Love of My Life
by Morning Glory Zell
Sept. 21, 1993 (the 20th Anniversary of our meeting)
I saw your face once in my dream
A thousand miles and years away.
Then Fate began Her cosmic scheme
To bring me to your side that day.
I'd travel far, to where you are
Favorite Lover, my Best Friend!
I'd do it all the same again;
I'd do it all the same again.
You shared your Vision with a crowd
I sat and listened mesmerized,
As what you stood for spoke so loud,
And what you dreamed shone in your eyes.
We took a walk and tried to talk,
But words weren't necessary then.
I'd do it all the same again;
I'd do it all the same again.
Your touch was dipped in liquid fire;
It ran all through my body's nerves.
Your taste and smell were wild desire;
Your lips traced all my tender curves.
With passion cries and whispered sighs
Our Dance of Love moved out and in.
I'd do it all the same again;
I'd do it all the same again.
We took our vows to never part
We pledged for Life and then for more.
You kissed my lips and stole my heart
In front of people by the score.
In velvet green, our wedding scene
Was filled with portent now and then.
I'd do it all the same again;
I'd do it all the same again.
We merged our minds and hearts as One
We worked to heal the Planet's Soul.
We laughed and played and had our fun
We struggled always for our Goal.
In joy and lust, in Perfect Trust
We talked of how things might have been...
I'd do it all the same again;
I'd do it all the same again.
We wandered West and made a Home
With Unicorns and baby deer;
When round the country I would roam,
I knew I'd always find you near.
Adventures bold and Dreams we told;
We never knew just where or when.
I'd do that part the same again;
I'd do that part the same again.
We fought each other long and hard;
We gambled everything and lost!
A lot of dreams died with our Bard;
The taste of ashes was our cost.
Through bitter strife, as man and wife,
We started life anew as friends.
I'd do things better over again;
I'd do things better over again.
We shared our lovers, shared our Hope;
We shared our household with a zoo.
We learned from others how they cope
But no one could be like us two!
With kids and cats and snakes and rats,
Mistakes we made and lives to mend,
I'd do it with you once again;
I'd do it with you once again.
Of all my Lovers that I love;
Of all my Friends I've ever known,
We go together hand in glove;
We fit together flesh and bone.
For twenty years of joy and tears;
For best and worst, through thick and thin.
I'd love you better now and then;
But I'd choose you all the same again!
People keep asking me how I'm doing. Well, each day I get up and face today, doing my normal routine stuff, etc. I cry a lot when something reminds me of Her--as so much does in this home we shared for the past nine years. Some afternoons I take off and go see a movie--but without Her. And in the evening I usually watch a couple of hours of TV (all our favorite shows are still being recorded on our DVR)--without Her in the comfy chair next to mine, and without our mutual running commentary. And then I go to bed at night and She's not there beside me to hold and cuddle. And it feels really lonely. Sometimes She comes to me in my dreams, and tells me She's OK, and not to worry.
And in the morning I wake up alone, and do it all over again. I can deal with today. But I cannot yet deal with tomorrow--and an endless series of tomorrows without Her beside me (though She is certainly within me!). So I try not to think of that, because it just make me cry.
Many years ago my artist/Wizard friend Nybor told me a little story: He'd been staying at a place on the ocean, and every morning he'd wake up at dawn and take a walk along the beach. One morning there was a thick fog, and as he walked along the waterline, he could see only a few feet of sand, water, seashells, etc. in a circle around his feet. Everything above and beyond that tiny patch of ground was completely blank and white. But as he walked along, step by step, more sand and seawrack would appear out of the nothingness in front of him...as his footprints in turn disappeared into the void behind. It was like the world was being created just for him as he stepped into it, and erased into oblivion as he left it behind.
And gradually, as the morning progressed, the fog thinned, and he could see further and further ahead and around him with every step, until eventually he could see the whole world and the sky above.
That's how it is for me right now. I'm taking one step at a time, through the fog, and I can only see as far as the next place to put my foot. But I know that eventually the fog will thin, and I'll be back in the World again. Just not yet...
A Visitation from Morning Glory
It feels so strange to be rattling around in this ghost house without Morning Glory. Everything here is so suffused with Her—the books on the shelves, the pictures on the walls, the Faeries in the wisteria, seasonal decorations, altars—and most of all, of course, the Goddesses. Julie and Karina have been sorting our MG’s personal stuff and organizing things to be given away—first pick, of course, goes to Her daughter Gail. After that, Her students, initiates, priestesses, lovers and friends…
I’ve been getting by mainly on auto-pilot; after all, MG was very sick for a long time, and seldom left Her room over the past six months, so I had to do pretty much everything that needed doing, as well as care for Her. So I’m still doing what needs doing as before, except for the caring for Her part. So as long as I keep to the routines, I can function more-or-less “normally” (whatever that means!).
And I’ve been working with Kiri on MG’s Goddess Legacy project ( http://www.gofundme.com/8b7sig
), repairing broken Goddesses, replacing missing components (spears for Athena, bows and arrows for Diana…), and painting various pieces authentically. I’d been wanting to do all this for years, but somehow never quite got around to it. Now, in the time freed up (4-6 hours per day) by no longer taking care of Morning Glory, I am able to contribute to Her Work.
The problem comes when I depart from these routines and try to talk about Her. When people ask me, “How are you doing?” I can only manage a sentence or two before I just start crying, as I am right now. Johnny Depp said, “People don’t cry because they are weak; people cry because they’ve been strong for too long.” Yeah. I miss Her so much! And all the adventures we wanted to do together (hot air ballooning, skydiving…), and places we wanted to visit (Paris, Thailand, Egypt, Malta, Ireland, Stonehenge, Angkor Wat, Middle Earth…)
Thursday night She visited me in The Dreaming. She was naked, glowing, glorious, beaming with joy, and looking like she did in her 20s—the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She was floating in air, dancing as only She could dance. (Anyone who had seen Morning Glory dancing naked around a fire by moonlight could die happy.) She told me She is well, happy, and free! And that She loves me and is with me—always and ever. (And there I go again!)
