Jan 1, 2018

DEAR ANNE.

This is an email that I received from Anne.  My response to her is below:

Hi Coni,
I've commented on your blog a few times as Spendsister, but reading your post today I felt a private email might be more suitable.
Coni, you need to get your shit together. Excuse my bluntness, but you are a mess and you are seemingly oblivious to the consequences. You can joke and make funny snappy comebacks but it is way past the time for you to get serious. This is your life at stake. Not a missed stitch, not a lost house, not an asshole sister - your life. Does anything else even matter? Or come close? Stop calling your port by a silly little name. It is not a silly little personality, it's a medical intervention to help save your life. It doesn't have moods or feelings, if it's hurting, something is wrong, fix it and move on with your treatments.
You know, I love your blog. I see a lot of myself in you. But right now I am upset with you because you aren't being careful enough. How on earth can you be stitching with your arm as messed up as it is? Girl, you haven't stitched in MONTHS! I mean MONTHS! Why are you insisting on doing it now with an arm all bruised and swollen? Read a damn book! You read books, right?

I think the comment someone made that perhaps you were not quite as ready to accept dialysis as you thought hit the big ol' nail on the big ol' head. I couldn't figure out why you didn't start dialysis months ago, get into it before there was more deterioration, before you couldn't get out of bed - I couldn't understand why you were so stubborn about resisting something that would actually help you (again, there's a lot of me in that sentence). Well, your blog today hit me right between the eyes. 
You're still looking for someone to blame. To give you an excuse not to face dialysis. Today it was "buzzy" being "bad". It wasn't enough that you deliberately BENT YOUR ELBOW during treatment? You had to continue to irritate the hell out of it stitching last night? Before that it was your sister not making a decision. Excuse me, but isn't your life YOUR freakin' decision? 
Somewhere along the way, you decided that a quick and clean transplant from a perfectly matched sibling was a hell of a lot easier than long term dialysis for the rest of your life tethering you ( literally) to a chair 3 times a week. Of course it is. If she matched. If you didn't reject it. If she was healthy enough to give up a kidney. Even with all those ifs, you decided that's what you wanted. But you didn't get what you wanted. Life's funny that way, isn't it?
So now you're doing your best to sabotage dialysis. See? It doesn't work. I can't do it. I tried. Except, as some famous guy said, Failure is not an option. At least not for you right now.
When I had stage 3B breast cancer, people kept asking me how I stayed so calm. Why aren't you freaking out? Why aren't you hysterical? Why aren't you crying? Well I did all those things. Then I said ok, that didn't help. I still have cancer. So I stopped all that, and found out what I needed to do, because I did know that this was NOT what's going to kill me.
And then (and this was the hard part) I did it. No one did it for me. I couldn't cry or whine or buy my way out of it. My parents, my siblings, my friends, my enemies, could. not. do. it. for. me. I was alone at that wall and had to get over it all by myself.
Put your big girl pants on and start climbing, Coni. You've got a long way to go. Only you know if you've got what it takes.
Good luck.

Sent from my iPad

Dear Anne.

Wow.  What a note.  Thank you for writing it.  First, let me say Happy New Year.  I confess that this hit me square in the solar plexis, and at first I was a little winded but now I've got my wits about me a bit and I'd like to respond...thoughtfully.

My blog and the "character" of The Spinster Stitcher are just that....a blog and a character.  I started wrtiting it as a means to re-engage with a particular corner of the world, because I was a new stitcher and had just spent the better part of several long years inside my house battling some pretty horrific demons.

At first, the character was jusr a portly, hapless, dog-loving oaf who bumblefucked her way through a funny little life.   The comments from readers were light-hearted and esoteric and about simple easy things, and I used the blog, a talking dog wearing a smoking jacket, and a cast of other goofy characters to escape into a little fantasy world.

Over the course of the last few years, though, I've ventured into unknown territory a bit by talking about (often making fun of) the big hard things going on around me.  Foreclosure, financial ruin, the loss of my sister, Stewey's illness and death, and then finally, my own poor health....all big hard things that are insanely difficult, unpleasant, and challenging to be sure.

The Spinster Stitcher deals with this things with a squirting flower, big floppy shoes, and a lot of exaggeration and self-deprocation.  She kind of stumbles and giggles and ends up floundering her way through this life of ours because it makes for a much better story than does that cold hard reality.

My emails are now filled with notes from friends across the world that reveal big hard things in their own lives.  What started as a light-hearted attempt to be in the community has now become (in my head, anyway) a very serious responsibility.  I feel compelled to issue forth with humor and wit and sarcasm and fantasy as a means of assuring myself and others that we're going to be OK and that we've got a soft place to fall in each other's company.

But, your note tells me that it's now important that you know a bit of the ugly truth.  Let me first say that I'm sorry if you feel let down or frustrated with me and my response to dialysis.  Here, therefore, is the real truth wih the hope that it will assure you that I am not, as you say, a mess.

