Motherhood & Words

Well, I’m holding steady. The good news is that I met with a wonderful gastroenterologist on Friday and he did not recommend surgery. He said that in cases like mine, gallbladder removal only improves symptoms in *one third* of patients. One third has the same symptoms after surgery and one third gets worse. Hell no. I’ll keep the thing, at least for now.

The pain is slightly improved this week, but I’m still uncomfortable and still bloated. I’m taking my herbal tincture (which tastes like the floor of a hospital) and enzymes and going to acupuncture and going to sleep super early, and trying to keep things moving through me. But overall, it’s a drag. I’m a drag. Oh I know I should be positive and grateful that it isn’t anything more serious—things could always be worse—but I’m sick of feeling like this. A few of you have commented that I seem to be dealing with it so gracefully, but really I’m not. I want to feel like myself again and eat peanut butter on gluten free toast. (It’s gluten-free, for heaven’s sake.) And some chocolate. And maybe an egg salad sandwich. (We were watching Ramona and Beezus last night and there is a scene in which the girls are eating gummy bears. I almost wept with longing. I haven’t eaten gummy bears in a very long time, and I don’t even like them that much. This is what I’ve been reduced to, people.)

Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Danbury, Wisconsin for my winter Motherhood & Words Retreat, and even though I’ll be “on” all weekend, I’m hoping that healing place will work its magic on me. After my afternoon conferences, I might try a slow ski around the pond. And I’ll have a massage after my last conference on Saturday. (The massages are new this year, and I’m very excited about them!)

I always come home from this retreat energized by my students’ stories, by the work they’ve done, but I’m hoping that this year I’ll also come home feeling a little better. Maybe?

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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. Nicole Lusiani on February 25, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Thinking of you and wishing you well. I want to hear more about this retreat because it sounds like something I just might need to do next year!

    • Kate on February 25, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Nicole, I was just thinking about you this morning, trying to figure out where to fit your mss review. I’ll email you! And I would love to have you at the retreat. It’s in May and October too!

  2. Galit Breen on February 25, 2015 at 10:34 am

    So sorry, you! Hang in there! xo

    • Kate on February 25, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you, Galit! xo

  3. Sara on February 25, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Oh, Kate. I missed your last post, so I had to go back and find out what you were updating about. I hope you feel better, really get better, soon. Sending healing thoughts your way. Keep taking care of yourself in all the wonderful ways you are.

    • Kate on February 25, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Thank you, Sara! I’m actually feeling so crappy this afternoon that I think a glass of wine might be in order. Or toast? It’s really bad when dry gluten free toast and a glass of wine sound like just the thing. xox

  4. Sue on February 25, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Hope the weekend is healing. Tough not feeling yourself- you can’t be uber positive every day- not natural..hugs

    • Kate on February 25, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Thank you, Sue! I hope it is, too! xo

  5. Julie Burton on February 25, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Kate, I’m so sorry to hear that you are not feeling well :(. I hope you enjoy your retreat this weekend and get some time to rest and rejuvenate. Thinking of you and sending love and healing energy your way. XO

    • Kate on February 25, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Thank you, Julie! I hope I get a little relaxing in this weekend, too, but it’s not really set up that way. But the massage will be lovely! I hope to see you soon! xo

  6. cynthia newberry martin on February 25, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    So sorry to hear this, Kate. Have you tried a probiotic? Have fun at your retreat. A massage is sure to help.

    • Kate on February 27, 2015 at 11:51 am

      I might to that Cynthia! I hate to add something new to my regime, but clearly it’s not working right now…Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. Lindsey Whitlock on February 25, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    The days before we pinned down my husbands’ celiacs disease are still fresh in my mind. It’s awful to feel like your food (your body) is attacking you (especially when it really is). Those weeks when we eliminated everything, but before we saw any results were excruciating. But it got better. So, so, so much better. Hang in there. I am wishing you all the best.

    • Kate on February 27, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Thank you, Lindsey. And thank you for stopping by to comment. I just popped over to your blog, and I look forward to following your journey!!

  8. Angie Mizzell on February 27, 2015 at 7:17 am

    In the midst of this – your writing is still awesome. The floor of a hospital? I really understand now… :/ I hope this weekend is energizing/restoring for you. xo

    • Kate on February 27, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Thank you, my dear! xox

  9. Kate St. Vincent Vogl on February 27, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Oh, Kate!
    Hoping for healing for you in the healing place. And that you don’t have to drink up the hospital floor too much longer. Here’s to peanut butter toast for you in the near future! Enjoy your retreat.

    • Kate on March 3, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Thank you, Kate!

  10. Melissa Uchiyama on March 2, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Ohhhh!!! to crying longingly for even gummy bears! Must be so tough when everything is in flux & you can’t even have those old comfort foods, however healthy they may seem. We are all rooting for you & the health, balance, & pure energy you crave (unbloated & all). xoxox sending love!

    • Kate on March 3, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Thank you, Melissa! I had a good day yesterday and more tests in the works…xox

  11. patricia on March 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I hope you’re feeling better after your retreat, Kate! Personally, I can’t imagine leading a retreat while not feeling well–you’re a wonder. Hope you’ve earned yourself a little downtime. Take care!

    • Kate on March 3, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Thank you, Patricia. I might just take that down time this week. I have a few things I need to get done, but I’m working on the couch, and will curl up when I need a rest.

  12. Hallie Sawyer (@Hallie_Sawyer) on March 3, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Ugh. So sorry, Kate! I hope the retreat did wonders for you. xo

    • Kate on March 3, 2015 at 11:20 am

      Thank you, Hallie! The retreat was good and I had a massage, which was lovely. The nausea hit me hard some days, but yesterday I felt pretty good. Fingers crossed. xo