A Loyal Companion

Posted Thursday, August 4th, 2016 @ 10:15 am by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Nature, Quotes, Spirit
good morning moon

Glacier National Park, St. Mary Campground

The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”

–Tahereh Mafi

Such a Long Dry Spell

Posted Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 @ 2:01 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Technology

My last post in May focused on a medical issue. That abated, and I was again aware that it is possible to make much ado about nothing.

School ended, camping began, summer camps and swim lessons happened. And now we are two weeks away from the new school year.

In an effort to extricate myself from the tentacles of Facebook, before our recent camping trip I decided to limit my use of it to one hour daily after Claire is in bed. Then we went off the grid for almost three weeks. I plan to come here and plunk out thoughts. Maybe share some photos from camping and of my artwork (if I make any).


Visual Comprehension and Justification

Posted Saturday, May 14th, 2016 @ 10:26 am by Kathryn
Categories: Education, Journal, Nature, Science

The MRI indicated a lesion worth a deeper look. The tech marked my breast in one room using an ultrasound machine that was new. When the radiologist attempted to locate it in the biopsy room, she spent a half an hour trying to find the exact location of the suspicious lesion. At one point I murmured, “So much flesh…” and she gently said, “No. This machine isn’t as new or as good as the one in the other room.” As time passed, though, I began to feel self-conscious and uncertain. I mean, if it’s so hard to find, should I even be there at all? The equipment, time, and expertise cost a great deal of money. If it’s so small, maybe I’m wasting all that. Just because they can see something on the MRI doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a big deal. I said something about this, and the doctor assured me (as of course she would) that certainly it’s worth looking at. She also said that yes, the highly sensitive machines and tests sometimes can find something that turns up benign, but that to be sure is better. Still, I had this feeling of wasting resources. What helped me feel like further testing is justified was a) that the doctor said if it were her breast, she’d pursue it and b) once she knew I’ve had atypical hyperplasia before she was adamant I do it (an MRI breast biopsy).

Yet sometimes it helps to actually measure something and compare. The suspicious lesion is 6 x 8 x 4 millimeters. So I went through my art supplies and found something that fits those dimensions. Then I compared this to a dime (see picture). The visual impact was persuasive. While this is not a huge lump, it is not microscopic either. It is not small, when one considers the breast. It is real, and it wasn’t there a year ago. I spent a few hours reading up on breast cancer and radiology terms. If I wasn’t convinced before that this is worth taking seriously, I am now. And yes, if it’s benign, it’s still worth checking.

The point of having this technology and being identified as high risk (42.5% lifetime chance) is to stay on top of changes so they don’t become big lumps, by which time the diagnosis is invasive cancer and/or possible metastasis requiring mastectomy, lymph node dissection, chemotherapy, and radiation. The point is that if caught early, prognosis is excellent. It’s far more costly (to insurance and to me) to wait for a lump to become palpable and treat it.

Intellectually I know that I am worth time, attention, and resources. Yet it was showing myself the physical dimensions of this lesion that settled it.

In 2011, I had a lesion that required surgical biopsy. It was 5 mm (don’t know all dimensions), and they ended up taking a not-small chunk of my breast with it. The pathology report indicated atypical ductal hyperplasia — meaning that abnormally shaped cells were reproducing at a faster than normal rate in my milk duct. It was precancerous, and thus major trouble was nipped in the bud. So yes, this suspicious lesion found by the MRI (but not a mammogram) merits a closer look.

size comparison

Body Project

Posted Friday, April 29th, 2016 @ 10:46 am by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Meditation, Spirit

I’ve been involved in my body project for 13 weeks now. Eventually I will stop counting weeks, because it will simply have become a way of living. Until I reach my goal, however, there is value for me in counting. So: in 13 weeks, I have shed 19.2 pounds and 12.25 inches. I now fit into pants that are 1.5 sizes smaller (from ##W to Misses ##). The last couple of weeks were a wash because I was sick and then stopped being attentive about what I ate. But I feel SO much better than when I started, and I will continue on this journey. It relates to much more than weight. It relates to how I want to live — how fully, how bravely, how intimately within this body and soul, with the universe.

Evolution of Spirit

Posted Thursday, April 28th, 2016 @ 11:16 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Quotes, Spirit

So an interesting thing happened for me after Prince died. A memory was sparked of a friendship at that time in my life. I had not thought of this friend in about 30 years. We were in high school, had crushes on each other, were deeply religious and got to know each other in this context. In my early 20s my identity was developing, as was his, and we kept each other company.

