Esther Tela Free speaks

You woke me up

All these things that I have done

Its hard to look back and see the progress when you are in the midst of a change.

April 29, 2016 I was taken to the Adventist hospital in the midst of liver, kidney and respiratory failure. They couldn’t take me which I find really ironic when I pass their billboards that tout how wonderful their ER is. Instead I ended up at Kaiser in Clackamas county. I should have stayed in Portland, and I will regret the fact that I had no say in my treatment or where I was taken and that once again my ex-husaband made a decision that will have repurcussions to my dying day.

That isn’t the focus of this post though. The focus of this post is to remind myself how far I’ve come from then. See, when I was taken into the hospital I weighed 335 pounds. All my life I had been called fat. People would yell ‘fat ass’ out the window of their car when I would walk down the street.. On the phish (that band from vermont that some of you might know) newsgroup rec.music.phish (newsgroups were the precursor to Facebook groups I suppose). But the difference is there was absolutely no moderation what-so-ever. It was the wild wild west of communities and I was a pretty well – known poster as I had either a job where I could be online all day, or I wasn’t working so I spent almost all day, every day online posting about Phish. I somehow gained a troll (i would find out later that it was a large group of people acting as one signle troll) who would write stories about me eating people. And make fun of the fact that my health had deteriorated into me needing a wheelchair just to go to a live music concert. The bullying continued into my 30s until I eventually had to leave that internet community that I had thought was accepting of all people but would actually be one of the most creul and unforgiving communities I’ve ever encountered on the internet and I’ve been part of an online community or two, or three for over 22 years now.

I digress.

Now, I’m 100 lbs down. Yup. I’m outing my weight on the internet. I weigh 235 pounds. And I wear a size 12 in some clothes and in others I wear a 3x depending on the manufacturer of the item. How on earth is anyone supposed to feel normal wearing such an array of different sizes? Epecially in a society that places so much value on that damn number. How is anyone who is self-conscious in any way supposed to live with themselves and their weight when our clothing manufacturers won’t even give us a regular size. Now guys clothing is measured in inches. You know the waist size. You know the length and that is the way it is no matter who makes the clothes. Talk about a punch to the face. To me it seems as just another way to control us.

I digress again.

I decided a few months ago to let someone move in as a roommate. I let him stay for free for a few months. I wanted to see how we got along. I wanted to open myself up to a new person. Well that fell apart the other day. I no longer felt safe with him in the house and had to run. I had to walk down the block, call for a Lyft and go pick up my car that had been impounded when I suffered multiple anxiety attacks and memory issues relating to the PTSD and anxiety that I can now trace back to my early childhood. That brings me to mom. A mom Who decided to tell me that because i pushed away this roommate, that meant I had no friends. Never mind the 15 messages on messenger that I recieved when I let people know I had to create a whole new fb profile. It’s amazing what the internet does to people. For people like me, it can destroy them with just one sentence. For others, like zev for one, or Bee for another, and even darryl yes, I know you are all behind things. I know there are others involved too, but that won’t last forever. Karma is a real thing. A very. real. thing. And you’d better get ready to face YOUR demons because I’m facing mine right now, every single day when I wake up and I hurt. When I sit for 15 minutes and can barely move after that 15 minutes because the stiffness is so bad.

I have digressed again.

Honestly I guess I’ve lost focus on what this entry was supposed to be about. I guess it’s about freedom. The freedom to be who I want without my mom telling me that I have no friends. When I disappeared a few weeks ago due to some circumstances almost completely out of my own control, I was found with one shoe and sock and a bare foot on the corner of Division Street. The police found me, put me in an AMR ambulance (mind you this is the 2nd or 3rd time these wonderful folks have, oh wait, it may even be the 4th time that they have come to my rescue when it’s been a life-threatening situation). See, I suffer from, wait again, I don’t like to use the word suffer. I have anxiety (and PTSD) and Im despartaley trying to control it without relying on medications.

There we go. It’s out now. I have PTSD from an alcoholic father and a controlling mother who wants nothing but to dangle my strings in life like the puppets in a kids theater. It’s from the bullying that began in 3rd grade that continues to this day when I went to the Coldplay concert and I realized that SOMEHOW, some of these people KNEW that popcorn was a trigger. Somehow they KNEW the things that triggered me to have a panic attack. I may never know how that was the case. I will just continue to look down at the love button that some of you may have recieved if you were at that Concert. From what I have been able to glean, not everyone got one of those buttons.

