Benzo Withdrawal

Limping Back to Life

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It is said that each year on Rosh Hashanah, “all inhabitants of the world pass before G‑d like a flock of sheep,” and it is decreed in the heavenly court “who shall live, and who shall die . . . who shall be impoverished, and who shall be enriched; who shall fall and who shall rise.”

Thirteen months ago, right before the Jewish New Year, my life fell apart and, since then, I have been forced to drastically slow down in an attempt to to settle in to this new normal.

Slowing down has been difficult for me.

Ridiculously difficult.

Probably because I was a real mover and shaker in my former incarnation, so I often feel like I’m not doing enough for my family.

I beat myself up, saying I should be able to do X easily, the way I used to.

Like it should be no big whoop.

Except, sometimes, even completing one thing on my to do list is wicked hard.

I know a few people who have been through benzo withdrawal. These good people reassure me that the burning mouth and the fatigue, the dizziness and the agoraphobia will eventually all go away.

I want to believe them.

I do.

In the meantime, I have to surrender to the idea that my life may never be the way that it was.

To accept what is right now and enjoy today.

This moment.

Right now, my cat is resting next to this keyboard. His body is relaxed, his breathing even. He is a living meditation. Nothing bothers this cat. Even when I clumsily step on him, he never makes a peep. He eats and cuddles and plays and sleeps. He isn’t concerned with the idea that he should be doing more. He just is.

I want to live like my cat, without worrying about what I should be doing.

I’m fortunate to have people who care about me: folks who continue to check in with me via telephone or Facebook. It’s easy to feel forgotten when you’ve been sick for a long time, so I’m grateful to these people who keep showing up for me.

I’m trying to stop beating myself up about the things I can’t do and congratulate myself for the little things I am able to do.

Yesterday, my husband and I went apple picking.

Apple picking has always been a family ritual. This year, however, we didn’t have our son with us. And we didn’t ride the tractor. Holding on to my husband’s arm, we walked slowly up the path to the orchard. I’ve been feeling particularly dizzy recently, feeling like I am being pushed to the left by an invisible hand. It’s a frustrating feeling, and a distressing one too.

Part way up the hill, a woman emerged from one of the rows of apples. She held a camera, and asked if we’d be willing to pose for a photograph for a nearby small town newspaper. At first, I was uncomfortable with her request. I hardly feel like my best self these days, and it’s been a long time since I’ve felt well enough to wear anything other than yoga pants. I didn’t have any makeup on and my hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail because that’s about all I can muster these days. I didn’t like posing for the camera. I felt exposed and raw. It’s hard for me to smile these days, due to the emotional blunting caused by the drug.

And yet.

I did it.

More importantly, I was there: taking in the view from the orchard, grateful to see the apple trees heavy with fruit; able to appreciate the leaves turning from green to red and yellow and brown.

I couldn’t have gone apple picking 13 months ago.

And this year, I was able to go with assistance.

This is where I am today.

Caught in an the middle place.

Desperately uncomfortable, but alive.

I’m here, limping along, like everyone else.

I’m challenging myself to write more, to paint more, to get out more… but many times, I am still too sick.

I hope that next year at this time, I’ll be able to easily attend Rosh Hashana services, to listen to the rabbis words, and feel that my life has been enriched in ways that I cannot yet imagine. For now, l’ll dip my apple into honey and wish everyone a sweet year filled with good health and happiness. If there is a reason for my suffering, I sincerely pray that it will one day end so that I can be of service to others who are going through their own dark times.

For now, apparently, it is still my time to receive.

I’m sharing a photograph of myself, the way I am right now, in hopes that one day I will be able to look at photos of myself and see how far I have come.

September 26, 2014
L’shanah Tova, everyone.

For better or for worse, what has changed for you in the last 13 months? 

70 thoughts on “Limping Back to Life

  1. You look great! You are in the place that you are right now, and it is a far way from where you were a year ago. You are slowly and surely getting your life back, and your journey is a marvel to behold. Your courage and strength have impressed me throughout, and I am glad that you can settle into BEING right now. You could not do that even as recently as a few months ago, so this is a triumph. Continue healing and being. Much love to you, as always!

  2. Thanks for updating all of us on your journey. I surely wish it were moving along faster for you! But I’m so encouraged to hear that you are radically accepting your situation and are working to enjoy the life you have as it is.

