Oh crap. This is the post that has been a long time coming but that I haven’t had the courage to write. I’ve known for awhile that I haven’t been as authentic here as I felt called to be. There are things, mostly my struggles with this process, that I have avoided. I was waiting for a time when I was beyond the hurt and pain so I could write about the triumph and glory of overcoming the worst of the worst. But that isn’t a real picture. That is selling a lie. That is waiting for the clean, convenient, polished version of a hard, icky, ugly scenario. That isn’t truth, and somehow, I am ready for truth.

I didn’t want to say that I have been panicky, at times seriously questioning whether I should continue fighting, and completely not myself for weeks. I didn’t want to be exposed for those truths because I was afraid of what you would think, and what those feelings meant about me. I was afraid that struggling so very hard meant I was weak or that I had somehow failed to be the person I wanted to be- the person who was eternally optimistic, the person who was always able to pull out the silver lining and press forward with grace and grit. I wanted to be her so very badly. I wanted to give her to you. I’m sad that I lost her to these overwhelming and crushing circumstances. But when you are facing such a sincere threat against your life, and the future (should you survive) also seems quite difficult and painful, the human reaction is to struggle. Deeply. And so I have. I have struggled deeply. 

But I’m willing to be honest about it because I finally feel a purpose in the struggle. The purpose is to truly and wholeheartedly connect and to create a space where anyone can show up and see that real pain and real suffering are normal. Hurt happens and it we don’t always handle it so very well. Sadly, we don’t talk about our ugly hurt and our flubbed reactions because it feels shameful and entirely too vulnerable. But it is when we suffer alone that we lose ourselves the most. And having been there myself, I would do anything to save another human being from such devastating isolation. So I am risking being entirely too vulnerable because I believe it is worth it.

And so I will tell you that I completely fell apart. My cup had run over and the burden of all that I am going through was spilling out all over the place. I have had epic anxiety attacks. Sometimes they come in the middle of the night. I wake up and I can’t breath and my skin feels tight on my body and my chest hurts. It made falling asleep a nightmare and I turned to alcohol to dull the pain. I have also had attacks in the middle of the day. I was recently standing in a restaurant and I was suddenly surrounded by too much noise and too many people and the room felt too small so I ran out of there to gasp at fresh, uncluttered air. I later collapsed into a friends arms sobbing that I just couldn’t be in that space anymore. Worse than that, I completely lost my marbles once and screamed at my sweet husband and shoved him away from me. It was completely unlike me, felt completely out of my control, and it feels horrible to even think about it now. But I will talk about it because I know it was just pain pouring out of me. I think keeping it in and being ashamed of how fragile and wounded I feel now isn’t helping either. So I’m releasing it and putting all my chips on vulnerability over pretty. I can only hope that I’m not seen as a monster, but as a real person going through really hard stuff. And yeah, I’m doing my best but sometimes I completely and utterly miss the mark. And I’m surrendering to that, hoping to learn and improve as I go. 

I know, however, that I will fall on my face again and again and again, and then pick myself up and keep pushing for better again and again and again. 

I fought being in this space for so long because this blog means so much to me and I didn’t want to lose any of you. Thousands of people all over the world have read my writing and it felt like it gave purpose to this whole crappy scenario. I felt like I was doing something important with the suffering, flipping it on its head and wringing out the good. And of course it felt good to have the support and praise of so many wonderful people. I realize that being brutally honest here might make some of you reject me. I realize my readership might fall to one (thanks, mom). But I’m finally feeling like I want to shatter the glass box of expectations I’ve created and walk away from the pressure to sanitize suffering. I’m sorry friends, sometimes this shit is just too hard to clean up. But hey, we all have our stuff and I’m no longer going to feel bad about how unattractive mine is.

So I’m putting it all out there and in turn putting down the weight of the guilt and shame. I’m unapologetic about that. I’m going to freely admit that I am one lost kid right now as I’m still recovering from the epic aftermath of surviving something that was really scary for me. I don’t know how long that will take, but I know I won’t do it alone. No one does. And that’s kind of the point of writing about it. 

I’m not alone and neither are you. 

So I’ve finally figured out that, for me, my purpose for being in this moment is to share it and to welcome you in to this space with me. It is scary and hyper vulnerable, but it feels really good. It feels right. It feels honest. And for as tired as I am for how long I have labored and struggled under the weight of cancer and everything life has thrown at me, it feels really nice to let the expectations go and unburden myself just a little bit. If that sounds like a place you want to be, stick with me. I’m going to keep on this track. (And please, if you like it, share it. I want to be in good company here!) But if it’s not your thing, I send you lots of love as you leave. Real isn’t for everyone, I know, but it is for me. For now and always. Finally. 

Life-affirming sunset on the way home tonight. How amazing.

Give ‘Em Hell


21 Comments Add yours

  1. Rita says:

    Finally! I have been waiting and looking for the moment when you could set aside all the expressions of strength and growth, positive lessons and gratitude for this mess of cancer and acknowledge that being this ill, this close to death feels terrible, scary and wrong! When you are only forging ahead, talking about the “fight” then many of the responses you get from loving family and friends are to encourage you, praise you and see you only as a “fighter.”
    There is so much more to living with life-threatening illness: despair, fear, wanting to just give up and let go, not being graceful and grateful every day, wanting to scream and swear, and yes, push and shove.
    You are a real woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend, colleague and inspiration…not because you have cancer but because you are living every moment of your life, now the good and the bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. That’s pretty much it. And guess who got me to that point? ☺️


  2. Barb says:

    Thanks for your honesty. I am very sure that your revelation of the true struggle will do more for those in the same situation than all the brave words you could write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said. Thank you.


