Overall I felt Oprah's interview with Katherine Jackson was much better than that of Lisa Marie Presley though I have my reasons for being against any interview with Oprah. There is no doubt, to me, that Katherine loved and misses her son deeply. I have decided to exclude any discussion about Joseph Jackson and his views on discipline. I think we have heard enough on that topic over the years--and know the truth.
Michael and he Allegations...Again
I think Katherine spoke well defending her son against the allegations though I do think the public needs to learn the facts, the evidence behind these extortion attempts through the likes of professionals like Tom Mesereau though some fans do a stellar job as well and should be heard, too. Oprah, of course, would not allow such detailed information on her show and time was limited but Katherine's belief in her son has never wavered and that should be considered by those uninformed about the molestation allegations. I could not believe that Oprah actually asked Katherine if she had doubts of her son's innocence not once but multiple times. I found it appalling. How many times can Katherine tell the public her son would never hurt a child, that he would rather hurt himself first? Katherine does not say this because she is biased--she says it because she knows it is the truth as does anyone who really looks into the evidence with an unbiased approach.
For more information regarding the molestation allegations/extortion attempts please go to the following blog:
Michael and His Appearance
I really do not understand the need or even desire to discuss Michael's physical appearance. Like Katherine said, it was embarrassing to him--it was obviously a touchy subject based on his reaction in the Bashir documentary (he became uneasy, tapping his feet, when Bashir harassed him about his nose). Michael did so many good things in the world so why on Earth would anyone care about his appearance? As we age our looks change whether it is surgically or naturally. Oprah bordered on the line of persecution when she kept asking Katherine about her son's appearance, how many surgeries he had had, if Katherine still saw him as the same person as when he was a child, etc. I think Michael is one of the few people whose character stayed genuine from childhood to adulthood--his looks did not change him and that is what matters most. I think what most people do not realize is the most fundamental change in Michael's appearance was his skin color:
Photo comparison provided by Eloise G.
Of course this did not change his race and for the umpteenth time Michael did not want to become "white". Michael was proud of his African-American heritage. Though in most photos you cannot see the vitiligo (an auto-immune disease that can effect anyone of any race), it is apparent in the photo below (some computer screens may not be able to show it as well as others):
Click on the photo to enlarge it:
Notice the patch consistent with vitiligo on the right side of his forehead (your left side) directly above the inner portion of his eyebrow. This is also consistent with what David Nordahl recently said in his interview with Deborah Kunesh (the interview is included at the bottom of this blog)--that you could see vitiligo on the right side of Michael's face, his neck and hands. If you look at pictures of Michael in the late 80s and early 90s he would many times use his hair to cover the right side of his face likely due to the vitiligo that was either visible or he feared would be visible:
Michael's self-esteem regarding his appearance was very fragile. To me, it was not an issue of wanting to look good, being "addicted to plastic surgery" or seeing himself as some sort of artwork--it was about struggling with being a child star having to grow up and change (while being harassed about not being "cute" anymore), being ridiculed about his features, especially his nose from some family members, the media and then a rude unsympathetic public who has done some atrocious things with his photos, losing his pigment that defined a part of who he was and then losing his hair from the 1984 burn and lupus. How much can one person take? People really should consider the statements Michael made multiple times that he did not even wish to go in public because he loathed his own appearance. How sad--he was never an ugly man. But, I really think people convinced him that he was ugly (and convinced some of the ignorant public of that, too) and thus the inner struggle began and it was a struggle he could never win with himself.
Michael and Addiction...Again
It truly makes me sick to see Oprah discuss Michael and addiction again when addiction had nothing to do with his death, especially not an addiction to painkillers--again, no painkillers were found in his toxicology screening or in the house, even. Oprah continuously fails to focus on his humanitarian work, to focus on his music, to focus on the injustice in his life--she can only focus on the allegations, plastic surgery and drugs. Would she like to only be remembered on for her weight battles and girls'-school sex scandal someday? I doubt it.