    1. Radical acceptance. Yeah. What else can you do, right? I’ve definitely been doing a lot of soul searching during this difficult time, and — moving forward — there are some changes that will need to me made in my life, but that’s the way it goes, isn’t it?

  3. I see wisdom in that face. Thank you for sharing your journey, and for sharing your beautiful words. And L’Shanah Tovah.

  4. Sending strength and prayers your way. 🙂 Step by step, you’ll get there. And 13 months from now, you’ll look at the photo above and realized just how far. You will be of service to others, simply because you want to, and that’s healing in itself. 🙂

  5. I’m so grateful every time I see an email announcing a new blog post from you. We don’t know one another, but I carry you in my thoughts on your journey. Someone in Georgia thinks of you and hopes in your recovery. Thank you for sharing your honest pilgrimage.  Shawna McBee

    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

    1. Hi Shawna: I’m so glad that you here with me. It’s amazing how much online support means to me, especially during this difficult time. You have been especially wonderful and so encouraging. How great to meet a new friend along the way.

  6. Hang in there, Renee! Glad to see you are getting out in the world and taking steps, even if they feel uncomfortable. Love and hugs to you. 🙂

  7. Renee, I am also very happy to see how far you’ve come and smile whenever I see a new post from you, either here or on FB. As frustrating as it must be, I know that you understand that your healing journey will take it’s own sweet time getting you back to health and peace; as long as it takes, that’s how long that road will be. I hope you know that we are all here, a hundred waypoints and just as many off-ramps along the bumpy road.

    1. Thanks SAHM. I’m definitely off-roading these days. I’m a trailblazer in some places while at the same time I’m limping down a well-trodden path. None of this is fun or easy, but I have to have faith that there will be happiness again – at some point. There just has to be. I’m guessing you have experienced some dark days in order to be so empathetic – and for that I’m truly grateful.

      1. My dark days are of different varieties than yours but I know the hardships, the difficulties and the longings. I also know the happiness; unfortunately it sometimes comes with the knowledge that it can still be fleeting. But so can its absence! <3

  8. I loved your post and appreciate your openness and love to share yourself. You are really beautiful just the way you are. I know though you just want to feel better physically so you won’t have to hold on to your husband’s arm forever. I am 18 months benzo free and feel very blest by God that I am not the person that I once was. I am being remade and am beginning to have feelings again although I still can’t cry. Very weird to me. I have much more empathy to others and want to see them on the road to wellness and have hope once again. I am looking forward to more posts from you.
    Blessings, Linnea

    1. I’m being remade, too, Linnea. It’s truly an awful awakening, and it’s requiring me to be more brave than I ever expected I could be. Stick with me, please. I am totally appreciating my online friendships these days. You have no idea. Or maybe you do.

  9. Renee, I know this journey has been tough for you on all fronts. I want you to know that I am exceedingly proud of you. You are healing. You are on a journey. There will be tough days and setbacks but I hope there is never loneliness. We’ve never met, but I still think of you and send prayers your way and am inspired by you. I’m so happy you got to go apple picking. Hope more happy moments, more balanced days are ahead!

    1. Oh Jess. I’m no kind of warrior. I’m just holding on some days. I pray that eventually the tides turn so that I can enjoy some of those balanced days ahead. Thank you for sticking with me. Your cards and gifts have helped me so much. I know that when I’m in a better head space I’ll be able to open my heart to others the way I once did. Right now, I’m just so grateful for your continued friendship.

    1. Did you get them yet? Oh I can’t wait to see what you think! 🙂 Thank you for your words of encouragement, Patricia. Someday — when I’m thru all of this — I’m gonna come looking for you for a long overdue hug, sistah!

  10. Renee, I love that at the end of your blog, you still ask a question of us. You still prompt us to reflect with you, to make connections within our own lives, to share with you what we have learned in our time on earth.

    I am glad you were able to go apple picking. It is a tradition in our family to meet at a mid-point along Lake Ontario. My youngest sister and my mom travel from the north, sometimes bringing with them my grandchildren. My brother, his wife and my niece arrive from the snow capital of the state, bringing with them the bright-eyed sweetheart for whom they babysit. My younger sister and her husband drive from the south, bringing with them something yummy that my brother-in-law, the chef, has prepared. My husband and I drive from the west and are usually late. We always misjudge the time that it will take us to get to the orchard.

