It is now Day 11 post Chemo #4 and although this round started out surprisingly easier than the others, it turned out to be one of the most challenging courses due to prolonged severe fatigue complicated by a low level of Magnesium.

Since I spent a lot of time incapacitated and unable to accomplish anything of any physical importance, to amuse myself I focused on simply noticing the surprises I have experienced since my diagnosis and treatment.

For my list I will begin at the beginning, a fitting place, it seems. Since my surprise list is already long and growing, I will offer these in segments, beginning with the top 11.

Surprise #1: Although I was not surprised to calmly respond to the news of my diagnosis, I was surprised that I did not recoil in fear at the news of needing to receive Chemotherapy. My underlying thought at the time was countless others have survived this, so I can too.

Surprise #2: A week after my first Chemo treatment I found myself hospitalized with severe dehydration and kidney failure. In the worst days of that week in the hospital I was surprised to be in a state of unconditional peace, even though it was the weakest and most uncomfortable I had ever been.

Surprise #3: When my hair began to loosen itself from it’s follicles, shaving my head was simply something that was needed to be done to bring me comfort. My hair hurt. I don’t like to hurt, so my husband shaved my head as I sat on the bench in the mud room the day I was discharged from the hospital. It was not an emotional, meaningful time, but just something that needed to be done. That surprised me. I thought I would take it hard and need a lot of support.

Surprise #4: I was surprised by the number of people that rallied around me in support after learning of my diagnosis. Many were folks that hardly knew me or people that I haven’t seen for years. Cards, gifts, meals, messages have continued to flow from day 1. At the same time I was suprised that some of the folks closest to me have shown very little interest in my status or progress. I believe this is likely not due to a lack of love for me, but their own fears of cancer or simply being caught up in their own busy lives.

Surprise #5: I have been surprised to learn how much energy flossing can take on my bad days. I never thought I would need endurance training for oral hygiene.

Surprise #6: I still have normal eyebrows! I also still have eyelashes. There may be only about 15 on each eye, but there’s enough that with the help of Loreal mascara, an illusion of looking normal can be created.

Surprise #7: I expected to resent watching others living their normal and active lives. I even expected to be jealous and to feel sorry for myself as my life was on pause while my friends were living vibrant and fun lives. What I noticied instead was I was happy for them. I celebrated their vacations, their busy work schedules and their health. I enjoyed hearing details of their adventures and was genuinely happy for them.

Surprise #8: Even though I have experienced a lot of ick throughout Chemo, I enjoy browsing the internet for new recipes and watching cooking shows, looking for things to try when I am well.

Surprise #9: Although I have experienced some unexpected side-effects with the Chemo such as my chronically low Magnesium, there are several common side effects that have not affected me at all, such as bone pain, chemo brain (the inability to think or speak clearly due to a loss of memory), having an abnormal taste of food, and neuropathy.

Surprise #10: Each time I crawl out of the hole of post Chemo darkness I am repeatedly surprised and delighted to find myself feeling normal. My energy returns (at least close to my normal), I have an appetite, my creativity comes back and my ability to be present in coaching my clients is as sharp as ever.

Surprise #11: Even on my sickest days, I still have a sense of humor and can easily laugh at myself. I can also observe myself from a higher place that is without fear and holds complete acceptance of what is present, knowing it is all temporary. I have been surprised by my level of patience.

Since this adventure is far from over, I have no doubt more surprises will appear. Since I also love to be surprised, I expect to be well entertained no matter what is yet to come.


  1. Kate, you continue to be an inspiration to me, regardless of whatever situation that you find yourself in. Know that I care very much and I am thinking of you.


  2. I think people close to a person who is ill or undergoing a crisis sometimes have to withdraw. There may be a tendency to feel glad it isn’t you and then feel guilty because of that. Some close friends were able to share this with me when my first husband died many years ago. I don’t think it is necessarily conscious but it happens. I am glad you are finding daily surprises. They create joy. Bless you


    • Thanks, Karen….Yes, I realize we are each having our own experience of life, needing different things at different times. Some folks tend to disappear since that is all they can comfortably do to take care of themselves. ❤


  3. Dear Kate, Judi would be so impressed with your strength and positive perspective, because I know that I am! God bless you my friend! Judi and Art


    • Thanks, Art…that means a lot to me. ❤ I imagine Judi and I would be having some good laughs sharing some of our most challenging experiences. 😀


  4. Bless you Kate! You inspire us all and even when you dont necessarily feel up to it…..know many care about you and send positive prayers your way. Here is an electronic HUG until I can have a physical one….hopefully soon!


    • Thanks so much, Cheryl….yes, I do know how many support me from all over the world. Although many of my hugs are electronic, I still feel the love! ❤


  5. Your blog inspires me to look for those unexpected surprises each day regardless of the circumstances I find myself in. I’m also inspired just to be more grateful and to express that gratitude freely. Continue to pray for you daily!


    • Your words are such a gift to me, Velma! I am so happy to know sharing my experience can inspire others to be grateful and to express it. Thank you for your prayers too! ❤


  6. You are such an inspiration not just in this part of your life, but your life in general. A positive attitude toward yourself is such a part of living. I look forward to seeing you so we can compare our journey. XO


    • Thanks, Tonia Ann! Yes, let’s make a plan to get together when I come out the other side of this adventure. I would love to share some laughs and even tears sharing our journeys! ❤


  7. Years ago our David told us that whenever he hit a “dark blue” patch, he would indulge it, knowing that “the sun’ll come out tomorrow.” I sense something like that in your ability to accept and roll, observing yourself “from a higher place that is without fear.” You are indeed remarkable. I’d like to think I could respond similarly to life-altering events! Barbara & I are still on your team! Love, Larry


    • Yes, David’s patience with a ‘dark blue path’ and trusting it is temporary is exactly what I feel as I wait for the sun to come out again. Hugs of gratitude to you and Barbara for being on my team. I sometimes feel a wave of joyful laughter coming from Nichols St and trust it comes from you. ❤


  8. Kate,
    You are the strongest, most positive person I have ever met. You can teach life a lesson…
    A lot of love and good thoughts are sent your way from Les and I.


  9. You truly amaze me! I don’t know if I’d have your strength! You give me hope for my bad days with lupus! May the sun ☀️ shine some beautiful warmth on you today! Between the snowflakes ❄️! Love and prayers!


  10. Thank you for your kind words, Mary. I would love for everyone to have hope no matter what may be present in our lives. The gift of this experience has been sorting through all the fluff and focusing on what is truly important. That is where I find peace. ❤


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