And that’s all I can say right now…
David sent me this in a FB message. I have been sobbing and wailing uncontrollably for the past two hours, since reading it. Today is the first day in longer than I can remember that I have been alone in this empty house. I'm just crying my heart out. I cannot think; I cannot even see. This poem has touched me more deeply than anything else, and it has broken the dam of anguish I have managed to maintain for days, weeks, months, and years. I am flooded with grief. I will never hold Her in my arms again, never again hear Her sweet voice and sparkling laughter, never again eat Her lovingly-prepared meals, never again share a book, a movie, a sunset, or an adventure. The Love of my Life is gone. The bright Sun at the center of my universe has gone out, and I am in darkness.
And yet, I must go on--for the both of us.
Wednesday 5/21, 7:57pm
For Morning Glory
Her Love’s Wailing
Heart wrenching and powerful
Is the last sound that follows her into the darkness
His soul shatters as She dies
The Final pain that was at the end is gone
Like the bursting of a balloon
Her soul is released into the universe
All that made her who and what She was begins to drift away
Mingling with all things and No thing
Thoughts are falling away now
Simple things lost forever
Freed of the mantle of flesh
She sees clearly the flaws of self he allowed to cloud and delude her
She wishes there was something She could do
To tell her love he need not weep for her
She reaches out and mingles with him
For a moment the tears stop and he touches his heart
With an act of will She speaks to his soul
He knows She is with him
He lays his head upon her chest and the tears come again
For Her proud heart is Silent
© 2014 D.L.Davis For Morning Glory
Yesterday we laid Morning Glory’s body into the Earth, to rest in the bosom of Mother Gaea until she may return again in new flesh. I planted an apple tree over her loving heart, that someday her substance may return to us all as sweet nourishing fruit. It was a small private ceremony, attended by immediate family and about 30 of our closest family friends.
And what a beautiful and moving ceremony it was! MG’s body was carried by six pallbearers (three a breast…) across the dam to the campfire circle in the beautiful open redwood casket made by Emrys (who also dug her grave). She was laid in the center of the circle, shrouded in wrappings, blessing ribbons, chakra stones, and a burgundy velvet wrap that had been lovingly embroidered by all her Handmaidens. A drinking horn of her favorite whiskey (Tullamore Dew) was passed around the circle, and each person told of what MG had meant to them.
Then we carried her up the hill and lowered her into her grave (after first removing our tuxedoed Druid, Don, who managed to fall in without losing his top hat!). Our granddaughter and other children began throwing flowers into her coffin, in the oldest burial custom of humanity—begun over 100,000 years ago by our predecessor subspecies, the Neanderthals. Songs were sung, and tears were shed. Feasting followed.
After the hole had been all filled in, Freya arranged a lovely berm and circle of dirt clods around, planting many wildflowers (including, of course, Morning Glories) Pilgrims who visit her in times to come may consider bringing stones to replace the clods, which will soon wear away. I have seen this custom in the mountains of Peru…
Morning Glory is buried at the top of the Upper Meadow at CAW’s sacred land of Annwfn (Welsh” “Land of the Dead”)—our 55-acre sanctuary in the misty mountains of Mendocino County, bequeathed to us by our late bard, Gwydion Pendderwen, who died at Samhain 1982, and whose ashes were our first internment there. Morning Glory’s grave overlooks the campfire circle where we have held our rites of Beltane (and Walpurgisnacht) for the past 30 years. Many stories will be told of this Death of a Pagan Priestess—which has already become mythic (as was her life). And that is how we achieve immortality—for what is remembered, lives!
Arranging all the legalities for MG’s green burial has now secured Annwfn as an officially-recognized cemetery for full body burials—a final gift to the Pagan community from one of our eldest and most revered Priestesses. There is a space right next to her that is reserved for my own eventual burial—many years from now (I hope!). And over the years to come, I expect that many other Pagans will want to have their green burials at Annwfn. Arrangements can be made.
I am grateful to all of our many friends, family, lovers, waterkin, priestesses and priests who came by over the final weeks in the hospital and at home, to lend support, prepare meals, clean house, share stories, and generally take care of everything for everyone. We owe particularly deep gratitude to Don Davis, patient advocate, who came up from Tucson over a month ago to arrange in-home hospice and many other things. Deep gratitude also goes out to Kiri Johnsen, MG’s and my first student when we moved to the ranch in 1977; to LaSara Firefox, adopted Niece and CAW Priestess; her mother, Marylyn Motherbear, Elder Priestess of CAW, who served as our Priestess throughout this transition and the final rites; to Julie Epona, our devoted consort and paramour for the past 22 years, who also served as Priestess to the end. Wynter, Karina, Cat, Eileen, and others of MG’s students, apprentices, initiates and protégés, who will be working with Kiri to preserve and continue her legacy of Goddess teachings and her secure collection of more than 300 Goddess figurines.
And most of all, we are all deeply grateful to Reverend Judith Karen Fenley, of Harmonizing Health Center/Choices, who moved mountains and worked miracles at every step of the way, clearing the legal pathways to bring MG home to die; to transport her body to Annwfn; and most importantly—to have Annwfn designated a legal cemetery—something MG herself had tried to do decades earlier without success. Judith became part of our Family and Tribe during this process, where she became involved in every aspect of MG’s transition. We love you, Judith!
And now I must enter a new phase of my life, holding the Love of my life within my heart and head, and carry on The Work for both of us. There is still so much to do…
Bright Blessings, and Never Thirst!
My beloved has passed beyond the veil. She drew her final breath at 5:42 yesterday afternoon. Her handmaidens, students and priestesses prepared her body and dressed her in her beautiful Sea Priestess robes. She is now lying in grace in the Temple for a few days until we take her body to its final resting place in the Earth. It's been an incredible week--grief and joy intermixing like a lava lamp. So many beautiful loving people gathered around, taking care of everything. That's all I can really say right now...I can barely see to type.
