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Sometimes gifts arrive in unlikely packages.

Occasionally they are the answer to our prayers.

Sometimes they come disguised as setbacks.

Often they arrive late, with no return address.

Other times, they arrive just in the nick of time.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, August 24, 2016, alone at The Cottage, I collapsed.

I was transported via ambulance to UMC-Banner Hospital in critical condition.

The paramedics told my wonderful husband Albert that I was five minutes from death.

That I am here to tell you about it all is a miracle.

The rapid, courteous, professional EMS response team from Tucson Fire Department and the fantastic cardiology team at Banner/UMC brought me back.

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I will be forever grateful.

And astounded.

I see it as an enormous, shiny, one-of-a-kind gift that was sent to change my life in the best of all possible ways.

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(image from:

My heart attack was what is called “broken heart syndrome” in lay terms (because this kind of heart attack is most often triggered by emotional stress or constant anxiety)

or Takotsubo stress cardiomyopathy in medical terms. The name “takotsubo syndrome” comes from the Japanese word for a kind of octopus trap  because it resembles an octopus sitting on top of the heart with tentacles squeezing the heart into severe cardiac spasms. It felt like my heart was being squeezed in a steel cage and I could not unlock it.

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(image from

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is rare, comprising less than 2% to 3% of people in western countries who suffer from a heart attack.

Stress is the main factor in takotsubo cardiomyopathy, 90% of cases are women of “a certain age” with over 85% of cases set in motion by either a physically or emotionally stressful event that immediately prefaces the start of symptoms.

The cardiologists explained to me that some people process their lives through their heads, others through their guts, and a handful through their hearts. I’m one of those folks who processes positively EVERYTHING through my heart. It has always been so. It’s in my hard wiring. I care, I feel, I hurt, I cry. It’s what makes me Kaitlin…but…

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Having miraculously survived, it is my singular responsibility to regroup and refashion my life so it doesn’t try to kill me again!

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At the moment, I am a determined archaeologist on an intensely emotional excavation, trying to unearth the triggers that caused this crash and working on disabling them so that I can embrace the joy-filled, creative, loving life I believe I am still destined to live. I will need a little time to heal, to regain my strength, and to create new rituals of self care.

Here’s how you can help me:

Please hold my place in your lives until I can recover

and know that as I map new resting places for my heart

you are all part of what keeps me going toward the happy life ahead of me.

Remind me often and in your sternest, most loving voice NOT to take on ALL the woes of the world

and to…

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(image:©2014 Cherilyn Clough

My plan is to take a couple of weeks off at home under the incredibly loving care of my Beloved Albert who single-handedly pulled me back from the brink into his loving arms and our beautiful life together. I am going to heal and come back better than ever to celebrate and to honor this amazing gift of life renewed.

Please know that I am completely invested in keeping The Cottage as our tribal sanctuary, spirit lodge, and inspiring playhouse of shared creativity.

Be assured, my romance with my own “wild & precious life” has been rekindled.

My determination to continue to be a light in this world, to be a loving, creative, joy-filled playmate and an endlessly grateful (and much humbled) steward of my own life-force has become my singular focus.

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And, please, remember that I love you and am filled with absolute awe at your loving me back.

Come have a cupcake & a hug on my 70th birthday party on the 17th of September at The Cottage so I can personally thank you all for the overwhelming love and encouragement you are lavishing on me.

Please be grateful for every moment of your life!

Keep ya posted… 

LOVE LOVE LOVE & so much gratitude!


Who’s heart is prickly

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(image: pricklypearheart from

but it is strong!

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Delighted and proud to be a…

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© Kaitlin Meadows, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

17 comments on “BIRTHDAY SURPRISE!

  1. wow. what a real life story you are in the midst of. I am so glad you are alive and aware of how taking care of yourself now and in the weeks ahead.

    Happy Birthday and keep calm and carry on with a lighter and happier load.

    Sent from Windows Mail

  2. Dear, dear Kaitlin, I am so glad that you came through this ordeal and are able to write about it. I am sending loving, healing energy your way and I look forward to helping you celebrate your 70th birthday and your Life 💜💛💙💖💝

  3. Dear Kaitlin, I am sorry to hear of your ordeal but happy to hear you are on the road to healing. You are in my prayers and my thoughts. I will try to get to your 70th birthday celebration. Barbara-June Smith

  4. Dearest Kaitlin, take a few weeks, take a few months, or take a few years but PLEASE take sufficient time to recover and figure out what happened so you don’t kill yourself again

  5. Dear Kaitlin,
    So wonderful to hear your voice! You have such a wonderful heart! Where is that spirit bear? Sending buckets of love! Looking forward to seeing you on the 17th.
    Love, Audrey

    • Thanks dear Audrey! My spirit bear is fully activated and keeping me in my cozy cave to recover so that I can re-emerge with even more joy & love! See you on the 17th! love kait

  6. Sister Kait, coming from the same tribal heart, knowing, loving, being a part of you and your life is so deeply etched on me in so many levels.
    With less than gentle reminding, even now you are aiming to please.
    Please, just try for a wee bit of time to think of no one but yourself, your heart, and mend completely before, (already too late I know) jumping back into the whirling world of Kait.
    Please, Cottage tribe, go ever so easy on my sister. Party next month when she is stronger.
    all said because I love you so very much, sister kim

    • O Dear Sweet Wise Lil’ Sister, thanks for the kind reminder…due to the excellent care of my Beloved nurse Albert and lots of days of reading & naps & snacks & giggles & all the love of my friends AND my dear sister Kim, I am doing so well and promise never, ever to forget to put LOVE above everything else and learn to slow down long enough to receive it! My sister is wise and brave and strong and sassy and I wanna be just like her when I grow up! Love Kaitiebug the Ladybug

  7. Welcome back to the good times….So happy to hear you are feeling better and making this post. Happy upcoming Birthday…..know that you are loved and we treasure your friendship and all the memories we share….<3 ❤

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