From the time of diagnosis, I have been a ridiculously informed, compliant, amd determined patient.  Like all kidney patients, I have managed an enormous flow chart of possible pathways that would lead to a long, healthy, productive, happy life.

The most positive outcome for me would have been a pre-emptive transplant from my sister.  To that end, I spent the bette part of two years working very hard to accomplish this.  I was given an intensive and long list of things to complete to get ready, and I did so.  With some complaining and fuss, I will admit, but nonethess I did so and looked forward to that pathway.

My team and I made the decision to postpone dialysis as long as we did because that was the best decision medically.  Period.  It was never and will never be within my thought process to just ignore it or put it off because it was going to be scary or inconvenient or anything else for that matter.  Dialysis was always the last and least desirable resort.

Now that it's here, I chose to blog about it by naming the fistula Buzzy and by taking what has been a scary, painful, miserable few weeks into a place where I could sprinkle a bit of glitter on it and make lemonade.  The first session was overwhelming, to be sure, but the second (in which I infiltrated) was horrific.  For the record...the infiltration happened because I instinctively bent my arm to get more comfortable in the chair.  The subsequent fistulagram, angioplasty, and stent were probably more extreme than was  necessary, but again, my team and I are approaching this with caution and the very best medical advice available.

I'm not sure if I can convince you or not, and to be honest, I don't know if I am actually required to, but I promise you that I have my big girl panties firmly in place and that I am handling this entire situation with as mich grace, dignity, courage, and intelligence that I can muster.

The Spinster Stitcher is whining about not being able to stitch or bend her arm for eighteen hours a week.  She's also missing her little dog and mourning the loss of her dream house...wrenching her guts over her sister, and swooning over the entry of a man into her world.  She's still cluess, but loveable...hopeful and happy...but more than anything...profoundly grateful that she has a place to exist and make a small dofference in the world.

Coni Rich is  fifty-one year old end stage renal patient who is in the initial stages of dialysis.  She is calm, measured, careful, and extremely capable of handling whatever comes at her.  She has been through wars much bigger than this and come out of them dented but detemined.  She's pretty fierce and can be a major major bitch, but she is, if nothing else, a bull-headed fighter that knows when to show up.

My wish for you, dear Anne, is that you will have a wonderful New Year.  Thank you again for your note.  I hope that your corner of the world is swell and that you'll continue to be part of my own little corner of it.  That, is, after all, what it's all about.

With mich love,
Coni Rich
The Spinster Stitcher

82 comments:

  1. Wow, what a New Year day note to you! Nothing like starting the New Year off with a bang. I fear your blogging friend was speaking out because she cares, maybe not the right tone to do it in but I have to suspect she had good intentions while it all went badly very quickly. Here is the thing Coni, you have shared with us an amazingly difficult time in your life, with courage, wit and sometimes very serious thoughts. How you handle what life gives you is up to you, what you share with us is up to you and no one else. I am honored to read about your journey, you amaze me with your strength and you give me hope that I too could handle something with this magnitude with grace, humor and strength. I wish you the best Coni, and thank you for sharing with us, Happy New Year.

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  2. I for one enjoy The Spinster Stitcher. She makes me smile and giggle. And I wish Coni Rich was my neighbor and friend. I am so glad JB is back because both ladies enjoy and need him around. And I am confidant that Coni and her team are managing her illness with care and intelligence. We need to continue our support and prayers for Coni and thank The Spinster Stitcher for her sense of humor. At least I will.

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  3. Wow, Anne! I guess the best thing I can say about you is that it takes great chutzpah to tell someone you know very little about how to live her life. Coni, you were much more polite than I would have been. I've always been one to think that injecting humor into serious situations can be a good coping mechanism. (We can't cry if we're busting out laughing, right?!) Happy New Year!

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  4. You know one thing that having a chronic illness taught me? NOT TO MEDDLE WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S FUCKING MEDICAL CARE. Too bad cancer didn't teach that one to your dear friend, Anne. Keep on keepin' on, dear Coni. You've got this.

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  5. Well said. I don't comment much, but I love how you use your humor to educate us about your issues. You never know when the ogre will strike someone you love, and to have some background knowledge to fall back on, is always a plus. Thanks for caring about us too. Happy New Year.

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  6. Well gee whiz, I would really like to add 4 four letter words here but I will refrain. What an email and what an awesome response. You always amaze me in the most wonderful ways! I never doubted the difference between the Spinster Stitcher and you, too bad others don't get it. I love that you have shared more of your real life with us and frankly with all you are going through that takes guts. Not only do you have your big girl panties on but by gosh you've got a full body armor on that you wear with determination and grace! So glad JB is home. Happy New Year! I pray for your health and happiness and hope you continue to share your life and Spinster Stitched stories!

