Prisoners of Hope

The conversations you don’t want to have with a doctor involve the words, “it’s pretty serious.” I heard those words for a third time yesterday as Karen and I sat in the office of her oncologist in Omaha. The cancer has come back.

The first time I heard them was in May 2010 as I sat in a small consultation room outside the surgical ward in St Elizabeth’s Hospital in Lincoln. The doctor had just completed Karen’s first surgery and delivered the news that she indeed had ovarian cancer. I can still remember the shock and despair that flooded my body as the doctor left the room. I sat there alone contemplating what I had just been given. Life has now changed as I knew it five minutes ago.

About a year and a half later, the second conversation with the doctor was a similar message. The tumor has returned and it was serious. Here we go again. Round 2. Punch to the gut. Try to catch my breath and make sense of what was to come. All I could think was this wasn’t what I signed up for. She’s too young. Life isn’t fair.

But yesterday’s conversation was different to both of us. For one, it was less shocking, more hopeful. Why so?

Experience has a grounding effect. She and I have been through this before and we have learned some lessons through previous tests that serve us well today. Here are a few of those:

  • Despair does not get to interpret the news nor dictate our responses.
  • Where I choose to go with this news is up to me. When I consider the number of responses I have available, I find I only get to choose one, so which will it be? Panic and fear are eager and ready to consume me, but so is Peace and Hope. And given the two, I would rather be consumed by Peacefulness and imprisoned by Hope than by panic and fear any day.
  • Karen and I have a beautiful life together.
    • We’ve been through a lot of hell over the years, and you know what they say about going through hell? Move quickly. In the recent years, we’ve fought her cancer and its recurrence. We’ve dealt with three business failures together, declaring personal bankruptcy in our 50’s. Not the path we would have chosen 28 years ago when we said, “I do.” And despite it all, I have a deeper appreciation for the strength of my life partner than ever before. For this I feel most fortunate regardless of the trials that have forged our marriage.
  • Our faith is secure.
    • It’s amazing what happens when faith gets tested. The principles given to me as a child are given an opportunity to become fully real life experiences. Belief becomes real and tangible when it is tested, even though it may not be visible to the naked eye. Its difficult to describe, but in this way, faith comes closer to sight and it makes it even easier to believe.


I have very little information to present here other than the process begins next week of determining a treatment plan. You can follow my blog here as I chronicle the journey. Writing is part of my personal therapy and it helps me process. Feel free to ask us about it when you see us You won’t upset us. Cancer does not get to define us or shape our truest identity.

In hope,


32 Replies to “Prisoners of Hope”

    1. Hope is a wonderful thing. I join you in this hope along with heartfelt prayers for two of my favorite people. I send love and deep appreciation for who you are, individually and as one.

  1. Just want to say we love and miss you guys. Thank you for sharing your life through your writing. So sorry to hear this news. Praying. ❤️

  2. Brett shared this with us this morning. I am praying for both of you as you face this journey. His light is shining brightly through you as you choose hope and peace in the face of this storm. I pray that you will feel His comfort and love in tangible ways in the coming weeks.

  3. Bless you. Your faith is inspiring. Godspeed on your journey, and recovery. Trudy and I are thinking of you and sending good thoughts.

  4. May you be graced today and forever with Devine, healing light. That is my prayer for Karen and you. Thank you for sharing this journey with us so we can all pray this prayer with you and for you. Trudy

  5. Kevin & Karen, Not happy to read cancer is back. So happy to read that your faith is strong and your will to fight it. Our hugs go out to you both. Let us know what we can do for you. 402-550-5032
    Hugs, Beth

  6. May God bless you & keep you in His care.
    May you have the strength again to make it go away & stay away!
    May all be restored to you & your love grow stronger!
    We are in your corner, lifting you up!!

  7. Followed your Facebook post to the blog. I HATE this. But I am also challenged and encouraged by your hope and peace. This old song came to my mind as I read: “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus . . .” So grateful he goes before you and with you every step. Praying for you both. I miss you!

  8. Well, it looks like you have inspired a whole army of people to pray, support, and stand with you in hope. Let the battle begin, we plan on winning! Love and prayers,

  9. Your writing encourages us all in holding fast to that hope. It’s a message everyone wants to hear. So I’ll share it. And know Team Huckabee is praying for you.

  10. Karen & Kevin, it has been a very long time since we last saw you
    Karen. We first met you in 1977. You were serving the Lord even then. Then you were off to college, still serving. Then it was on to student missions still serving. You Karen with Kevin, have servant hearts and the Lord will always reward his servants. He will wrap his arms around you and sustain you in these difficult times. He is the great physician. “He” made the lame walk again, the blind to see and he healed the Leper. Joanne and I know how strong your faith is and we pray for your strength to stay strong. We love you and will pray for you and Kevin each and everyday.

  11. Kevin thanks for your transparency and wise words. l’m praying for you and Karen strength for the journey and that you will be consumed by hope and peace.

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