Motherhood & Words

* Disclaimer: This post is full of health-related over-sharing. Proceed at your own risk.

Though I took a small break for Zoë’s birthday festivities, it feels as though once again most of my time is dedicated to navigating my health issues. Last week I had a double colonoscopy/upper endoscopy, which was, um, lots of fun. Really, the actual procedures weren’t bad. (I was happily sedated.) But the prep—my God, people. Not to mention that I was teaching the night before, which involved a half-hour drive to and from a church in Edina. That I didn’t have a messy accident on the way there or back is a minor miracle. Luckily, the class was with a group of understanding and laid-back women who didn’t seem fazed by my frequent disappearances.

The tests showed that I have some “baby” ulcers in my duodenum. (On hearing this, a friend of mine told me that she thought “duodenum” was the most beautiful word she’d ever heard; i.e. “Vittorio liked to serenade the young American señoritas with a duodenum from his home country.”) She thought it would sound like this.

I love that—LOVE it—despite the fact it doesn’t actually make my baby duodenal ulcers any sexier.

Anyway, I’m on omeprazole for eight weeks to try to heal those tiny suckers, but I still have something going on with my gallbladder, so I’m still plying myself with tinctures and herbal supplements and doing my twice-weekly acupuncture. The pain persists on and off throughout the day, and it doesn’t seem to correspond to certain foods or drinks (though the gallbladder triggers, if I “accidentally” eat any, definitely make it worse).

The good news is that my mental state seems much improved. (If you can’t tell from this post, well, read the earlier ones and imagine me writing those with a grimace. Today I’m actually smiling. Really.) I know I’ll find some answers and recover eventually, even if that involves more food testing and giving up more of things I love (which I’m hoping won’t be the case).

But what I need now is a break. A real break. A no-email, no-work, no-computer break. Which I’m taking, starting tomorrow. So I will be quiet here for the next two weeks, but then I’ll be back, hopefully miraculously transformed, dancing to the serenade of a dozen duodenums.

When I’m back, I look forward to doing a book giveaway of Silent Running, which is now shipping from Amazon and has been getting lovely responses from readers. And I’ll also be reporting from AWP, which will be here in Minneapolis for the first time ever. Until then, I hope spring appears at your doorstep.

Oh, and I still have a couple of spots open in both my online Motherhood & Words class that begins April 15th and my spring retreat, May 14th – 17th. Let me know if you’re interested. (Though I won’t respond for two weeks. Just know I’m not intentionally ignoring you if you don’t hear back from me right away.)

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Janine on March 20, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Ha! Loved that you worked the Marquez piece in! Frowny face for the pain and jumping up happy face for the two weeks off the grid. I thought of that for Easter week–just to clear my head. Is the term “tech-cation” already coined?

    Sending you hugs and well-wishes. See you at AWP!

    And congrats again on the book!

    Have a blissful break.

    • Kate on March 20, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Tech-cation is perfect, Janine! And thank you again for the link (and laughs). I listened to it 5 times today, and I’m in love. See you in a couple of weeks!! xo

  2. Sue on March 20, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Oh Kate, hugs. Exhausting mentally and physically dealing with health issues. You are wise to retreat from demands and heal. Sending healing happy thoughts your way.

    • Kate on March 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      Thank you, Sue! And I’m thinking about how I can work that healing/self-care piece into MISA this summer…I can’t wait to spend some time with you in a few months. xo

  3. Wendy Skinner on March 20, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Kate. You. Are. Too. Funny. Wishing you a speedy recovery!!!

    • Kate on March 21, 2015 at 5:18 am

      Thank you, Wendy!!

  4. Julie Burton on March 21, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Enjoy your weeks of intensive self-care! Good for you! Speedy recovery! XO

    • Kate on April 8, 2015 at 8:32 am

      Thank you, Julie. It was amazing!

  5. cynthia newberry martin on March 22, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I can’t believe you were teaching the night before a colonoscopy! Enjoy every minute of your break. Hope you feel better soon!

    • Kate on April 8, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Thank you, Cynthia! As a newbie to the procedure I really had no idea what I was getting into. I’ll be more careful about scheduling next time!

  6. Nina on March 25, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Ugh. SO sorry it’s been a tough go. Hope that medication works! You deserve a break, my friend. I hope to see you at AWP where I were meandering around wondering what I’m doing there. I tried to cancel but it’s nonrefundable. So.

    • Kate on April 8, 2015 at 8:38 am

      Thank you, Nina! And don’t cancel! You’ll love the chaotic overwhelming rush of it all! I hope to see you there.