She told me this morning, after I had called her to let her know I was safe. She told me I hard pushed away the only friends I had. Because I didn’t let this man, a person I did NOT feel comfortable with, stay living in my home. She didn’t believe me that I had been able to procure my car from the impound lot. She just sounded pissed. After being missing for a few days, maybe even a week total, Then reappearing. Then disappearing again, she was pissed. WTF mom. What. Is. Wrong. With. You. You didn’t teach me how to handle my emotions. You came from the school of push those emotions deep deep inside and dont let anyone see you cry. Not ever. There’s no crying in baseball afterall.

Needless to say, this posting has jumped all over the place. I started it because I’m going to try and lose another 50 lbs and today I downloaded an app to keep track of my calories. That’s how I lost the first 100 lbs. I found out how many calories I burn at the weight I’m at and then I ate less. I didn’t even excersize. I am doing bother now. It’s different now though because I have a goal. I want to tour with a band. I want to find a band that will take me on to help them in some way. Whether it’s to drive the van, or even just make some home cooked food while at the hotel. It may be a pipe dream, but it’s my dream. And i’m going to keep fighting to make that dream come true.

I started watching a youtube red documentary about Lindsay Sterling tonight. The dancing violinist. I had never heard of her before, well at least not that I can remember and she is someone that I admire greatly. She is fighting a food issue just as much as I am fighting one. (She’s also facing the death of her father which is something I dealt with at the age of 21) I have a tendency to eat my feelings. When I’m sad, I want pizza. When I’m happy, I want pizza. I would eat pizza for every meal of the day if I could. And trust me, I have before, for months at a time. That was how I got up to 335 pounds. I was stuck in a loveless marriage that had died right around the day before our wedding in 2004. Don’t get me wrong. We had grand times. But I had followed in my mother’s footsteps and found myself in an abusive relationship. I can’t go in depth into that part of my life until the divorce is final. I will get into that one day though. So keep an eye out on the blog. I finally got out of the marriage a few months ago and the moment I recieved that restraining order my life began down a path that I am happy to say is probably some of the best times I’ve ever had. I have hope that the next few days will cement a future. A future that I have been dreaming of. Some of that will require hard work. I used to walk almost every night. But I slacked off. Gained some weight and today I put myself back on that path to getting healthier. I really do love green beans! I really do love tofu. OMG a tofu scramble? Yes please! Scrambled cheesy eggs? Yup. Throw me that protein. I’ll eat it.

“it’s time” as the announcer before an MMA fight would say. It’s time for me to start the rest of my life. And I hope that includes you” I may have even prayed that it would include you.

Oh I forgot to mention one thing. I exist in pain. Chronic pain. It hits when I least expect it. No one’s ever been able to tell my why. I just have come to accept it. After 14+ years of controlling it with opiates, I have moved forward to handling it with alternative treatments. Yoga. A TENS unit. Just plain ole fashioned grit and determination. So if you know who I am, and see me walking down the street on your neighborhood (sometimes its a button that says I heart nerds, sometimes its a button with a smiley face and a bleeding head wound and sometimes it’s a “love” button) remember that what you do, in those moments when you pass a stranger can sometimes last a lifetime. That person who yelled ‘fat ass’ out the window at me in Birmingham, Michigan has permanently damaged me and I’m betting he is proud of that. I have faith though that Karma will bring everything into balance.

Change. The only thing that’s constant in life and in reality and I’m in the midst of a big one. Watch out world. This wily fox is on the hunt, on the prowl and is ready to take on the world. And I will gosh darnit. I will.

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October 10, 2017 Posted by | abuse, anxiety, Changes, Dreams, Internship, Memories, MOF, mom, pain, phish, reality, RMP, sickness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memories 

Some good, some bad. They come back at all times. Recently the bomb has been invading my thoughts. That’s right. Bomb. A homeade one yes, but one that blew up none the less. I was 17. Junior year. I think at least. It was warm and the fan was the window (in the memories of that time, the fan is ALWAYS in the window) and something woke me up and I looked out the window. By this time in my life I had been bullied inccessently by my classmates. I was petrified to go to school and even home wasn’t safe. Cars would drive by late at night and flash their brights in the window. I was a mess. I must have already had anxiety at that point because I was always worrying about everything. I digress. I heard something that made me look out the window and I saw two guys walking towards the house. I was able to see them put something right by the door and of course I was curious. Maybe someone was actually being nice to me? I always tried to be optimistic and I’m glad I have not lost that in the 4 decades I’ve been alive. I walked down the winding stairs towards the front door and suddenly there was a loud bang and my mom started yelling. We both went to the door and opened up and there was black soot and exploded pieces. I was horrified. I know my mother was too. This was back in 1991; pre-911. If this had happened now, the kids would be in trouble. See, my mom went to the school and told them what had happened. I had seen the guys who did it. I knew who it was. In fact, one of the guys had a class with me. My mom wanted something done. I’m sure you know what’s coming. The school did nothing and every day. Every. Damn. Day. I had to look at this guy who put a homeade bomb on my porch and be scared knowing that they could get away with anything they wanted. If they could put a bomb on my porch, what on earth would they do next? My horror and fear of people has to stem in part from this experience. 