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  7. Hi Coni. Sorry that I am "anonymous" but I can't figure out how else to respond. I need my daughter-in-law to show me what to do. Just want to say how impressed I was with your response to the comment from Anne. I agree with Rita - pretty nervy to make the comments she did to someone she has never met! I've always thought that you do an amazing job coping with the crap life throws at you. I love the fact that you can turn some of these very serious issues into funny little anecdotes. I don't for one second believe that you don't take your health very seriously and you obviously have a team of professionals who are looking after your needs very well indeed. My 2017 was not a very happy one until December. We became aware late last year that my 92 year old Dad was suffering from a very aggressive skin cancer on his face. Not melanoma, but one that required radiation treatments. He was the sole caregiver for my 91 year old Mom. I gave up my job and spent all week an hour and a quarter away from my own home and husband and son. My brother spelled me off so I could get home on weekends. My Mom died in July (my Dad was hospitalized at the time) and my Dad died just less than 4 months later at the age of 93. We are now dealing with probate and preparing to sell the house. I SO looked forward during all of that time to reading your blog each day - that and my cross stitch is what kept me going through an extremely difficult time. The ONLY good thing about 2017 was that our first grandchild, Rebecca, was born in early December. My sincere best wishes that 2018 will see an increase in your health and that you are able to keep us informed re your treatments. And hopefully you can stitch as often as you want! And please tell Buzzy to behave himself - there's a whole boatload of people out here in the "cloud" who will be pretty upset with him if he doesn't!

    Susan

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  8. Lo from LouisvilleJanuary 1, 2018 at 2:21 PM

    I think we, as your devoted blog followers, are just worried about you and sincerely wish there was something we could do to help. I almost NEVER pick up my phone without checking whether there's a post from you (only a little bit stalker-ish) because I enjoy your humor and updates. We wish the best for you -and I bet I can speak for most of us- we would like to scoop you and JB up in a group hug and make it all better. Your response today showed your intelligence and command of the facts reminded us that there's a big difference between the fun of a blog and the reality of serious illness. Do what you need to do to be healthier, and let's keep laughing together for years to come.

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  9. Coni, you are One. Class. Act. Your grace-filled response was a lesson to me today. May your 2018 be filled with joy, blessings, hope and miracles. Oh yes, and stitches! Lots of beautiful stitches. ❤️

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  10. Coni Dear, Ann has some balls writing what she wrote I'm sure she was worried about you. But darlin you've got BIG BRASS ones writing back nice & polite & sharing with all of us. I'm sure I would have been nasty & used quite a few impolite words that is if I had even bothered. LOL We all know your not as clueless as you seem to be & are coping with what life has thrown at you in the best way possible. You make the crap I'm going through more bearable with your wit & the love you show all of us. Personally I know I couldn't keep going with out knowing your there & would have my back as I have yours. I'd give you a kidney if we matched.
    My hope & prayer for you this year, 2018, is that your most precious dream comes through.
    Don't give up ever.
    Blessings
    Baa

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  11. Noblesse oblige is the stuff you are made of, Coni dear.
    You do us all proud... Now delete the supposed well intentioned critique and turn your sights toward those who
    truly want what is best for you, even if that means your side trips to whine, fuss, tears and too much of anything
    including chocolate. We are with you all the way and only
    ask of the New Year to bless you with hopes fulfilled and
    vibrant recovery... Best to JB... Love you.

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  12. Perhaps dear Anne doesn't grasp the fact that everyone deals with crisis differently. If she wants to be the Ninja, fine, but we are all unique individuals with unique minds and hearts and it is ultimately up to us how we choose to deal. I truly think it takes a lot more guts to deal with such serious issues with humor and levity than it does to "burden" everyone else with all your woes. It takes a caring person to want those around you to feel better, not just dumping your problems on anyone who cares to read your blog. I enjoy your blog immensely and never had a moment's doubt that you are dealing with your many issues with thoughtfulness, planning and engaging those professionals that would be the most help to you. Sounds as if you surrounded yourself with all the right people and it is apparent that you possess a great deal of grace and tact. I am always amazed at people who need to rip someone a new one, so to speak, in a forum that is intended to be lighthearted and fun, a stitching sisterhood as it were. You are in my prayers and I pass along the best wishes for a Happy New Year, with improving health and circumstances. Don't change a thing!

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  13. I would like to say 3 things:
    1. WOW and way to go with your response.
    2. Happy New Year to you and JB. May God continue to protect and bless both of you in 2018.
    3. Thank you for you wit and your humor. Life is hard and you've made it a little brighter with your Spinster Stitcher personna!


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  14. I enjoy your humorous take on your medical issues, it tells me you are a very strong individual! My aunt had crippling arthritis but when we went to visit she never complained but laughed the entire visit and made us all feel better. Compare that with someone moaning and groaning which would be way easier..thank you for sharing, wish we could visit and stitch in person but blogland opens us up to so many friends we wouldn’t otherwise come in contact with. Happy New Year and I hope and pray that your dialysis becomes more routine until you have your transplant opportunity. My friend just had his from a classmate of ours who was deemed too old but insisted on being tested and was a match. I wish the best for you!

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  15. Oh Coni, such a thoughtful and measured response to such bullshit. I'd have just told her to FUCK RIGHT OFF. You are far more graceful than I.