    Your apple picking, this year, sounds much calmer, gentler, and yes, more exposed because you allowed someone to photograph you, as you were. And your husband was at your side, able to help you through your dizziness. It was not that long ago that you wrote about his inability to help you through the awful nightmare of your withdrawal. You both have grown to accept your life as it is now. Sometimes one becomes so sick that there is no memory of what it is like to be well, to live without pain. And gradually you will realize that you are far better than you could ever imagine being.

    I think of you often, remembering our first meeting on the street in front of your house. On my way to work each morning (I have come out of retirement to take a long-term sub position), I look across the fields to the school that would be a barn, or is it the barn that would be a school?! It was a crazy thing to build…but I now vote there and wonder if the natatorium is open to the community…

    Next year when Rosh Hashanah calls the people of the earth to walk before G-g, I pray that your steps are more sure, that you are able to hear the Rabbi’s words, that the honey into which you dip your apple is the sweetest ever tasted. I believe that it will come to you. Dorothy

    1. Oh D’Alta. I do remember that meeting. You are amazing for sticking with me. And I sure would love to go for a walk with you at some point. That would be absolutely great. I’ll take happiness in the smallest places these days.

      1. Just found your comment! I would love to walk with you someday, too! I was just thinking about you, wondering if you are writing, painting, walking, healing. Life is such a strange journey. One just cannot predict where we will be. Things open up and offer to let us through doors we never imagined. Connecting with you on that evening a few years ago, opened and welcomed me through the door of friendship with you. So many wonderful women have crossed paths with me. Sometimes I think that I must bring them together, a house party for women finding our way.

        I recently jumped at a chance to substitute for a dear friend while she is on maternity leave. I could barely contain myself when she asked. I love teaching little ones how to sing, how to listen for surprises inside music, how to dance to the beauty and excitement of music. I am not sure where this journey takes me, when I will arrive, nor why I am traveling it. Sometimes roads appear. We take them and we rediscover joys we had forgotten. I hope you are still discovering small places of joy. Still keeping you in my heart! Dorothy

  11. I just read your blog Renee…saw your name on Jenn’s blog and felt inspired to write to you. I have been where you are….it has been 4 years for me since I took my last pill…and it has been a long, arduous journey, but here I am…in a place I doubted I would reach….and you will get there too….the improvements are so infinitesimally small and slow in coming, but they do come. There will be setbacks along the way, so take your time and do not push yourself, and know that it will pass. I can see that you have many friends who care about you and have not deserted you…that is such an important part of your recovery…I was not so lucky…and now I am busy, not trying to resurrect those old friendships, but searching for new ones. I wish you well and know deep in your soul that you can and will recover…believe it!

    1. Ruth! To hear from you is such a gift. I hate hearing that your journey has taken so long, but I am starting to make the necessary changes in my life so that I can find peace in the future. It isn’t wasy. And I’m scared nearly all the time. I just hope that I can get to that place you are talking about. So many beautiful people have come into my life over the last 6 months. And I totally get what you are saying about creating new friendships because new people keep showing up for me all the time. It’s amazing, so thank you for the reminder.

  12. I’m awed by your insight and resilience, Renee. Hugs and encouragement from your friend in the ‘cuse. You look beautiful in your picture, and you continue to be of service to your readers…more than you know. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. 🙂

    1. Oh Erm! You are always so very kind. Sheesh! If you are ever in my neck of the woods, I sure would love to visit with you. And thanks for saying you think I look beautiful. I’m not feeling it so much most days lately, but I’m optimistic that one day I’ll get my mojo back. Others have done it before me. I’m not such a trailblazer: I’m just having to figure things out now, after a relatively privileged and comfortable life. I’ve been fortunate which has made me spoiled. I’m glad to be connecting to the human race again. Hope you are well.

  13. I adore you, Renee. Thank you for your courageousness and for sharing it with all of us. The darkest times often make way for the most brilliant rewards — I really believe that, cliche as it may sound. I just know countless rainbows await you. That gratitude of yours will go such a long way; it’s already inspiring your friends/fans/readers! If there’s ANYthing we can do, please tell us. *big hugs*

    1. August, I remember reading about your eating issues and thinking, what? How can this beautiful woman have any issues at all! Shows you what I knew, right? We all have our frailties and quirks and insecurities… We all make mistakes, too. I’ve got a lot of perspective these days on a whole lot of things I never wanted to face. I suppose one day I’ll come out of this thing stronger for the struggle, but right now — mired in it!– just feels exhausting. Thank you for stopping by the hold my cyber hand as I go through the paces and make the necessary life changes to accommodate my new life. Lots more growth along the way, I’m sure. Hope you are well. Really.

