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March 2, 2022

Episode 16: Pursuing Light When You Can't See

Episode 16: Pursuing Light When You Can't See

   Kevin Lowe believes everything in this life happens for a reason and a good reason at that. And this is true, even after losing his ability to see. Fueled by a strong desire to ignite a sense of hope and optimism into the world, Kevin sets out to inspire others to not give up on life, even when it seems like life has given up on them.
   Ever since waking to find a world gone dark, Kevin has been inspiring and encouraging people of all walks of life by sharing his own story of rediscovering light, even in the midst of the dark. At just 17 years old Kevin was left completely blind.
   Today, Kevin continues to spread this same sense of inspiration and encouragement as both a Life Coach and host of his own podcast, The Lowe Down with Kevin Lowe, a podcast that aims to shine light on the positive side of life as Kevin lets you see the world from his unique point of view.

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Transcript
Melissa:

Kevin's story is going to blow you away. This episode, you will encounter optimism on a scale that you have maybe not seen before. Kevin was a regular kid. He was going into this year of high school. Things were finally clicking for him falling into place. He had a brand new truck. And then everything changed. With the love of his family, with the support of his faith in being surrounded by friends and people who loved him, he overcame one of the biggest setbacks we can experience as a human being. Stay tuned and listen to his powerful story Hey, Kevin, it's good to talk to you today, my friend, how are you?

Kevin:

I didn't do any Dre. I'm super excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Melissa:

I heard your story. Well, I heard it from you. Of course. And I knew immediately. This story had to be on the pursuing uncomfortable podcast. So I'm glad you thought so too. My listeners are just going to be blown away by what you share with them too.

Kevin:

Well, I'm, I'm super excited to be here. It's always a pleasure to get, to, to share a little piece of my story and, uh, in hopes of, uh, hopes that they can, you know, maybe inspire and motivate somebody else. Who's, who's going through some hard times in their own minds.

Melissa:

So, well, I think it will be inspiring. That is for sure. So what do you say? We just jump right into it.

Kevin:

Yeah, absolutely.

Melissa:

Okay. Well, hang on. Here we go. Kevin, your life took a dramatic turn. Can you tell us a little bit about that whole time in your life and what was going on?

Kevin:

Absolutely. Absolutely. So, so this was back in 2003 and at that point I was in my junior year of high school. Um, my, my high school, uh, high school was called Seabreeze. Um, it actually was like a block away from the beach here in Florida. Um, and you know, and it was lifeless going great. For the first time in my life, I actually did not dread school up until my junior year of high school. I kind of thought that school was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Um, but, but come that junior year of high school days finally clicked in, like I finally had that group of awesome friends. I had my, my truck that I had gotten the year before, when I turned 16, that was my baby. It was a forest green Ford F150. Um, it was a 96, kinda had that squared off body. It was, was a four by fours. It had the big mud tires. And so that, that was, oh my goodness. I loved that site and,

Melissa:

um, really exciting. That's a great way to start a

Kevin:

new school year. Yes, exactly. So, you know, it was just, it was awesome. Life was doing really good. And, um, and then, you know, as I always kind of say is, you know, everything was going great. Um, until it wasn't and we, I had been having some medical issues that. Just been kind of kept being blown off by my pediatrician and those included things like the fact that I wasn't growing here at 17 years old, I had still never been through puberty. I was only five foot three. Um, that's what we always joke. I was, I was the, not the littlest kid in my high school with the tallest shock. But, you know, I have that, I also had, um, headaches, constant headaches, migraine headaches were just something that I had basically every day of my life from the time I was, was a small child and, and the pediatrician just always in, in, in, I mean, we went, I went to the best pediatrician in our area and he just always, you know, just, you know, no, don't worry about it. It's because of this. It's because of that, you know? Whatever. Well, finally, my mom and my grandmother, finally, they basically, they got sick of the excuses and they're like something isn't right. And so we waited on a change. There was a change happening with our health insurance that happened as soon as that went through, they got me into a just family doctor, um, instead of the pediatrician. And so I went to that first appointment with, with the family doctor and. He basically took one. Look at my chart. He took one, look at me, pulled my mom out into the hallway and told her something was seriously wrong.

Melissa:

Okay. Kevin, can you just pause right there for a minute? Yes. As a parent, I cannot imagine all of the feelings that would be running through me at that moment when you are going to the best. And reassured that nothing's wrong. Everything's fine. Everybody's different. All bodies are different. Just relax, relax. I would imagine your mom must have thought so many times that you know what what's going on, but no, no, the professionals say it's okay. And then at that point to be pulled out into the hallway, I can't imagine what, what your mom was feeling at that

Kevin:

moment. Yeah, of course, of course. And that is a valuable lesson right there with what you just said, and that is, I don't care what the situation is in your life. If you have something going on and you know, something's not right, and you're not getting the answers that you want out of your physician, go get a second opinion.

Melissa:

Yeah. Trust your gut. I mean, physicians are human beings. We expect that they catch everything. I mean, that's their job to diagnose

Kevin:

us. And that, and that was in that exactly was the case. Was that literally he was known as the best. We trusted him. I mean, he was everyone knew. And so, and adhere. We are going to this, this family doctor who was fresh out of school, young guy, And like I said, he immediately saw something was wrong. And so he told my mom that I needed to go see a, um, endocrinology. And so at this point, things started rolling really fast. Um, I wish I could remember when, when that appointment was. I don't, I remember it was sometime after the start of my junior year of high school, which, which we started back high school generally around like the beginning, middle of August. Um, so, so it was probably somewhere, somewhere around like September, um, beginning of September in the September, probably. When, when this all really started rolling. And anyways, I, I, we went to the endocrinologist appointment and that was about an hour away from where we live over in Orlando, Florida. And we went into the endocrinologist appointment and it was in that appointment that he, he said to us, he said, he looked at everything and he said, well, he said, I can tell you this. He said, look, yeah, Your growth chart, a human does not grow like this. And he said, I suspect that, that you have a brain tumor.