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Memories | , , , | Leave a comment

Man it hurts

I’ll go into it more, but today has been the most painful day I’ve experienced since my father committed suicide. I cried for 20 minutes straight in the car. I know I’m not alone. I know there are a crapoload of you out there that care and are rooting for me to get through this. That doesn’t take away the pain though. I just keep reminding myself that this is temporary and with the bad, comes the good. I am really lookin forward to the good parts.

April 7, 2017 Posted by | anxiety, Memories, reality | 1 Comment

Another plug in the wrench was my insurance situation. If you’ve never been chronically ill, you may not understand the hoops we have to jump through in order to get care. The doctor I was seeing worked out of a certain health care system. That system did not give me options such as physical therapy, or seeing any sort of psychologist. Due to the lack of hospital beds the day I almost died, , the hospital transferred me to another hospital in a completely different health system. Because I wasn’t a member of this hospitals system, I had to find an equipment company that would rent me the equipment. Somehow, due to the diligence of my team at kp, I spent the last 15 or so minutes of my hospital stay with a rep from one of two in the city that I could use. The hubby and I were relieved to have me rolled out of the hospital with rather proper breathing machine for me to sleep healthily. I remember sitting in the passenger seat, at dusk, with the window rolled partway down, feeling the breeze on my face and watching the pinkish colored sunset sky to the left of me. We drove steadily up the highway and soon I was home.

I knew, after we got front row, reserved balcony seats for my new favorite band, that I would have to walk up a flight of stairs. The year previous, I had seen ghost at that same venue. It is one of the only hazy memories I have of 2015. I started walking up that flight of stairs and it was so hard and tiring that I was forced to sit between the two sets of stairs. 

Things were bad in 2016. I mean really bad. I was completely losing my marbles. You start to wonder whats going on. I’m not talking about crazy like thinking someone’s in your computer crazy though. I’m talking about how I couldn’t draw a clock. K would say, draw three o’clock and I couldn’t.

I now had a goal to help me recover from this experience. I had four months to get myself standing, and walking enough to park a few blocks away and stand in line, amped of course, up those two flights of stairs that would take me to my coveted seat for the best medicine there is. Live music.

The first few weeks home weren’t easy. My memory was fucked. I would get a phone call and forget what was said. This was frustrating to my poor hubby. He had nursed me from almost the entire time we’ve been together. I was able to some what nurse him when he suffered a diagnosis of congestive heart failure and a subsequent cardiac arrest a few months later but I had not been able to sustain that for very long.

The years I have had to use the wheelchair, prior to my hospitalization, are a mix of frustration and the desire to get my musical medicine without experiencing the major stress that comes with traveling and using a medical assistance device. Unfortunately, at a major music venue in the Pacific Northwest, I experienced one of the worst experiences at a live concert. And I’ve seen one band almost a hundred times and not just in one state. I got to the hotel in the city near the venue and made it to the campground in the rv we had rented. When we arrived at the campground the campground guy did not flag us into the handicapped camping section. He put us up into a top section on a decline and the paths were made of gravel. To someone in a wheelchair that is like saying we don’t give a shit that you are here. That was the first indication that this trip and concert just might not be the experience I was used to having. The day dawned bright, warm and cloudless and I looked forward to having a wonderful time and tried to have a positive attitude. As we got ready to head to the show is when I noticed the gravel and realized I would have to walk. In the condition I was in, that was a hard thing to do. And I was fighting the urge to just crawl up and die. I was already embarrassed enough to be using a wheelchair but I was also fighting a confidence issue as I had gained significant weight as a side affect from the steroids. I got down the hill and waited at the bus stop for the handicapped bus the venue provided which I am thankful for. I was loaded into the bus when it arrived and it was my very first time in a handicapped bus.

I would like to say that all of the other handicapped people that I have met in my concert travels have been wonderful human beings.