Please everyone realize that drug use, even of addictive medications, is not always drug abuse. I do not know if the Jackson family is like many families out there that believe medications like pain medications are dangerous and anyone who takes such is an addict. I cannot help but assume this because Michael and his brother Randy both are known to have refused pain medications during very painful events during their lives. There is no reason to suffer from pain. What I really want to do is clarify some things Katherine said to Oprah regarding drug abuse and addiction and then add to it. Based on what Katherine said I feel there is a lot she does not know or understand and was saying almost everything based on assumptions through hearsay. Katherine mentioned not knowing how Michael unified his skin coloring--he basically had to "erase" areas of pigment via bleaching as make-up became too difficult to use as coverup as the vitiligo beacme more widespread. If she did not know that, then I do not think she has any knowledge of whether or not Michael was really an addict, especially if she only spoke to him once about the matter briefly throughout all the years of his purported addiction.
I want people to understand that Michael did not die from an "overdose" in the traditional way one thinks of an overdose. His autopsy does not say "accidental overdose" but rather "homicide--acute propofol intoxication--injection by another". He died from non-therapeutic prescribing (administering of drugs for no legitimate medical reason) carried out by Conrad Murray, done so in an environment in which sufficient respiratory assistance (some way to get oxygen into Michael's body) was not made available. Even though it makes no sense that Murray gave propofol to Michael, though it makes no sense why Murray would think it would be okay to give three benzodiazepines (two of which were IV and IV formulations should not be used for insomnia) to Michael that night as well, had Murray at least monitored Michael and had some basic equipment to help Michael breath Michael would likely be alive today.
There are many tabloid reports out there that suggest Michael was a drug addict, dependent on pain medications from the mental torment they the media helped create for him beginning in 1993. I know Katherine went as far back as 1984 but please know that no one has ever suggested Michael had any problem with pain medications before 1993. I felt like Katherine was assuming that because he likely received pain medications while recovering from his burn (though initially I believe he refused), thus he was an addict since then but that is not true. Burns are one of the most painful physical traumas one can experience and the avoidance of pain medication from something like this could actually prevent one from healing as the body would be placed in a state of constant stimulation and agony--that is no way to heal. Pain narcotics would not "cure" Michael's mental anguish or torment from the public humiliation and torment he faced. Based on his appearance in the 1993 Mexico deposition over song copyright issues, I would think that Michael was not one of the 5% who experienced euphoria from pain medications like oxycodone (needless to say true drug addicts abuse this drug by crushing then diluting the tablets in liquid and injecting them intravenously). In fact, during the latter portions of the deposition he appears to be the most miserable and saddest person I have ever seen and though he seemed to be sedated he was able to answer all questions presented to him in a coherent manner. Keep in mind he had recently had an abscessed tooth removed that did in fact require pain medication, was facing the molestation allegations, was performing on his tour and being deposed all during this time just hours before leaving for London for what has been dubbed rehab for "drug addiction" when in reality Michael said he had a dependence issue and I feel more than anything he just wanted to get away for a while as he desperately needed to get away, far far away.
Michael has stated to people time and time again that he really did experience pain, be it from injuries, from surgeries, from lupus or whatever. In fact, during one of the CNN interviews with Deepak Chopra he said Michael asked him for a narcotic prescription. Chopra told him no. Michael told him he did not understand, that he was in real physical pain. Chopra then jumped to the conclusion that Michael was a drug addict and then called the family for an intervention. What a load of hogwash. Chopra did not have any business writing a prescription for Michael but also had no business immediately insinuating that Michael was a drug addict and needed an intervention, either! He should have referred him to a doctor who could examine him and then select an appropriate pain treatment regimen. I believe Michael wholeheartedly when he tried to tell his mother he was not an addict. "My own mother doesn't believe me." He kept saying it over and over to her. I believe that when he took pain medications he did in fact take them to attempt to alleviate physical pain and physical pain only. That would mean dependence, if ever an issue or not--should not be turned into him being called a "drug addict" in any form. Pain medications can be addictive with anyone who takes them. The public has a broad misconception about what drug addiction/dependence and abuse/use really is; even some medical practitioners do, too.