    Happy New Year to you and your JB. ❤️

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  16. Dear Coni, I can assure you that no one who reads your blog believes that you don't take your medical issues seriously (except one reader who doesn't appear to have any sense of humor at all!) We all read the courage under your comments and only hope that we could handle dificult situations such as yours with the grace that you have. Well done! Andrea

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  17. Speechless.....I am. I am hoping "Anne's" intention was to give you a kick in the pants but it seemed harsh to me. No one walks in your shoes. We all get (or at least I thought we all did) that you use humor to combat the difficult things in your life. And we all enjoy and respect your commentary. I try to read you every day and my powers of retention are not so good - no symptom of anything just the way it always have been - but even I know you are traveling the path of your doctors recommendations. People without all the details should not be a Monday morning quarterback. Thank you for your humor and your wit and your outlook on life. I look forward to each and every post. I guess when we put ourselves out there as you have, we open ourselves up to criticism. You're pretty classy....I don't know how I would have handled her comments. I probably would have been in a puddle of tears and then dish-breaking mad. I have two co-workers that are on dialysis and it took each of them weeks/months to get into a routine. And sometimes for no reason as all, they too have had deal with misbehaving "Buzzy's" Hang in there. You've got this.

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  18. Dear Coni, I really believe Anne was trying to let you know how concerned she was but holy cow, she could have been nicer. As someone who deals daily with a chronic disease that has now affected my heart and lungs, I appreciate your sense of humor and your ability to put things in a better light. I'm sure you have your moments of utter despair but you tell us in such a funny way, we can laugh with you while we are concerned. I don't know how you do it but keep it up, sister! I wish you and JB a very Happy New Year.
    Hugs, Sharon

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  19. Holy COW! I almost stopped breathing half way through that. I think someone put salt in Ann's champagne. What a gracious response. Good for you.

    Only the best to you and JB. May 2018 be kind to us all.

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  20. Coni, I am in awe at graciousness with with you replied to Anne, who is clearly a clueless idiot. Happy New Year to you and Rich!

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  21. Ditto Evelyn!
    The utter gall it took to write that email....

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  22. Coni, you are much more gracious than I would have been! I adore reading your blog; your strength, courage, humour and determination are a true inspiration. May 2018 bring you all the happiness you most definitely deserve xxx

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  23. Loved your response to Anne. I don’t know why she felt that it was her responsibility to tell you all that, but I can tell you that as a devoted reader, I never once thought you needed to put your bug girl pants on and grow up. You clearly are already there. Did Anne think Stewey really talked and wore a smoking jacket? Maybe she needs some help. Have a wonderful 2018

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  24. Coni, you are gracious and filled with much courage and strength. Everyone responds differently to stress and life's difficulties; your response is with humor and "glitter". Wishing you a peaceful 2018. You have this and we have your back.

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  25. wow! Holy ^&&(*&( batman! You can blow me over and call me shorty!
    dq

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  26. I'm someone who deals with a host of cripping, serious diseases and I'm only in my early 40s. On top of that I have a young disabled son (we have different disabilities). I used to blog about my life but stopped because of people like "Anne."

    So let's clear some things up Anne:
    1) You cannot know the details of someone's life from blog posts. You get to see only a sliver of their life...you have no way of knowing the ideas, thoughts, and complications that make up their internal world.

    2) You are not all-knowing Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Stop pretending you know best for someone else, whom you've never even met. Worry about yourself.

    3) People cope with serious difficulties in different ways. You did what worked for you when you had cancer, Coni does what works for her. Life is hard and cruel, and of us use humor to cope. Deal with it.

    4). If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it. You did not send "concern" to Coni...you sent judgement. If you don't know the difference please look up those words in the dictionary.

    ------------------

    Coni...ROCK ON, sister.

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  27. Handled with such dignity and grace. May the New Year bring untold blessings to you.

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  28. First of all I am NOT that Anne-sad to share the same name right now. Coni, I think you are incredibly brave to share your story with us of the stitching world who think the world of you. We know you take things seriously and deal with things with outward humor as so many of us do-I don't know how Anne doesn't get that. signed, NOT that Anne but the other one

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  30. Coni, you handled this with so much more grace and decency than I could ever hope to muster! What an awesome lady you are --- please know that many, many of us love and respect you. -- Barbara

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  31. Coni, I love you! You inspire me every day....not just with your beautiful stitching, but with your humor and quirky observations!
    Happy New Year!

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  32. One thing is for certain Miss Coni, you certainly inspire a lot of passion among your loyal readers. Folks, please don't be too harsh on email writer Anne. It took some courage to write that email and she clearly cares about the well being of our favorite Spinster Stitcher.

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  33. Anne was rather blunt in her e-mail. As Robin said everyone deals with stress differently. Your blog is your outlet and we all love to read about you. We are not in your shoes and don't know what is really happening. You handled it gracefully. Chin up better days are ahead!!

