Friday, November 21, 2014


One of my lingering side effects from being sick is some nerve damage throughout my body. I notice it in my legs and hands especially. I used to be really coordinated, but these days I struggle with coordination; I can't even jump a few inches in the air. As a an athlete* this bugs the hell out of me! I've talked about having to pick up my legs when I'm tired (like getting in/out of a vehicle), and I am honestly considering buying a cane because my left knee gives out when the barometric pressure is funky in the winter when storms roll through. It gets really weak and concerns me when I walk up my stairs. Plus I could totally get a pimped out cane and that would be awesome.

May 2010

If you know me, you know that the place I go to worship is the gym. It was the place that I was able to get my body back after losing all of my muscle mass (asthenia), the place I was able to regain my confidence and my life. Because I am so competitive, I am prone to overdoing, and had adrenal issues from working out too hard on already-stressed adrenals from my illness. I had to take 2012 off from working out because I could hardly get out of bed. Being able to go back in mid-2013 was like finding myself all over again. I love it more than ever.

These days I take it sort of easy at the gym. I wear a heart rate monitor and keep myself in a safe zone that is lower than what is generally allowed for my age group because a) I'm on high blood pressure medication and b) I don't want to overdo it. Sometimes, this drives me crazy and I want to do more, lift more weight, and (sometimes) prove myself. To whom do I have to prove myself? I have to remind myself, NOBODY. That's who. I assume people judge me when I'm in the weight room. In the last 16 months I've belonged to my gym, I've seen exactly two other women in the weight room; women seem to stick to the cardio rooms. So I assume the guys in the weight room judge me harshly for the lack of weight I can lift. (They are probably thinking COMPLETELY different things than what I think they are, but that's where my mind goes.) Sometimes certain moves are embarrassing for me because the nerve damage severely limits the weight I can lift and I feel like a weakling. I am focusing on rebuilding and strengthening muscles to this day, and working with the hand I've been dealt.

My biggest motivation though? Remembering that I was in a wheelchair and had to relearn how to walk. Whenever I get down about how little weight I can lift, I remind myself of this little fact and that NOBODY in the weight room knows this about me by just looking at me. Almost 5 years ago I WAS IN A WHEELCHAIR IN PHYSICAL REHAB LEARNING TO WALK AGAIN. I have nothing to prove to others, or myself. I'm just damn lucky to be able to go to the gym...and walk for that matter.

98 lbs and barely able to walk
Tonight I had a particularly good workout. I had lots of energy and was able to work out a tiny bit harder than usual. It felt great. I was able to lift a little heavier than I have been able to recently, except for one area where I had to use little weights. I started beating myself up until I started repeating the word, "Wheelchair" with each rep. This is the tactic I use when I want to push myself. Wheelchair. Ha!

I also love a good playlist, and switch mine up regularly. (Check out the Gym link in my title bar for playlists). I recently added Nine Inch Nails' Closer to it, and between that and Du Hast by Rammstein (a little German death metal for ya), it propelled my workout into the next level. After I worked out and stretched, I put on Closer again and sat on a mat by myself and meditated.  Talk about not caring what other people think about you! This chick with the wild hair in the middle of the gym on a mat meditating? (I wish I had a picture). That is a fantastic song to meditate to, by the way. Try it sometime.

After my workout, I feel like a new woman. (I originally typed good woman, LOL.) I'm glad that I have a body I love, I'm learning to not worry about what other people think, and that I've overcome adversity in my life. It makes me more grateful for what I have today.

*If you have a body, you're an athlete.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Where Your Feet Are

Part of me wants to stop blogging, but then I realize I go through this feeling with some regularity. If I thought hard enough about it, I could probably go back and recall that is happens every other November...

As of today, we're already almost a third of the way through November and no sideways light. And not even an inkling of it this year. This summer I was sitting in Montana with a friend and she made the comment that we're always rushing into the next season - Christmas decorations are out before Halloween in the stores. We can't just ever live where we are at. That was the moment I was forever changed and knew that sideways light wasn't going to be an issue this year.

For so much of my life, I've been leaning against the fast forward button, like an impatient kid at the crosswalk repeatedly pressing the cross button. Life was a series of "been there, done that, next!" never taking time to appreciate where my feet were standing at any given moment, because it was always about the next moment. I look back now and realize my illness in 2010 was my wake up call, and I laugh about certain things now. It's hard to be looking into the future when you're re-learning to walk and really have to focus on where your feet are at any given second...incredibly symbolic. Those are the things that I have great gratitude for in my experience and bring a wicked smile to my face. The Universe has a sense of humor.

This year I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the "holidays" in general. I can't recall a time in my adult life where I've ever really been able to say this.

