This web site is for Wicca, witchcraft, white magick, Pagan spirituality, mythology, spells, spellcraft, past lives, magickal correspondences, and global pagan networking.
It is the successor to my former web site, Open, Sesame (1998-2011), which had over 25 million visitors.
As before, this is also the cauldron where I hope to brew more books.
“Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?”
Waylaid by medical drama.
Merry Meet Again! I am a paler version of my more vibrant former self, but it is wonderful to finally be back. Those who know me, whether personally or through my books, e-lists, or previous web site, probably know that I have Multiple Sclerosis – a chronic, progressive, autoimmune disorder that ravages the nervous system. I’ve had it about 35 years, since high school. There is no cure for MS (yet), and no treatment for it at this advanced stage.
MS is a long, slow series of losses. Goodbye driving, adieu high heels, farewell career, embroidery, maquillage, speed-reading, travel, financial security, walking . . . and so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote. You mostly get used to it. Still, I was shocked when I got home from rehab to discover Open, Sesame missing from the Web. The company that hosted it for years had gone out of business while I was away, taking my entire web files with it. I had saved copies of many of the site pages, but my computer died while I was away and it took a while to replace it. Eventually I got a new Mac and a new Web host. I intended to get Open, Sesame back online, thought I could do it quickly, but that never happened. Humans make plans, and the gods laugh.
Multiple Sclerosis means ‘many scars’. My brain and spinal cord both have lesions, so I have problems with memory and cognition as well as with motor skills. Technology changes faster than my brain can keep pace with it. The program I’d always used to publish Open, Sesame was obsolete, not supported by my new computer. I struggled mightily with it, but could not learn any of the programs the new host supported.
I spent three months in rehab, working hard to regain my pre-surgical level of function. I mostly succeeded, except for fine motor skills. That includes typing. I taught myself to type as a child, trying to write a novel on a toy typewriter. I’ve always been a two-finger typist, could type 90 wpm that way, but slowed as my MS progressed. Since the surgery I’ve only been able to type with one finger, so now it takes me a ridiculous amount of time to write, post, or answer e-mail. For example, it has taken me more than a week to write this.
Heavy-duty meds were offered for the pain, but I declined them and took Tylenol. I’m tough, but I must admit that I was scared. What frightened me most was that the neurologists could not say when – or if – the spasms would stop or my condition would improve.
People with MS fall a lot. I had spinal surgery late in 2010, after a back injury. The operation wasn’t a big deal, just a simple procedure from which most people go home the same day. But MS complicates everything. I woke up mostly paralyzed – except for twisting waves of full-body spasms that raised me off the bed like something from The Exorcist. Doctors and nurses said they’d never seen anything that extreme. I’d catch nurses clutching one another in alarm, as spasms subsided and my body relaxed.
Magick, positive thinking, the gods, alternative medicine, a low-fat vegetarian diet, and sheer stubborn willpower sustain me. I have defied medical expectation and done amazingly well. These last two years have been particularly challenging though, literally silencing me and erasing me from the Web. I kept working to continue my recovery, using word games and puzzles to improve my cognitive function. I even created a sophisticated vocabulary game that I call Paisley, which I played in my mind to sharpen it. Physically, I heeded what I’d learned in rehab, maintained and expanded the regimen. My husband thought me stronger than I’d been in years, so it was surprising when I began to sharply decline after a series of upper respiratory infections in late 2011 and early 2012. I repeatedly got sick then recovered, lost my voice then got it back. Thinking it was just laryngitis, I wasn’t concerned.
Things grew worse until there came a day when the right side of my body stopped working and I was unable to speak. My husband called 911, fearing that I was having a stroke. We’ve been married for more than 20 years and have been through a LOT together, but this was unprecedented. He told me later that as I was wheeled out on a stretcher he thought, “Well, that’s it, she’s broken.”
But I’m a witch, and a stubborn Taurus. I always say, “Tell me what I cannot do, then get the hell out of my way and watch me do it.” I also say that you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, even if you can no longer walk. Doctors told me in the early 90’s that I’d soon be blind and in a wheelchair, but I was able to walk until five years ago, and I can still see. I lost all peripheral vision after my first bout with optic neuritis in 1991, have permanent double vision (triple vision when I overdo), and my field of vision has shrunk to a small circle, but I CAN STILL SEE and I give thanks for that.
I am broken but unbowed. I may be presiding over the arc of my disintegration, but magick helps it move in slow motion. It might be inexorable, but I wait hopefully for stem cells. My glass is always half full. I love being incarnate. I’m happy. I still find joy and meaning in life, even though I’m going deaf and blind in a wheelchair. I have purpose, am one tough witch with miles to go before I sleep.
I didn’t have a stroke, thank Goddess. It was a massive MS attack, the first in decades (actually a pseudo-exacerbation, because my MS is in stage II), along with a nasty upper respiratory infection. I was very ill, a neurological mess. I wasn’t scared this time though, even though I was in worse shape than after the surgery. I knew that if I had recovered once with rehab, I could do it again.
Rehab personnel were making plans to permanently institutionalize me, but I was making plans to go home. It took IV steroids, six months in hospitals and rehab facilities, took a lot of physical, speech, and occupational therapy, but I got home at the end of August. I was delayed by another sinus infection, a second MS attack, and a fall that injured a shoulder, but I made it.
This time I discovered that the open-sesame domain was gone, bought by someone else when it came due for renewal while I was away. So, onward and upward with this new web site. I want to say that I’ll rebuild Open, Sesame here, but recent events have harshly reminded me that you cannot make plans or promises when you have MS. The one certainty is that no matter how bad your condition, there will come a day when you will wish you could be this way again. So I will say instead that I intend to rebuild Open, Sesame here, and hope I will be able to do that quickly.