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!

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Quick Update Video

Hi Everyone!

It would be awesome if you could all take a few minutes to watch this update video I did today. Just wanted to fill everyone in on what’s been going on. Also I would love to answer ANY questions anyone has about anything.

Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend! Go Hawks!

xoxo Katherine

What 2013 Gave Me

I never would have described myself as a glass-half-full sort of person before this year. Not because I was a negative, glass-half-empty sort of person before but because I have never experienced something so unique or scary or enlightening or profound as I have in 2013. Something happened to me that I had no control over at all. There was nothing I could do to stop it or change it. The only thing I could choose was how I was going to live with it. And LIVE WITH IT is EXACTLY what I did. I crashed head-on into a lemon tree this year, but I’ve figured out how to make some damn good lemonade.

Here is my 2013, the bad, the good and the really, really, really good.

  • I got a tattoo on my leg.

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  • I graduated from FIDM, and made some really bad ass shit.

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  • I went to Disneyland with my sisters.
  • IMG_1955I got diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and had to move back to Washington.

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  • I fell madly in love.

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  • I rocked a bald head.

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  • I got a new car.

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  • I experienced what it’s like to be trapped in your own body and have no control over your movements and actions or the ability to speak or function normally and had this tube shoved down my nose via leukoencephalopathy, fuck you very much methotrexate.

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  • I redecorated my bedroom and got a badass TV.

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  • I spoke at two cancer benefit events

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  • I bonded with my family

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  • I went to some dark places. (but I only threw up once)

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  • I missed my best friends.

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  • I went to my first Seahawks game, sat in the Red Zone at met Russell Wilson!

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  • And I gained a new sense of community. I experienced the kindness and compassion of family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. I learned more than I ever could have expected.

Getting cancer is horrible, but getting through it is amazing. I don’t know if other people can see it the way that I do, but in the end, I gained so much more than I lost this year, and a lot of it wouldn’t have happened without Leukemia. Life happens, whether you want it to or not and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, and enjoy what you can with the people you love. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me, supported me, prayed for me, thought of me, donated blood, donated money, done anything for me or my family or cancer research. I may not have responded at times, but I have appreciated everything that has been done for me so greatly and I hope that everyone who has tried to support me knows that.

2013, I’m not sad to see you go, but you were good to me. Overall, you were good to me.

xoxo,

Kathy

 

 

 

Where to begin…

Hello family, friends and others who are for some reason interested in my life,

I have been wanting to start this blog for a long time but there was always something holding me back from doing so. Since being diagnosed with Leukemia in April and forced to move home to Seattle, I have all the time in the world to work on this project. I want this blog to be a documentation of my journey not only through cancer but through all aspects of my life, including art&design, fashion&beauty, my puppy, and my friends&family. I strive to be a very honest and open person and so far having cancer has only made me more transparent. I bring this up as a warning because Chemotherapy is no cakewalk and I want to be able to talk about all of the side effects that I am dealing with. I have a generally positive outlook on this whole situation and often use sarcasm and humor to cope. I would hope that most of my posts will be positive, helpful and/or funny but I do have bad days sometimes and that is probably when I will need this space the most. I know that starting this blog will be very therapeutic for me and I can only hope that through doing this I can help others. Not only other cancer or Leukemia patients, but everyone else too. And I’m so excited to get started!!!!

xoxo Katherine