Greatness and why society is missing out on the real heros

“Greatness is respected, rejoiced and revered” 30 for 30 quote

The last few days I have been watching a bunch of ESPN 30 for 30 episodes on Netflix. Watching how people revere the athlete who struggles, works hard and then achieves this hero type status around the world. I have no doubt the fact that these athletes have done incredible things throughout their careers and life. I have no doubt they have worked hard for everything they have achieved and deserve it. People cried, they cheered, it was emotional and somehow it made it seem like in order to find this greatness was to achieve peak physical form and defeat these athletic acts. They called it grace under pressure.

However, I found myself feeling quite torn down after watching this series. These were things that thousands of people like myself won’t ever be able to achieve, yet these people are the ones being defined as hero’s or role models. Which in my opinion, can be a very depressing view for anyone trying to survive CHD. For many of us, we will never step foot on a field, we will never attend P.E growing up, we will never win a trophy. Yet when you look at the physical battles we endure….there should be trophies, there should be victory laps and we should be honored and revered for our greatness.Version 2 Read More

Getting back out there and the power of harvest season…

It has been far to long since my last blog post. After 36 years of surgeries for my Congenital Heart Defects and one very traumatic hospital event, I developed (or was struck by) PTSD and so much of what made me the person I love just seemed to vanish for awhile. I have been doing some intensive therapy and trying to fight my way back for quite some time now. I had originally thought my first blog post back would be telling my story of this current journey on the recovery trail, but then cranberry harvest season started here and I found myself once again out with my trusty camera feeling alive again. So, I decided to postpone that blog for a later date and show you what has helped me feel like the old Kimmie.


There is something so exhilarating about harvest season. The family traditions here in this small town, the excitement of watching the berries pop up on the water or watching them fly through the air. Every year I have been lucky enough to have a wonderful family allow me to document their process…I may not be able to help with the grueling work, but they get me in the water, let me hobble around and often comply with my ridiculous requests for photo ops. They have seen the joy on my face, they have seen me move more and they see the real Kimmie come to the surface. This year I have been honored that three families have allowed me to be a part of this wonderful part of the season.


The PTSD has brought up fears that make no sense to me and I find myself scared in new situations and so even though I was excited to visit these new farms, I couldn’t help but feel the palpitations and see my heart rate go up. So I did what I always do…I sit down in the field and focus in. Sitting among the berries, breathing deep and picking one off the vine to taste the tart and sweet…I started to calm down and blend back into my element.


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As the days went on, I realized that in a weird way I could relate to the long process of harvest. For a year these bogs are tended to, hard work is put into them, sometimes things need to be fixed, new vines need to be planted or new strategies need to be found…all for the hope that you start to see the color and bounty of your reward, a field filled with strong cranberries. I feel like I have been tending to and putting my hard work into fighting this last year and harvest came around just in time to remind me that my reward is waiting for me, that my view from the recovery trail is still as gorgeous as always.


Let me know if you enjoyed seeing harvest photos…I will be out at the farms all month and would love to share more photos with you! Thanks again for continuing to follow my view from the recovery trail!


Exploration and Limitations: a CHD road trip

The first thing I thought when my cousin told me he would be coming over from the east coast for a visit was pure joy! I had spent many summer traveling around with him when he was younger…I was the driver and he held the maps, we always got lost and we always had an adventure. All grown up he decided to road trip back to Oregon and it seemed only right we would meet up and have another epic adventure together.

The second thing I thought was, I’m not that same girl he knew. Long drives, lots of activities and the unknowns are hard for me now. I have a wanderers heart, there will never be a time that my soul doesn’t ache for an open road or a new traveling adventure. It’s just at this very moment I haven’t taken a trip without my parents and I have struggled with every long distance trip we have done. Yes, I’m admitting this…I’m a 36 year old who at that moment, was scared to travel without them.

So as my parents left, I stood in my sisters kitchen and cried. I cried out of fear, I cried out of frustration that I was crying. I did it in secret and I did not want my cousin to see this side of me…a weak traveler who was scared. My sister held me and promised me I could do this.

So off we went…this time in a complete role reversal. Kevin drove this time and I was the one holding the map. We traveled down Washington, stopping at the sites and slowly made our way over to the Oregon coast. IMG_51091

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The Traveling Heart (aka Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week)

Hi friends!! Well, the second annual Traveling Heart for Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week has come and gone, February’s Heart Health month is over and March has rolled in with it’s storms and rain. This year “The Traveling Heart” connected me to some amazing people on Instagram/Facebook and brought awareness to so many people. However, I felt like the traveling heart should also be shared with all of you reading this little blog of mine…because after all CHD Awareness shouldn’t just be highlighted in one week…it should be shared and highlighted as much as possible.

For those of you that don’t follow me on social media, every year in honor of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week I take my “heart” around to some of my favorite spots out on the recovery trail and post a fact about CHD and about what many of us are facing. So, this blog post is the compilation of that week and a way to continue the advocacy! I hope you enjoy my “traveling heart!”

Day 1

I thought it would be fitting to start the week by taking my “heart” out to my favorite trail for the first fact. 1 in 100 babies are born with a Congenital Heart Defect, making them the No.1 cause of birth defect related deaths and the leading cause of all infant deaths in the United States. This is just one of the reasons I feel so lucky to be a survivor!IMG_0018 (1)1 Read More

The Lightness of Living

It’s a luxury that most people crave and it’s something that people pray to experience more. The lightness of living.