  14. I am glad you are healing – I miss your serious posts and your snarky posts, too. Especially your snarky posts…. but there is a lot I miss, too. the last 13 months have been busy for me, too. As I get older, everyone around me gets older, too. My children are 16 and 11, soon to be 12. one drives, the other drives us crazy – actual both do but at different times. My parents are aging, and we lost a sister sister-in-law and my father-in-law this year leaving my wife and I with just our mothers and my step-mother. and they, too, are teetering as well…..I am thankful for all I have and especially my family and the relationships with the blogging community. It’s with God’s grace and forgiveness that we all live. I am just trying to keep making the days count, one day at a time. Peace – Shalom.

    1. No one ever explained to me that the teetering part is part of life! How I wish I had known about pain and vulnerability sooner. I’m so sorry to hear about your losses over the last year. Heartbreaking losses. I’m glad you have your family to hold onto – this raising up kids thing is really difficult in the best of circumstances. Like you, I’m trying to make the days count. Sometimes I fail miserably, but I keep trying. Thanks for the well wishing. And as far as my snarky posts go? I think I’ve lost most of my snark. A lot of it was burned away during withdrawal. I feel like a different person these days: one who is simultaneously afraid and fearless. It’s a weird middle place, and I hope to get a more balanced life eventually. Hope you are having a great school year.

  15. Do you get jaw pain and ringing in the ears with the dizziness?Have you had the dizziness for a long time?Im wondering how long this part will last…..Thanks!

    1. The jaw pain is one of my worst phtsucal symptoms. It is unrelenting, as is the dizziness — which has calmed down a lot since the first month, but is still very disconcerting. How long ago did you stop your benzo? People assure me that these symptoms will go away in time. I’m trying to keep the faith. Nice to meet you, Debbie. Let’s try to support each other as we heal.

      1. Thanks for your kind reply!I am almost 6 months off Lorazapam.The dizziness is the worst,also the ear ringing,jaw pain is still very bad.Its so frustrating,because id like to walk more for exercise,but I do that so rarely because im worried ill fall.The dizziness triggers anxiety,which I hate.The anxiety in general is slowly getting better,but comes in waves.Im worried ill be dizzy forever!

        1. Hi Debbie: Stress absolutely triggers all the horrible physical sensations, and I hate every minute of it. Because the pain is invisible, no one can really understand what we are feeling. I can only hope that one day I’ll get thru to the other side of this thing. Let’s stay the course together.

  16. I have been wondering how you were, I am glad you continue to recover. You look fabulous, just you just how you are just right now how you are. You do not need to be anything more than you right now, no enhancements necessary. You are fabulous.

    Writing, painting…I am so glad you are keeping this up. The recovery, it goes at its own pace. This, as with any recovery from anything traumatic, it takes time and has its own pace. I wish there was something I could tell you that would make it better. I had to extract myself from a different med, not near as terrible as what you are going through. I was also fortunate, I was only exchanging one for another (seizure meds), though the transition was terrible at least I had some help and some ease.

    I am glad it is getting better. I am glad you are surrounded by love.

    1. These medications are really something aren’t they? I figured you had some experience with this stuff since you’ve been so understanding and empathetic. It’s getting easier, but I’m having to make a lot of necessary life changes, which is scary and unsettling and painful. I’m thinking of you and I enjoy following you on FB. At least I can do that a bit more these days, right?

  17. I am always happy to see a post from you. To me, you still look beautiful and you are still the talented writer we know. Baby steps are the best steps to take. It’s okay to mourn the you that was and then welcome the you that you are now. I still mourn my pain-free vibrant body of the past and am constantly working on accepting the new.

    I have learned that there is a difference between giving up and surrendering. Giving up means you throw your hands up in defeat. Surrendering means you accept what you have been given (good or bad) and find the purpose for it. It is happening for a reason and you surrender to the wisdom it will give you. Does that make sense? It helps me a lot.

