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  • Writer's pictureKate

The Hands of Time

As my neuropathy laden fingers trace the handwritten words you addressed to me, tears well in my eyes as I realize we will never meet in person like we planned. Cancer took you from this world too early, like it does so many. My heart breaks for the beautiful young family you left behind. Our journeys were more alike than different, and it's scary to see complications from Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC) take you so fast. All you wanted was the chance to have your stomach removed. But, you were diagnosed with stomach cancer before you were aware of CDH1. You had no chance to remove your stomach before the cancer took hold. But, your story solidifies my decision was the right one. If HDGC can take someone like you, it could easily have taken me too. Although I am not afraid to befriend fellow cancer patients, this is one of the stark reminders that we are not all lucky. We do not all make it. No, you did not loose a fight. You just got dealt a shit hand. I am so sorry Zack. I feel a physical ache for the fear, pain, and journey you had to endure. Your humor, grace, love, and hope lifted us all up. COVID stole our meeting, but didn't steal our cancer bond.

Rest in peace my friend.


I was browsing EBay one day, and fell in love with this early 1900's French mantel clock. We have been wanting a unique clock for our living room, and I knew this was the one. Little did I know, this little, ornate clock would challenge my patience and inspire thoughts about life and the time we all share.

Having never messed with an antique clock, I had this ignorant idea that I could simply put it together once it arrived at my house, and it would work perfectly. I had no idea how intricate and complicated this little beauty would be. I have spent endless hours reading articles written by "Tick Tock Tony," and fiddled more than I have fiddled with anything before. I thought, get the clock ticking, set the time, and boom, you've got a working mantel clock. Haha, was I wrong.

It has to be wound properly, the pendulum has to be "on beat," the hands have to be carefully set in rhythm with the pendulum, the chime needs to match the hands, etc. For one whole weekend, the chime was chiming a different time than the hands were showing...that was a fun problem to solve. Anyway, I have had fun tinkering, and if it stops working for some reason, I carefully turn it so I can see inside, and I start tinkering again until the tick and tock are evenly spaced, and the time is set, and the chime is on. As I write this, I can hear the pendulum swinging perfectly in time. It is quite peaceful, and is finally giving me some relief after all the grief this darn thing has put me through.

After learning of my friend Zach's passing this week, it got me thinking again about time. We sure don't seem to have much of it in the end. And like this beautiful antique clock, time is complicated, fragile, yet totally worth every moment. Some of us are "on beat," and some of us are not. We just need someone to take the time to love and care for us, so that we can once again be balanced and bring peace through our slow, even, tick tock beat.


I feel bad I have not written an update recently. I ended up flying out to the NIH the end of January to have my gallbladder removed. I know it is weird to fly all the way across the country for a routine surgery, but I have learned since becoming stomachless, and having so many huge scars scattered across my body, I am going to be anything but routine from this point forward. Surgeons without specialized knowledge, take one look at me and realize they might be in over their heads. So, I went out east to be in the strong and experienced hands of my hero, and surgeon, Dr. Davis.

Surgery went really well. They were able to remove the gallbladder without incident, and most importantly, without spilling any of the stones. They were able to perform the surgery laparoscopically, and I was on the plane home the day after surgery. I had about a week of down time, and then I was back to work, no problem. If you can call hauling my butt out of bed, putting on some leggings, walking 20 feet to my desk, and staring at my computer for 8 hours work. As of today, I am five weeks post-op, and doing just fine. At four weeks, my lifting restrictions were lifted, so Andy could finally stop yelling at me to "STOP" every time I tried to lift something in the previous four weeks. It was hard because I have had so many major surgeries at this point, I literally felt fine, and would forget I even had any restrictions!

Other than that, nothing much has been going on. Just working, resting, spring cleaning, tinkering, knitting, and feeling guilty about not writing. The weather has been getting nicer after the last arctic blast, so I have been getting out for walks nearly every day. The fresh air that no longer hurts my face, due to it being so cold, is wonderful.

I hope you all are well.

Peace and Love,


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