Another night lying beside my beloved lifemate, with my hand on her heart to monitor her breathing. She's still breathing as I type this afternoon, but very deep within herself--and within the Dreaming--as she prepares herself for her transition to the Summerlands (actually, the Elysian fields, as we are Mystoi). I'm not really sleeping during these nights of vigil beside her, and I'm feeling very tired and fragile. As Bilbo said to Frodo at Rivendell, "I feel thin...like butter that's been spread over too much toast."
Yesterday was a strange and yet perfect Mother's Day. The pool and hot tub were filled with laughing children as their mothers bustled and visited, cleaning up, preparing food for everyone, and generally being wonderful. Everyone is doing their part--individually and collectively. We are so blessed with our Community!
We are surrounded and supported by loving friends and family--old lovers, students, initiates, water-brothers, kith and kin. And the cadre of Handmaidens who have come together to handle everything are a great blessing. Last night I was watching them as they sat with her burgundy velvet shroud spread across their laps, working together embroidering beautiful designs--such as yonis, pentagrams, and the White Tree of Gondor. Soon enough they will be washing her and preparing her body for its final journey to a green burial.
But for today, she rests peacefully.
Now that she's home, I'm being with MG constantly during the final stages of her passage. I'm sleeping on a massage table set up next to her hospital bed, which is set up in our beautiful Temple, surrounded by over 300 Goddess figurines from around the world. We have a revolving house full of priestesses, handmaidens, family, waterkin, lovers, friends...
She's home now.
We have her set up with a hospital bed in our Temple, surrounded by the 300+ Goddesses she's collected over the 40 years we've been together. Her final journey now begins, and soon enough she will join the Pantheon. And I just found out that all over the world, people who love her are planting morning glories in her name.
We just finished a beautiful healing concert of French Kochi chimes, Swiss Hang drum, and Moyo drum--all played by a lovely hospice nurse named Deb Grant.
She's coming Home!
Morning Glory will come home Thursday to Ravenhaven to be with her Beloved Oberon and in the Temple Room with the Goddesses to begin her journey to the Great Mystery. She wants to "Teach, Speak and Be" with those who wish to visit.
She will eventually slip into unconsciousness and then pass into her afterlife.
Home Hospice Services will attend to pain management and health needs at this time. We will need help with some care aspects and would like someone to sit with her at all times and when Oberon and others need a break.
This is a blessed and sacred time of transition. Thank you to all that have sent energies and been with us on the journey thus far and for a little while longer.
Blessed Be and Blessed Be and
Blessed Be, Again!
Don & Kiri
I am spending 4-6 hours each day at the hospital with MG, especially with her current daily radiation treatments, for which she needs me to be there with her for emotional support when the ambulance arrives to take her to the radiology center, which is 4 miles from the hospital.
The first time they took her away it was very early in the morning. I wasn't there, and it was a very traumatic experience for her, which she experienced as a nightmarish kind of "alien abduction" scenario, as she was strapped onto a gurney and taken to this strange sci-fi kind of place with the giant CT scanner.
That was over a week ago, and she suffered from severe PTSD ever since. With me along, riding over in the ambulance with her, she is now calm and reassured.
But the good news is that we are seeing definite positive results from the new chemo and radiation treatments"”as well as the new painkillers the doctors have her on. The chemo is called Kyprolis (carfilzomib), and the newest painkiller is a Fentanyl slow-release patch. She is more alert and coherent each day
Today I am bringing in our kitty, Myrriah, who has been missing her terribly"”she keeps asking everyone, "where's mommy?" The nurses said it's OK to have special pets in the ward for visits; it's good "animal therapy."
But with all this time and attention at the hospital, I am falling behind in my other work, and am becoming very exhausted"”both physically and emotionally. I am so grateful for all the wonderful support we are receiving from so many friends! Thank you, everyone!
Thank you all for your generous support! We could not be getting through this difficult time without you.
I just got back from another afternoon at the hospital with MG. Daughter Gail and granddaughter Alessandra also came up to spend the day with her.
MG was doing pretty well today, after dialysis and treatment with her new cancer med yesterday. This drug is called Kyprolis (carfilzomib), and is newly-approved by the FDA. So far it seems to be working well! MG was alert and sociable all day.
John Sulak (our biographer) also came for a visit, with the other members of his family, Alicia and John. Here's a really great review of our book, The Wizard & The Witch: http://deviantwitch.com/the-wizard-the-witch-a-book-review/
If you've read and enjoyed our life story, please consider writing a review for Amazon.com. Right now there are only 7 reviews of this book on Amazon...
MG's Celebration of Life party was a tremendous success. Hundreds of dear friends, lovers and family over the years (some going back to MG's teen years in Long Beach, CA) showed up at our house (RavenHaven) for a powerful ritual in which MG's personal handmade tools were passed around the Circle. As everyone shared water from her rune-engraved silver chalice, each told the story of how they met her, and what impact she had in their lives. Amazing stories! And all were recorded on video by our wonderful Godson, Zack Darling (Diane's boy).
After telling their stories at RavenHaven, small groups of people were shuttled back and forth to the hospital for brief visits with MG. She'd asked for folks to wear funny hats, and we also brought her a few of her own favorites. Christine--one of MG's oldest friends, who'd been her birthing sister at the Hippie commune in Eugene, OR in Oct. of 1969 (their daughters were childhood playmates and still lifelong friends)--videotaped the encounters at the hospital.
MG was quite lucid and upbeat all day, welcoming her many friends and bestowing blessings on our newest family member--Alexi Lorelei Rose, born to Wynter and Morgan in Jan. She continued holding court until 8:00, when visiting hours ended.
