Moccasins: A Story of Recovery

By Katrina Kush

Anorexia nervosa (AN), depression, and anxiety became a part of my life starting in 2009. Thankfully, I have been able to rise up from the deep and dark hole that I truly thought I would be stuck in forever. I have been in recovery for about 3.5 years. Many people aren’t fully aware of the impact that these illnesses can have on someone’s life, so I am hoping that my story expands your knowledge and decreases the stigma. For me, Anorexia was composed of an intense fear of gaining weight, being extremely underweight, and excessive exercising. All of these negative behaviors fueled my depression and anxiety, which resulted in me thinking about taking my own life too often. It’s both important and crucial for me to state that eating disorders aren’t about food and one’s body. There is always something deeper going on inside which the individual then tries to cope with by using negative behaviors in an effort to try and relieve the pain they’re feeling. It all starts from the inside.

If I were to draw a picture illustrating what it has been like for me living with mental illnesses, you would see a girl wrapped in shackles, because for so long I was a prisoner. However, I haven’t always felt this way. I had a wonderful childhood. I grew up with two amazing parents and attended a Catholic school where I was an average student. I was never a troublemaker and I had a lot of friends. Cheerleading became my entire life from 5th grade until 12th grade, and it soon became my passion and, essentially, my identity. I had a great high school experience as well, and truly didn’t have much to complain about.

This was something that always confused me when I was first diagnosed with my mental illnesses. I thought to myself, “Why is this happening to me? My life is perfectly fine.” You see, some individuals suffer from mental illness as a result of traumatic things such as sexual assault or emotional abuse, but I didn’t experience anything like that. I did however experience a huge loss in my life when I was 12 years old. My mom passed away suddenly and it flipped my whole world upside down. After years of therapy and processing my diagnoses, it is apparent that the endless amount of grief that I had bottled up inside of me for more than seven years resulted in an eating disorder rearing its ugly head.

While in high school, I distinctly remember comparing my body to my friends’ or to the hundreds of cheerleaders that I was always surrounded by. Honestly, comparison is second nature in society these days and it is never a helpful thing. All it usually does is take away from one’s own confidence. Growing up, my body build had always been pretty muscular and strong and my muscles were always something that people would be envious of and comment on. They would say things such as, “I wish I had your big muscles!” “You’re so jacked!” or “I wish I looked as strong as you!” Little did they know that these words didn’t make me feel better or more confident; they made me feel extremely self-conscious. Rationally, those people probably thought I liked hearing that because, in reality, who wouldn’t want to be called strong? But to me, muscular meant big and manly and in our society, girls get the message that they need to be small, delicate, petite and fragile.

At one point, I was one of the girls whom my teammates held up in the air, and I will never forget constantly apologizing to them for being “too heavy.” I was so frustrated with my body and wished I could have had another one, but that’s all I did: wish. I never did anything to alter it, because I guess I just accepted that my body was the way it was meant to be even though it would eat me up inside. I never got lured into those fad diets that have become so popular in society today, but unfortunately, many women do because of the belief that it will make them a better and more acceptable person; that they would all of a sudden be happier with themselves. My story proves otherwise.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that never put restrictions on food and none of my family members had an unhealthy mindset toward food or weight. Unfortunately, now girls are starting diets younger and younger, whether it be from witnessing those in their environment or being influenced by the media, and it’s heartbreaking to see. For me, it wasn’t until the second half of my senior year of high school that things started to change. I slowly started eating less and exercising obsessively on top of my cheering. I began to isolate and lie to friends, making up excuses so I wouldn’t have to go out with them only to be left at home with my own intrusive thoughts and behaviors which would turn destructive. Honestly, I don’t remember a lot from that time, but I do remember feeling empty, trying my best to hide how I was truly feeling. Rather than being excited to participate in all of the fun senior activities, I was too worried and anxious about food. Prom was consumed with thoughts about how I looked in my dress compared to all of the other girls, what food would be offered, what I should or shouldn’t eat. I don’t remember much about the last part of my senior year honestly, which is kind of sad since it’s supposed to be a time you’ll never forget.

