Category Archives: Writing

NWCN Television Interview

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If you missed my interview yesterday on Northwest Cable News, here it is. In addition to talking about my book, I also reminded skiers and snowboarders how to ski safely this winter. The old maxim, “No friends on a powder day,” might need to change. In deep snow conditions, your friends could save your life. Just saying. Click on the video below to play. And notice that under my name it reads “Crisis Expert”. Who knew??

She Gets Around

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It Can Be a Bit of a Slog

Just in case you aren’t tired of me yet, here’s two links to some lovely recent press. I’ve been getting around lately. A marketing friend of mine recently told me that people need to hear about my book 5 times before they take action. And by take action, I mean buy the book people. So I’ll be over here beating my drum until it turns into a dead horse. Either that or my book gets on the bestseller list. Whichever happens first. And now for the press:

Heidi Cave invited me to guest post about Finding Inspiration over at her blog Fancy Feet. The thing is that Heidi is pretty darn inspiring herself. When I met her this summer, I had no idea the ordeal she’d been through. You would never know, just looking at her, that she’d been pulled from a burning car crash, lost her legs and spent two weeks in a coma. This is a gal who knows that when the shit hits the fan, you have to really dig deep. I mean, really deep. So when she asked me over to her space, I was honored. You can check out my post and her blog at www.fancyfeet.com.

Over at Nurse Talk Radio, where “laughter is the best medicine,” I spoke with Dan and Casey about my life as a ski patroller, John’s illness and getting through it fifteen minutes at a time. I enjoyed talking to two nurses who understood what I meant when I referred to Primary Schlerosing Cholangitis and knew why Pancreatitis is so damn painful. I felt like I was talking to the inner circle. We EMTs like to think we’re in the inner circle of medical personnel, and this interview played right into that illusion. You can check out my interview on Nurse Talk here.

It’s American Diabetes Month and I Feel Fine

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November is Diabetes Month. I suppose, like with any National Something Month, the goal is to raise awareness and money to fight the Something. October has Breast Cancer Awareness; February owns Heart Health; April is a double-whammy with Irritable Bowel Awareness and Distracted Driving Prevention. For every health concern, there’s a month, and Diabetics have November.

A Life With Diabetes

A moment alone checking levels

I rarely mention that I have Type 1 Diabetes; it doesn’t define me. But it is a regular part of my day. It comes up so often in my memoir that I probably should have given Diabetes her own book. But I’m not sure I wanted to give the disease her own stage. We have a rocky relationship, Diabetes and me. I would much rather write a book about my husband’s illness, giving Diabetes only a bit part in the narrative. And I had thought I succeeded until readers reacted with such horror at my near-death low blood sugar reactions. I guess I didn’t realize it was such a big deal.

So, okay. Fine. Diabetes is challenging. Insulin is a fickle mistress. And yes, far too often I go into diabetic shock, which is, for lack of a better word, a full-blown seizure.

Why is that so hard to admit?

Coming to Terms

Summit of Mt. Baker, WA

For many years after I was diagnosed, I pretended to be invincible and unflappable. I wasn’t going to let this two-bit, penny-ante, no-count, nothing of a so-called disease get the better of me. I would climb mountains, I would kayak big rivers, I would spend weeks in the backcountry. And I didn’t care what Diabetes said; she wasn’t going to stop me.

I remember waking up one night in a remote cabin in British Columbia. Ten of us were sleeping in our bags, batting the mice from our pillows and dreaming of the powder-filled glaciers we’d skied that day. But I wasn’t dreaming exactly. It was more like a drugged reverie. The age-dark beams of the roof bowed up and down. Bats flew around my head, lifting the light fabric of my down bag and threatening to carry me away. I almost tapped into the darkest truths that skiing and remote mountains and a blood sugar-addled brain could reach before I delved into a full-on seizure.

Predictably I started sweating and shaking. I screamed and cried. I closed my eyes and moved my head from side to side. My body reared up a few feet off the ground and slammed down.

My friends knew what to do: feed me glucose tablets and orange juice until I came around. And when I woke up, I laughed. Oops. Sorry guys. Didn’t mean to wake you. But their stares were full of fear. We were remote, at least a day’s ski to a phone. What if they couldn’t wake me? What if a helicopter couldn’t pick me up? The look of responsibility weighed heavily on all of us, and I realized I had to strike a peace accord with my sworn enemy.

Balancing Act

After carrying this disease around with me for over 20 years, I’ve had a few scares. Most often it’s not the disease that kills you, but all the complications. Diabetes is hard on your body. The American Diabetes Association has a sobering statistic:

Diabetes kills more people each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.

Diabetes affects every organ, every blood vessel, every brain cell. If I eat too many carbohydrates without enough insulin, or have too much stress, or get sick, my blood turns to 30 weight car oil, bursting blood vessels and nerves. If I eat too little, or exercise too much, or give myself too much insulin, I can have a low-blood sugar seizure.