Sunday was a quieter day for MG, with mostly just her immediate family. She was in quit a good mood, and pretty pain-free from the new painkillers she got on just a few days previously. She got out of bed and into a wheelchair, and our granddaughter Alessandra pushed her all over the hospital and out into the lovely garden, where she got to commune with a big redwood (see attached photo).
She wants me to convey her love and appreciation to everyone she hasn't been able to see personally. She remains feisty, and in her remaining time in this incarnation she is eager to continue and complete her work with several of her students (Kiri, Karina, Cat, Wynter) to record and preserve her legacy of Goddess lore and her incredible collection of more than 300 Goddess figurines from around the world and throughout history.
MG w. Joe, Gail, Alessa & redwood tree
Just 8 years ago, my beloved lifemate Morning Glory was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma--an incurable blood and bone cancer. She has been struggling for all these years with a succession of intense treatments, remissions, and relapses. At Thanksgiving last year she caught a flu which lasted into January, when she collapsed at home and was rushed to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with kidney failure. Since then she has been on regular dialysis, and has been in and out of the hospital several times--most recently with pneumonia. While MG was fighting pneumonia her body was unable to withstand the rigors of chemo. Therefore, the cancer has made a horrible resurgence. A 9cm tumor has now appeared on her left hip.
A meeting was held at the Santa Rosa Memorial hospital yesterday with Morning Glory, her oncologist Dr. Bozdech, Oberon Zell, Gail Rainbow Salvador (daughter), Kirsten Johnsen (archivist), Don D. Davis (Patient Advocate), Cerridwen Fallingstar, and others.
Dr. Bozdech has gotten MG approved to participate in a newly FDA-approved drug protocol which will begin later today. Dr. Bozdech says this is a very promising protocol for which we should have results in 2 weeks, when we will know if this is effective against MG's specific cancer. If it works, it will buy her at least several months. If this chemo fails, MG will have a very limited time left on this plane.
MG and I met at Mabon 1973, and were married on April 14, 1974; we just celebrated our 40th anniversary. Our life story, The Wizard and the Witch, was published this Feb. by Llewellyn.
If you would like to contribute to preserving MG's legacy--the Great Goddess Collection--please visit this site: http://www.gofundme.com/8b7sig
We are holding a "Celebration of Life for Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart" on Saturday, 4/19--part at RavenHaven and part at the hospital. This event will go forward as scheduled, and we are expecting around 300 people to show up! https://www.facebook.com/events/1411573982441740/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming
Kiri and I spent all afternoon with MG today. Kiri is working on cataloging and archiving MG's Goddess Collection and all the stories that go with them. See http://www.gofundme.com/8b7sig
Here's a pic of MG and Kiri in the hospital today...
The hospital is trying to get MG into a local rehab center--the same one that her mother was in for awhile years ago. We're still planning on having her home for her Celebration of Life on Saturday.
MG and Kiri in the hospital 4/15
Here's a nice pic of MG in the hospital...
MG in hospital
Morning Glory has been a Natural Witch since the 1950's, and dedicated Pagan activist since the early 1970's. Without her and her husband Oberon, both the face and the depths of modern Paganism would look very, very different. It is largely thanks to them that the Pagan movement in the USA embraced the Goddess as Mother Nature.
The Zells articulated the Gaea Thesis and spread the word about it in GREEN EGG in the early 1970s. Back then, GREEN EGG, published by the Church of All Worlds, was the only real pan-Pagan publication, and it was the one place where regularly-published unfettered and uncensored discussion and debate occurred among many different individual practitioners and paths of Pagan practice.
GREEN EGG was what we had: No Aquarian Tabernacle, no Circle Network, no Witchvox, no Pagan music publishing companies, no Internet, no Pagan or occult section at Barnes and Noble"”indeed, precious few books at all, really. GREEN EGG was the lifeline that let us connect to each other.
We cannot possibly give back to the Zells as much as they have given to us, their community. But we can do our best: take out our incense and candles, and get that mojo working! And donate money to help them through these difficult times. Really, it's the least we can do!
Blessed Be, Valerie Voigt
UPDATE Friday, April 11, 2014
Morning Glory remains at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital; however, she is rallying against the pneumonia.
Dr. Green (her nephrologist) says she will most likely be able to release Morning Glory to come home next week.
We would love to have her home by the 14th, which is MG & OZ's 40th wedding anniversary, we will keep you posted on when she is able to come home.
In the meantime preparations continue for a Celebration of Life for Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart.
Our intention is to give her the energy to stay with us as long as possible.
Come celebrate Morning Glory's life while she is still here to enjoy your stories:
How did you first meet Morning Glory?
How has she touched your life?
We are working with a few people on plans to video-tape your stories, poetry, song - whatever you bring to share.
Join us to Celebrate America's Priestess
Saturday, April 19, 2014
3:00 - We will begin in Bardic format at 3:00pm and continue as long as Spirit moves us.
Bring finger food and drinks to share.
Car pooling encouraged.
795 Helman Lane
Cotati, CA 94931
If you are able to stop by the house and help prepare for the event -
Please stop by between 11:00am - 7:00pm
A list of chores that can be done to help are posted on the dining room hutch
May you Never Thirst
I just got home from the hospital, visiting MG. She'd been having a really difficult time breathing, what with the bronchitis, and the time spans between dialysis treatments were really hard for her to get through. So after several days of false starts, we were able to finally get her into the ER yesterday evening.
She got dialysis today, and they're going to do it again tomorrow--only with a special intense filtration system designed to scrub viruses and bacteria out of her blood. They're also giving her much stronger antibiotics than she was able to get at home.
They say she'll be in there at least 2-3 days more. They took a lot of blood out for various tests, and hopefully we'll know more tomorrow. The important thing is that she's now getting the kind of intensive care she needs, which is more than we could give her at home.
Please forgive the delays between these update posts on MG's condition. Sometimes things get so stressed around here that I just cannot find time to write about it until it gets better. The last few days have been like that.