My destructive behaviors started to get progressively worse at a fast rate that summer. At this point, I had also graduated from both of my cheering teams so I was left with too much free time and felt that I had lost a part of my identity. But I planned on trying out for the cheering team at the college I would be attending in the fall, so I told myself that I needed to stay in shape and not lose any of my skills. That turned into running miles and miles no matter how hot and humid it was and not eating nearly enough to fuel all of that exercising. Yet again, I didn’t see any problem with what I was doing and no one was saying anything to me, so it couldn’t have been that bad, right? Wrong. The annual vacations I went on for years each summer were completely different. They were filled with anxiety, worry about food, thoughts about exercise, and the fear of gaining weight, when they should’ve been about relaxation and fun. My body wasn’t getting nearly enough food, and if I felt that it got too much, I would punish it by restricting or exercising. I started getting so frustrated with my body, and my reflection in the mirror filled me with anger and hate toward who I was and what I looked like. I started getting weaker and weaker, but subconsciously kept letting my eating disorder get stronger and stronger.

When it was time to leave for college, I was petrified and sad. Most college kids can’t wait to move away from home and be on their own, but I wanted nothing to do with that. As a naturally shy girl, I had fears of not making any friends after having become so comfortable with my friends back at home. And of course, thoughts of the “Freshman 15” were whirling around in my head. I tried to hide these feelings and put a smile on my face, thinking maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought. I lucked out with great roommates and made the cheer team so I knew a lot of people, but I still felt this emptiness inside of me that I couldn’t get out.

I kept filling that emptiness with thoughts of food, exercise, and weight. Instead of meeting up for lunch with friends, I would make up excuses to stay alone in my room. This disordered behavior just felt so much safer and comforting. As the days went on and things got progressively worse, I began to get weaker and weaker, but was in denial that something was wrong. Everything was getting more difficult… cheering practices, focusing in classes, sleeping, being social, just getting through the day. I had become so lethargic and uninterested in anything besides my eating disorder behaviors. At that point, it was my best friend, or that’s what it made me believe. It would say things like “I’m here for you. Listen to me and everything will be okay,” or “You don’t want to do that, trust me. I am always right.”

You may think I’m crazy when I say that I heard all of these thoughts in my head, but it’s true. It’s a constant nagging voice that was harassing me in my head 24/7. I referred to it as ED, as do many others struggling with an eating disorder. My eating disorder was like an abusive boyfriend; it treated me like crap but I would always go running back to it because of the fear that it had instilled in me.

I got stuck in a vicious cycle. Feel fat? Run 10 miles. Look fat? Don’t eat a lot today. Only eat healthy, no exceptions. I pretty quickly developed what are called “fear foods” which are foods that eating disorders label as “bad” and they make us believe that they will do something negative to our bodies, so then we do whatever it takes to avoid them. For me, the fear was that eating a particular food would make me gain weight, and one of the main criteria of AN is an intense fear of gaining weight. Even in the media today, foods are labeled as “good” and “bad” which then makes people begin to base their self-worth off of what they eat. Let me just say that there are no good or bad foods. Are some more nutritious? Yes. But there are some that are good for the soul, and those should be eaten and enjoyed as well. It’s important that you don’t restrict yourself. I had a strict category of foods that were labeled either “good” or “bad” by my eating disorder, and I always obeyed the rules. Don’t be so quick to believe the article in People that says not to eat carbs because they are bad and will make you gain weight. No single food will make you gain weight, and that’s something that has been a struggle for me to get out of my brain since it has been programmed there for years.

Calorie counting and measuring were also negative behaviors that my eating disorder introduced me to. Numbers have always been my biggest trigger, meaning they bring up negative feelings and can perpetuate my use of eating disordered behaviors. Calorie counting is something that I did non-stop. I measured every single thing I had to put in my mouth and measuring tools became a staple for me. I would even bring them on vacations. Stopping to focus so much on labels and grams of carbs or fat or protein has taken a long time. It’s not so simple as to just stop cold turkey one day. I didn’t even see food for what it was, I saw it as a number and that’s it. I wouldn’t eat anything without measuring it out, because God forbid I eat one extra Cheerio.  

I also always had to run the same amount of miles and workout for the same amount of time everyday; I couldn’t stop before that mark no matter how exhausted I was. The scale was my best friend. I was obsessed with my weight and my stepmom had to hide the scale because if not, I would be on it multiple times a day and it would dictate my mood and behavior. I felt so desperate to know the number, that I would search everywhere in my house for it. I would even go to stores to weigh myself just to make sure my scale wasn’t lying to me. Not knowing the number brought me so much anxiety and it was all I thought about. If my weight increased by as small as 0.1lbs, my eating disorder told me that I needed to make up for it somehow. If it stayed the same, my eating disorder would tell me I was doing a good job, and that I would feel even better if I tried even harder. If my weight went down, I felt powerful and as if I was on top of the world; that a smaller number meant a better me.