Diabetics can do anything

Diabetes is a balancing act between exercise, food, insulin, stress, illness and other factors. But it is also a window into my health. Since I check my blood sugar levels several times a day, I can watch with a transparency unavailable to non-diabetics how my lifestyle affects my body.

The Upside

I can be healthier seeing the fruits of my exercise and the effects of my transgressions. A Chinese proverb claims, “No disease short life; one disease long life.” Because when you have a disease like Diabetes, you have to pay attention. You have to manage your stress and exercise even when your husband is dying. You can’t drink too much, or eat too much or push yourself too hard. Nor can you take a day off and eat a bag of Fritos while watching television.

Hail National Diabetes Month! This is our month and I’m going to celebrate. And by “celebrate” I mean drinking a diet soda, sucking on a sugar-free candy and climbing a peak. What did you think I meant?

The Season 2: Fitz Cahill and Bryan Smith Bring Another Round of Great Storytelling and Adventure

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These days showcasing one’s adventures requires more than merely a rack of slides and a group of unsuspecting dinner guests. Epic adventures now come in multimedia productions, created by talented videographers, crack writers and talented athletes. I’ve written before about the need for more story in ski films, and the creators of The Season seemed to have read my mind.

The Season, a web television series about five adventure athletes that pushed the limits, is back for round 2, with new athletes, deeper stories and more distant climes. Ingeniously, creators Fitz Cahill, of Dirtbag Diaries and videographer Bryan Smith, are calling it The Season 2. Here’s the lowdown from their website:

An amputee climber sets his sights on becoming whole again by returning to Yosemite to realize a lifelong dream. A conservationist and angler searches for a fabled ghost run of wild steelhead on one of California’s most troubled rivers. One of the world’s best boulderers struggles to balance her career as a boulder with raising her daughter. From a burned forest, a vision of an incredible mountain bike trail emerges from the ashes into reality. In the wake of achieving an unthinkable goal, a ski mountaineer returns to the peak where he first met failure.

Here’s what they’ve dubbed their kick-ass trailer. I have to agree.

ARC’TERYX presents: The Season 2 from Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith on Vimeo.

Their twelfth episode, featuring Greg Hill, is live. Check it out.

I want to hear from you guys on this. As a writer and adventurer myself, maybe I’m a little too obsessed with the need for more than just eye candy in our stories. But I believe that the stories we tell about our lives actually creates our reality. After a day on the slopes or the river or high on a remote mountain peak, it is the narrative we tell later that reshapes the adventure. If we come home and say the trip sucked–I didn’t make it to the summit, I swam the biggest rapid, the weather made it miserable–then it did. But if we tell the story in a different way, the reality changes as well. The weather socked in, but the views of the peak once the clouds opened up were amazing; we had to turn back before the summit, but the trip was worth it anyway. You get the idea. Our lives are shaped by the stories we tell. That’s why, when I read or watch a story well told, I’m transfixed.

What are you searching for?

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One of the obsessions joys of blogging is checking your blog stats. Knowing that people are actually here, reading your posts, makes you feel a little bit less like you’re talking into a soup can attached to a string and a little more like someone actually cares. Even if it is your own mom.

It’s also possible to find out all sorts of things about the people that visit your site–what geographical location they hail from, what they clicked on while visiting, and even what words they typed into Google to find you.

And that’s where it gets a little weird.

I’ll admit it. I don’t understand how Google works. I’m not even sure if the people at Google really know how they work. Maybe it’s magic. But I’m always amazed at the search words used to find this site.

Her Porn Star name is Fluffy Love

“Kim Kircher porn,” for example. Believe it or not, search engines are out there, perhaps right this instant, scanning the internet for pornography associated with my name. Two of the most surprising search engine terms that have brought visitors to this site are:

1) Die doing what you love

2) Kim Kircher porn

I mean really people. What is wrong with you? This is a family show. My mom reads my blog. She regularly comments. You are not going to see naked pictures of me here.

And for this you should be very thankful.

Perhaps you site visitors are disappointed. Maybe you bounce off the site just as soon as you realize this is just a blog about skiing and finding inspiration and thinking about skiing and inspiration. But I have to admit that it kind of creeps me out. I’m talking to you here, Porn-Googler.

Who sits at home googling up porn and a certain person’s name? Do you really think you’re going to find something?

Might I remind you that we all have our own “porn star name?” Remember how that goes? Take the name of your first pet and your mother’s middle name and voila! instant porn star. This was a fun parlor trick from my early ski bum college days, and it always brings a few raised eyebrows and smirks.

So, if anyone really wanted to find naked pictures of me, you should be googling my porn star name: Fluffy Love.