    Peace be with you, mi amiga! 🙂

    1. Maria, everything you write makes sense. I have been quietly continuing to read your words when I can and you know what? I’d love to talk with you. If you are interested, will you shoot me an email at I’m working on finding the purpose in all of this mess. It’s still pretty murky for me, but I have faith that with a lot of support, I’m going to get thru the challenges before me. No one ever told me there would be such dark days in my life. Who knew when I was playing kick the can in the neighbors’ backyard that I would be where I am today. Sometimes I want to go back to those carefree days and sometimes I’m glad for the learning I’m getting along the way. Today, I’d just like to be thru all of this already.

  18. you might not know this, the left side is feminine energy; the divine feminine in communication with you. if you feel pushed to the left, you’re being encouraged to rest, to let things happen around you, to sit, to ask, and to wait for the answer and then to act. i know this because i’ve been in communication with reiki and light workers and enegy healers and my left side these days (months, actually), is “turned on” more so than the right. the right is masculine: pushing through, physical energy, but the left… ahh… much more subtle and all about “being” and “waiting” hence, “fe” in “feline.” cats don’t rush. love to you my amazing friend. you keep me in perspective when i wonder about my mom and what she went through and never seemed to (want to?) master or at least attempt to leave. xoxoxo

  19. Renee…you are still so beautiful!
    I’m always happy to see a new post from you in my reader. I enjoy how R-E-A-L you are. Your determination and willingness to be vulnerable are admirable.
    For me, the last 13 months have been a period of continued growth – I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone in my business and some relationships. Always room to grow…

    1. Yeah, I can relate to the whole pushing outside the comfort zone thing. Every day is challenging in its own way, y’know? I’m trying to reconnect with old friends and embrace the new people who keep showing up along the way. Being vulnerable is basically where I live these days. I don’t even try to fake it anymore. I just own it. I announce my fears and insecurities. I have to be really honest about my feelings too. No more stuffing anything down with medication. It’s a new reality for me with major life consequences. I’m amazed by your willingness to continue to bloom and grow. Sometimes I wish I could just run away and hide. Trying to handle things like an adult for the first time in my life. Thanks for checking in Denise!

  20. Can I just say that I’m so very proud of you and how hard you’ve fought to come back? You keep fighting….and you’re beautiful to me. Yes, your externals are lovely, but more importantly, your heart and spirit are gorgeous. You’re coming through this fire stronger than ever!

    1. Alas Kitt, I feel like you give me too much credit. That said, I am feeling stronger every day, and I’m preparing to make the unpleasant but necessary changes to work for my new life. This living life crap isn’t easy, is it? It’s challenging all the time, right? I’m trying to enjoy the little moments these days. It’s about all I can do. It’s all any if us can do. I really would like to hear how you are doing. Did you publish your next book yet? How is every little thing?

      1. Good for you. And you’re right. Truly living is quite the challenge & adventure. I did publish my book, and the second one (the second was actually written before the first). I had to take a day job, but I’m trying not to get so caught up in it that I lose track of my passion….which, besides my dogs & hubby, is writing book #3. 🙂

  21. Glad to hear you are getting there. Yes, it can be a slow process. Don’t worry about that. Just do the cat thing 🙂

    You can skip the purring if you wish. It would probably make your throat hurt.

    Curling up in the sun is good though. Especially as things get colder. Of course you don’t have to worry about that. You southerners don’t know what a real winter is like!

    What have I been doing?

    It was about thirteen months ago when they doubled my dose of morphine, because the pain had gotten so bad. Then in May, I realized I felt weird. Very little pain. I went off the morphine, and felt human.

    Of course morphine has side effects. Going off it releases you from one particular side, constipation. Boy does it ever. The results were embarrassing more than once, but I finally appear to be over that. And praise G-D, the pain still hasn’t come back.

    I don’t have a clue what is going on, but I’m not going to complain. I’ve spent most of the last twenty years in pain, and all of the last ten years on narcotics, so not having to worry about either is a huge bonus.

    Oh yeah, and I have a story in the Terror by Gaslight anthology edited by John Manning.


    1. Wayne, I’m so glad to hear you are feeling more alive. This living stuff sure isn’t easy, is it? I’m grateful to you for sharing your story with me; sometimes when you hear about the road others are traveling, it helps to provide a little perspective. I’m so glad to hear you have a new story in Gaslight. That’s wonderful. I think I’m going to stop focusing on wondering what I’m supposed to be doing with my life and just get to doing. I’m going to start writing about my experience and, hopefully, one day I’ll find myself on the other side of it. Thanks for remaining my steadfast cyber friend. Means the world.