Most people with AN have a goal weight in mind and say that when they get to X pounds, they’ll stop trying to lose weight. Well, that’s not how it actually plays out. Seeing the number continue to go down makes you stand a little taller, and feel more special and proud. After all, if your eating disorder is happy, then you’re happy. But that happiness lasts about 5 minutes, and then it’s back to work for the next goal. No weight is ever good enough for an eating disorder. Before you know it, you’ll be six feet under because your eating disorder just kept pushing and pushing you to be the best eating disorder patient out there. Eating disorders are fueled by competition with others and it’s brutal. I always hated going to treatment because it wasn’t just a program full of girls, it was a program full of girls AND their eating disorders. While treatment may be a safe and helpful place for some, it can be harmful as well. I picked up negative behaviors such as cutting from other patients, which was a problem.

I was in and out of treatment from 2009-2014. I had to take a medical leave of absence at Bridgewater State College in the Fall of 2009 only a few weeks into the semester, and I felt like a complete failure. It was after visiting home during Columbus Day weekend during one of my cheering practices that I came to terms with the fact that something was wrong. I was too weak to do things I easily did for years and I became so scared of what was happening to me that I reached out to my old cheer coach and expressed that I thought something was wrong with me and my eating.

Most of the time, people with eating disorders usually do everything they can to hide their struggles, and they try to go as long as they can until someone approaches them with their concerns. However at that moment, I was relieved to finally get it off of my chest, but that didn’t last long. Once I started the process of being diagnosed and starting treatment, I regretted telling anyone. Now, I had put myself in a situation where I was going against my eating disorder, and all hell broke loose. I had to go through various levels of treatment which ultimately lead me to needing to withdraw from college. In all of these levels of care, you’re under strict supervision, and can’t live and do things as you normally would. Rationally, the staff and doctors have your best interest at heart, but I remember feeling that they were bad people trying to make me fat.

For many years I faked my way through treatment just to get back home to the freedom to do whatever I wanted, which meant going back to engaging in my eating disorder. Looking back, I can’t believe some of the things that I did while in treatment. I was extremely stubborn and manipulative, and didn’t care how my behavior was affecting anyone else in my life. I pushed away my best friends and my family because my main priority was the relationship I had with my mental illnesses. I wouldn’t respond to texts, phone calls, or emails because I didn’t want to let anyone in and the only time I left my house was to go to my weekly appointments because of the fear that I would see someone that knew me. It makes me sad to think back to that girl.

I cheated my way through treatment for years and the sad part is, that is not the real me. I am not a liar or manipulator. I am a caring and loving girl who doesn’t want to hurt a soul. My eating disorder truly transformed me into a totally different person who was essentially a monster. It’s really scary how much an eating disorder or any other illness can rip your control away from you in an instant and how difficult and long it takes to get it back, if you ever do. Some people hit rock bottom so hard and never make it back up. I have a few friends that I was either personally in treatment with or met through an online support group who have lost their lives to this illness.

I remember thinking that it would never happen to me. So many people with eating disorders see themselves as the exception, and believe they are invincible. I will never forget when I was forced to go to the hospital after receiving concerning EKG results based on my heart. I distinctly remember a nurse coming in and telling me that only one half of my heart was beating. My dad who was with me screamed, “IS THIS FINALLY A WAKE-UP CALL?” I remember laying in the hospital bed, lifeless, and without looking at him or speaking, I answered the question in my head. Sadly my answer was no; that it didn’t scare me that only half of my heart was beating. My logic was that since I hadn’t had a heart attack or anything traumatic happen to me, I was fine and that I wasn’t “that sick.”

