, blocking my way greeting me with, “Kate! I was hoping I might run into you here.  Join me for a drink, will you?”

I remember feeling incredibly flattered that this man had sought me out.  That he changed his day, just in the hopes of crossing my path.  He was a business associate that I had met briefly recently.  At least that was the feeling I got as he spoke to me (this was a dream after all).

I wanted to sit there and share a glass of wine.  To talk about whatever he wanted to talk about.  He was charming, engaging and had a quiet assertiveness about him.  It was at that moment in my dream that I noticed, I was genuinely enjoying his company.  But I was shocked to realize this…because it wasn’t CEO.

****

I don’t dream of other men.  And can’t recall ever doing so.  But I did last night.  And I have no idea what it all means.

But as I awoke from this dream, I stumbled for my phone in my pitch black bedroom.  I soon realized it was now 3:30 AM.  I started reading news, getting caught up on emails, looking over schedules and planning my work flow for the week.  When I finally saw the news.

CEO’s start-up was just acquired by a major technology corporation.  I knew this was his exit plan all along.  But seeing  the news brought up a mix of feelings.  I’m so SO proud of him.  But it’s also bittersweet for me to process.  Every time an investor rejected his idea, or he lost an investor he originally thought he had- I was his cheerleader during that rollercoaster.  In a weird way, it’s the last vestige of our relationship.

As they say, life does indeed move on.

Part of me wants to reach out and say Congratulations.  To hear his voice smile…

But I won’t.

And it’s gut wrenching.  Because I truly miss my friend.

I cant help but think now that he has sold his start-up, he suddenly has “time” again.   Hence, why he logged on to where we use to communicate.

I guess you could say- old habits die hard.

 

 

 

Fade

I wrote this on May 26, 2014 but never sent it to CEO for some reason.  We wrote to each other every single day back then. Not sure why I didn’t sent this, but I stumbled upon it today.  Moments like these still happen- Reminders!  They are always popping up- even still.  Reading this over again, it’s almost like it never really happened.  It feels so far away and yet not, if that makes sense.   

This use to happen quite a lot after we first met. I would be busy with something. And out of the blue, a memory of you would flash into my mind almost like a photo being taken. It just happened right now, as I was getting ready to go to sleep and turn off my iPad.

It went off like a flash in my mind and made my heart skip several beats. And I found myself half-smiling and half-gasping for air at the same time. I was suddenly back in SF, in our hotel room. It was early morning. White crisp sheets surrounded us. And you turned over to face my back, placing your fore fingers around my panties and pulling them off with such desire. No words were said, other than hearing the vibrations of your breathe against the back of my neck. I remember it now, only I am watching it unfold from above…like a movie. It’s always like a movie for me….

I remember how great it was to wake up like that. To let you take me over and over during our time there. It was raw. It was passionate. Exciting and memorable. It took my breathe away like it did just now, remembering you…your touch…your hands…all over my body as I moaned and panted through every single passionate thrust inside of me.

Every inch of you…every inch of me…together again in our own little world. Holding me down…then kissing me…my neck…then grabbing my ass so tight as you fucked me till every every last drop of cum came out. Turning me over, now face to face, you said, “Kate….you captivate me.”  You didn’t need to say those words, although it made my heart smile. I felt it too.

You took my breathe away that morning. And gave me such butterflies that it felt like I had a lump stuck at the top of my throat. Just seeing the picture again in my head…..white sheets, black silk thong being pulled off….me and you. A rush of excitement pulses through my chest similar to the feelings you get when your dropping from a roller coaster.

And just like that, it stops. The picture fades. And I am back in my bedroom getting ready to turn off the light. I don’t want to say goodbye to that memory so I try to fall asleep as fast as I can, so I can see you again in my dreams. And keep reliving the sweet memories over and over again.

Fate

Tonight, I texted my husband, “Want anything else from Whole Foods?”  And he replied asking for a specific craft beer that I had never heard of before.  I finally found it on the shelf and as I placed it into my basket, two little girls came running past me.  I lost my breathe, not from their beauty, but because they are CEO’s kids.  And they look just like him (especially in the eyes).

Yep, I had another run-in friends.

I froze, then stealth glanced the perimeter and saw his wife, now standing in front of the seafood counter with two little girls tugging at her shirt.

Great.  Just great.

This has got to be the 10th time I have run into her.  It’s like fate keeps bringing us together.  I don’t even run into my own friends this much.  Statistically, what are the odds?  Like nil?

I quickly grabbed my phone and took a pic, because this has become a running joke between my best friend and I.  I sent her the photo (it was only the back of her body) and yet her reply was priceless, “OMG!  I know who that is!  Fuck how on earth do you keep running into her?  You don’t even live in that small of a town.”

