"This must be the hardest thing I've ever had to write. I am posting it here because this community is the one that supported me so ardently during my struggle and that stood up for Pepe at the expense of many bannings. It is a trusting community for the most part, willing to welcome and support other cystics for no other reason than that they are cystics and share a painful bond that is almost like no other. That trust sometimes gets tested, but it remains the key to sustaining a community where people can seldom meet but often discuss some of their most guarded secrets. As you have written in the past, it is a risky intimacy, given the nature of the Internet. But it is a necessary one in a world in which cystics' cultures are screened before they are admitted even to research conferences.Today, my trust was breached in a way I can hardly convey. The consequence is that yours was violated as well. Pepe confessed to me after much prodding that she has been propagating a series of lies, that no transplant ever occurred, that no transplant was even in question, that Blake does not exist, and that Pepe has in fact been at home most of this year rather than in ICU as I described in FOP. This makes a moron of me, of course, and a farce of FOP, which 275,000 visitors took at face value for many months. It mocks the hardship I have personally faced, having actually been at 12 percent, as well as the battles many of you wage on a daily basis. It mocks the readers who wept literal tears over her drama, who worried, and who placed their full trust in what was, admittedly, a compelling story. But the story was not true.The critics will claim I was the mastermind all along. Let them indulge in their troublemaking, which seems to be their main motive. But please know that no one has shed more tears over Pepe's fictional saga or suffered more from this betrayal than I have. As you know, I spent this year in a dual role: trying to help Pepe make it to "transplant," staying up till all hours with her, while simultaneously trying to recover from my own. Some of you know how well this turned out. But worse than the loss of lung function, I feel the loss of a great friend, at least in the capacity I enjoyed previously. Pepe is not a bad person but is certainly a severely troubled one and admits as much. She deeply regrets what happened. But she knows she has no one to blame but herself and that she has hurt many people, including those closest to her. Perhaps this will be the beginning of her liberation from self-deception and the terrible unhappiness that causes it.I wish for healing: healing in this community, and healing for Pepe, who must learn to accept herself with the same kind of trust and openness with which this group accepts new cystics. To the extent that I enabled her delusions, I apologize to everyone involved. But the delusions were elaborate and well-executed, down to writing a blog against herself from "Blake," and so I never suspected a thing. To those who continue to attack her (and me) for this, perhaps your anger is justified. But I urge you to let it pass, as all anger must. I, for one, am filled with only sadness."
It is sad that something like this blog was necessary to force a fraud to conceed, but we are relieved that the truth has surfaced and healing, as Paul said, can begin.
This does not change our path forward with authorities, as we feel a "slap on the wrist" is not what Gina needs at this juncture, as an adult who has done this before and who obviously needs help. The financial aspect aside, it would also be nice to set a precedent for others who devalue people as Gina has in this virtual world of ours.
And Paul, we here at DWT will be praying for your healing most of all.