Today MG seems to be doing better, after a really rough few days and nights. That little cough she picked up from me really laid her out, going into severe bronchitis and making it really difficult for her to breathe, even with my old CPAP machine hooked up to oxygen. But after having 4.5 liters of fluid drawn off by yesterday's dialysis, her fever broke last night, and she slept much better; and therefore I too was able to get a good night's sleep.
Tuesday she was unable to get out of bed all day, and that night she could not lie down to sleep due to fluid building up in her lungs. She had to sleep sitting up hunched over a walker table full of pillows, and every hour or so she had to wake me up to help her get adjusted, use the bathroom, etc. And when she wasn't up, she was moaning and groaning in constant pain.
Needless to say, I got no sleep at all that night. I finally gave up at 8:00am and got up to start preparing her for her Wednesday dialysis appointment (she goes in M-W-F for four hours each day).
Fortunately, Artemisia is here to help with the late night shift, "˜til @3:am. And Avilynn gets up around 6:am and helps MG until she has to leave at 7:30 for her full-time nursing job. We simply couldn't survive without the loving care of these beloved friends.
But yesterday was hell for both of us. Neither of us had any sleep the night before. I managed to drag her into the Satellite dialysis center only 15 minutes late, and then I planned to come back home and crash for a few hours. But the social worker and head nurse wanted to talk to me, so I to stayed there "˜til 2:00. The main gist was that MG's kidneys are not recovering, and they are now putting her into the permanent dialysis program for the rest of her life. And we need to look into such things as Meals on Wheels special renal meals, as well as a rehab facility where MG can get the intensive care we simply cannot provide at home. And also the need for us to get certain paperwork together"¦
According to the KÃ¼bler-Ross model, the five stages of grief (popularly known by the acronym DABDA), are:
I'm trying hard to stay at the denial phase, as I just don't have the energy to move along to the next stages.
After this rather intensive conference, I had to run off and do shopping and other errands. I just had time to drop the groceries off at home and then turn around to head back to the dialysis center for her 3:00 pick-up. But they wanted to run a bunch of tests before letting go, and these kept us there another two hours. So I never did get a much-needed nap.
These days, people are always telling me that I have to take care of myself. I think this is an extended April Fool's joke. My top priority is that I have to take care of MG, which is a 24/7 proposition. When am I supposed to take care of myself? Fortunately, and in answer to my unspoken prayers, a lovely Pagan healer named RaVnWolf"”a physical therapist and Reiki master"”has started coming here each Thursday evening for the past few weeks to offer us body work, massages, and Reiki, followed by wonderful 4:20 conversations in the hot tub. Truly, we are blessed by the Gods, who keep sending their avatars as we need them.
Again, we both thank you all for your boundless generosity in sending love, healing energy, magick, prayers, and money. It you who are making it possible for us to continue going with all this. As Winston Churchill said, "When you're going through hell, keep going!"
And check out the cool tribute Video our stepson Zack created for MG: http://www.gofundme.com/6fa3bk
Yesterday was a really good day for MG. Our first student, Kiri ( www.SongOfGaea.com
) brought over Joan Marler, Marija Gimbutas' protÃ©gÃ©, to check out our amazing Goddess collection of more than 300 Goddess figurines from around the world and throughout history. MG was in fine form in her best Priestess mode. Kiri recorded their conversation and MG's teachings on the Paleolithic "Matrikas." Kiri's plan is to transcribe MG's verbal lessons as a foundation for her planned series of 13 "Golden Goddess Guides."
MG's regimen of dialysis on Mon., Wed. & Fri., with Velcaid cancer treatments on Tues. and Cytoxin on Wed. has been really intense, and often very difficult for her"”especially the long gap between dialysis over the weekends. But this past Tuesday she was finally able to make it to the major medical marijuana dispensary in Sebastopol with her prescription from her oncologist, and obtained her first dosage of herbal medicine. We also picked up a nifty vaporizer. This was a bit of an expense, but it has transformed her life overnight"”greatly reducing her negative reactions to the nasty Cytoxin (restless legs, nausea, IBS, and overall pain). She's been sleeping well throughout the nights thanks to the medical cannabis, and not having to wake me up every few hours to take care of her"”which has been going on since she came home from the hospital.
Another major factor in her stabilization is that we were finally able to get her in-home oxygen, with a big machine (oxygenator) that pulls oxygen from the air and pumps it to her. I hooked the oxygenator tube up to my old CPAP breathing machine, and now, with pressurized oxygenated air she can breathe easily all night and overcome the buildup of fluid in her lungs that had been sending her into the emergency room at 4:00am on previous Sundays. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get our insurance to pay for the oxygen, as they demand tests that indicate her lowest oxygen levels are below 90% to confirm her need for oxygen. But by the time I get her into the dialysis clinic (or the emergency room), she's already been given emergency oxygen just to save her life, and her levels are up before they can be tested. So we are still having to pay for the oxygen out-of pocket.
We also now have in-home nursing care thanks to two of our dearest long-time friends who have moved into the house: Artemisia Barden, CAW Bard, who had lived with us in 2006-'08 to help care for MG's mother, Polly, in her final months and stayed on to care for MG and later in the first years of our respective cancers; and Avilynn Pwyll, CAW Priestess and licensed nurse, who is staying here for a few months until she can find a rental home in our area. And a new friend, RaVnWolf, who is a physical therapist and Reiki master, is coming every Thursday evening to do wonderful body work on both of us.
And we have gotten back on the Ceres program, which delivers a week's worth of prepared meals every Friday to invalid cancer patients around the county.
Unfortunately, due to exhaustive sleep deprivation over the past months since she's been at home, my own health finally broke before we got her on the medical marijuana, and I got a nasty little cough which she's now picked up. So today she's feeling pretty awful upon awakening. Seems there's always something else!
Yesterday was a really good day for MG. She felt better than she has in a long time!