We hear all these stories about Michael supposedly being addicted to pain medications but none of these people can actually say they ever witnessed him taking or injecting anything and some of them cannot even say they ever saw him under the influence. I do not believe these accounts of reported addiction and abuse (as neither did David Nordahl who questioned whether some of these people have been paid to spread these lies as he recalled some tabloid workers walk around with a suitcase full of cash looking for someone to feed them a story). However, the media takes these stories and blasts them to the public, true or not about Michael's supposed "addictions" and does nothing to discuss any type of facts or notions of truth concerning Michael. The public does not easily find that Tom Mesereau said that he never saw Michael under the influence at any time though he was with Michael, communicating with Michael most of the day throughout the trial (http://www.mjworld.net/news/2009/07/18/tom-mesereau-speaks/). David Nordahl said he never saw Michael under the influence of drugs or alcohol, either (I will elaborate on a story he shared here shortly). The public does not get to read about Michael's account that he had taken no pain medications, choosing to meditate instead, while suffering from a spider bite on his leg (http://www.mjcafe.net/interviews/globe.htm). No one is talking about Lou Ferrigno, Christian Audigier or Miko Brando saying they never saw any problem. Better yet, few have heard Dr. Patrick Treacy or Cherilyn Lee discuss not seeing any signs or symptoms of addiction or abuse while he was their patient and/or friend (someone today mentioned Dr. Treacy said Michael refused pain medications while under his care and resorted to running around the house instead but I would have to see or read this clip to be able to verify that). Former child actor Mark Lester is an osteopath in the UK and says Michael showed no signs of having an abuse or addiction issue (he could not recall him even taking an aspirin) and he also made similar comments to Dr. Klein concerning Michael's severe fear of needles (http://www.dnaindia.com/entertainment/report_michael-jackson-hated-needles-says-pal-mark-lester_1272831). Lester suggested Michael use acupuncture twice, once for his spider bite. Michael could not do it--Lester said he could not deal with chiropracty, either, because of the noises the bones make when they pop. Even Conrad Murray claimed he knew of no addiction issues until he decided to claim Michael was addicted to a non-addictive drug! But no, instead of reading these stories and hearing these stories in the mainstream media we see articles stating the spider bite was in fact the result of him shooting up heroin in the shin of his leg. I do not think the worst of addicts would ever resort to using the shin of their leg for shooting! That being said I think it is important to understand what the skin of an IV drug abuser looks like:
This blog above appears to be a very good blog that details some of the problems IV drug abusers face from their addictions. The autopsy report concluded that Michael's skin was rather unremarkable except for vitiligo. He had fresh puncture wounds to his right neck, both arms, left calf and right ankle. These were either done by Murray or paramedics--in other words, they were recent wounds and not from weeks or months prior. Concerning scarring, he had the following scars as listed in the autopsy report:
-Scars behind each ear
-Scars on his nose
-Scar-like area on his right shoulder
-Scar-like area at the base of his neck on his back--this was further examined and the following was concluded "Sections of skin (slide U) show no melanocytic pigment. Melanocytes, although present, are reduced in number. The skin is otherwise unremarkable. No scar or suture material is present."
-1/4 inch scar above the inside of the left elbow
-One 1/8 inch scar on each wrist (could this have been from the handcuffs?)
-7/8 inch scar on the right palm below the thumb
-2 inch surgical scar on the lower right abdomen
-5/8 inch scar by the belly button
-2 inch semi-circular scar on the right knee with a few smaller scars below it (knee surgery?)
-Area of hyperpigmentation on the right shin (this appears to be from the spider bite and/or MRSA infection)
Pictures of the spider bite/possible MRSA infection:
This is the only noted incident of Michael ever having anything like this. I would think because of his lupus (which I presume to be systemic) his skin may have been susceptible to infection. Also, considering he was able to heal from that vicious wound is another indication that Michael was in fact healthy and not having any health complications at that time (2002-2003), including complications from drug abuse. I am honestly shocked he was able to heal from that wound and heal so nicely!
Though Michael had some scars as noted previously the scarring does not seem to be consistent with IV drug abuse as described in the blog above written by Dr. Bates. Dr. Bates also states, "chronic venous insufficiency and ulcers may be found in 88% of people with a history of injection drug abuse." The autopsy report states "the skeletal and articular structures of the right lower extremity are unremarkable. Incidentally ("by the way") noted is a thin 5 cm. long calcific collection in the posterior mid to distal leg consistent with atherosclerotic arterial calcification. The skeletal structures of the left lower extremity are unremarkable. Incidentally noted is a thin 2 cm. long calcific density in the posterior distal leg consistent with calcified arterial atherosclerosis (found at the same level as the ID marker band placed about the lower left leg). There is additional minimal calcified arterial atherosclerotic calcification approximately 1.5 cm distal to the larger calcification. Conclusion: Mild calcified arterial atherosclerosis of both legs."
Michael did not have "chronic venous insufficiency" and did not have any ulcers but rather some normal aging of his arteries you would find in a healthy 50 year old man. Actually, most 50 year old men would kill for Michael's legs!