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  34. Many of the best comedians are in great personal pain. I admire anyone who takes their pain and uses it to bring a laugh to someone else. I think most people realize you are trying to make the best of a bad situation. I am sure that your doctors etc have imparted much more knowledge and wisdom to you than Anne has lol.

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  35. Here is a high five for you Coni!! You are brave, funny, loving and caring, what more could we want. God be with you and may he provide you with abundant blessings in 2018.

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  36. Loved your response to an ill-considered email. Everyone handles life's challenges differently and if someone sent me that I would have been furious and devastated. I've read every one of your blogs entries from Day 1, and do not feel qualified to give you advice, tough love, lectures, criticism, or whatever the hell that was. I just enjoy your stories and presentation. Happy 2018 and may this new year bring you much better health.

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  37. OMG - I can not believe someone sent an email like the one you received!!! I would have been devastated if I'd received something like that 12 years ago when I was dealing with endometrial cancer. Coni - you are a brave woman, dealing with what life has dealt you with humor and grace. You go, girl!!!

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  38. I personally have always admired your courage and beautiful attitude as well as your generosity in sharing your awesome self with all us. Some people just see what they want to see and need to say want they need to say.

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  39. Wow Both powerful responses and so glad you shared both. I am pleased that both you and Anne are on the right track and my prayers and thoughts are with you both. Please make sure your big panties have flowers on them as that throws a little joy into the mix.

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  40. Wishing you the best this year. I enjoy your blog immensely. Continue to take care of you.

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  41. Coni: I am as amazed as can be that someone would write an email to you like that one from Anne, I am sad for her that she feels like she needs to attack, from what I read from your posts, at least in my mind, you know what you are doing and doing it right, I worked in the healthfield for 23 years, I have seen many people from cancer to heart transplants to simple cuts and bruises in my life of transporting patients, you have a gift for courage, keep up what you are doing, you are a survivalist and will win.
    As for the Master Stewey, he was your baby a wonderful little bundle that God Blessed to you for a reason, it was meant to be.
    As for Jersey Boy, you both are lucky to be together, very supportive of each other and I am sure loving.
    I will pray for this Anne and hope that she sees what a horrible mess she is, sometimes people with issues lash out because they cannot handle their own lives.

    My Wish For You in 2018 and beyond is to keep up the good work on your health, keep us posted and please keep the humor, I love reading what you have to say.

    Blessings
    Catherine

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  42. Wishing you a positive New Year.

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  43. Anne -

    I have two word for you. They rhyme with truck cough.

    Sorry, just my two cents.

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  44. WOW! Coni you are one classy and eloquent woman! I am praying for a brighter and healthier new year for you! Hang in there! God Bless

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  45. O.M.G. Coni I think we “your people” know you are one tough cookie. Stay the course and don’t change anything. Happy New Year!
    love ya😘

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  46. Ah, Coni. Nobody should try to 2nd guess you. But I don't want to beat a "dead horse" either. Time to turn the page, get ready for tomorrow and love you! My prayers continue.

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  47. How people do like to judge! Love the Spinster Stitcher....and love Coni Rich, but gutted that you felt you had to justify yourself to someone who got one confused with the other. Your intelligence and wit has always shone through, but some people don’t have what it takes to read between the lines.

    Wishing you the very very best.

    Alison
    Godalming UK

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  48. Oh wow. Er...the only good thing I have to say is it seems her intentions were good.Why she seems to feel she knows you well enough to write that is beyond me. I wouldn`t have spoken like that to my best friend, let alone someone on the net she doesn`t know. I think most of us realize we only get a piece of you in your blog posts, that you have this whole complicated real life that can`t be conveyed in a blog post. That is perfectly normal...we may read between the lines but it does not give us the right to be so judgmental.
    I am off to get me a cup of damn good coffee and continue with my latest project, making supplemental swatch cards for my newest DMC colours so I don`t have to shell out $30+ for a new one. I hope the email didn`t upset you too much, it isn`t pleasant to be judged like that. I know all too well.
    I hope your New Year will be wonderful Coni dear...

    xo Mj

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  49. Beautiful response. I have been loving your writing style and totally understand from where you are coming. One of the fallouts from so much time on the internet/email seems to empower people to say whatever they wish to others where they might not do so in person. Thank you for such an enjoyable blog and I am certainly praying for you as you move through this time.

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  50. I am one of your most ardent fans. You are so brave in some really awful circumstanses. I never miss a post. I lost my husband of 61 years in 2017, plus breast cancer, plus pneumoia. plus financial difficulty, plus my brother is dying of cancer. I laugh and cry with you, I love your humor. I pray for you and I admire your courage. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

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  51. Based on the writing style, I'm guessing "Anne" is also a character. Perhaps her "note" is an amalgamation of comments Coni has received and felt the need to address and Coni thought this was the best way to do so.

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  52. Wow!! Last I checked, we live in a free world where we can say and do pretty much anything! When that gal starts paying you to blog, she can tell you what to say and do. People, it's a blog!!! Who knows what the true reality of one's life comes through here.

