I Confess…

In 1990, I married my fiancée of five years, in a Catholic ceremony. I did it with the full knowledge that I was in love with another man. I take full responsibility for the role I played, however, it still makes for good reading.

The wedding had not gone off without a hitch, no pun intended. I had an ex who had threatened to “crash” my wedding: I took care of this little inconvenience by hiring a security guard, who was given a picture of the man in question. As the limousine containing my mother, my father and myself pulled up to the church? I see said security guard frisking a friend of mine, who happened to have red hair, but looked absolutely nothing like the red head who had planned to embarrass me at my nuptials. As my father and I sat in the back, knocking back the champagne at warp speed, my friend Dan approached the stretch.

“Michele, they won’t let me in.”

After my father and I pulled our laughing carcasses off of the floor, I had a quick meet and greet with Mr. Robotto. I had asked that he not come dressed like a cop, which he did. I had asked that he come to me before throwing anyone out, which he completely ignored. Needless to say he was fired, and my nemesis never made it to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I had asked my maid of honor to search the church for the man I was truly in love with, as he was my husband’s employee, and had been invited. I knew, with certainty, that one look at that man and I would make The Graduate look like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A mix of high anxiety and no sleep the evening before, I was a whirling dervish of angst and punchiness. I don’t remember walking down the aisle with my father, but I DO remember this scene:

My girlfriend Gina had been given the assignment of reading scripture. And as she began to quote Corinthians, she stumbled on a word. To the normal person, this would have gone unnoticed; to an exhausted and heartbroken bride to be? The funniest thing I had ever heard. When I laugh, well, it’s with my whole body-and I am not quiet about it, no, not at all. I laughed so hard that the priest began to become unhinged, and as hard as I tried…and then, the icing on the cupcake of the service: hearing my father and best friend laugh with me, I was gone. I collapsed at the altar, thus ensuring the crowd that this would be a day that would live in infamy.
************************

It wasn’t until the ex and I pulled away from the cozy bed and breakfast; our friends and family waving us on, headed towards Martha’s Vineyard, that this song played. And as I sat, numbed and tortured by a forbidden want, hot tears of recognition trickled down to the post card I had been writing:

HAVING A WISH, TIME YOU WERE HERE…

I mailed it from Nantucket.

To Dwain, with love… (to be continued)

He’s Just a Shout Away….

 

After a three day weekend of sitting on my hind end, I bust out of the gate in record time this morning!  I stopped drinking the joe, you know-my anxiety, and I have three words people, three words.  

My effing head.

Holy headache Batman!  Momma never told me there’d be days like this; but then again, she drank a pot a day…I remember well the mornings she would rise before the crack of dawn; to make our lunches and breakfast from scratch.  As an anorexic, I was beyond privileged to have homemade salads and gourmet cheese for lunch.  And French dressing, please.  The girls at my lunch table (the crew team from Upper Merion, my Alma Mater) envied me so much they started to bring salads themselves.  My arch nemesis, Kathy Quarto (sweet Jesus she was so competitive with me, until I finally got good and angry…and beat her ass at our annual one mile run) copied each and everything I did, because she saw how thin I was and I suppose she wanted to slim down.  I is who I is, and didn’t like her constant nearness, watching every move I made.

I remember the day well.  Beautiful, sunny Fall day.  I was on the Varsity Crew team for various reasons:  my brother was and I followed him everywhere.  Hmm.  Perhaps that was Karma for treating Kathy so impatiently, ’cause I know for a fact he hated the shadowing.  Craig was a member of the UM Varsity Four, which took first place (I was their coxswain) so often we were invited to Belgium for Finals.  I didn’t go, as I was embroiled in a bad case of anorexia/bulimia.  But back to the race…

Kathy had beat me at, well, everything.  But this day would be different, and I’m pretty sure I shocked the shit right out of the girl when I beat her by 18 seconds.  Of course I peed my pants in doing so, the team was cheering me on as I ran straight past the finish line and into the locker room.  I believe my brother carried me to the car that day…I won, but I broke myself.  🙂

What made the difference on this day of days?

I prayed.

Father God, this chic is a pain in my apple!!!  I can’t shake her, so please let me, just once, beat her ass into oblivion.

She didn’t speak to me for months.

Got trouble?

He’s just a shout away…

Cuffed on a Dirt Road

 

Okay, I have a million different things on my mind, it’s my 26th wedding anniversary, and I forgot my husband’s card.  I have eleventy hundred boxes of cards-as a matter of fact?  I collect them.  I.  heart. cards.  Big time.  I guess I could use one of those, but hey-it’s not the same.  Somehow, spending twenty bucks on a card makes it mean more, and Hallmark?  You have enough of my money, thank you.

I cried nonstop for a week straight.  I literally couldn’t get out of bed.  It was Godawful.

I wanted to find a way, if underwhelming, to put those years into a blog.  But there aren’t enough hours in the day-I have so many memories, which will turn into stories, perhaps, one day.  So, here’s the Reader’s Digest version, ’cause it’s our day and my man is kicking me in my kidneys.

I was engaged to a decent man.  Or so I thought.  We brought out the worst in one another.  He became abusive on our honeymoon.  He knew I was in love with another man, and despite my pleas, we were married on June 9, 1990.  Allowing myself to be coerced, I made the worst mistake of my life.  I had cervical cancer at the time.  The stress was overwhelming.  I sent Dwain a card from my honeymoon.  

The marriage lasted one week.

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The biggest challenge and love of my life.

 

I moved in with Dwain not long after.

It was wild, all consuming, raw and passionate love.  We couldn’t keep our hands off one another, it was a sickness-a curse.  When he left the room, I ached.  When he came back?  I swooned.  We are still as passionate and crazy in love.

God protected us from murdering one another over the years.  Alcoholism.  Drug Addiction.  Anorexia.  A shit ton of mental health issues, denied grief and a violent temper-all on my part.  We never laid a hand on one another.  We have never cheated on one another.  Although, I deliberately tried to run him over when I caught him driving his secretary back from lunch one Spring afternoon, years ago.

We were poor.  Dirt poor.  His first wife took everything but his soul.  I was a violent, malicious drunk-and the tears flow every time I think of how I must have wounded him.  There was emotional abuse on both sides.   Cops.  Court orders.  And, finally?  Jesus.

He is the song I sing.  He will always have me, heart and soul.

What a beautiful gift He has given me!

 

 

He’s Just a Shout Away….

 

After a three day weekend of sitting on my hind end, I bust out of the gate in record time this morning!  I stopped drinking the joe, you know-my anxiety, and I have three words people, three words.  

My effing head.

Holy headache Batman!  Momma never told me there’d be days like this; but then again, she drank a pot a day…I remember well the mornings she would rise before the crack of dawn; to make our lunches and breakfast from scratch.  As an anorexic, I was beyond privileged to have homemade salads and gourmet cheese for lunch.  And French dressing, please.  The girls at my lunch table (the crew team from Upper Merion, my Alma Mater) envied me so much they started to bring salads themselves.  My arch nemesis, Kathy Quarto (sweet Jesus she was so competitive with me, until I finally got good and angry…and beat her ass at our annual one mile run) copied each and everything I did, because she saw how thin I was and I suppose she wanted to slim down.  I is who I is, and didn’t like her constant nearness, watching every move I made.

I remember the day well.  Beautiful, sunny Fall day.  I was on the Varsity Crew team for various reasons:  my brother was and I followed him everywhere.  Hmm.  Perhaps that was Karma for treating Kathy so impatiently, ’cause I know for a fact he hated the shadowing.  Craig was a member of the UM Varsity Four, which took first place (I was their coxswain) so often we were invited to Belgium for Finals.  I didn’t go, as I was embroiled in a bad case of anorexia/bulimia.  But back to the race…

Kathy had beat me at, well, everything.  But this day would be different, and I’m pretty sure I shocked the shit right out of the girl when I beat her by 18 seconds.  Of course I peed my pants in doing so, the team was cheering me on as I ran straight past the finish line and into the locker room.  I believe my brother carried me to the car that day…I won, but I broke myself.  🙂

What made the difference on this day of days?

I prayed.

Father God, this chic is a pain in my apple!!!  I can’t shake her, so please let me, just once, beat her ass into oblivion.

She didn’t speak to me for months.

Got trouble?

He’s just a shout away…

My Grandma and Your Grandma…

 

Just sitting by the pond, actually looking at social media accounts, when I came across a bombshell.  My mother in law, or ex MIL, I should say-has moved from Pittsburgh-to a town not ten minutes away.  She is in a nursing home, and I am left with memories of lost days, lost family, and some of the best years of my life.

This hits me hard, like a baseball to the gut.  I want to see her, I want to apologize for the pain I have caused her family.  I want us to be friends again, yet I know I’m treading on very thin ice.  My ex had an incredible, closely knit, Italian family.  We ate quite a few dinners in rented halls, as there was no room anywhere else.  We drank lots of wine and made merry-Karl’s brother Greg was my best friend, so much so that he travelled from Pittsburgh to be with me as I awaited news about my cervical cancer biopsy.

I had developed cervical cancer from ignoring a bout of chlamydia, given to me by a man I thought I loved.  He left me pregnant and sick, and looking back I know it was a part of God’s plan.  You see, after my cryosurgery and multiple ablations, I was deemed unable to have children.  But here’s the thing: the surgeon told only my husband, who never thought to tell me.  I was in the dark until a miscarriage I suffered soon after my marriage to Dwain.

“Why did you allow yourself to get pregnant?,” the stranger asked, as I lay on the table, bleeding profusely, crying softly.

“What kind of question is that?  I’m married, and frankly, not your business.”cha

He went on to explain that it stated clearly in my chart that my uterus was pretty much useless after the biopsy-that I was scarred and twisted, that my husband, at the time, was notified.

“Spontaneous abortion,” he barked.  I took the papers he was holding-a recommendation to have a D&C, and walked back to my old Chevette.  I rushed home to tell Dwain, and quickly realized that he did not want more children.  He lost his son in a custody battle and wasn’t prepared to lose another.  It was heart wrenching and agonizing.  But back to the story.

Greg arrived on a beautiful Summer day.  Karl was at work, and we were getting ready to head out for lunch when the doctor called.

“The cancer is in situ, it hasn’t spread, we are relieved.”

Greg knew by my reaction that the news was good.  We decided on a champagne lunch, but first I had to call his brother, give him the happy news as well.

You just didn’t want children,” he screamed.

That evening, as a direct result of his attitude, I fell into the arms of the man I was meant to be with.  We had been in love before my wedding, and I fought the good fight.  He was asked not to attend, although he worked with my husband.  I knew that if I had seen him as I walked down that aisle?  I knew that I would run, run for my very life and never look back again.

There was no reason to fight the feelings for one more second.  I yearned for him, as I do this very day.  And Karl?  He is happily married with a son.  The Funk name will go on, and as for myself?  I will live childless, yet happily ever after.,

God is good-you can trust him with anything, even your heart.

 

Hippychick….

“It’s hard to tell you how I feel without hurting you…” – Soho

This is also an essay on how what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that there is hope-for each and every one of us.  You can read my tags, or About feature and see that fate had dealt me a raw deal, and that was 27 years ago!  The hits keep coming, but I will bow to no evil, stay true to my faith and carry on, as He has great and good plans for me, and you, my beloveds.

I had just read the article in Ladies Home Journal that was written by Susan Dey, the ex Partridge, about her cervical cancer and how she knew she had it-her symptoms.  Karl was on a business trip, and I was alone in our house, which had been stress-cleaned by me the minute he left the abode.  I had been having similar symptoms, and as I headed up the stairs to use the ladies, a feeling of foreboding swept over me, like so much dust, so dreadful…..so real.  Shake it off, Michele, my thought cloud read.

And, as fate would have it, I saw the odiferous, grey discharge-which sent me reeling and running to the telephone to talk with my mother.

“Honey, I am sure you are fine.  Just make sure to go to the doctor this week.”  Incredibly comforting, yes.  But I knew………and I was internally combusting at warp speed.  Earlier in the year, I had been diagnosed with HPV-given to me by a long ago boyfriend.  Back in 1998, there was no talk of the vaccination or the virus, really.  Only now does it make sense.  I had no money for the antibiotic, and, being the hair brained procrastinator that I am, I let it go.  Only now, five years later would I be paying for my ignorance.

The next day?  A nurse called me with my pap smear results, which was taken two weeks before.

“The doctor needs to see you to explain the results,” she said.

What do you mean?  I need to speak with the doctor, please tell him to call me.”

“You have cancer,” she said.

With that, I insisted, demanded that I be seen by my doctor.  She had no right to say that, especially over the phone.  I wanted answers, and I wanted them now.  She told me she would call him, and to expect a return call within the next few days.  NOT GOOD ENOUGH.   I in no way think of myself as special, a prima donna, nor do I think I deserve anything more than the average Joe-but I had just moved to the area, and I had been having problems with spotting for over a year.  My gynecologist?

“You look great and your test results are great.” I called him repeatedly, this man who hated women…only to be told the same thing:  “A little spotting is normal.”  I had left him behind in Phoenixville, and the new doctor I was seeing saw it right away.  I wish I had sued the bastard, but hindsight is always twenty- twenty.

The phone rang the very same evening.  It was Dr. Overholt, asking me to come into the office, apologizing for his nurse, apologizing for the news.  As I sat, in paper robe and smiley face socks, I felt more vulnerable than at any other time in my life.  My heart pounded, my hands shook, how could this be?  I had never missed a pap in my life, why wasn’t this caught sooner?  Will I be able to have children?  Will I be able to live a life free of this sniveling coward we call cancer?

He explained to me that I had carcinoma in situ, Stage I, and that he was referring me to a gynecologist who specialized in Cervical Cancer.  I met and loved Dr. Lape from the moment our eyes connected.  He explained that I would have to have a cryosurgery first, and then-a biopsy of my uterus-to ensure it hadn’t spread and to remove the tumor.  His best advice?

“Don’t listen to ANYONE but me.  Don’t go looking for trouble.  Any questions, this is my home phone number.  God bless you sweetheart, we got this.”

And so it was, after  three cryosurgeries (in which the cancerous cells are frozen and destroyed) a biopsy and D&C, that I lay on the couch, my Tylenol #3 and a heating pad for comfort.  My parents took me to my first freezing, and afterwards took me to lunch and tucked me in when we returned home.  I remember feeling as if I had been beaten below the belt, the pain was tough, the recovery tougher.  More cells were found, more cryosurgery.  And finally, freedom.  The freedom that comes with knowing you are free of the dastardly C word.

I was never told I could not have children.  And I didn’t find out until I lost our first child-an uncaring doctor asked me why we didn’t use birth control if I knew I couldn’t carry.  He gave me a script, called it a “spontaneous” abortion and referred me to the local Planned parenthood, where I was given another scraping, and released.

Driving home, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  My girlfriend Annie, not taking her eyes off of the road, shushed my tears.  She held my hand.  She took me home and put me to bed, with a stuffed teddy bear and a sippy cup.

 

She (Part 3)

So, we left off on the day before my biopsy for cervical cancer. Dwain had stopped in, and he was persona non grata with my mother and sister, who travelled to Schaefferstown to drop mom off; she wanted to be with me, and I was thrilled to have her. Thank God she was in the ladies room when the love of my life came to the door with flowers. We had decided to not see each other, for reasons that were both obvious, and ubiquitous. My heart raced when I heard his muffler, from miles away-he drove a beat up Chevy pick up, baby blue, and to be honest? I was shocked he hadn’t heeded my NO, but deliriously happy at the same time.

I had married Dwain’s boss two weeks before. While on the honeymoon on Cape Cod, Karl had lost his cool and jacked me up against the wall, by my neck. He was angry that I had ordered a bottle of champagne. Two days later he left me in a restaurant twenty miles away from our cottage, and I knew by day three that I would leave him. Cancer has a way of jolting you out of your stupor, and having it leaves one scattered, frightened and incredibly raw-but somehow, hearing the doctor say, “You have cancer,” instigates an incredible will to live-and on your own terms at that.

The next day, at the Good Samaritan hospital in Lebanon, I was in a room with my mother, prepping for my surgery. I wanted Karl to leave, I didn’t understand why he was there, and his attempts at comfort were not wanted, nor appreciated by me.

“Mom, tell him to leave, please,” I begged. Alas, she didn’t know the whole story, and she shushed me with a “He is your husband, sweetheart, he needs to be here.” After a requested shot of Ativan, I became, shall we say, unruly. I called Karl a “Cock shell,” and although my mother, along with the nurses who surrounded me and the anesthesiologist thought this to be hilarious, in my mind the words made sense. I was calling him a dick, in my own drugged out and terrified way.

I was in bed for a day afterwards. As the weeks went by awaiting a prognoses, I grew irritable and withdrawn. Karl’s brother, who lived in Pittsburgh with the rest of the extended family, drove down to stay with me-he was my closest friend at the time, and he knew nothing of what took place on the honeymoon. I couldn’t bare to tell him.

One morning, while Greg and I were deciding where to go for breakfast, the surgeon called. I jumped when the phone rang. Dr. Lape went on to tell me that the cancer was in situ, localized and at Stage I. I was going to recover, survive…….besides myself with hope I phoned my then husband at work.

“It hasn’t spread, I will be okay, no chemo-they believe they got it all!.”

And for years, until I miscarried Dwain’s child, I was not privy to the information that would break my heart. The doctor told Karl, believing he would be the one to break the news.

“You just didn’t want to have children, you bitch.”

And that was the beginning of the end. I ran out the door, put the keys in my Chevette and drove. I put 100 miles on the speedometer, and ended up a mile from home-in the arms of the man I could no longer deny.

To be continued……..