Before I could reply, it suddenly dawned on me, “Niall could be behind them, perusing the produce section and shopping as a family.  Oh geez…please say he is not here.  I’m in my workout clothes and sweaty from a 6 mile run…then again, my ass has never looked better.”

I took a deep breathe, turned the corner and there was no Niall to be found.  Just all the friendly workers who know me by name, waving to me saying, “Heyyyyy Kate.  What’s up?”

I couldn’t help but think…she’s in my territory.  There is a huge Whole Foods less than 1 mile from her house and yet, she came to this little neighborhood location.

As I checked out, I half expected for her to end up in my lane.  Thankfully, that didn’t happen.  I pondered back to the time I ran into her over the holidays, both of our kids staring into the same decorated windows during the annual Christmas stroll.  And sadly, for the second year running- Niall is never by her side.  It’s always just her…and the girls…alone.

He’s a brilliant entrepreneur, but an absentee father and husband.  Had we left our spouses and ended up together, I would be just like her.

Alone.

Instinct

I’ve always had a strong sense of instinct and I have followed my gut all my life. Not to sound conceited, but I’m rarely incorrect when following my gut.  That’s not to say I haven’t done stupid things in my life (like falling in love with Niall when he was never mine to begin with).  My gut was screaming at me back then, about how wrong my behavior was. But clearly, I possess the talent for ignoring my gut instinct sometimes too.

But in regards to the medical mystery I’ve been battling, my gut was right.  Despite the #1 expert in the field slamming the door in my face and canceling my first appointment, declaring he did not see an auto-immune process he could treat, that asshole was wrong.

For once in my life, I really wish I was wrong.  But my instinct said I wasn’t.  I kept pushing for more tests and practically have an honorary medical degree by now.  I set about figuring out my case myself.  And well, my dear friends….I was right.

Upon admission to Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, I asked the admitting doctor to run a specific test.  It’s in the admission notes that I requested it.  Did they?  Nope.  And I never knew (until I ordered my medical records), that the rheumatologist overseeing my case failed to run it.

They don’t tell you shit when you are an admitted patient, my dear friends.  They just don’t.  Once you are admitted, you get visited by several doctors in your room.  And they ask questions, poke and prod.  And the entire time you’re kinda wondering, “When is anyone going to involve me in this discussion.”  It’s honestly the strangest experience.  I felt like I was some foreign alien while they looked me over, doing their consult.

On my own, I told them what I suspected I had.  But I think their male egos wanted to somehow prove me wrong.  Because my attacks (and the symptoms of that) equal very rare complications of the disease.  I read their non-verbal behavior to say, “Yeah right, you have this disease.  Statistically, it’s rare to find these symptoms in a patient, especially since your labs look great.”

But as my lovely eye doctor said to me much later in this journey, “It’s rare…until it’s in your chair.”

Am I angry?  Of course.  These doctors put me through hell, referring me to the director of MS believing I had MS.  And I lived for over a month believing that the doctors listened to me, ruled out this auto-immune disease and somehow determined that I really had MS.  But those fucking piece-of-shit doctors, that the #1 expert in the disease relied upon to do a thorough work-up on me, failed.  And miserably.

Technology is a sector I follow and I had learned about a new test, comprised of 9 antigens which can detect this auto-immune disease in patients exhibiting symptoms for less than 5 years.  It’s the newest test out there.  Which is why basic logic says to order this, instead of the other antiquated tests which detect antigens only expressed when you are decades into the disease (or completely full blown).

My results came back last week: everything on the new test was normal but one antigen.  I tested sky high on that antigen.  There is no reason for my body to be producing this antigen unless I didn’t have the disease…and all the while, I was being dismissed by the doctors.

I’m angry.  I have every right to be.

I want to send a certified copy of this  result to every doctor who was brought into my case at Cedars, emblazoned with the these words: ASSHOLE- I was right!  You FAILED.  Please surrender your medical license so other patients aren’t put though the same hell your gross incompetence did to me.

….actually, maybe I will do that.  I love that idea!!!!

But I realize my anger will only exasperate my condition….so I run.  Or walk on my bad days.  I’m managing my condition the best I can but some days, my symptoms flare to the point of being pretty damn difficult.

I’m not interested in being a guinea pig for big pharma.  I want HSCT to cure me of this auto-immune disease.  First, I must get the final diagnosis (yes despite this result that hasn’t been declared yet).  Then, to convince a doctor to harvest my stem cells, give me 4 days of high intensity chemo to destroy my immune system and then reinject me with the new stem cells.  It’s the only cure.

The only way out of this mess.