      1. No, it isn’t. But the results can be worth it (the kids).

        Just doing can often show you opportunities you didn’t know you have. And some of them might really surprise you.


  22. You look beautiful, Renee. So glad you shared your picture with us. I’m also so glad you were able to go apple-picking.

    As for the word “should,” I think it deserves to be banned. It is the source of so much frustration and distress for so many of us. “This is how it should be,” “I should be doing/feeling this.” I do it to myself and my husband and my kids ALL the time.

    G-d willing, you will continue to progress forward, and move forward with the calmness of your kitty. And know that even through your suffering, you are already being a service to those in dark places. Because you’re talking about it, and candid about it, and so strong and inspiring in your dealing with it.

    much, much abundant love. xoxo

  23. Renee, as always you look beautiful. I’m am happy to hear that you were able to go apple picking. It is something that I’ve always wanted to do, but given how crazy this time of year is for me with work and family obligations, I always seem to miss my window of opportunity.

    Having said, that, I’m glad to see that you are talking your opportunities to live life when and how you can. I know that you have been through a lot in the last 13 months. You have made great strides, even though you don’t always feel that way. Your artwork is amazing and I’m happy to see you are writing and blogging again. I think we have to remind ourselves on a daily basis to live in the moment and be grateful for what we have today.

    You are strong. You are healing. You are stepping up and stepping out. You are inspiring.

    Sending good and positive thoughts your way today!

    L’shana tovah to you and your family.


  24. You stick to that journey. It’s your journey and it sounds hard–and it sounds like you are doing it. Which, some days, is the victory. Keeping you in my good thoughts & prayers.

  25. You are already of service to others and have been. I had no awareness of this kind of reaction possible when stopping those kinds of drugs. Think of all the people you have taught and warned, including perhaps some in the medical community. The apple picking made me think of some of your earliest posts on this subject when you reported that there was a time in the very beginning when light through the window was too much. You have come so far. You have created a new niche for your artistic side, adding the painting. You’re an inspiration and will continue to be. I wish for you health and happiness most of all this new year.

  26. It’s good to have challenges. Just slow down and take them one at a time. If it all comes too easy, life becomes empty and without purpose. And don’t worry about how you look on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts. I could see that beauty a long time ago – it’s still there and always will be. Thank you so much for keeping us updated on your progress but you only need to write when it feels right.

    P.S. I’m sending you my own (exciting) update via email.

  27. Girlfriend, I’m thrilled that you are in that middle place. It’s like my Wednesdays. Well, it’s not but it has the same concept of still having more to do … but celebrating that you’ve reached the middle. I digress. I’m proud of you.

    My change in the last 13 months involves a slow emergence from a cocoon … I was always good before, but I’ve realized — as I stretch myself into a new career (Scary!) that I can be better and enjoy what I’m doing for a living.

    1. Hi Naomi! I’m so glad to hear from you! I don’t know why I didn’t see this earlier. Or maybe I did and my brain just didn’t know what to do with it. I’m glad you’re emerging from your cocoon. I don’t know HOW you do all that moving. It’s so difficult to establish roots in one place! You are a so strong! I’m looking forward to connecting with you in real life at some point in the not too distant future.

  28. I so understand having to learn to live a “new normal”. It is hard and we tend to berate ourselves for not being able to live up to our old standards of doing things.

    I wish you all the best in your recovery.

  29. You write well and you inspire even in these dark times. Sharing your pain as you do in the way that you share it (with such sincerity), helps others–both so they can offer their care to you but, more importantly, so they can deal with the pain and struggle in their own lives. Everyone who writes to you wants you to heal, and as soon as possible, but, in your dark times, they thank you for what you share. I know I do for sure. So, thanks very much.

    1. Hi Bob. This healing stuff is very slow, and i have to accept that I may never be the way I was before. But that could be a good thing. Truth be told, I lived a rather charmed life before, and I wasn’t always compassionate to others who expressed that they were in pain. Now, I totally get it. My empathy bone has grown about 333% larger. Truly. Thank you for being here to help me as I limp toward my new normal.

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