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A Lauren Taylor Illustration

Look what came in the mail, from the brilliantly gifted illustrator, Lauren Taylor!  (Click on her name and explore her website.) This image, this moment, I remember it like it was yesterday, and yet, in the same thread, it feels like several lifetimes ago. Earlier today, when I was cooking dinner, a wave of shock, and gratitude came over me. You'd think I'd get used to his love, but it still surprises me. Like a stupid cliche, but it's not stupid, and it's not a cliche, it's my life. I was thinking about how deep my love for Dan is, and how mutual the bond. If I never get to fulfill my dream of being a mother, or if I never fulfill my dream of further education, or even a fence around our property, I am and have been loved by a man that treats me kindly, who cherishes me, who hears me, who fulfills my every need, and so much more. I could never have dreamed of a love like this, because I had no concept of the enormity. Oh, to have a piece of art to celebrate the most profound aspect of my life, the bond with his soul. What an honor for Lauren to gift us this. I am in complete awe of this young woman. I think you might be too, if you check out her amazing YouTube videos. Get to know her a little, she's dynamic, and full of compassion - let alone talented. EASTSIDE STORIES Continue reading
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Introduction to My YouTube Vlog

I’m getting lazy in my old age, and resorting to video blogs to keep in touch.

Okay, I was just cracking a joke, but truth is, I’m having a harder and harder time expressing myself with written words. I can’t even think straight these days. I’m truly bone tired, and that’s why I barely write anymore.

Please note: My YouTube channel will have all the videos, but the BLOG will have all the various posts: video, written, guest, etc.

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Katie “Crush” Campbell 1983-2016

This is a hard post to write. There is the concept of death, and actual death, and there is a vast difference between the two. Saturday evening, I was munching on corn chips, sipping on a margarita, listening to old stories at Dan’s 20th high school reunion, when a friend shared that Crush had died. My pulse raced, everything froze, I went deaf, time stopped. In a split second I recorded that I was living, but more importantly, I alive, a luxury she no longer enjoyed. Shocked, I quietly excused myself, weaving through the hall to the bathroom for privacy. I sobbed unabashedly, not caring about the strange women who pretended not to see me. I cried for Crush because she had so much more life to live. I cried for her husband, and friends, and family. I cried for those who love her.  If you’re new to the blog, Katie “Crush” Campbell is a buddy that I met at a young adult cancer camp, First Descents. After rock climbing in Moab, UT, we kept in contact for the past two years, leaning on each other, laughing, supporting. We started a YouTube series this past year, Cancer Convos with Crush & Coconuts. It was short lived, and fun when we started, but it was emotionally exhausting, and eventually it fizzled out. We wanted to inspire and share the nuances of life as a young adult cancer patient – a world most don’t see. But, with our rigorous health demands, we simply couldn’t maintain. And, even though the series ended, we remained friends, with the final text message arriving just Friday night, several hours before her death.  I really don’t have anything eloquent to say, nothing to make this heartbreak any easier. I’m numb now. Confused. I think I’ll always be at a loss about…

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Cancer Convos: Episode 2 Fertility

I have been dragging my feet a little bit on posting Episode 2 of Cancer Convos with Crush & Coconuts, for two reasons: 1. We recorded the episode 45 minutes after a seizure that really wiped me out, so my drugged up and exhausted state is cringeworthy. 2. It’s a very personal, very raw video that is clearly difficult for me to open up out. As you know I emote, and share in written form – to expose myself in a video is much more intimidating. There’s no way to hide your face, the tone of your voice, the tears. I don’t even remember recording, as I blackout after seizures, usually not remembering anything for at least 24 hours afterward so essentially, I’m watching this new with you. Without further adiau, please enjoy our experiences with fertility as it concerns with cancer. And as always, if you have anything to add, please post comments so that others can learn from your experience. I always love comments on my blog posts, but I imagine the most beneficial place would be on the YouTube channel episode. Thank you for watching! 🙂

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Cancer Convos: Episode 1 #Scanxiety

In September 2014, I went to my premier First Descents program. The experience changed my life, and I came away from the trip with a renewed sense of worth, of confidence, of understanding for other cancer patients of different diagnoses, and best of all some great friends. When you show up for camp, you have about 15 minutes to come up with a camp nickname. The first girl I met was in the airport. Her blue eyes were piercing, she had such depth without even saying a word. It was in her aura. On the ride to the house, she nicknamed me coconuts. She had already been dubbed Crush from when she started her journey with metastatic triple negative breast cancer. We have been friends ever since, and have toyed with the idea of creating some sort of platform to share our ridiculous thoughts/frustrations/experiences. That brings me to today, the first episode on our YouTube channel, Cancer Convos with Crush & Coconuts. It’s a fun thing for us to do together, especially since we live on opposite sides of the country. We hope that over the coming episodes we can lightly touch on some of our stories, and help people navigate their cancers too. Today’s episode is about #scanxiety, and the types of scans we love and hate. We touch on the pros and cons of different playlists, and the importance of third party independent scan reading centers. I hope you guys laugh as much as we did during the filming. I felt a little awkward (Jessica quit fidgeting, and playing with your hair!), but I’ll get better with more practice. If you like the video please subscribe, or share it with friends. Our goal is to empower patients with knowledge. There are all sorts of nuances with cancer, and…

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Drink Effects: Video

My friend Meghan just saved me. I forgot to get Gatorade or any type of chaser for my drink. Thank God for Meghan. She is amazing. She ran to the store, then came to me. I’m about to vomit, which is very detrimental to this treatment, so this will be short and sweet…here’s a little video I made after a suggestion from my Mahar (Meghan).

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