I took her in to the Oncology Center at 10:am for her Velcaid treatment, and they showed her the latest results of her blood tests for kappa light chains (broken protein chains that are a byproduct of the blood cancer, and have been clogging her kidneys). The last time she was tested these were at 18,000. This time they were down to only 1,790!
She spent the afternoon and evening cheerfully bustling about the house, getting caught up on business, etc. She even make a whopping big pot of her own chicken soup (she has so many dietary restrictions that she can't eat any commercial foods).
Please keep those prayers, love, healing energies and other support coming it; you are making a huge difference!
This morning MG woke up at 3:00 having great difficulty breathing. She was suffering from pulmonary edema (fluid in her lungs), the same as last weekend. I helped her to a chair and set her up with my old C-PAP breathing machine, but it wasn't enough. She had me call 911, and the ambulance came and took her back to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital about 4:30. I was too tired to drive to follow her there, so I went back to bed.
At 9:30 I was awakened by her calling to say they had stabilized her and were discharging her at 10:00, in time to make her 11:00 appointment at the dialysis clinic. I drove back to get her and take her to the clinic. She made me promise to come back home and get a nap before picking her up from the clinic at 4:00. I just woke up from the nap to get this off. And that's the latest from Lake Wobegone.
She's home! She was checked out of the hospital at 6:30 this evening, and I brought her home. Now she's sorting her stuff and getting organized. We are both so glad!
Today MG told me that they are planning on releasing her tomorrow (Monday) afternoon, right after her dialysis. Please keep your prayers coming and your candles burning! Thank you all for your healing energies and support. This is a difficult time for us, and you are helping us get through it.
Here's the latest update from Zack, our godson:
I just had a great visit with MG. She's been moved waaaay back to the 3rd floor in the East Ward which isn't nearly as nice as where she was before. She's having difficulty sleeping in her new bed and apparently there's a crazy person across the hall that yells all night. Her roommate is a woman in her 30's that's also battling cancer under pretty difficult circumstances. MG, being such a compassionate and energy-receptive person is having difficulty not taking on the woes all around her and it's starting to get to her emotionally. When I got there she was in her chair in a dark corner trying to eat a meal. She was in pretty low spirits.
We talked for a bit and then asked her nurse if we could go out for an adventure. They approved it and we stoke a wheel chair and took off looking for some fun. We traveled around most of the hospital and explored some of the areas she wanted to see. We smelled fresh sage in the Healing Garden and hung out under some old redwoods for a while. There was a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that we found in the garden, to whom we prayed and thanked for watching over her. Virgin Mary was MG's "first goddess" and holds a special place in her heart. She told me a cute story about when Rainbow (Gail) was about 3. The first thing Rainbow said about Mary is that she was a "beautiful goddess" but she "wished she was nicer to the snake she was stepping on." Attached is a photo of MG and Mary. We then checked out the chapel which was very beautiful and not too overloaded with Catholicism. In fact they had a beautiful art installation honoring many different religions. (We plan on sneaking back and adding a pentacle to the symbols someday.) After a trip to the gift shop for a notebook and the ride back to the East Wing sharing stories, MG was in a much better space. She walked the length of the ward on her own and got a little exercise. When I left she was smiling and happy and feeling confident she'd be able to sleep tonight.
I was struck by how many friends she's made there. Throughout the trip around the hospital she had many nurses recognize her and chat it up. In fact the nicer ward on the 1st floor has about 3 nurses that are going to try to get her moved downstairs so they can take care of her. It seems like everyone loves her there.
As soon as she can go a few days without fluid building up in her body from the dialysis she'll be released to go home, which she is very much looking forward to. The excitement of being in the ICU has died down and the slow monotony of waiting in the ward is starting to wear on her. I'm bringing her an extra iPad soon so she can email folks and watch Netflix and HBO Go while she's there. Visits really help her positivity. Evenings seem to be a good time as her dialysis treatments usually happen during the afternoons.
She sends her love to everyone and remains very aware of how much love and healing energy is being sent her way right now.
That's the news from Lake Woebegone. More soon.
I just had lunch with MG. She's in much better shape than she was yesterday.
She had been having issues breathing due to liquid in her lungs as a result of the dialyses. She's much better today and no longer needs to use the breathing mask. She was in good spirits and we had lunch together. My office is only a few blocks from the hospital so it's convenient for me to pop in to see her frequently. I'm planning on having lunch with her as often as possible while she's back in the hospital. Hopefully she'll be out soon, but the plan is for her to stay for a while longer.
I asked her if she wanted me to pass a message on to you all and she said:
"Tell them I love them and the magic is working! Crises diverted! Now I'm just in for a tune-up."
Here's a photo I just took.
MG in hospital, 2/17/14. Photo by Zack.
Oh, I forgot to mention one other thing. Yesterday they discovered that when they'd done the surgery nearly a month ago to insert a port into her jugular vein for the plasma apheresis and dialysis, they broke her clavicle! Now we know why she's had such pain in her right shoulder--she thought it was just pain from the surgery, but it's been exacerbated whenever she's tried to brace herself to sit up, roll over, use a cane or walker, etc. So that's another thing to deal with.
While I was away in San Jose at Pantheacon this past weekend, Morning Glory had to go back into the hospital. Saturday night she'd begun having severe breathing problems, having to sit up and gasping for each breath. By around 4:00am, she was clearly in crisis, and Gary called an ambulance for her.
At the hospital, it was discovered that she was getting a lot of fluid into her lungs, and was essentially drowning. They hooked her up to a BIPAP machine which forces blasts of air into her lungs to push out the fluids. They also gave her emergency dialysis and removed substantial amounts of fluid that her kidneys just weren't passing. All this worked well, and saved her life.
As soon as I got home from Pantheacon Monday evening, I went straight to the hospital. She's feeling much better. They'll be doing another dialysis treatment today, but they won't be sending her back home until they can get her set up with an in-home BIPAP machine and oxygen.
