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Kevin cracks me up as my mother snaps a photo. We were in the audience waiting for my daughter Steffi’s promenade march before her prom.

I originally started this blog to keep notes on marketing ideas – kind of a way to share and pay it forward, as well as creating an organized note system for myself. But as the months unfolded it became a forum and note system for cancer and melanoma, as well as how to cope.

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Photo’d in my kitchen when we first started dating in 2009.

Quite indicative of the time we live in, I began to share private thoughts publicly – from triumphs to setbacks – not caring about privacy anymore. As we learned more about melanoma we wanted to offer what we could to help fight melanoma, and give hope if possible.

Living with melanoma – indeed any cancer – can be like a living nightmare. I found myself one day explaining to our youngest kids, who have never heard of the Beatles, what the song “Yesterday” meant. We long for the day before we knew these things. We pine for the times when we took things for granted.

Yet, we’ve learned what remains from this horrific experience is love, and lots of it. Love, like all things we take for granted, such as air – is never missed until it’s gone. Love can keep plants thriving. Without love children get messed up. Love and gratitude are great things. Cancer is a stern teacher and has forced us to embrace love and gratitude.

Yes, together we have 10 kids.

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10 kids and growing, as older kids marry!

In order of appearance, I was the first to have children. I have five, and Kevin has five. We have been married before. While we often say we wish we had met decades ago, we joke that we’re far too lazy to have had 10 kids as a couple. Our lives are about children, family, laughing and ideas. We are one lucky couple and we celebrate that a lot.

We are both artists, both self-employed, creative, both love discussing ideas and philosophy and love our children (and each other’s) like mad. I am a hypochondriac, Kevin likes risky stuff like standing on cliffs or riding dicey carnival rides. I’m tepid when it comes to politics; Kevin will Democrat you until your eyes fog. I like wine, he likes beer. I talk on the phone during movies, Kevin must tell you how every video cut was done. Sometimes we argue and sulk and believe we are always right. In spite of that, we truly enjoy each other’s company and are lucky to have found each other. We met February 27, 2009 online, and in person on March 3rd.  He stayed thin and I did not. He sees up close and I see far away – this is true visually as well as in the way we approach life in general.

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In the Badlands in 2009. Kevin likes cliffs. I have panic attacks. We’re like the Odd Couple!

Believers in Synchronicity

There are many things about Kevin and I that were coincidental and synchronistic. The many coincidences convinced us early on that we were simply meant to be together. We married only 4 months after meeting. We felt as if we had known each other for 20 years. Our courtship was like a strange time warp. We kept up with the hyper-speed pace while the rest of the world was in regular time. Quite aware that our speed was different – like a different reality – I took notes and scribed each day, knowing I would forget the little details of our first few months. I’m glad I did this.

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Still healing from a scalp resection, we toast LIFE and Kevin’s 55th birthday in Memphis with some delicious dirty martinis at the Peabody Hotel.

We have been living to make up for lost time before we met. We have travelled for work and enjoyed the sightseeing along the way. We’ve built foam props for international television shows, entered the annual Mt. Vernon Chalk the Walk, and have toasted kicking cancer’s ass more than once. We have met many fine people all over the country, and they have been as charmed by Kevin Kyle as I had been. You can tell he’s a good soul when you meet him. People naturally trust him, as they should. He is an affable southerner with a gentle Tennessee accent and gentlemanly ways.

When the melanoma was diagnosed, especially now that it’s metastasized, our lives are going just as hyper speed, just as insane, as the world continues with its regular pace. I just asked Kevin the other day if he felt the past week was a strange time feeling, as it was when we first met.

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Kevin and I drawing at Chalk the Walk in Mt. Vernon 2012. This is my drawing, but Kevin is the only one who always gets on the news! It never fails. 😉

He agreed – it feels like we’ve lived years only in one week. We’ve been living in a ‘regular time’ for years now, just going to work and doing normal things. It wasn’t until the melanoma returned that things got weird time-wise as they did when we first met. Only our meeting and courtship, while seemingly directed by coincidental events, was intuitive somehow. Maybe because our dreams were coming true?

Now we face immense challenges faced by all of those with cancer, like:

  • how to get quality care for Kevin
  • how to combat melanoma
  • how to keep working
  • how to sleep
  • whether we should file bankruptcy
  • how to reduce our lives to one income
  • leaving our home and getting over our attachment for the house that we felt symbolized us
  • how to afford live saving meds
  • helping my beloved Kevin pull through this
  • taking care of me
  • taking care of the kids

Just after Kevin’s scalp resection last year I was told last year by a Salvation Army coordinator who was a breast cancer survivor, that we should plan on bankruptcy, losing our home and one or both cars. I just sobbed. It was depressing to ask for free bread and meals. Plus, the sadness was not so much  because of losing the things but because of the defeat she predicted. We pulled through that year, but in terms of the financial scenario, most of what she told me is what we’re doing now.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 3.17.52 AMAnd you know, I have to say – in a way it really is about the things. We had both been poor for a long time, and after finding each other we could finally relax. We finally exhaled. We enjoyed driving cars without dents. We didn’t worry about our bank balance when we went to the grocery store. We went out to dinner once a month. While our house needed lots of work, we felt gleeful and proud when looking at our house when we drove up to it each night. These things will go because of cancer. It’s fun having things, but it’s sheer horror when these things represent a love, a life, an experience you may never get back. It was stolen and raped from you, without warning and without fault. This is our earthquake, our flood, our horror. And there are many others going through this at the same time, most horribly – children who suffer from cancer.

Please take a moment when you’re on Facebook sometime to follow pages that list kids with cancer. It’s a great way to contribute a bit of money each week, and a great thing to pray for the kids and families affected by cancer.

We decided when this journey began that we would share our experiences in hopes that it helps others on the way. While I do the writing and researching, it’s through Kevin’s generosity and willingness to be public and share our story.

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With stained fingers, we relax after tie-dying shirts with our kids at a “Tie-Dye Party” hosted by some of the kids.


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