I was watching Super Soul Sunday this morning with Barbara Brown Taylor as the guest, and her and Oprah were talking about people's callings. Many people see a calling as this huge call to greatness like the burning bush type thing, and get scared and feel like it is too large and unattainable. I can relate because for so many years I thought that's what it was. How could I possibly have any impact on this world? I am just a small human.

They discussed how people often use the idea that a calling is this huge, big thing as an excuse to not live right where their two feet are here in the now. An aha! moment for me. In the last year I've understood my calling is not something huge and crazy - my calling is to heal my soul, live the best, healthiest life I can, while giving as much love to the people who cross my path as I am able. And if that love finds its way back to me, even better. That's it. And in this way I am firmly planted with both feet on the ground here in the now. Well, mostly.

I have to remember that I am enough right here just where I am, and that nothing external can validate me. I must validate myself. This is a lesson that has presented itself many times in my life, and as we all know, lessons will be repeated until they are learned. I have spent the last 16 months really working hard on healing the unhealed areas of my life, and that work has paid off handsomely. I was promoted to my dream job at work, and found a beautiful home that is my sanctuary where I feel safer than I have in years. It feels amazing and I am continually surprised when wonderful things show up in my life. It's as a result of the work. Speaking of home, here are some pictures. More pics here.

But there is one area of my life that in the past few weeks I have realized I have a shit ton of fear around, and that's being in a relationship. Strangely enough? I feel called to be in a relationship but am simultaneously terrified of being in one. Often a calling is something that takes you to the edge of the abyss of fear, and walks you through it anyway, changing you forever. (They talked about this on Super Soul Sunday too. Preachin to the choir sisters.)

This week I spoke with so many people about my fear  - my therapist, sponsor, hairstylist, friends - and found that each person had something to share that really helped me. Asking for help is not my strong point, but the fear felt awful, big, and scary and I didn't want to project that energy out into the world, and asking for help was less scary.

My fear is basically this: what happens if the same kinds of men come into my life as in the past, what if I can't spot them and waste my time with someone who doesn't deserve it, and what if I show up the same way I have in the past - needy, scared, and powerless? This is a huge fear of mine. It was a friend who asked, "Wait, isn't this the first time you've been single and sober?" Another aha! Yes, it is. I am developing new tools all the time as I experience things for the first time in sobriety, and this is a first for me so of course it's scary. And that's OK! My sponsor told me that I need to put myself out there and deal with the possibility of being rejected to get over my fear of rejection (a super fun character defect of mine). She also reminded me that I wasn't sober when I got into my last relationship and here almost 4 years later (wow, that's weird to type) I am a completely different woman than I was then. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

So here we are today, part of the way through November with no sideways light in sight, actively working through fears, and feeling that I really am living the dream and am incredibly lucky to have been willing to do the hard work to get to where I am in my life.

Eternally grateful for the experience.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


So I moved. Out of the apartment and into a house. I had a nickname for the house, but I think I'll just call it home instead.

A small welcome home gift from the locals

For a long time I wanted to take up as little space as possible. I wanted to live simply in a small space. I looked into buying a tiny home, and while doing research something just didn't feel right to me, so I stopped. While this is a noble desire and many people live comfortably this way, for me it was about something else. I can now articulate that I wanted to take up as little space as possible in this world; I wanted to not exist. I didn't think I deserved to take up any space.

It takes a lot of work to dig up and get rid of old ideas. It takes a long time for them to bubble to the surface to be dealt with. Not feeling worthy of taking up space is one of my old ideas/beliefs.

The house I just moved into is twice the size of my former apartment. It's almost as big as the tri-level house I grew up in. It's almost as big as the Folsom house I lived in during my marriage. And it's all mine. I have space to breathe, to be myself, and to grow into (whatever that looks like). I am excited.

A home is not the walls that surround you. It's the energy of the place. It makes you feel safe and at home in your sanctuary. Walking through this house a couple weeks ago, I just knew. That's how things have gone in my life - I know instantly whether something (or someone) is for me or not. I walk away when it isn't right, and jump in with both feet when it is. All or nothing is sort of my jam. The house has begun revealing itself to me and is making me feel full of joy: the backyard, the front light timer switch, the gas range (oh gawd is this wonderful), the cool lights in the bathrooms, the fact that there are outlets EVERYWHERE, and other wonderful small details. I love this house. I love this house. I love my home.

Dear Universe, 
Get ready because I am taking up space. 
I'm ready.
Love, Katie

Friday, October 24, 2014

Big News

Dirtbag Foreclosure Rental House is happening! I move on Halloween.