At P'con, hundreds of people kept coming up to me and asking how she was doing. Everyone seems to be following her progress closely on Facebook and elsewhere. The amount of love, support, prayers, and healing energy so many in our beloved community continue pouring into her is just amazing--and is sustaining both of us; thank you all!
Today, after yesterday's dialysis and a good night's sleep, MG is feeling MUCH better! She's able to be up and about all on her own for the first time since she came home from the hospital. Thank you all for your healing prayers and support!
Although MG is home, she's still very weak, and needs help just getting in and out of bed. Today she finally got in for her first outpatient dialysis treatment, which will henceforth be every Mon., Wed. and Thurs.
But because of coming home from the hospital last Friday, she'd missed her two previous sessions which would have been Fri. and Mon. Today's treatment was exhausting for her, but she says that she felt much better afterwards--just really tired. We'll see how she feels tomorrow...
I have to leave for Pantheacon (in San Jose) early Friday morning, but Gary (MG's first husband), Gail (their daughter), and Cascade (a dear friend) will all be around looking after her while I'm away, hopefully having a very successful con!
As always, thank you very much for your love and support through these difficult times.
This weekend MG has been home from the hospital, and she's feeling much better! She's getting enough sleep, eating better, and becoming more mobile each day. She's walking all over the house with two canes.
Tomorrow (Monday) she has to get blood drawn--and possibly begin her outpatient dialysis treatments (we don't have a schedule for these yet).
She is very grateful for your love and support--as am I. Thank you!
I spent a long time with MG yesterday (didn't get home until 8:30). At this point, her hospitalization has reached a point of diminishing returns. She isn't getting any sleep, as they wake her up every few hours to check her vitals; and she can't eat most of the food they serve her.
She's done with the apheresis treatments; she will need more dialysis, but she can get the treatments as an outpatient right here in Rohnert Park.
So today we checked her out of the hospital and brought her home. She is much relieved, and is now being nursed by our dear long-time (30 years!) friend Artemisia, who has moved back in. Artemisia had previously lived with us and cared for MG's mother, and MG herself when she was first diagnosed with cancer in 2006.
She is very happy to be home, but needs a few days to get settled in before she'll be up for visitors.
MG is MUCH better today!
She's all done with the apheresis treatments, and she didn't have a dialysis today. She did have a Velcaid treatment for her cancer, but that's easy. She's finally eating well, and walking about much more. Tomorrow she has a final dialysis treatment, and then she may be done with the hospital, and ready to come home. I'm not yet sure which day she will be coming home, though. I'll know more tomorrow...
MG had her dialysis in the morning today.
By the time I got there she was all done. We just spent the afternoon together companionably. I massaged her neck and shoulders, and helped her walk up and down the halls, and she shared her dinner with me (they always bring her stuff she can't eat). Alejandro showed up after dinner, and we all had a nice visit together.
Tomorrow she'll be getting a cancer treatment; then on Wednesday it'll be more dialysis. We don't know what's happening after that; she thinks she may be able to come home on Friday. Stay tuned!
Just got back from the hospital with MG.
She had her final plasma apheresis treatment today--another 4 hours! She'd had a bit of a setback over the past few days, with serious IBS. But that's all over now. She was feeling pretty good and chipper after the treatment, and happy to be celebrating Brigit's birthday.
It rained all day today--filling Brigit's sacred springs (and our well) in the middle of the worst drought Califia has seen in decades.
He kidneys are coming around, but very slowly. Tomorrow she gets another 4-1/2-hour dialysis. She may be coming home later this week, but she'll probably have to be on dialysis for some time yet.
She wishes you all a joyous and creative Brigantia/Oimelc/Imbolg/Candlemas/Groundhog's Day...
Love and Blessings,
Not much to report this evening.
MG spent the afternoon in dialysis. We all had a great conversation for 4 hours with her dialysis doctor. Afterwards, she was exhausted, and fell right asleep.
Tomorrow is her final apheresis treatment. Hopefully her doctors will be able to tell us more tomorrow about future dialysis, etc.
Again, we both thank all of you for your continuing love and support! It really is making a huge difference!
Bright Blessings, OZ
Friday with MG...
Yesterday MG had a very intense day, and she told me I should take the day off from visiting her. After a 4-hour dialysis session, she had to have another 4-1/2 hours of packed blood transfusion (all red cells, no plasma). This was very hard for her. Then, when she finally got to get some sleep, they woke her up after only a couple hours to take vitals and blood samples!
So she was not at her very best today, when she was scheduled for another 3-hour session of apheresis (yes, I got the spelling right this time!). I got there about 3:00, and her doctor, Diane, arrived shortly thereafter to set up the equipment.
We were both scheduled to appear from 4:00-5:00 via call-in on Julie's radio show, "The Pagan Side of the River," on KGGV ( www.KGGV.Blogspot.com
). MG led off for the first part, then she had to get all hooked up, and I continued the interview with Julie. I think it went well, with no stress for MG.
Overall, she is doing very well with these treatments. Her kappa light chains (broken chains of proteins from the cancer activity) are down by half of what they'd been last week, and her kidneys are finally beginning to come back to proper functioning.
She is only going to need one more session of apheresis (cycling out all her blood, separating the cells from the plasma, and replacing all her own plasma with albumen) on Sunday, and she'll be done with that. However, she will be needing several more dialysis treatments, which are scheduled for Saturday and Monday. But she may be coming home as early as Monday--I'll let you all know.
Thank you all for your love, healing energy, and financial support to carry us through this very difficult time.
Bright Blessings of Brigit!
Another day with MG...
Today they moved MG from the ICU to the oncology ward. She had her phoresis treatment in the morning, and was feeling cheerful, feisty and hungry when I arrived, as she'd missed dinner last night due to a late dialysis, and missed lunch today because of the phoresis treatment and the move. By the time they showed up with dinner at 6:00, she was ready to chew the furniture!