I woke up feeling tired, like most mornings and wondering what the day was going to bring. Most mornings I wake already with a deficit…it’s almost an immediate feeling of dread. “If I’m tired now, how will I survive the day?” I checked my Facebook and noticed that there was this incredible storm phenomenon happening down at the beach here in town. Yelled for dad to take me down to the beach and grabbed my gear, not knowing what I would find or what my lens would help me capture. Read More

The Reality of Writing the Truth

If you ask me what my idea of heaven is, what I picture what it will be like after I’m gone from this world…it is one long stretch of beach and I’m running. Everything flows right, I can actually feel my heart beating and it is strong. I have air in my lungs, I take deep breaths and it feels glorious. I run, I jump, I play volleyball in the sand (it has always looked so fun)…I just can’t stop moving. That is what I see when I allow myself to think about.

IMG_5204-Edit1However, I try not to think about it to often. It’s hard to reconcile that image and what I have to feel like right now…and I have been scared to share that reality with you all.

I want to say I haven’t been writing because I have been out living life and I am too busy to sit down to write about it all, but that would be a lie.  I haven’t been able to write because I’m angry and every time I sit down to write, I have nothing inspiring to say, I just have anger and frustration for the place I’m in. I’m always thinking “Who wants to read about my anger?” and I know at some point if I complain all the time, people will stop listening. So I have stopped myself from posting all the things I have been feeling lately or the experiences I have had.

Then today I realized that this blog isn’t about some magical journey of someone living with CHD, it’s about the reality of someone fighting CHD. It is alright that I don’t always have a positive spin to every situation. I need to be able to write down everything, even if that means people choose to stop listening. My hope for this blog was always meant to share my journey, to help me deal with the reality of what is happening in my life and in the end inspire others. Somewhere along the way I started to be afraid to share the struggle and I don’t want to be that person anymore. Sometimes it feels like two totally different view points fighting within…

The bright silver lining I wanted so badly to find in every piece of writing…

IMG_22011…and the reality of what I was actually feeling.


So I made a promise to myself that I am going to post at least twice a month, post the things that need to be said about CHD, to be said about my journey and not worry about my need to always find the positive. I know the more I write, the more I will start to see those positive things I need to. Maybe I will start to accept the reality of where I am and let that image of heaven inspire me instead of frustrating me.

I love you all and hope you continue to follow along with me in discovering and understanding my view from the recovery trail!


The Art of Panicking

The Art of PanickingIs there an art to panicking? There is a school of thought that says in order to combat attacks, you need to stop fleeing from the situations or things that cause anxiety. But what if the thing that causes you panic is actually implanted inside of you?

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but recently it feels like I’m waking up from this sick coma I have been in for the last few years. That in itself is a praise worthy thing and I am so very thankful that some of the old “Kimmie” seems to be returning more and more. However, the new Kimmie has come with some very unexpected side effects…namely, panic. I have always had anxiety regarding certain things like surgery, catherizations and general medical situations. This anxiety has always made sense, let’s get real…who wouldn’t have anxiety about all that? However, the new panic that lives within me has really stopped me in my tracks. For the first time I think I am finally processing everything that has been happening to me physically and mentally…and it’s scared the hooey out of me. So in the spirit of honesty and transparency in this journey, I thought I would share what I have been working through and the antics that took place in my latest quest to stop the panic. Read More

The Exaustion of being Brave

The Exhaustion of Being BraveSo here is the hard truth, the one that I think sometimes people don’t say. Being brave, having miracle moments, beating the odds, overcoming a traumatic situation are quite possibly the most exhausting moments of your life…ahem…I’m exhausted. Read More

The young and disabled (title for a new reality show?)

The young and disabled (title for a new reality show?)I’m out at the coffee shop and I run into someone I haven’t seen in awhile (this happens often now that I am back in my hometown). Then it happens, the inevitable question is asked…”So what are you up to these days? Where are you working now?” My palms get sweaty, my heart starts to race and I think to myself “How do I say the phrase ‘I’m on disability now.’ without worrying about the impending face people make once you say THAT word?” I decide to go with a different route and say “I’m not working at the moment, just letting my body heal.” That sounds good, right? Then the face happens…the downturn of the lips, the uptick of the eyebrows and the classic comforting arm pat. They say the standard comment of “Oh geez” or “wow” or even “Yikes.” Next comes me launching into an explanation of what is going on in my life. You can almost hear my urgency to convince them that I am worthy of receiving disability and not working. Then in the next moment I am trying to figure out how to make my life seem relevant still without my career to back it up. Read More

Kimmie’s Guide to a Happy Hospital Stay

A year ago my friend was going into surgery and she asked me how I keep sane and positive throughout all of the emotions surrounding a hospital stay. So I came up with a list of things that might help.

Surgery can be daunting and the idea of it can drive even the toughest person insane. In one of my earlier posts I listed a few of the surgeries I have had…needless to say, I have spent a majority of my life at the hospital. I have had great care, ok care and some care that has driven my mother into somehow making a very bad nurse disappear, never to venture into my room again. Over the years I have figured out some tried and true methods that make my hospital stay and conquering even the toughest of my surgeries, something that doesn’t suck as much as it should.

Kimmie's Guide to a Happy Hospital Stay  Kimmie's Guide to a Happy Hospital Stay

Kimmie's Guide to a Happy Hospital Stay  Kimmie's Guide to a Happy Hospital Stay

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