What I have discussed above only covers IV drug abuse (i.e. Demerol, heroin or IV morphine). This does not cover oral medications which would not cause skin damage. As I have mentioned before when one abuses drugs a toll is usually taken on the liver, regardless of the dosage form as all drugs eventually get to the liver and most are metabolized by the liver. The following was said about Michael's liver:
"It is red-brown and the capsule is thin. The consistency is soft and the cut surface is smooth. There is a normal lobular arrangement. The liver (slide Q) is normal in structure. Hepatocytes (liver cells) show no inclusions or lipid droplets. There is no significant parenchymal necrosis or inflammation."
Michael's liver was healthy, in other words; it was not so much inflamed. I cannot help but think had he been abusing propofol for weeks before his death that his liver should have shown some signs of lipid deposits, but that is just a guess. I say this because propofol is mixed with soybean oil--it is basically a mixture of medicine, oil, egg and fat.
I hate being this graphic and discussing Michael like this but this may be the only way to get people to grasp the concept that Michael was in fact healthy when he died and did not die from addiction in any form and did not seem to suffer from addiction during his lifetime. Even people who consume the maximum but recommended amount of acetaminophen/paracetamol may find themselves having significant liver damage over years of use. Many pain narcotics, such as Vicodin and Percocet, two that people claim Michael abused, contain acetaminophen.
David Nordahl, from his recent interview with Deborah Kunesh, said that he recalled Michael being in severe pain from having a balloon (tissue expander) placed under his scalp. Not only was Michael burned which caused disfigurement to his scalp but lupus (which I will discuss here shortly) also complicated matters with trying to do restorative surgery to his scalp. When these restorative measures were done, more harm than good seemed to happen because of the lupus. During one of these expansions, which I believe occurred before the "Dangerous" tour in 1993, Michael expressed being in a lot of pain and thought perhaps he should take an aspirin. David told him aspirin was tough on the stomach (which is true) and suggested Advil (which is just as bad) since Michael had always had a bad stomach. Michael was given pain narcotics by a doctor to treat the pain and it is believed he developed possible problems with dependence shortly thereafter from this issue with his scalp. Karen Faye has also mentioned that Michael was using pain medications while on the "Dangerous" tour, that his scalp was not allowed to heal properly before the tour began. I wish I could confirm that during this time a tissue expander was being used (mid-to-late 1993). If anyone has any information on this I would appreciate it. I do recall reading or hearing about it a long, long time ago but have no idea where or when I read it.
I also wanted to note that I seriously question the judgment and treatment of some of Michael's doctors but all doctors were cleared of any wrongdoing except Conrad Murray. "Wrongdoing" includes prescribing/enabling an addict. Some practitioner(s) were reprimanded for using pseudonyms (fake names) only. (http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/michael-jackson-doctors-and-nurse-cleared-in-king-of-pop-death-1018701.php)
I think many people know that Michael had lupus. However, many people do not know there are different types of lupus. I was under the impression Michael had discoid lupus since Klein was treating him. But, looking at the autopsy report and photos of Michael, I believe he had systemic lupus. Below are some common symptoms of systemic lupus:
Common Symptoms of Lupus
To help the doctors diagnose lupus, a list of 11 common criteria, or measures, was developed by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). ACR is a professional association of rheumatologists. These are the doctors who specialize in treating diseases of the joints and muscles, like lupus. If you have at least four of the criteria on the list, either at the present time or at some time in the past, there is a strong chance that you have lupus.
1. Malar rash – a rash over the cheeks and nose, often in the shape of a butterfly
2. Discoid rash – a rash that appears as red, raised, disk-shaped patches
3. Photosensitivity – a reaction to sun or light that causes a skin rash to appear or get worse
4. Oral ulcers – sores appearing in the mouth
5. Arthritis – joint pain and swelling of two or more joints in which the bones around the joints do not become destroyed
6. Serositis – inflammation of the lining around the lungs (pleuritis) or inflammation of the lining around the heart that causes chest pain which is worse with deep breathing (pericarditis)
7. Kidney disorder – persistent protein or cellular casts in the urine
8. Neurological disorder – seizures or psychosis
9. Blood disorder – anemia (low red blood cell count), leukopenia (low white blood cell count), lymphopenia (low level of specific white blood cells), or thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
10. Immunologic disorder – abnormal anti-double-stranded DNA or anti-Sm, positive antiphospholipid antibodies
11. Abnormal antinuclear antibody (ANA)
People with lupus also may experience symptoms that do not appear among the ACR criteria:
• fever (over 100° F)
• extreme fatigue
• hair loss
• fingers turning white and/or blue when cold (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
Rash--Michael, at times, certainly had a rash on his face that appears to be more malar than discoid to me (at least to me but I am not a doctor). Singer Seal has discoid lupus, in comparison:
Malar (systemic) vs. Discoid Lupus Rash: http://members.shaw.ca/systemiclupus/skin.html
Photosensitivity--Michael did have this, obviously, but it was also due to vitiligo. Those with lupus may have other autoimmune diseases as well.