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  53. Good lord. I don’t understand people at all. None of us readers have the right to tell, suggest, cajole, plead, beg, or encourage you to do anything differently than you do. We can’t possibly know every aspect of your life from what you post here and to suggest that we do suggests we have a very high opinion of ourselves. You are much better than I; I would have told “Anne” to fuck off, plain and simple.

    I wish you lived in southern Indiana instead of Northern, because I really want to be your friend.

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  54. Wowsers! Anne is obviously in need of a little mental health care. And your mother is so proud of the way you responded to this woman's tirade. You get the "Best Response of 2017 to an Inappropriate Blog Post".

    You never have to doubt it - the people who read your blog love/adore/idolize you! Me among them. Now, go do something wild with JB and tell US about it!

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  55. I thank Anne for her note and thank Coni for sharing the exchange. I came late to this blog and didn't know the back stories. I too have had the observations of Anne. Reading this exchange is enlightening.

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  56. Hi Coni.

    I am rather saddened by Anne's email to you. First, because it seems that she cares about you, but for some reason is frustrated with your actions. And, second, because she does not seem capable of expressing her thoughts without bitterness.

    I, too, sometimes read your blog and wonder about the circumstances that have led to your current situation. In fact, I just recently I searched your archives for clues as to your life prior to the time I started reading, which was just a few months before Stewey became ill. I was curious about your former life--before your illnesses took you out of the mainstream. I know that is a bit voyeuristic of me--but I wanted to know how you learned to survive tough times, what part of your past gave you the ability to take life as it comes and do what you can with it. I did not discover any secrets, however!

    To be clear, I am a relatively new reader. I do not cross stitch, although I know how. I needlepoint on occasion, but not as often as I would like. I do, however, share hobby obsession with you.

    And, also your obsession with a small animal who managed to capture all the good parts of me and let me see myself in his eyes. He ignored the bad parts, as I am sure your Stewey ignored yours. I lost my little guy three years ago and still miss him every day.

    So, even though we do not share a hobby, we share an ability to love without bounds. And, that is why I read your posts--actually, I look forward to your posts! I read because it is obvious that you care--for your little dog, for his "cousin" Bosco, for your sister, for your Mom and Dad, for your alma mater, for your home, for everything that touches you. And, it is clear that you do so with style. Anyone who reads your posts and has seen the pictures of your home cannot doubt that you attend to your life in a proper manner. I must say, for a lady who is ill and has had so many life-shaking events happen to over the last few years, your home and life style reflect what I see in your blog--a kind-hearted adventurer with a huge sense of humor and an even bigger capacity for love who has been slowed slightly by an illness she cannot control.

    Those of us who read and enjoy your blog and you know that Anne is out of line.

    I wish you the very best in the New Year. I know that you will be facing new challenges and demands, but hopefully those new challenges will open doors that lead to opportunities, successes, and much, much happiness.

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  57. Your response was well thought out and mature. I've never doubted that you handle things with humor but face them with courage and intelligence. After all, people get quite tired of complainers but those who put humor and feeling with their statements inspire us all through bad spots. Your example means a lot to me. I just wish I'd had you during my husband's (successful) liver transplant several years ago. I forgot the humor and just worried. As to transplants, I will pray for your donor to make all things right with family and loved ones. I never could pray for someone to die, but found a prayer for preparation seemed to be ok. Prayers to you.

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  58. Hi Coni,

    I don't often comment but I feel I need to say something and add to the support messages above. Many people have already written long and thoughtful responses so I will keep this brief-ish.

    This is your blog and anyone reading it needs to know that it is your life and your decision and seriously butt out! If you don't have something nice to say then say nothing. There is enough bad news in this world without adding to it. This Anne doesn't know you personally and therefore a "harsh" (cruel in this case) note is not going to "snap you out of it" (whatever that means in terms of dialysis).

    When I see unkind comments and emails on here it makes me so irritated! Honestly people, if you don't like Coni or her blog or her stitching or her life then go somewhere else. No one is making you read the blog.

    And just keep your damned opinions to yourself, if I wanted to hear them I would go read your blog.

    Happy new year Coni and I hope the notes of support help. At least you can now write "to Betty & Anne".

    Bekah

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  59. Can we vote Betty & Anne off the island?!?

    Coni, dear, you have a wonderful ability with words. It's probably a good thing that *I* wasn't the recipient of that email because my response would have been MUCH less polite and full of words Anne probably would have had to look up. And a few of the more common four letter words, to boot.

    You keep doing you, sweetheart, and those of us with some sense will keep reading & enjoying your blog.

    Much love & many warm wishes,

    Mickey

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  60. First, Happy New Year to you and Jersey Boy.
    Second, Regarding Anne's letter, OMG, OMG, OMG. With the exception of the chronic illness part (I don't have one), ditto to everything in Anna Van Schurman's post.
    Third, You gave a wonderful response to her.
    Fourth, You always amaze and inspire me. Keep calm and paddle on.
    Carolyn

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  61. Wow Coni! You continue to be, to me, amazing! Thank you for your blog. I do and always will love it. Your response to Anne was wonderful and I am glad you posted it here. God Bless you and yours with all good! Happy New Year!!! Love, hugs & prayers, Cathryn ♥♥♥

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  62. Anne should be blocked from your blog, along with Betty, and from your email and phone and any other way they can contact you. They have no right to offer their advice or opinions unless asked. We love Spinster Stitcher and Coni just the way they are!

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  63. Dear Coni,
    OMG! OMG! OMG! I just cannot believe some people! She should know better than to attack another person whose shoes she has NOT walked in!!! Apparently being a cancer survivor and having gone through treatment taught this woman NOTHING!
    I lost my beautiful 20 year old daughter to cancer...after a very quick and hard fought 7 months of treatment. She, too, used her humor and words to keep herself and all of our family and friends in a hopeful frame of mind. She named the tumor in her belly Tyronne, yes she named her f*&$##$ tumor because it was REAL & LIVING and easier to fight with a name! I see much of my Kait in you. We used to sit in her hospital room and sing ALL NIGHT LONG for fun. No news channels or sadness were allowed as we pulled in together tight for the battles ahead. Unfortunately, our human bodies don't always hold the strength our minds and spirit do and she passed on to God in July 2005. Keep moving forward...we can only guess the battles you fight on a minute by minute day, but I see your courage, your uncertainty, your commitment, your love of life and the FIGHT in your battle with erf. You keep it up, girl! We love you and are in this with you! Prayers every single day!!! xoxo

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    1. Your Kait sounds wonderful. I am sorry for your loss.

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  64. Wow. All I can say is wow. My mouth just dropped to the floor when I read this. I can't figure her out. Does she genuinely care and just has the finesse and tact of an alley cat or is she just a hater. I can't tell. But you certainly responded to her with GREAT FINESSE AND TACT. Sorry, but I agree with Kristen. She should just PISS OFF. Anyway Happy New Year Coni. Buzzy will sort himself out. Give him time.

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  65. Bumblefuck. I love that term and am adding it to my repertoire.

    Keep on keepin' on, Coni. Happy New Year.

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  66. Go Coni! Bam you told her! Keep on keeping on and happy new year 🎊

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  67. Coni! You know my thoughts and you have this figured out! You do what you have to do and know that you have a group of stitchers who are here for you and will do anything for you. (You know who I mean!) I wish you and JB the Best for 2018! Hugs!!!

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  68. Hope you and JB have a wonderful New Year, Coni!! And hope that "Buzzy" decides to behave himself so that you can get on with dialysis and hopefully finding a new kidney. You are so inspirational with how you deal with the things in your life. Keep it up! We all love you!!

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  69. With so many posts blasting Anne, I'd like to give a word of support. While I think she may have worded her post a little strongly I think that sometimes humor isn't a good idea. People who read this blog regularly know that Coni's humor and her "characters" are a little off beat - and we love her for it. But we do worry. It might be nice to post once in a while something like this: "seriously you guys, this is really hard but I appreciate being able to tell you about it in a way that makes me feel better. I know you worry so here is the scoop: . . . . . ".

    That said - this is your blog and you have a right to present yourself however you wish. Anne wants you to appear more serious and that is also her right. She shouldn't be shamed for it or blasted like she is here. She reached out privately, which was appropriate.

    So let's all back off a little. We want Coni to be who she is but Coni, maybe a post every now and then that is more serious would help us all worry a little less.

    Happy New Year to all and let's continue to make beautiful art with our stiches.

    Jackie
    ps: I can't figure out how not to be Anonymous either

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  70. Happy New Year! I hope that 2018 brings you many wonderful and happy adventures. Take care! <3

    Cheryl

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  71. There is always one that has to ruin things, I am dealing with kidney issues and believe me I see people all the time that dont take care of their health, smoking, drinking, way over weight and from what I can tell about Connie, is she takes excellent care of herself and follows what her Doctors are telling her.Accidentally bending your arm does not qualify as sabotage, honestly I think Anne you are nuts, and Jackie mind your business, Connie can express herself however she wants, most people that are always correcting others have a mess in their own life!