I have been making a running list of things I am looking forward to:

Things I am looking forward to
More space!
Garage to park truck - no worries about catalytic converter getting stolen or truck getting dirty as often
Place to store all my things on site instead of at offsite storage facility
A bigger kitchen
Home office room
Backyard all to myself
A place to garden
Compost bin!
Can have people over
No more moving for a long time...
Space to spread out
A place for him to join me
Doorstep where I can have packages delivered!
Neighbors further away
No neighbor above me
My own parking - don't have to worry about anyone crossing over the line into my spot
No kids doing nefarious things in my backyard
Not sharing a wall with druggies
Having fences, not just walls
No yelling just feet from where I'm sitting
Being able to listen to music without being overly conscious of neighbors
No skateboards or basketballs in the hallway
Being able to listen to the tv as loud as I want
No stomping at all hours of the day and night above me
Not having to worry about interrupting anyone if I turn up my tv or music too loud
LOUD SEX without worry/shame (just being honest)

6 more days.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I found a rental house I really like so put in an application for it. On the application I had to list my previous landlords, so I emailed Mountain Man to give him a heads-up that he may get called. The reason for moving that I put on the application? "MM and I were dating and living together, we broke up and I moved. We are still on good terms." This is true. He said he'd be happy to give me a good recommendation and we emailed back and forth a few times talking about work; it was warm and kind. There was no energy around it, other than soft kindness felt for someone who had an impact on my life, and gratitude for my life today as a single woman.

After our email exchange, I realized the heartbreak of our split softened me. Soft. Not a word I thought I'd use in relation to myself.  I learned so much from that relationship as I've lived relationship post-mortem in a place of "I want to get rid of this baggage. I don't want to carry this around with me anymore. I don't want to feel this way anymore. What do I need to feel inside myself and what do I need to change to get rid of this and be a better version of myself than I was in my past?" Yes, as you can imagine I spend a lot of time in my therapist's office. I've done a lot of work in the last year to open up the hardest, most shameful parts of my past and show another human being my brokenness in order to heal it and let it go. It's hard, scary, and worthwhile as it's allowing me to become the woman I am supposed to be.

you have to keep breaking your heart until it opens

I haven't always shown up as my best self. My last relationship was really hard. We're both good people, but just not meant to be together and I knew that the day I left. I spun off-kilter for a long time trying to get my bearings after that. It took quite a few months, but in emailing about Dirtbag Foreclosure Rental House I realized my heartbreak has officially healed, which allows me to give myself permission to finally, officially move on.


In other news, I started my new gig at work last week and it is BEYOND AMAZING. I have been asking the Universe for this job for a very long time without realizing this was what I was asking for (it sort of kind of fell in my lap, which is how most amazing things in my life have come to pass), and it granted my wish. I feel a little uneasy about it, almost like it's too good to be true (but it isn't). You're telling me I get to work from home sometimes and that's ok? I don't have to sign in/out on a whiteboard like I used to? I'm in charge of my own workload? I get to use my skills and knowledge and be respected for it? The freedom is incredible, and hasn't been my experience before (especially at the last company I worked for). I ran into my new boss today and he told me I look happier than I have in a long time, and that my spark is back. When I was walked back to my office afterwards I mouthed, "I LOVE MY JOB." while looking up. I feel like the luckiest woman on the planet today.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Woman Like a Forest Fire

So the good news is I don't have to go to Stanford; my new nephrologist gave me more kidney-specific info in 20 minutes than I've gotten in 4+ years. He was cool. I guess I'll keep him.

Good news:

  • My kidney disease is as a result of an acute injury and not an ongoing health issue like diabetes or high blood pressure. This bodes well for me because my kidney disease may not progress like the other kinds.
  • I'm doing everything right and there is nothing else he recommends, except I need to drink more water.

Other news (I'm not calling it bad because I'm not judging it)

  • My kidney function is likely at a point where it may begin declining over time due to age. Most people lose kidney function as they age, but most people have more kidney function than they need. Me on the other hand? I can use everything I've got and then some.
  • He explained that my GFR could drop 1 - 1.5 points each year. My GFR is currently 40 (normal for my age/sex is 90+), so I could expect to begin dialysis in 20 years. 20 years!? They'll be 3D printing new kidneys by then.
  • My ultrasound showed that my kidney looks like the "aftermath of a forest fire." I have massive scarring throughout my kidneys and those areas will not get better. WHOA analogy.

I was thinking about his forest fire comment on the drive to work after the appointment, and I think it's an incredibly fitting description for me, my life.

Woman like a forest fire. 

King Fire damage

I burned hot and fast through the first 28 years of my life and barely survived.
I got to start over from scratch.
Like metal, I've been honed by living through the fire.
I'm stronger now than I've ever been, kidney disease or not.
The new growth that has popped up in my life is astounding considering how completely everything burned.

But sometimes you just have to burn it all down and start over.

Thank goodness for that.