Arthritis--Michael did complain of pain and the autopsy report confirmed he had arthritis in his right hand, left pinky, and lower and mid back, at minimum.
Serositis--Michael had some lung issues throughout his adult life though the exact nature of what was going on seems very vague. LaToya mentions in her book that Michael had been hospitalized multiple times in the 1980s from chest pain and lung problems. Michael even mentioned one of these bouts in his autobiography. Quincy Jones said Michael claimed at times he had "blisters on his lungs" though Quincy did not believe him (http://www.entertainmentwise.com/news/49034/quincy-jones-michael-jackson-bleached-skin-because-he-didnt-want-to-be-black). The autopsy report found the following regarding Michael's lungs:
"The above findings reflect a depletion of structural and functional reserves of the lung. Reserve depletion is the result of widespread respiratory bronchiolitis and chronic lung inflammation in association with fibrocollagenous scars and organizing/recanalizing thromboemboli of small arteries. It should be noted that the above lung injury with reserve loss is not considered to be a direct or contributing cause of death. However, such an individual would be especially susceptible to adverse health effects."
Please understand that the above finding does not mean Michael had pnuemonia which is a bacterial infection. Michael had a problem with his lungs that never went away (chronic)--and though I am not completely sure why he had this I would think this could be from systemic lupus as I know that fibrocollagenous scarring or fibrosis can be caused from one's own body attacking itself. (http://www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/ipf)
Kidney Disorder--Michael's kidneys seemed to be fine but the autopsy report did state "the right pyramidal apex shows focal interstitial fibrosis". I am not sure what to make of this. I know people with lupus often (about half) have kidney issues at some point.
Anemia--Brian Oxman has made the claim that Michael did suffer from some sort of anemia. I am not sure where this came from or what type of anemia he may have had as there are different kinds of anemia.
Michael also suffered from hair loss and people have said at times he was cold though I do not know if he was just cold-natured or if he had Raynaud's Syndrome as well. Michael's fingernails at times seemed to darken. This could have been from lupus and/or lung disease. Michael was not a smoker. (http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/expert.q.a/02/09/fingernails.discolored.shu/index.html)
Michael certainly appears to have more than 4 of the above criteria for systemic lupus, in my opinion. I do not recall ever hearing/reading about Michael taking anything for lupus other then prednisone in which he took very, very high doses.
I try my best to not discuss Michael's children in my blog, or anywhere for that matter, because I know Michael fought hard to help their lives as private as possible. I respect his wishes even though now that he is gone his children have lost a lot of that privacy that he fought so hard to give them. I hope people will keep in mind that Michael's children are still indeed children and we should respect them by not trying to intrude into their private lives by "promoting" them in any form. I know most fans do not do such but I cringe when the paparazzi takes their photos or when I see videos of them on YouTube. This is not fair to them and would be totally against Michael's wishes. Please respect Michael's wishes and the privacy of his children as well.
I do want to say, however, I think Michael's children are three of the most intelligent, mature and respectful children ever just based on the little bit we have seen and heard from them. What they said about their father, especially what Paris said to Oprah, I consider to have been "perfect" and the most important thing anyone has ever said about him. I hope his children someday will know that there are people out there that love their father very, very much and want to help them in helping the world understand what kind of man Michael really was. I hate to fathom anyone ever insulting their father and them having to read it or hear it because when I myself see it I feel like dying sometimes. I cannot imagine the pain or feeling of helplessness when out of everyone--they know the truth about their father, they know what kind of person he really was. That is why I personally will never give up on trying to tell people the truth about Michael, not only for him, but for his children, too.
Deborah Kunesh's interview with David Nordahl: