Kathleen Lowndes is proof that attitude is everything.
Kathleen's first experience with desert was on a family move from Upstate NY to Inglewood California via the infamous Route 66 – Kathleen was eight years old. She recently found a black and white photo from 1955 of her family under a Joshua tree in Kingman AZ.
After Kathleen's mother died in 1998, Kathleen grieved for a year - sitting in bed, knitting and crocheting. After grieving, her roommate had a stroke and decided to take their recovery in their homeland of Sweden to take advantage of the lifetime healthcare.
Having been invited to stay with friends in Banning, California, Kathleen gave up the apartment in Laguna Beach, put her things in storage until she decided how she wanted to move forward with her life.
With a plan to take day trips, try to get her old job back, get her things out of storage and move on – Kathleen says her car had other plans, bringing her regularly to the hi-desert. Kathleen entered the park, where she explored places she'd previously visited in the park and after two or three weeks of this routine, Kathleen decided to get all her things out of storage and found a house to rent in Joshua Tree.
In this episode Kathleen talks about the medical condition – that she later discovered ran in her family – that began to present itself in various ways, until finally taking her down in July of 2003, which lead to a diagnosis putting her on a journey to
her enormous medical miracle: a surgery that could potentially rob her of her abilities to think, walk and talk.
Kathleen says she went for the miracle because she couldn’t stomach the thought of becoming permanently disabled and says, “I trained for this surgery like an Olympic athlete trains for a gold medal".
After successful surgery and months of physical therapy, rehab and a short stint in assisted living, Kathleen found her self at home in the desert silence, where she says she experienced an onslaught of ideas. Kathleen says she is pretty convinced it was the silence and the solitude that really helped her recover and that she was somehow positioned in this desert for all of this to play out as it did.
Since having the surgery, Kathleen is thriving, doing all those things and more including writing a book about her experience. The only thing left to do is get back behind the wheel of a car.
Kathleen's book, 'Facing the Ultimate Fear: A New Future', is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and locally in the desert at Joshua Tree's Space Cowboy Books and in Yucca Valley at Cactus Wren Book Exchange and Rainbow Stew.