Our dear friend Jeanette--who was a girlfriend of our daughter when they were kids back in the '70s--came by to visit MG today. Other friends and family have been showing up at the hospital every day throughout this entire adventure. MG is holding court!
We are both so grateful for all the love and support we have been receiving from all of you. Thank you so much!
Wow--you did it! $5,000! And so needed! What a wonderful community of friends and supporters! We are so blessed!
MG was in an excellent mood today, and we had a lovely afternoon together. I showed her the lovely little video montage that Zack had made out of the photos I'd selected, and she just broke down into tears. She said it was the most beautiful gift she'd ever received.
I left the hospital about 5:30 when the tech came in to hook MG up to the dialysis machine. Wolf and Cat were on their way over to hang out with her for the evening shift.
Another long day at the hospital with MG. Today she had a four-hour plasma phoresis treatment, having her blood plasma removed by centrifuge and replaced with an albumen serum. All the time she was having quite an animated discussion with the tech nurse on matters mystical. Wherever MG goes, she is the Priestess.
She's feeling and looking much better every day, and is more able to get out of bed, walk around, and sit in a chair. After the phoresis nurse left, I stayed through her dinnertime, and we really enjoyed having some time alone to connect.
Tomorrow she'll be back on dialysis; and then phoresis the next day, alternating as long as it takes to get her functions back to normal.
Thank you all for your love, healing energy, and generous support! May you never thirst!
I just got home from the hospital. MG was feeling much better today--up and about, walking around, sitting in a chair, etc.
Yesterday she had a double-dose of blood extraction and filtration: phoresis all morning, and dialysis all afternoon. By the time they were done, she was really wiped out, and she had a very rough night. Today she was due for another phoresis treatment, and then they were going to alternate days of phoresis with days of dialysis. But she begged them to let her have a day off, and they agreed. So tomorrow she'll be back on phoresis.
One of her doctors is a serious Trekkie, so she's having a great time with him.
We both want to thank all of you for your generosity of love and support. You are getting us through this crisis!
Saturday evening, 7:00
I just got back from the hospital. MG has had quite a day--plasma phoresis all morning, followed by hemo-dialysis for 4-1/2 hours this afternoon.
When I arrived, the techs and nurses were just hooking her up to the dialysis machine. Our kids were there with our granddaughter Alessa, who was very glad to see that her beloved gramma Morning Glory was still alive and kicking. Alessa wasn't allowed into the room--or even into the airlock, as MG is still in isolation pending the final test for TB. So she had to watch from the ward through the little reinforced window, and talk to MG on her cell phone. It was like one of those prison movies!
MG was wide awake, feeling quite chipper, and talking a blue streak nonstop all day while the machines pumped her blood through the filtering machine. I brought the advance copy of our bio book--"The Wizard and The Witch"--that just arrived this morning, and she was delighted--showing the 16-page color photo section proudly to her favorite doctors and nurses as they came in.
Her kidney functions are still way down, and she told me to ask you all to visualize her kidneys being healthy and filtering toxins at 100%. And she said to tell you all how much she loves you, and how grateful she is for your love and support.
So say we all!
I just got home from another day at the hospital with MG. She is feeling MUCH better today, and quite talkative! She is SO grateful for all the love and support she has been receiving; she feels like she is being held up by "the thousand hands of Kwan-Yin."
I brought in a few Goddesses from her collection and set up a little altar on the window sill between her room and the airlock. There is now a Green Tara, a Kwan-Yin with infant Maitreya, and a Catholic Madonna with baby Jesus (it's a Catholic hospital).
The doctors and nurses at Santa Rosa Memorial are from many different cultures, and MG is loving this diversity. The technician who runs the machine that does her plasma phoresis is Asian, and he really responded to the little figure of Kwan-Yin. He has to be at her bedside for 3 hours running her blood through the machine to filter and scrub it, and he got to talking to her as to a revered village elder--calling her "Mama," and asking her counsel on personal issues. Even flat on her back in the hospital, MG is the eternal Priestess! She even had an interesting interaction with the Chaplain when he came around to see her...
Her doctors have decided that she will keep her present isolation room in ICU for the entirety of her stay--which they say will be another 3 weeks. She loves the room--it has a beautiful western view of redwoods and the setting sun, and may be the nicest room in the hospital! An interesting set of, um, "coincidences" have conspired to let her keep it... Doncha just love surfin' the Synchronicity Wave?
Tomorrow she'll be getting BOTH plasma phoresis (where they take out all her blood, centrifuge out the red and white cells, then replace the plasma with a special serum before they put it back into her--discarding her old plasma with all the nastybad myeloma stuff) and hemo-dialysis for her kidneys. This will be most of the day, so visitors are not encouraged tomorrow. She's receiving massive transfusions of healthy scrubbed whole blood as well, so she is becoming "blood brothers/sisters" with every one of you who has ever donated blood (a concept we learned from Mr Heinlein).
Over the weeks to come, MG will be delighted to receive visitors. Visiting hours are from 9:00am to 8:00pm (but not between 5:00-6:00, when the nurses are changing shifts). But they only allow two visitors at a time, so please call her first to schedule your time with her. If you know her well enough to visit her, you probably have her cell phone. But if not, contact Julie or me.
Enough for now; I need to get some dinner.
This morning MG went into surgery to have a port put in to enable plasma phoresis and hemo-dialysis. All day today they've been pulling her blood out of her body, using a centrifuge to separate the heavy red blood cells and the lighter white blood cells from the lightest plasma, which they are removing entirely and replacing with an artificial gel. The plasma has collected the harmful myeloid plaques, which are thus being scrubbed out and discarded. Tomorrow morning they'll be starting a similar process of dialysis to clean her kidneys. They'll be alternating these processes for the next several weeks, so she'll be in the hospital for awhile yet.
Thank you for all the love, prayers, support, and healing magick you've been sending; she really feels it, and it's making a huge difference! Her doctors are feeling very positive for her eventual recovery.