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  72. Oh Coni, I agree with the numerous comments of shock and sadness for an "in your face" email at such an inappropriate time both seasonally and personally. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to read it, then read it again and realize that it was so very personally aimed and so very hurtful...for that I am so very sorry. The pain and frustration of having someone analyze you without knowing you sucks. Now, that being said, as your friend, and after thinking it through and trying to look at it from both sides (because we have all heard it said that no matter how flat you make a pancake it has two sides)...I'm left wondering Why did you feel the need to publish the email on your wonderful blog? I am curious as to what you thought it would accomplish...I am asking this honestly, as you know me well enough to know that I am a huge supporter of everything that you have been through, and continue to support you, without hesitation. Did you truly feel so aggrieved that the only way for you to deal with this woman was through your blog? It's your blog and you have complete ownership, not to mention your freedom of speech, but why hang her out there for your followers to deal with. Yes, you responded eloquently and honestly which she deserved neither, but you did it in such a manor that, to some, it might seem like a public hanging. I don't know this woman and I have no idea if she is real or a troll, but either way maybe she emailed you instead of public commenting to spare you the embarrassment of her allegations rather than to be nefarious.It just seems unusual for you to have reacted the way you did, I get that she said some really horrible things that touched some nerves and kicked you while you were down, unacceptable, but you don't know her motives or her life lessons that led her to feel convicted to email you. Was it right of her? No. Was it productive, sensitive and supportive? No. But, was it really worth the 60+ comments that it achieved?
    That's all I've got...I invite no hate mail or comments as I'm just asking what many who haven't commented are wondering.
    As always, I'm sending lots of hugs!

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  73. Hey Karyn if Anne felt so compelled to tell Connie how terrible she is handling her life she should be proud to have her letter displayed. This is a public blog so no one needs to be sneaky and try to make Connie feel bad when she has a serious health issue. I think Connie had every right to publish Anne's letter along with her response, trolls need to come out into the sunshine and be exposed for what they are.

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  74. WOW! I guess it takes all kinds! More power to you, Coni! Stay your delightful, funny self-you are enjoyed by many and I know we all wish the best for you! Prayers for your health and happiness!

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  75. Wow. Don't change a thing about yourself, Coni. You are amazing.

    I am not looking to excuse portions of Anne's letter. As someone else pointed out, she obviously cares enough about you, as we all do, to want you to survive this whole ordeal. She may be going about it in the wrong way, but we are none of us perfect. It makes me wonder if that was what happened to her during her cancer process. Perhaps someone (maybe even a family member) thought she was going about things in the wrong way and gave her hell for it hoping to "wake her up" before it was too late. She may not have had the level of community support that you have. It is never possible, or realistic, to think that we know everything about a person's situation. My heart goes out to both of you and I pray that you, Anne, and all the readers of this here blog will be comforted with a blanket of compassion. We need to be kind to one another even under difficult circumstances (which you have been, Coni; please don't take this as an admonition).

    May 2018 be a better year for all of us!

    Much love!

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  76. My most favorite Aunt, Claire, had a saying she used and tried to teach me. “Wait to be asked”..... really hard to learn to do at times, especially when I just am positive of what “you” should be doing, feeling, etc. When applied to your blog, I just can’t find where you asked us to critique your life or choices or feelings...did I miss it?
    With that said, Coni, you are one of the funniest, bravest, most emotionally honest woman I only know, through the interwebs. I look forward to your posts and I hold my breath as you slog through icky stuff and smile with my whole heart when your world goes well. Please be just you, whatever version you need to be to do your life, one day at a time. Because if you can, I/we can too!

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  77. As someone with a chronic illness I also understand that we have two (or more!) different faces. The one at home - sensible, organised and sometimes miserable! And the outward one - brave face and jokey comments, Miss Spinster Stitcher is that very one. So Coni, please carry on with Miss Stitcher's wonderful take on life.... it does me good. I think you "both" are wonderful. Happy New Year to you xx

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  78. Wow. O, Wow. Can't imagine a letter coming at me like that - I'm sure I would not be as gracious. Some people don't understand the many, many ways humor helps us get through our lives. Humor helps us cope. Just because we joke about things doesn't mean that they're insignificant. Most of the time, most people pick up the fact that your humor is part of you and helps you get through life. It's when we lose that sense of humor that we're in trouble. I loved Stewie in his smoking jacket, looking for good deals on a spa. And if you want to call your port "Buzzy," I'm all for it. We all are cognizant of the fact that these things are serious. I'm amazed that you handle everything with aplomb. Don't change, keep up you good work!

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  79. Oh man, I've just gotta use the "B" word here...BOUNDARIES. It never ceases to amaze me how so many choose to ignore them. As the majority of commenters above have pointed out, it's clear that Coni uses her blog and humor to deal with difficult, and very serious, situations. This happens to be the reason she is one of my very favorite bloggers. I don't think anyone really underestimates the seriousness of what she is facing simply because she chooses to poke fun at herself in the blogosphere. In my opinion, Coni is an expert at putting on, and wearing, her Big Girl Panties, and doesn't need anyone's advice in that regard. Anne, you may have been well-intentioned, but come on! How would it have made you feel to have been called out when you were in the midst of dealing with cancer? I sense that perhaps you're not very good at reading between the lines or picking up on subtleties. Whomever commented above that many of the best comedians are in great pain really gets it. Many of us use self-deprecation and humor to deal with issues which would otherwise have the potential to overwhelm us and send us hurtling off a cliff. Keep on keepin' on, Coni. Just do *you* -- that's why we're all such loyal readers.

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  80. Oh Coni, I want to be you. I want to tell people where they can shove it just like you did above. I will never understand why people like Anne need to be so mean for no reason.

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