As the lift rose up, I rolled into what I thought was the area to be. Now my memory is fuzzy here, either he didn’t strap me in, or I said I was ok, I’m not sure. But what happened next, I won’t forget. The bus driver got into his seat. He pulled the break and the bus slowly rumbled to life and out the gravel road. At the stop sign, there was a small hill and as he stopped, my wheelchair violently rolled forward and smashed into either the seat or another wheelchair in front of me. I untangled myself and rolled back into my spot. As I did that I realized that my wheelchair had been damaged. Wheelchairs are expensive and mine hadn’t been covered winsurance and knowing I would have to order a new one, mine was a special light weight one,I would have to fork over the cash out of pocket too. I compartmentalised the issue and tried to look forward to three hours of music and bliss that came along with live music. We were drive to the back gate entrance and since I was very early and the only wheelchair, I figured I’d be ok, but what I didn’t know at the time, is at this time, they did not have a section for wheelchairs. I asked the security guard about this. He smiled widely, took ahold of my chair and wheeled me right out into the general admission area in front of the stage. The live concerts I usually go to, have rabid fans that wait hours so they can hang on the rail, right in front of the band. I knew this because I used to be just one of those persons. I spent many hours waiting in line at venues across the country. Madison Square Garden in NYC, The Mothership in Hampton, Va just to name two of my favorite experiences. When I was wheeled out to the GA section, there were already rows of fans claiming their spot for the show. I was a pretty meek person back then, and didn’t have the wheelchair experience yet to know I was not in a good spot to enjoy this concert. I had such a horrible time, and felt it was so wrong that they didn’t have a handicapped section at GA concerts that I contacted the state where the venue was located and put forth in motion a lawsuit. I wimped out about it, but I found out years later, when I returned again to give them another shot, they had a wheelchair section and I’ve since enjoyed a few shows there.

Before I got sick, my hubby, who is a music extraordinaire both in knowledge and in dj abilities would try to play different music for me, and I found myself stuck in a pattern with not just my health issues but also in my musical tastes. When I returned home, I found myself drawn to much heavier music than I had in a long time. I also found a new respect for many legends I had just sort of turned my snotty-at-the-time nose up at. Now, I was blown away by the intelligent and soulful lyrics of musicians from all around the globe. Germany, Sweden, and even some of my own fair city’s known bands….

April 7, 2017 Posted by | ankylosing spondylitis, anxiety, death, fibromyalgia, hubby, Memories, MOF, music, pain, phish, reality, sickness, The Gorge | Leave a comment


I spent 7 days in the hospital. 3 of them in the ICU. I had a tube down my throat and was given narcan to combat the opiate withdrawal I had to go through to put me on the road to recovery. As the fourth day came around. I was somewhat used to the early morning intrusions to both my skin and my sleep. Late morning rolled around and the physical therapist came by. She wanted me to walk down the hall. I was on oxygen thanks to the respiratory failure caused by what I guess is the liver failing to clean out the opiates on my system so  depressed my breathing. I expected to have no problem walking but as the woman pulled the portable oxygen tank around to my right side, I swung my legs around and slowly put weight on them. It was a shocking surprise to find myself very weak and scared at the same time. I stood up, wobbled a bit, and gathered myself to make that first walk. Before this hospital stay, I walked from my bed, to the chair, and to the bathroom and that’s it for the day. I couldn’t draw those clocks. I was fucked for the rest of my life I had thought. But getting clear if those opiates, I knew immediately that I had a second chance (or is this the second?). I walked about halfway down the hallway, turned around and walked as strongly as I could and when back at my room, I collapsed in the bed in relief. This was going to be hard.

The day passed and so did another one. Mentally I was recovering faster thaen physically. I had been misdiagnosed with an auto immune disease and treated with steroids, nsaids and opiate pain medications.

I woke up on that last day in the hospital knowing that it would be my last day. I had been on furosemide to help flush out my kidneys after they failed and was finally off of them. They are not a fun drug. They make you urinate numerous times an hour, but is necessary if certain organs aren’t working correctly. My last dose had been the day before and my last test would be to do the stairs. I’ll admit it now. I was scared to death to attempt them. I was not only weak from the 6 days in the hospital, which causes you to lose a large percentage of your muscles, but I was recovering from years of complete inactivity due to weight gain, depression and anxiety. Along with having to try and walk and climb stairs, I had to work out a plan to get durable medical equipment from a company somewhere in the city,

April 5, 2017 Posted by | anxiety, death, fibromyalgia, Memories, Misdiagnosis, MOF, pain, sickness | , , , | Leave a comment

MOF…

I went to my first concert as a young child. The first concert I chose to go had a boy band wearing matching shirts playing to an adoring crowd of prepubescent girls screaming their heads off. Months later I found myself at a heavy metal show that would be my foray into not pop music which would be my salvation. 20 years of following phish around had slowly eroded into the incapacitated state I found myself in when the organs began to shut down and my breathing became compromised.

I spent 7 days in the hospital. 3 of them in the ICU. I had a tube down my throat and was given narcan to combat the opiate withdrawal I had to go through to put me on the road to recovery. As the fourth day came around. I was somewhat used to the early morning intrusions to both my skin and my sleep. Late morning rolled around and the physical therapist came by. She wanted me to walk down the hall. I was on oxygen thanks to the respiratory failure caused by what I guess is the liver failing to clean out the opiates on my system so  depressed my breathing. I expected to have no problem walking but as the woman pulled the portable oxygen tank around to my right side, I swung my legs around and slowly put weight in them. It was a shocking surprise to find myself very weak and scared at the same time. I stood up, wobbled a bit, and gathered myself to make that first walk. Before this hospital stay, I walked from my bed, to the chair, and to the bathroom and that’s it for the day. I couldn’t draw those clocks. I was fucked for the rest of my life I had thought. But getting clear of those opiates, I knew immediately that I had a second chance. I walked about halfway down the hallway, turned around and walked as strongly as I could and when back at my room, I collapsed in the bed in relief. This was going to be hard.

The day passed and so did another one. Mentally I was recovering faster then physically. I had been misdiagnosed with an auto immune disease over a decade earlier and treated with steroids, nsaids and opiate pain medications.

I woke up on that last day in the hospital knowing that it would be my last day. I had been on furosemide to help flush out my kidneys after they failed and was finally off of them. They are not a fun drug. They make you urinate numerous times an hour, but is necessary if certain organs aren’t working correctly. My last dose had been the day before and my last test would be to do the stairs. I’ll admit it now. I was scared to death to attempt them. I was not only weak from the 6 days  in the hospital, which causes you to lose a large percentage of your muscles, but I was recovering from years of complete inactivity due to weight gain, depression and anxiety. Along with having to try and walk and climb stairs, I had to work out a plan to get durable mnedical equipment from a company somewhere in the city, My O2 stats were low and they were requiring me to have oxygen when going out of the house.

March 17, 2017 Posted by | anxiety, Memories, Misdiagnosis, MOF, music, reality | | Leave a comment

Clusterflies – Red

time to take a breather – it’s nice to make the brain work again. I’m not gonna lie. But things are starting to surface that are definitely difficult to think about. It seems as though every time there is a death, something new begins. And it seems as though change brings that about.

Staring at your walls, observing echoing footfalls…this one is for you

It was my birthday and I was turning 16. Maybe even 17. I had never had a boyfriend and I was dating Sam. He was the kindest most sweetest, most thoughtful boy I had ever met. He would set the tone for me for men, for sure, since my dad sucked.

Staring at your walls…this one is for you

He’s sleeping now. We are on totally different schedules, but that’s ok. I think he’s finally starting to get it. That there is nothing to be afraid of. It will all work out in the end the way it is supposed to. I explained my end goal the other day. I didn’t like the response I got when I told him. I was told recently that you can’t control what others do in reaciotn to you, you can only control your reaciton to them. I am really trying to put that into action every moment of my life.

So I ask you why, if I’m swimming by. Don’t you see anything that you’d like to try?

It’s still kind of fuzzy. The future. I have had a glimpse of the lighthouse’s beam and know where the rocks are but need to remember to trust myself.

Sam gave me a large, wrapped box for my birthday. I opened up the big box while sittin on the brick fireplace of my childhood home. I remember his blue eyes twinkling and the glint of the color of his hair is still a bright light in my memories. After I got the first layer of wrapping paper off the box, I realized there was another layer. It’s such a simple thing, wrapping a box, within a box, within a box. It has been over 3 decades since that present, but I still remember it as if it were yesterday. Things like that make a huge impact on people. I try to remember that myself. You never know when you just might make an indelible mark on another person.

From the bottom, from the top

I saw Sam at football practice and gave him a hug (I think?) And we drove away in the same direction. I had given him a mix-tape with some of my favorite songs on it. Everything from Wish you were here to sounds of silence. Sam and I pulled up at Woodward and Hickory Grove and I went one way and he went the other. He waved at me, and I can still see his big hand and glinting smile as he headed towards the mall with his little brother. Unbeknownst to me, that would be the last time I would see Sam. He would be tragically killed 15 minutes later when, not wearing his seatbelt, he ran a red light and was stuck by another car, killing him. I don’t know if this is true, but I was told by someone that that mix tape was found in the car after the accident. That might have been my first clue that music, is a little bit more then just a passing fancy.

Silent in the morning, suspended in the trees, lunchtime comes youve found your voice, it brings me to my knees.

 

 

 

March 16, 2017 Posted by | Memories, Stream of Consciousness, Trey | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment