Life and Links: The Struggle is Real

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a life and links update.  While this site started off as a travel blog, I hope/think some of you are also interested in knowing more about me and my background so I’m happy to share some nuggets about myself. I’m also asking for opinions on my dilemma, so if you could leave a comment in the comments section of this page, I’d appreciate it!

-On my Mom’s Health-

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My mom and I went to the Bruno Mars concert for her birthday Too bad he did not go on until 9:30pm because we were exhausted and called it quits early.

There’s been a much needed lack of excitement in life in the past month as we wait for my mom to heal after her surgery. While she is back to working out and feeling great, she was cleared for chemotherapy as part of her standard of care.  She also qualified to participate in an immunotherapy study that is currently only being offered at Rush University Medical Center.  We’ve been so grateful for this, but have run into issues as her insurance is out of network with Rush. Since this study is the only one of it’s kind in the country, we’re hoping that her insurance (that costs $12K a year before her $6K deductible) will make a gap exception and consider payment for her treatment at Rush.  This hiccup is the major reason why the Affordable Care Act needs to be replaced. The cost of insurance for those of us who do not work for major corporations is insane, and the doctors we are allowed to see is much more limited than it once was. We are praying for the insurance to see this as a needed exception.

-On a Dilemma-

I have to admit that it’s been difficult realizing that my travels this year are limited by major life events more so than finances or availability.  My current predicament is one on which I would love your input in the comments below. As of April, I secured participation on my second press trip of the year. It’s for a really neat destination for four days in the coming weeks.  Of course, it just so happens that the day I leave is the day that my mom is scheduled to receive her first chemotherapy treatment.  My mom’s sisters have other major life issues scheduled that week, and my brother’s non-involvement is par for the course. Her best friend is taking her to treatment, and I plan on asking some other family and friends to pop by to check on her over those four days.

I am by no means a martyr, but I really have been looking forward to this press trip.  I’ll get to meet many of the people I’ve engaged with online (Hi Romeo and Katherine! Hi Alexa!) and learn from their expertise. I can’t put into words the disbelief I feel at the timing of this. My friends and extended family stopping in will be such a blessing, but I’m worried about if I should stay or go. If you have any advice, drop a comment in the box below.

-On Wedding Planning-

I completely put wedding planning on hold for the first couple of months.  Then I realized it was really strange that we hadn’t planned anything yet.  We hope to have a totally nontraditional wedding/wedding events.  Eddie has student loans he still is working on, and I would much rather save our money to buy a house.  It makes my skin crawl thinking of spending all kinds of money on a party that lasts one day.  It is gorgeous when people have the resources to do that, but we don’t. Besides, I generally hate to be the center of attention so our anti-wedding wedding is going to be great, whatever ends up happening.  If we have it locally, we already have a date in mind that is meaningful to me.  If it’s not local, all bets are off!

-On Upcoming Travels-

Juggling my home life, work, and a travel blog is more challenging today than it was just four months ago.  Weekend getaways will be kept to a minimum, which actually invigorates me to explore areas of Chicagoland that I’ve not visited.  I’ll be heading to New Orleans when I stand up in one of my friend’s wedding. Unfortunately, it means I will be missing Open House Chicago, my favorite yearly Chicago event.  Since it also requires missing two days of work and the four days immediately post-chemo treatment number four, if I need to adjust the days I’m gone, I’ll figure it out.  The beauty of flying Southwest!


-Links I’m Loving-

IF:Equip has a new daily devotional study on the church on the Middle Ages coming out September 18th. Click the link to subscribe and get an email for the new study every day.


If you missed this post, Eno on the Mag Mile is offering 10% off all Enoversity until the end of the year using the discount code “JaimeSays”


Sometimes Home offers an alternative daytrip from Lisbon, it looks gorgeous!


Who knew Columbus, Ohio was so dang cool?  Monica has a great city guide.


Naomi took a trip to see First Nations tourism in Calgary and what a learning experience it was.


14 Replies to “Life and Links: The Struggle is Real”

  1. Thanks so much for sharing my post, Jaime! And it’s nice to hear all the latest. Been thinking and praying for you. That’s a tough decision about the press trip and your mom’s chemo. My first thought is to talk to her about it to see how she feels (though you may already have done that). Another thing you could do is leave a gift/care package–maybe a special blanket, a thoughtful card, something your mom really enjoys, frozen meals, or anything else that helps with chemo and the days after treatment. Anyway, good luck! <3

  2. Jaime, please don’t worry about your Mom. Take your planned trip. She has many friends and family that can support her. She is one tough woman! She will fair just fine. As for wedding plans, pick the date girl cuz I can’t wait to see you get married!

  3. Go on the trip! The guilt will be tough, but pursuing your dreams will make you a better caregiver. I don’t want you to resent anyone for not reaching your goals. Allow others to help!

  4. Praying that God will give you the wisdom you are searching for! Also praying that He will remove any feelings of guilt and anxiety about this so you can see clearly what He wants for you.

    1. Thanks Ash! I’ve been praying about it too.

  5. Jaime, go on your trip. I will take care of your Mom. I know that our health care system sucks but be grateful that God has blessed your Mom financially and she has the means to cover her treatment. Last but not least, get those wedding plans finalized. I’m not getting any younger!!

    1. Hahah! We are working on the wedding plans 🙂 Thanks Aunt Sue!

  6. Aw, thanks for linking to my Columbus, Ohio guide 🙂 Loving your life update here, and so happy to have gotten to know you this summer and been able to spend some time together. See you Friday girl!

    1. Ditto! See you soon!

  7. I began my first blog while my mother was sick with cancer. I didn’t do It to make money. It wasn’t even to channel emotions, though It helped. If was simply a way to communicate what was happening to people who were interested. I’m glad you are trying to filter the vast emotions through your writing.
    Also, you need to be on the press trip. It will help you to step away and refocus. This is a must when you are deeply involved with the care of someone I’ll. It’s going to be a great trip (I will be there too) and you worked hard for it.
    I love the anti-wedding. I too had a small wedding. A bit more traditional than what you are considering. I felt the same as you. I wanted a house more than I wanted to throw a massive party. It’s your day, it should be exactly what makes you happy.
    Thank you for sharing yourself.

    1. Yay! I will look forward to meeting you! Yeah, I think I am going to go.

  8. Go on the trip. If your mom has a friend going with her and you’ll be home just days later, go. I have a friend who went through chemo and 1) COMPLETELY agree about insurance. It’s insane. Luckily Obamacare made it possible for her to even be insured. It’s scary that could be taken away. And even so there’s a lot of progress to be made with it. 2) It seems the worst of chemo is afterwards. The first treatment will probably be relatively fine that day. I’ve heard affects of it are cumilative so the weeks she’ll really need you are much after the first treatment. Besides, judging form afar of how supportive you are of her I can only imagine she’s supportive of you in return. If she says to go, especially, go on the trip. Give my friends Rome and Katherine a hug for me!
    And as for weddings – I’d be happy to share small elopement party ideas with you two! A great alternative to having a dream day while not breaking the bank. 😉 And having money for everything you want – including a house – afterwards.

  9. romeo belarmino says: Reply

    Looking forward to hanging out. I hope you decided to come along. A short trip away will be a good reset.

    1. I did! See you soon 🙂

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