I have typed out a few titles to this post after running through ideas in my head… “Life Isn’t Fair + Neither Am I” or maybe “Love Is Washing My Hair”. Silly quips to grab your attention, but for now I’m leaving it blank.
Today I was on a call for work, and my co-worker told me she taught her sons that fair is where you get cotton candy – it’s not life. Even when you are doing the right things for the right reasons, life can feel overwhelmingly cruel and difficult. Side note: I have, on more than one occasion, cried to Travis that I don’t understand why everything feels like Job in the Bible. I digress.
On Monday I had a port placed in my upper forearm after my doctor confirmed that we will be continuing with bi-weekly infusions for at least another year. After more than a decade of continual vein access, my small + rolling guys just do not want to cooperate + make treatment painful/stressful/unpleasant. I knew that making the choice to implant a medical device is not a small one to be taken lightly. But I also wasn’t expecting to have this much down-time afterwards.
Down-time is also code name for “Kait is now beginning to enter a time that could quickly turn into an existential crisis”. Add in the lovely combo of my strong emotional reaction to anesthesia (I’m a crier) + a sore/bruised/uncomfortable arm + the myasthenic reactions to sedatives + antibiotics, and I have been a real peach these last few days.
Here are the things that have bubbled over, simmered down, and left me with an idea of what is going on in my heart.
- Making the decision to get a port was like finally changing my Facebook status from “its complicated” to “in a relationship” – even though I know that I’ll be treating my disease for life, getting to the point of choosing to have a medical device implanted feels like a bit like making it “official”.
- I will always be fighting against the feeling of missing out or being behind. Being away from work for 3 days has allowed these insecurities resurface, like a little ember waiting for the right wind to kick it up and start a fire. Side note: I’ve only mostly been away from work. I checked in with my team in post-op recovery because I am that person.
- I know I cannot do it all, all the time, and yet I still think that I should be able to work full time, paint full time, manage my health, be an MG advocate, be an active church participant, do my laundry every day, x, y, and z. I know there is no shame in scaling back my business + taking on less commissions. But part of me feels like I can’t quite raise that white flag without looking like a total fraud, like writing on my future tombstone – Here lies Kait, the artist who always was a side hustle hobbyist.
I have people walking this with me. Like Travis, who saran-wrapped my arm tonight + washed my hair over the sink with my favorite shampoo set so I could feel just a little bit more normal. He drove me 4 hours round trip for a 45 minute procedure + made waffles for dinner because nothing else sounded good at the time. He set me up on our comfortable day bed propped up with all kinds of pillows + slept on our (incredibly) uncomfortable couch we refer to as “the dog’s bed” just in case I needed something.
There are also friends who walk this weird road of balancing health + a creative business + life demands/responsibilities who have made this week much more bearable. It is easy for me to get lost in my head with these emotions + insecurities, and being able to connect with friends who know makes it that much less of a burden to bear.
I know that I love painting. I love my job. I love serving others. I don’t love having to ask others for help, or feeling like my health is a hindrance. But it’s teaching me a lot about grace + intention + gratitude. And maybe it will always be a cycle of trying to fight against the things that make me feel inadequate. For now, I’ll hope that some freshly washed hair will soften some of the overwhelming parts of this week.