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An Attempt at Living Out Loud

Earlier this year I crossed something off my bucket list, and I made a pair of shoes from scratch. Desert boots- with my bare hands, an hammer and anvil and some other tools that look like they are straight out of the 1800’s. It would make a great post on this seemingly forgotten blog of ours, but I have been feeling hesitant about sharing it. As some of you know, our lives are very complicated and neither Kevin or I are very good at sharing the details. The choices we make about how to spend our time may appear to contradict our challenges, which makes it feel complicated to share in a space like this. The internet is full of pretty things that people make and do, but usually so lacking in the back story or bigger context. While I have no interest in publishing a perfect looking life online, it’s hard to share the other side of things sometimes.


Recently, someone I know well shared a story on her blog about her late pregnancy loss and had a gigantic response to her post. Something she said in a follow up really resonated with me – that her family was committed to “living out loud” and sharing their experiences so that at the end of the day, people are not alone in their struggles. I have really taken solace in hearing other’s stories, lately, especially ones that relate to us, even when they are not resounding success stories. There are a few couples I follow who have shared their personal cancer journeys and it has helped me a lot, especially as a caregiver.


I have always been a private person, and someone who needs to process information before it’s shared. Maybe that’s why it’s taken me almost three years into our process to think to share it in a more personal way. We have had a CaringBridge site for Kevin for some time, but use it pretty exclusively for the medical updates. We share the big stuff and tend to shy away from the little updates. From now on, we are going to try to give updates here – as honestly as we can. We are going to try to resume sharing some of our cooking, brewing, sewing, knitting and gardening as well. Fighting cancer as a young adult and new parent is uniquely challenging. We are trying not to get totally eaten alive by it, lose our drive or lose our identities. If our story touches even one person, it’s worth sharing.


While you are here, this is our most recent update: Kevin is still in maintenance treatment. He will be receiving his regular chemo treatments every 28 days until June of next year. We are almost to Kevin’s 3-year anniversary of his diagnosis and initial admission to the hospital. These anniversaries come with such mixed feelings. It’s a little unreal to think that he’s been at this for three years now, but man do I feel blessed to have had those three years that were almost stolen from us entirely. They have been difficult, but totally worth it. Our whole little family cycles in and out right along with Kevin, and some months are more difficult than others. Despite the challenges, we do consider ourselves lucky.


Last update, we are pregnant! Due with a baby boy the first week of January. This might be the update that I feel the strangest about sharing, and in a moment of internet honesty, I’ll explain. We have received some funny comments since sharing the news (well, mostly I have received the comments). They are usually one end of the spectrum or the other – either “things must be great” or “oh, that must have been an accident” (in a tone that implies we would be crazy to invite one more responsibility into our lives). Being pregnant makes a woman a walking target for everyone’s comments, and a lot of times a target for judgments. Yes, things are looking better for Kevin, but life is still very challenging. We have tried really hard not to let the Leukemia or Kevin’s treatment change our life plans, or my medical issues for that matter. We know now, better than ever, how truly fleeting life is and how every moment is to be taken advantage of before it slips through your fingers. So no, things are not “great,” but that’s okay. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to keep moving forward.





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