Tuesday

I literally almost just went to bed without posting anything because I TOTALLY forgot. I’m actually in my bed right now writing this on my phone. Hmm… I don’t really know what to write about. Today was fairly average, ran some errands, took another trip to the dog park and did some work that I have been putting off. I’m excited to go to clinic tomorrow for labs. I love seeing everyone, especially since now I don’t get to see them as often as I used to. I think this visit is the last time they’ll be able to access my port before I get it taken out next week. It’s so crazy, it’s like exactly a year from when I got it put in.

I remember waiting for so long to get it put in. I kept getting bumped off the surgery schedule because I was in-patient. And then when they finally put it in, the anesthesiologist I had was really mean. It was one of the worst parts of my entire treatment, but I think that was only due to my specific circumstances. I was pretty freaked out to get a port because I had no idea what they were. Up until a week before I had one inside me I had never even heard of one. An IV nurse that I had at my first hospital showed me here and let me touch it, she had one that stuck out so you could see the outline under her skin. I started to understand the value of the port after being in the hospital for a week plus without one. I was getting poked four times a day for labs plus the IV that was already in my arm, that’s upwards of 30 pokes in one week. Day, night, I would literally wake up to someone leaning over me, trying to stab me with a needle to get labs. They started running out of good veins pretty quick and had to get crafty, placing lines on the tops of my hands, on my bicep, on my forearm. I still have bruisey looking scars from those IVs. Top of the hand was my least favorite, I swear it scarred me for life the first time the nurse put one there. Now it’s the only place I’ll let them put one, haha. Thank god for numbing cream!

After my scarring IV experiences, I was actually quite relieved to have the port. It brings the term “one and done” to a whole new meaning. At first, I could feel the port in my neck which I didn’t like. I often tip my head to the right as a quirky way of calming anxiety, the port disrupted this coping mechanism at a very crucial time. It was also annoying for sleeping because I felt like I couldn’t lay in certain positions. Over time, I began to feel it less and less. Now I can sleep however and tilt my head however, without feeling it at all.

At my hospital, everyone is prescribed numbing cream for their port, to numb the area before they poke you. At first I used the numbing cream, but after leaving it in the wrong car so many times I finally bailed on the whole affair. Being that I am treated at a children’s hospital, it is very uncommon for a patient to not use the numbing cream. I’d say it’s also less common for the patients to be as to have adult conversations with their nurses. If I had a Nicole for every time a nurse asked me how it felt to have the port put in I would have.. Like 50 cents. My response was always the same, “well, it feels like your stabbing me in the chest with a needle.”

All in all, I’ve really grown to love my port. I’ll do another post about it when I’m actually going to get it out next week.

All right. Well at least that’s something, and it’s more than I thought it would be! I’m going to bed y’all.

xoxo Kathy

Monday

Tonight, I am tired. Tired because I just kicked my own butt at the gym! It has been a challenge to get myself back in to a workout routine after lying in bed for so long, but I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere. And it feels amazing!

I’ve made a goal for myself this week to post something every day. I hope to be able to address real topics in my posts in the future, but for this week I am focusing on getting in the habit of posting.

I spent the better parts of my day today with Val. We went on our favorite long walk and I came up with some great ideas for TKD content. Being that it was actually nice outside today, I decided to take Val over to the dog park. There’s a really great one in our area that has a pretty big area designated to small and shy dogs, both of which are my dog. On the short walk over to the dog area from the parking lot, I ran into a nice woman who wondered about Val’s breed. She asked me specifically if Val was very good at being alone during the day. This just so happens to be the only thing that Val is absolutely horrible at. I had to explain to her that Val wasn’t a very good example of the breed because I got her to help me through chemo, so we have always been together all day, resulting in separation anxiety (for both of us).

I always love these little conversations that I have with complete strangers, where I’m forced to reveal that I am battling cancer. Everyone reacts differently to hearing it, but the best is when people react like this woman today. It’s like they immediately drop the stranger pretenses and join your army of supporters. They usually ask how things are going and I reassure them that I am doing great, and then they finish off by saying something encouraging like, “stay strong” or “keep up the fight” or something like that. Today, the woman said, “I hope that you have a great present and future.”

This reminds me of another sort of similar story. Sometime amidst all of my intense chemo I felt well enough to go shopping with my Godmother, Beckie. We were in one of Beckie’s favorite stores, chatting with one of the managers who knew Beckie, while she checked out. Somehow we got onto the topic of my cancer. Meanwhile this grumpy looking woman came to stand in line behind us. Beckie’s purchase was taking a while and we were being sort of leisurely since we knew the woman helping us. I figured this would only make the grumpy lady more angry. Finally, a second cashier came to help the grumpy lady. Grumpy finished getting checked out before us, and then she did something that shocked me. She grabbed my arm and said “stay strong” and then she turned and walked away. It was AWESOME. I will never forget that.

It’s so cool that people can relate to me, and to my struggle, like that. I feel so blessed to be able to experience these little moments of connection with people and I hope that they know how much of an impact that there words have.

Hope you all enjoyed these little stories, hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to come up with something a little more organized!

xoxo Kathy

One Year Later

A year ago today, I was trapped in the hospital in Seattle, occupying my time with Pinterest which I was using to inspire the redesign of my childhood bedroom. I remember sending an image of a window seat to a family friend who doubles as a woodworker in the hopes that he might be able to construct one for my sanctuary. I’d always wanted a window seat in my room. There’s this perfect nook for one that I was always trying to fill with other furniture when I was growing up. But nothing ever fit like this window box, the one I’m sitting on now, writing this post.

I’ve finally finished the bedroom remodel that I began as soon as I got out of the hospital last year. Looking at the finished product now, it’s pretty remarkable how closely it resembles the inspiration images, even with the extra dressers needed to contain the vast amount of unnecessary clothing I own. And I am absolutely in love with it. Even as a visual designer, I have never noticeably experienced the impact of my surroundings as strongly as I have since creating this environment for myself. It hurts me that I will have to leave it so soon!

Continuing down my list of “Projects I Thought I Could Handle While Going Through Chemo,” I come to this blog, The Kathy Diaries, a domain that I purchased the rights to shortly after getting out of the hospital. Originally, I wanted to document my cancer experience in real time and share with everyone my life, thoughts and perspectives. I quickly realized that this was not something that I was capable of doing. It takes a lot of  work to establish yourself as a blogger, especially the caliber of blogger which I intended to be. No one going through chemo needs such high expectations to be placed on them as what I was trying to place on myself, so I let it go. Along with pretty much all of my other outlets (besides television, there was a lot of television).

As I’ve been recovering (on maintenance) these past few months, I’ve been able to start replacing some of the pressures that I relieved during intense treatment. Especially the good pressures, like exercise, design, work, running errands, participating in family activities, living life and travelling! This is what allowed me to finally complete my room, which involved finally unpacking boxes of my stuff from LA that had literally been in the garage for almost a year. And it is allowing me now, to begin dedicating the time, energy and passion to this blog that I have wanted to all along. I can’t document chemo in real time, but I can document the process of getting back on your feet and restarting your life. I can demonstrate how a positive attitude and thinking about things from the right perspective can create a happy and fulfilled life during and after cancer. I can strive to inspire those who are struggling and spread awareness for our cause to those who are too afraid to pay attention.

So stay tuned everyone, because I’ve been sitting idly for too long, and I’ve got a lot of exciting things coming your way in the near future!

xoxo Kathy

PS Here’s a pic of my lovely window seat! And I’ll throw in one of Val, and one of me holding a baby for smiles!

photo 1 (3)photo 2 (4)photo 3 (3)

Photoshoot with Kate E. Photography

Hi Everyone,

I recently did a photo shoot with an old family friend and aspiring photographer Kate E. Photography! Check out her work here and be sure to like her Facebook page here! Kate has avidly supported me with encouraging messages throughout my entire cancer experience. She approached me a few months ago about doing a photo shoot but I was too sick until recently to actually do it! I really wanted us to be able to capture what was left of my cancer experience before too much of my hair grew back. We also did some more edgy, fashionable type photos for fun! And a few with Val! Overall it was a lovely day with a great friend and photographer! Special thanks to Daniel Ross Salon for styling my makeup and hair!

Here are a few of my favorite shots :)

*Please keep in mind that I am not a model and suffer from chronic bitch face*

2923BW363234BW133311152038BW Thanks for looking guys! Hope you like them!

xoxo Kathy