KUOW: Radio Interview

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Writing gives me the opportunity to carefully craft my words. I can cut, paste and delete until I’ve massaged the meaning to reflect as much or as little about myself as I choose.

But get me talking, and you never know what I’m going to say. In a recent interview with Jeremy Richards at KUOW, an NPR affiliate station in Seattle, I really started to blab. I perhaps revealed a little more about myself, and the depths my mind can sink to, than I’d planned on. I didn’t really mean to tell Jeremy about my deluded plan to throw myself in front of a bus in front of the Mayo Clinic with a note attached to my soon-to-be-dead body to take my liver and give it to John. It was a desperate thought, and depression is a bottomless pit.

Strangely, however, I’m okay with it. Perhaps that’s the beauty of writing a book. Once it’s out there, so are you. You can’t squeeze the toothpaste back into the tube.

Check the link for KUOW interview and let me know what you think.

Live Radio Interview Tonight

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Just in case you find yourself in front of a radio tonight at 11pm Pacific Time, tune into the Jordan Rich show. You can even listen live from your computer. Just click the “Listen Live” button at the top of the above. This show is out of Boston, so I’ll be talking live to a very late East Coast. But hey, not everybody sleeps.

Pushing Beyond Our Perceived Limits

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I’m happy to introduce Amy Christensen who hails from Expand Outdoors and has agreed to join us here today. I love guest bloggers. Not only do I get a day off of blogging (What? You thought this was easy?), but I also love adding new voices. That way it doesn’t always feel like I’m talking to myself here. Thanks so much Amy for being here. Take it away! (KK)

Every day we are faced with decisions. Some days they remain fairly ordinary.
Chocolate chip or oatmeal raison cookies this week? Should I bring a sweater into
work?

Other days, we’re faced with decisions that will alter the trajectory of our lives.

“I could never do that.” “I’m not a runner.”

When I first began to run, these were thoughts that went through my head all the time.
I was dating a runner. My friends were runners. I went to their races and cheered them
on.

But me? No, I couldn’t do that. I wasn’t an athlete. I couldn’t run around the block, much
less three or six miles.

And then something changed. I was 26 with borderline high cholesterol. The kind of
high cholesterol my doctor explained could be lowered with exercise. So I signed up at
a local gym with the intent to swim. For a few weeks, I swam slowly one or two times
a week for about a half hour at a time. Hardly a serious workout, but for me, it seemed
pretty ambitious.

One day, curiosity led me to the treadmill for a “warm-up” before I got in the pool.

I stepped onto the treadmill feeling like a total fraud, sure everyone was looking at me
and silently laughing at my inexperience. I found the start button and increased the
speed. I planned to run for five minutes.

After five minutes I thought maybe I could make it a half mile.

After I reached that half mile, I thought, well… maybe ten minutes. I was feeling
surprisingly okay.

After ten minutes I was close to a mile. Well… I thought… let’s see if I can go a mile.

And so I did. In just over 12 minutes on a cool March morning in 2000, I’d run the first
continuous mile of my entire life.

And in fact, most surprisingly, I’d survived.

I just hadn’t believed it possible until that moment.

Pushing Beyond Our Limits
We all have limiting beliefs that influence our decisions, choices and actions. We’re not

fit enough to get started. We’re too clumsy or uncoordinated. We’re too old. It wouldn’t
be seemly. We’ll be laughed at. Not taken seriously.

I could go on and on. I’m sure you have a number of additions of your own you could
add.

The most life-altering lessons I’ve learned from sports has been this:

I’m stronger than I think I am. I can do more than I ever thought possible.

These realizations transcend from the sports—from 50-mile runs, downhill bike rides
and scaling granite walls—world into my relationships, career choices, life adventures,
and every other aspect of my life.

Sports—particularly those that take place outdoors surrounded by nature—just taught
me (and continues to teach me) these lessons.

Here’s what I know: That we’re ALL stronger than we think. That our bodies are way
more capable than our mind can ever envision. That getting outside, being active can
fundamentally transform your life.

The line our minds draw on our capabilities are infinitely impermanent; ready to be
pushed, challenged and redrawn bigger and more expansive as we continue to grow
and evolve.

Where is your line? Your self-imposed boundary? Can it be pushed? Challenged?
What’s holding you back?

Amy C Christensen is a certified life coach. She launched her company, Expand Outdoors, to help others create healthy, sustainable and active lifestyle changes through the power of the outdoors. Since that first mile back in 2000, Amy found her passion in trail running through the Colorado foothills and continues to find strength and solace through the sport. She has since completed six marathons and three ultra marathons (including a 50-miler), with her sights on a 100 in the future. Based in Boulder, she’s currently traveling around the country with her husband in their customized van. When she’s not working from a local Internet cafe, she can usually be found trail running, hiking, climbing or mountain biking in the great outdoors. You can follow her on twitter  and join Expand Outdoors on Facebook.