"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Unexpected" by Brenda Sieglitz

Today's guest post is by my friend Brenda Sieglitz. Many of you may know Brenda previously as Crazy Widow. I started following Brenda a few years ago on Twitter. That was how I was introduced to her blog. Brenda invited my husband and me to a meeting at Aaron's Books in downtown Lititz a couple of years ago. It was such a pleasure to meet her in person.

One might think after all the hardships life has thrown her as a young woman, she would be jaded. No, quite the contrary. Brenda's is a compassionate, gentle heart, and her empathy for others going through loss is sincerely genuine.

by Brenda Sieglitz

I remember the calm look Kevin had when the gastroenterologist told us they found a large mass in Kevin’s esophagus.  I remember the hot tears gagging my breath as I sobbed into his chest, his broken, hurting, invaded chest.  We wouldn't have real answers for weeks - weeks that took us to two different hospitals in two different states with dozens of new doctors and finally a rare diagnosis - Angiosarcoma.  Those hot tears came again that time too, as I googled the disease name on my computer, finding only real examples of the cancer in dogs, and those that were in humans were too brutal to read.

Kevin and I were just over a year into our marriage when he was diagnosed, and I had no clue how to navigate the waters of newlywed, 20-something, and caretaker.  The role was unknown to me.  Although cancer had touched our family previously, my parents had done a great job of managing the stress that cancer can have on a family.  I had no tools to manage the stress - I just had a blog, and an incredibly faithful and hopeful husband who assured me he intended to beat the beast growing inside of him.

The memoir that I am working to self publish encompasses this story of cancer, but it also shares about the moments leading up to it: meeting online, our long distance relationship, the battle with U.S. immigration, the move and marriage, our financial ruin, redemption in the waters of the Atlantic, and then comes the cancer.  You will float back and forth from our love story to the blogs that I wrote during Kevin’s battle with cancer.  It’s not an easy read-one minute you may be experiencing one of our camping trips to the beach, and another you may be reading about another hospital room change.  But the memoir accomplishes what Kevin asked me to do - to share our story with the world.

One of my biggest hopes in having this book published is that someone may pick it up who will one day have to face one of these things and that they may feel more equipped to handle it than I did.  It helps to connect with others facing similar challenges, and it’s even more important to not feel alone in those battles.  

I would greatly appreciate you sharing this story with your friends, family and maybe even pledging a buck or two.  You can find updates at my blog and you can get some pretty cool rewards here.  Thanks for supporting, however you can.

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