  3. Ginger says:

    It’s ok not to be invincible and to have some crisis when you are faced with crisis. I lost all of my marbles on a semi-daily basis, so it sounds like you are still light years ahead of me (and jeez, I don’t have kids, a husband, let alone cancer, etc.). Anyway, I wanted to let you know I FINALLY got that party game (Secret Hitler) I’ve been waiting forever, and now I’m ready! So, let me know what weekend I can zumba over there – whenever you are ready to have some serious fun at your leisure (we are building a barn until the weather turns bad so post snowflakes is probably better for me). Or you are always invited whenever you are over here! Anyway, your recent blog makes you sound human, and while we all try to be invincible, our flaws make us human. And that’s not a bad thing — plus, you are such a great person, I can’t imagine anyone would leave this blog but if they do, then that’s SERIOUSLY their loss!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kelly McCloy says:

    Katie, I am with you until the end. Your stuff is just that, stuff. We all have it, anyone who says they don’t is not being honest. I love and respect you always! No guilt, no regrets, just acceptance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kelly. Lots of love back to you.


  5. Leslie Cunningham says:

    What a lovely discovery for me who is old (about to turn 70) and a 2 year survivor (feels like yesterday) and still often in shock (it comes in waves) and scared silly sometimes ( and feeling guilty about it because I’m old and not grateful enough). You keep writing and I’ll keep reading. The truth really will set us free. Hugs my dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Leslie. 💜


  6. Ash says:

    Dude – there is no rule book on how to gracefully survive cancer. Don’t hold yourself to a standard that doesn’t exist. And, by the way, every ‘shameful’ thing you admit to having done over the past months as you struggled through this, I did last week. Except for running out of a restaurant. I don’t do that unless I’ve forgotten my wallet. Seriously, we love you. Esta toto bien, si?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah ha ha ha. Love you. You’re the best!


  7. jenmrobinson says:

    Katie- this thing you have gone through (are going through) is a very huge thing. Probably the hugest. You know what else is huge? Motherhood. And owning a business. And being a wife. I mean, pick just two and it’s a full plate. Completely full. You have all 4 and countless other huge things that make up your beautiful life. There is zero way you or anyone else could go through that amount of stress without having it exit your body in whatever way it has to leave. Dulling it feels good, so I can completely understand your choice to numb for a bit. Getting angry also feels good and it’s a release. You have an immensely supportive husband who understands that wasn’t the real you from real life before all of this stuff started. It’s good to vent this stuff (very good. The best, even) but I think we are all reading this going “well, duh. How else is she able to COPE??” I admire you for so many reasons and these very human, very real reactions to stress are just more of why I do. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, I feel like you can were the blog for me now because you completely get it. Thanks so much lady. I love this. Xoxo


  8. Amy Spethman says:

    My beautiful Mom (who admires you immensely) has been sharing your blog with me regularly. As hectic as life is, I always take a minute to read your writings no matter what is going on for me in that moment. It feels too important to put it on my to do list where I will likely never get back to reading it. So, once again, in the middle of the morning when I can’t sleep, I saw an email notification and just read your latest bravery. You are incredible, brave, and certainly vulnerable. Growth happens in those vulnerable moments. I would prefer to read truth any day, over forced positivity and a blanket of happiness hiding your true emotions. Panic and anxiety attacks are simply reminders that your mind is overwhelmed and needs a break in that moment. A moment or period of time for just you to remove yourself from any chaos around you or in your head. Those of us reading your blog are blessed. It is a regular reminder to enjoy each day and to put perspective into our own issues and challenges, usually minor in comparison. Keep at it girl! Be honest and forthcoming and not afraid to say when you had a really bad moment or day. You are reall and living your truth! God bless you. Sending you, Tom, & the girls hugs!
    Amy Spethman

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Amy, thank you so much. This was so kind and absolutely heart warming for me. Thank you ❤️


  9. contactflora says:

    Your honesty is beyond beautiful. Keep it up. Real is refreshing, and allows others to be real too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Amanda says:

    Keep fighting and keep writing. I’m reading every post and I’m with you. Please call if you need anything. I’ll bring dinner and child playmate distractions.
    Amanda Anderson


  11. Donna says:

    Katie, I simply love you! I love how you are so willing to share all that you are feeling. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you real!
    I have struggled lately with feelings of low self worth & lack of belonging….for lots of reasons…and sometimes I think that they are rediculous! The fact of the matter is that we each need to live in our own reality.
    Keep doing what you need to do for you, Tom & the girls and know that there are many of us out here that love and support you!
    Hugs and prayers to you! 😘🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lorraine Mazurek says:

    Katie, my goodness…we all experience those lows, feelings of losing control and personally have had panic attacks and anxiety attacks for more years than I want to remember. It’s not being weak, it’s being human. A neuro – psychologist told me that it’s our brain protecting us from some hidden trauma or memory..whatever the reason it is a terrible feeling but will pass. You are an amazingly strong, vvulnerable, smart, kind, to hard on yourself person…I could go on and on…just know you are human and with that comes all kinds of messy stuff…and it’s ok. You are loved because we know your heart.


  13. Pam says:

    Katie, I am with us all the way kiddo 😊… Nothing changed here! Hugs to you, Tom and the girls

    Give em hell!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Kate says:

    Katie – You are “real” and that’s what makes you beautiful. Keep sharing. Keep being real. I saw that sunset too. It is a hopeful and real sunset with a beauty that touches us to the core…like you!

    Liked by 1 person

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