Eating disorders make you feel like you are indestructible and better than everyone else. It is such a selfish disease. Those suffering will put those they love through so much hurt and pain, yet they don’t have a care in the world. I still have so much guilt about how much I have put the people I care about through over the years and how cruel and manipulative I was toward them when all they were trying to do was help. My dad went with me to every single weekly appointment, and I never once said thank you. My best friends sent me countless cards and inspirational knick-knacks and I never said thank you. I am so unbelievably grateful that they have all let me back into their lives and have embraced me with open arms. Deep down they knew it was my illnesses that were causing me to act the way that I had been, and that it wasn’t the true Katrina that they knew and loved. They kept the faith that she would soon return. It’s interesting because one of the reasons as to why I didn’t want to recover was because I was so afraid that people wouldn’t care about me as much anymore. It sounds selfish, but the attention that I was getting from everyone made me feel special and cared for in ways that I hadn’t ever felt before. I thought that if I tried to get better, people would think that I was “cured” from my illnesses. Well, let me make it clear that that’s not how it works. It’s truly a daily fight, and there are good and bad days. The main point however is that there are actually good days in recovery.

After a few years of being in and out of treatment, I finally decided to go back to college closer to home at Worcester State University, so I could commute. I went part-time and got a part-time job. I was still controlled by my mental illnesses 100 percent and was truly just functioning and trying to survive each day. I was so strict within my everyday life and would plan each day to a T, and I wouldn’t let anything get in the way of that plan. At the time, I struggled to get through school even part-time because my thoughts were so consumed with my eating disorder thoughts. I remember not being able to read just a few sentences and then recall what I had read because I couldn’t concentrate.

When you’re restricting, food is ALL that you think about because it’s what your body is craving and it’s trying to send you a message, however I wasn’t willing to listen to it. I had constant thoughts of what I would eat, how much I would eat, and I would already be thinking about lunch even before I finished breakfast. I was obsessed with food blogs and The Food Network, looking at all of the things that I wished I could have but knew I never would. I had binders of countless recipes that I would hoard that weren’t touched or made even once. Food becomes an obsession; one that I wouldn’t allow myself to have. When it comes to eating, there is a feeling of power and entitlement that people with eating disorders feel when they have the willpower to order a salad and pretend to enjoy it while someone they’re with orders a burger, but all they’re really thinking about is what they wish they could’ve gotten. But they’re so chained down by their eating disorder and are brainwashed into thinking that they truly want that salad (without dressing of course).

For years restaurants were too scary, and I missed out on so many celebrations. It got to the point where I wouldn’t even be asked to go because it was already assumed that my answer would be no. If I did allow myself to go out, the place I went to was picked by me because it had things that I felt comfortable eating. I would never accept invitations from friends to do things because of the fear that food may be involved and that all of the food would be too scary or on the “bad” list. Eating disorders are made up of so many rules that you feel obligated to follow and there is the belief that if you don’t you are a failure. Your eating disorder dictates everything in your life and it is exhausting. My head was constantly spinning and I wished that others who didn’t understand could live my life for one day just to experience the torture that I was experiencing.

I remember the day that I finally became fed up and scared of my eating disorder like it was yesterday. I call it my “AHA” moment. It was a Tuesday in October on a night after work. I remember thinking to myself, “I had a really good day and I was actually happy.” Then not even seconds later, my eating disorder popped in and said, “You aren’t allowed to be happy because then people will think you’re fine and they won’t care about you anymore.” The thing is, part of me wanted to be approached out of concern and feel validated that I was sick, but whenever my stepmom or someone else would approach me saying they were concerned, I would get defensive and tell them nothing was wrong, that I liked eating super healthy and that running 10 miles every morning in the dark before class at 5 AM made me feel good. But in that moment, I was no longer in denial, and I had come to terms with the fact that I needed more help if I truly wanted to live and not just survive.

At that point, I had lost all of the weight I had gained in treatment and more, and I was lying to my therapist telling her that I was slowly gaining it back on my own. It was during that moment on that autumn night that I said to myself, “I can’t do this on my own anymore and I need help.” I knew that if I didn’t get help, I would continue to go through each day merely functioning and surviving for the rest of my life. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to achieve my main goal, which is to open my own practice as a therapist working with those struggling with eating disorders. There was no way that I could pursue and thrive at that career if I was struggling myself. I wouldn’t allow myself to be a hypocrite. I finally opened up to my therapist about my thoughts of getting treatment and did so much work on my own trying to plan, reach out to my insurance company, and eventually talk to my step mom and dad about where I was and that I really needed help. That talk was one of the most difficult things for me to do, and it took me about 5 minutes to even get my first words out. Meanwhile, my eating disorder was screaming at me in my head: “You don’t want to do this. You’re going to get fat. No one is going to worry about you anymore. Is that what you want?” However, I put those thoughts aside and let my healthy and honest voice take the stage.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the feedback and support that I hoped I would, from my dad at least, which made my eating disorder that much louder. “See! You really aren’t that bad. You don’t need help!” it said. My dad just thought I was running away from everyday life stress such as school and work, but that wasn’t the case at all. It was my eating disorder that was causing all of the problems and I needed to finally put them to rest by getting help. He just didn’t understand. He saw that I was doing so many “normal” life things that someone at my age would normally be doing and he thought I was doing well when deep down I wasn’t at all, but I can see how he’d get that impression. He wasn’t aware of the brutal battle I was fighting in my head because I wasn’t willing to share it. I knew that the level of care I needed was residential treatment, and it was suggested that I first see a doctor, which I had avoided for years after my original eating disorder doctor moved to Boston because I was afraid they would send me to treatment because of my weight. I had done all of my research, called the insurance company and the program I was interested in, and was finally ready to do this. I went from a girl who was forced into treatment countless times and even once literally ran away, to a girl who was voluntarily signing herself into treatment. I was ready to get my life back. I knew I needed to do something, because if I didn’t anorexia could take my life. I was lucky enough to be able to stay in the residential program that I wanted, and I remained there for 2.5 months.

To put it point blank, the program changed my life. However, I think that my mindset had a lot to do with it. I soon decided that the theme of that stay was acceptance. I accepted that I needed to gain weight and that I would hate it and be extremely uncomfortable. I accepted that I would be forced to eat a lot of food that scared me. I accepted that I would have little to no privacy. I accepted that I would lose a lot of freedom. I accepted that I would need to stop compulsively exercising. I accepted that I would need to open up and be vulnerable and honest with my therapist, dietician, and the counselors there. I accepted that it would be the hardest thing that I would ever have to do, but I knew that it would be 100 percent worth it. This was my time. This was my time to prove to myself and my friends and family that I was strong enough to fight this disease and that I would come out stronger on the other side. For the first time, I didn’t let the other patients’ behaviors affect my own and I didn’t try to compete like I had all of the previous times I was in treatment. I didn’t refuse to eat when I saw them refusing to. I didn’t use behaviors when they admitted that they were. This treatment stay was all about me and my recovery, and I knew that doing any of those things would get me nowhere except right back in treatment. I wanted this stay to be my last.

I formed some amazing relationships with the other patients there and the support I received was unbearable. Being around people who truly understood what I was going through and who didn’t judge me for struggling to eat pasta or a sandwich and were willing to tackle challenges with me made a world of a difference. I started reaching out to friends that I had pushed aside because I was ready to fix the relationships that had once been so important to me. I left feeling stronger and more determined than I ever had before when I transitioned to a day program and then an intensive outpatient program closer to home. I was only there for a short amount of time because I felt that I was ready to tackle what I needed to on my own. I transitioned back to outpatient just seeing my therapist, doctor, and psychiatrist who I continue to see. I am so thankful for them. Support in recovery whether it be from a treatment team, friends, family, or a significant other is so crucial. I can’t stress that enough.

So where am I today? After I left treatment in February of 2014, I returned back to work and decided to return to Worcester State University full-time and have been thriving ever since. I have both my perfectionism and feeding my brain to thank for that. I am 25 years old which surprises many people, and I haven’t followed the typical timeline in regards to school which I am always beating myself up about. But while other individuals my age were learning about History and English, I was learning about myself as a person, and I think that is just as if not more important. I have some of the strongest relationships that I have ever had and I am so grateful. I have also made so many friends and connections with those struggling with eating disorders and those in recovery because it’s always helpful to talk to people who truly get what you’re going through. I am so grateful for my family and how they have stuck with me through thick and thin over the years. Today I am a huge advocate for mental health and eating disorder awareness because unfortunately, they still aren’t taken seriously enough. Eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates and they are extremely serious. I continuously post articles and information about my own experience on Facebook just to make people aware of how serious they truly are. My goal is to inspire as many people as I can and give hope to those who feel hopeless, and to those who believe that things can never get better.

