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For the next two weeks I could barely eat or sleep. I waited and I prayed, but there was no more information forthcoming. Not a word, a note, a card from Harpo, and only self-condemnation from my own mind. How could you be so stupid! Now look what you've done! You have totally and royally f***** up! Each thought made me more nauseated than the one before it. While I had often been numb to the excitement of appearing on Oprah's show, I was intensely aware of the pain I felt at being put off it. Pain was something I had learned to anticipate and expect. Joy was a completely unfamiliar emotion in my life.

When your life starts to fall apart, it doesn't always happen all at once. One fell swoop of the universe's backhand across your face might be more merciful. I had no idea that this was just the beginning of a collapse that would span seven years. It was October 1999 when the Oprah pebble landed, sending an unmistakable ripple through the river of my life. It was December 25, 2003, when the proverbial brick hit me in the head. And it didn't stop there.

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