Prince blurred gender lines; he was gorgeous to behold, and he was unapologetically sensual. His music connected with a raw, hedonic part of me. At the same time, he blended in spirituality and love, a yearning for majesty and wonder, and this intrigued me. His music was the soundtrack of my life. The 80s were an exciting and scary time to live openly in any non-hetero way (LGBTQ). Yet that was how I lived; my integrity required it.

Lately I am exploring aspects of my identity, intimacy, sexuality, and spirituality. All this is percolating again; I did some searching, and found this old friend. I am hoping to reconnect. For what reason? Who knows? I only know that the spirit nudged me; I felt moved to look for him. As I live, I am waking up, learning to pay attention. I listen to what is true in me, take the next action, and listen some more.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke

Here’s the link in case the video doesn’t play here: Prince – The Truth

Random Guy

Posted Thursday, April 28th, 2016 @ 1:12 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Humor, Journal

I feel like the last post was heavy, and so I’m lightening it up a bit here. My darling girl drew this. I enjoy the illustration, and I especially love the simplicity and quirkiness of the story.

random guy

Old Wounds and Misandry

Posted Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 @ 5:09 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Community, Journal, Spirit

On a deep fundamental level, I don’t like men. Part of me regards them as Other. Threatening. Inherently dangerous. Suspect. There are sound reasons why I feel this way. I don’t judge this part of myself, and I haven’t succeeded in healing it yet. I acknowledge and allow it to be.

As I watched the men reading aloud vile statements to these women (see link), I saw them struggle. I saw them blanche and look uncomfortable. I saw that they felt pain. And for a brief flash, I felt tender toward men. I felt a tiny bit safer that there are good men in the world. I felt an ache for how culture beats empathy and anything feminine out of boys as they grow up.

If you want to comment, please use love as your guide. I am not looking for a debate about gender politics. What these women experience in their jobs is real. What I’ve experienced is real. I am married to a good, loving, empathetic man. It took me a long time to be ready to meet him.

I have a younger brother. I was eight when he was born. I loved him so intensely I would have died for him. When I am feeling a wave of misandry, I try to remember how beautiful we start out as, including males. But it’s difficult. I even feel this tension toward boys, as though they are the enemy-to-be.

Here is the link: ‘I Hope You Get Raped Again’: Women Sportswriters Listen to Men Read Vile Tweets About Them.


Posted Tuesday, April 26th, 2016 @ 12:52 pm by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Meditation, Quotes

Yes. Yes. I am reminded of this lately. The only one who won’t leave you is your self.

“Everyone you trust, everyone you think you can count on, will eventually disappoint you. When left to their own devices, people lie and keep secrets and change and disappear, some behind a different face or personality, some behind a dense early morning fog, beyond a cliff.”

–Lauren Oliver

I’m still learning how to be my own friend. To find my deepest longing for union within.

The Cost of Growing Up

Posted Monday, April 4th, 2016 @ 10:34 am by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Quotes

Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up. Not really. They get older. But to grow up costs the earth, the earth. It means you take responsibility for the time you take up, for the space you occupy. It’s serious business. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed. What it costs, in truth. Not superficial costs — anybody can have that — I mean in truth. That’s what I write. What it really is like. I’m just telling a very simple story.

—Maya Angelou

Loss Aversion

Posted Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 @ 10:00 am by Kathryn
Categories: Journal, Spirit

I have reached an ambivalent state in my weight loss process. I am so accustomed to 16 years of heaviness. It’s interesting to note that I didn’t gain all this weight until I met Hub and life improved in many ways — materially and psychologically. Until this morning I haven’t understood what happens, why I give up and regain.

It’s this: if I follow this discipline, lose weight, become strong, healthy, active, I connect with Life so big and powerful coming through me that scares me. I have historically protected myself from the heartbreak of loss by making my life harder and smaller. And maybe this is what’s going on. Being overweight reduces my life, so that when I someday get ill and die, I won’t be as heartbroken to go. AND… all this weight is protection to “balance out” how my life has improved. Since meeting Hub, life became so much richer, so I’ve protected myself from fear of loss (what if it all goes away?) by gaining weight. Yes, it’s illogical, and it’s what is true for me.

Early in life, my father had the power to take away what I wanted. As an adult on my own, struggling with underemployment, circumstances had the power to take away what I wanted. I learned to protect myself. And, in spite of the impulse to protect myself, I also forged ahead with goals. I experienced hardships, I persevered, and life has generally improved for me in the past 20 years. But that pattern remains. I notice it regarding intimacy in my marriage (avoid), in how I manage friendships (retreat and end them when I feel vulnerable or dynamics change), career (avoid positions of risk and responsibility), and this morning, realizing how it affects my health.