If you were to ask me years ago what I would picture my life to be like, it definitely wouldn’t be how it is right now. You truly don’t realize how sick you are until you’re on your way to getting better. Looking back, I can’t believe the girl that I was and how I’ve transformed into the young woman that I am today. Every day is a battle, and I still have endless negative thoughts that fill my brain, but the difference now is that I don’t surrender to them as easily. I fight like hell in times of struggle and despair.

Do I sometimes slip? Of course, I’m human. But I don’t see a slip as a failure. I see a slip as an opportunity to prove my strength and I pick myself back up to be even stronger when I’m faced with another challenge. I express how I’m feeling to those I trust rather than keeping all of my emotions built up inside of me. It is okay to struggle. You are not a failure. One of my mantras is, “Through struggle comes strength.” My worst day in recovery is a million times better than my best day with my eating disorder. For the past 3.5 years, I have been living and not just surviving. I have a job that I love, I am on track to graduate in the spring of 2018 and then hopefully go onto graduate school for social work. I can go out to restaurants, get ice cream with friends, go to the beach and wear a bathing suit, and do so many other things that I never allowed myself when I was in the depths of my eating disorder. It’s truly mind-blowing and amazing to look back and see the transformation that has occurred.

I want you to be more aware of mental illness and how serious they are. They aren’t for attention, and most importantly they aren’t a choice and many have the false perception that they are. I didn’t choose to wake up one day and decide to start punishing my body and mind. Believe me, no one would want to live their life this way. It’s pure hell. If you suspect that someone you know is struggling, reach out to them. Sometimes all we need is for someone to listen and be a shoulder we can cry on. Just hearing, “I’m here for you no matter what” can make a world of  difference. You can’t change them and put them back together, but you can be their personal cheerleader. Be a good role model; show them that living life is so much better than being stuck in a world full of calories, food, and weight. Most importantly, be patient with them and remember that when they are controlled by their eating disorder it’s not truly them, so try not to take what they say or do too personally. They may do things to hurt you and they may try to push you away, but try not to take your anger out on them. Believe me, they already get yelled at enough by their eating disorder. Eating disorders don’t emerge overnight, so they won’t go away overnight. I have been struggling with mine for around 8 years, and I’m still a work in progress.

To those who are currently struggling or think they may have a problem, don’t be afraid to get help. You aren’t weak or a failure for reaching out; you are actually the opposite, extremely strong. Believe me, I know how much your eating disorder will be screaming at you if you do talk to people about it and get some help, but try to put blinders on and picture what you want your future to look like. You can’t have that future with an eating disorder. There is no such thing as living a double life, which I believed that I could do for so long. You deserve help and you deserve to be free of these demons. Don’t let your eating disorder keep you in shackles like it did me for too long. Take back your control and run with it. You may feel hopeless and that recovery is so far out of reach, or that you could never imagine giving up this security blanket, but nothing is impossible. You don’t need to hit rock bottom to get help. It doesn’t matter your size, weight, behaviors, sex, gender etc. Literally anyone can develop an eating disorder and they look different for everyone. Recovery will be the hardest thing that you will ever have to do in your life, but the empowerment and freedom you feel makes all of the pain worth it. If you don’t have hope, then I’ll hold onto it for you until you’re ready to embrace it. Today is never too late to be brand new.

Recovery is such a rollercoaster and the ride can be really bumpy but also a lot of fun. Recovery means laughing until you cry with good friends. Recovery means allowing yourself to be happy, because you deserve it just as much as anyone else. Recovery isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but you can’t appreciate the good in life without having some bad. Just like my dad always says, “You need to look for the beauty because it’s always out there somewhere.” Bad feelings always pass, and there is always tomorrow to get back on track and have a better day.

It might sound crazy, but I don’t regret anything that has happened to me in the past 8 years. If I had the opportunity to go back and change everything, I don’t think that I would. Why? Because it has made me into the person that I am today; one who wouldn’t exist without all of the pain and heartache. I have met some of the strongest women and men who have touched me in a way that I will never forget. And I now have the opportunity to use my pain towards helping others not have to go through what I have. I was given this challenge by the universe because it believed I could fight it, and I am.

I’d like to end with a quote that speaks to me and my journey:

“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear with its hopes and invitations to waste a moment on the yesterdays.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. Katrina, I was a friend of your Mom’s. She would be so proud of you. Thank you for sharing your story. I would love to connect with you.

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