Melissa:

Oh my

Kevin:

goodness. Now I will tell you that at that point we never heard of anyone having brain tumors. Um, it seems like something that now, you know, we, we hear about so often. And so I can remember, you know, as just being in disbelief, there's, there's no way until we got home. And, and of course, I, I didn't know this until, you know, later on, you know, but my mom and, you know, aunts and uncles and stuff of course started researching. And when they put it in it, yep. It's probably a brain tumor. Well, and behold, lo and behold de. Sent me that doctor, he scheduled for me to go have an MRI. And he told us at that appointment that day, he said, listen, he said, you're going to, I'm putting in orders for him to have an MRI. I don't want you to have the MRI in a week, in a month. I want you to have it ASAP right now. And so I went in, I had had the MRI. And it was a Friday evening. My mom was, was driving. She was on her way home from work and we were actually getting ready. Um, we were, the plan was we had a boat, um, a big cruiser that we kept at a marina and the plan was like, we did a lot of weekends. As soon as my mom got off work on Friday evening, we would meet with my stepdad, all of us at the marina and take our boat, um, up north, uh, to St. Augustine, Florida, where we would stay at one of the marinas for the weekend. It was one of my favorite things that we did. And sounds lovely. Yeah, it was, it was awesome. And so, so my mom was on her way, home racing to meet all of us and she got the phone call from the endocrinology. And he asked her, he's like, you know, are you driving? And she said, yes. He said, can you please pull over? And so she pulled over and he told her, he said, listen. He said, yes, he does have a brain tumor. It's much worse than I even. I have on the line, the office for the leading pediatric neurosurgeon, um, who they are here to get an appointment with you immediately. Oh my goodness. What they discovered from the MRI was that I had a, it was called a cranio Ferrum geo. It was a non-cancerous tumor, but it had, it was the size. It was comparable to the size of a poem. Something that, something that had went to the wrong place, basically in development, a cell that went to the wrong spot. And so I literally had this tumor from the time. I was born as I developed, it was part of me and it grew and grew and grew. And so this, this tumor had completely at the time that we found it, it had completely encase my pituitary gland. It was you weren't growing. Exactly. It was pressing against, it was, it was in the crosshairs of my optic. And so those optic nerves, it was pressing on the optic nerves, which made sense why I started wearing glasses as a young child in kindergarten. I failed the eye exam at school and all growing up, I wore glasses and all the eye doctors I went to, they never could understand why even with glasses, they could never get my vision. The correct to never get it to stabilize. Wow. Yet nobody thought to pursue why this is happening. Oh my goodness. And so, and the brain tumor was also pressing against my carotid artery. And at which point they gave me without it to remove all I had at most six months.

Melissa:

Oh, my goodness gracious.

Kevin:

So my mom, she, she made the decision to wait to tell me. And so I, I can vaguely remember member. I remember snapshots of it, um, is she told me when we, when we got up to that marina up in St. Augustine on our boat, she, she had kept that from me. And once we got up there, She had me come down into the cabin of the boat and she had told me then, but the doctor had said, and I don't remember anything except for just getting so upset and crying. And I can remember jumping off the boat and running, running up the dock all the way up and going up these set of stairs up to the top of the marina. And I remember just standing there, I can just picture it so perfectly though. Standing there arms crossed leaning. It gets to railings staring out at the marina, just a disbelief.

Melissa:

That's quite a stretch from beginning school, with a brand new truck in a good place in life to now standing at this dock and looking at the marina and perhaps your own mortality.

Kevin:

Exactly, exactly. But here's the thing. Is that once we met with the neurosurgeon, who was absolutely the most amazing man in the world, he had a snow it's okay. He's like, everything's going to be fine. Kevin we'll come in. We'll do the surgery. He'll be out of school for three, maybe four weeks. He'll be back in school. The biggest, the biggest upset for me was the fact that he told me I had to stay off my off of my four Wheeler for six months. And, um, but, but you know, it was literally, you know, he said, it's okay. He's like, this is what I do, you know? And, and so. Okay. And it, me, I I've always had this amazing sense of humor and positive attitude about me. And so I had asked the, uh, the surgeon, because I had seen growing up riding dirt bikes and stuff. I had seen these professional athletes who had their spleen removed and they had it like in a jar, like kept it. I, it sounds gross. I know, but so my whole day was I asked, can I keep the two. So which they said

Melissa:

exact same thing

Kevin:

to which they, no, no, you keep the Tabor, but, but I did the go ahead and I named the tumor. I named the tumor. And so Bob, the tumor, um, I don't know why exactly Bob. I think it was maybe there was like a, a thing, like a children's thing at that time. Like Bob, the builder, I'm thinking I got it from that. So I named it Bob, the tumor. And so we literally, we literally, we had a going away Bob party. So like my whole family, we had a huge gathering and you know, all this stuff. So, you know, it was just this funny thing, you know, for me, I thought, whoop, whoop. I was so excited with school. You know, I got to go back to school that all my friends know that I have this brain tumor, I'm going to be out of school for a month. I quit. I immediately dropped out of like trigonometry became an office aid because I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with that class. And so the junior year is like super good. I'm an office aid. Half of the day, the others, I've just, you know, and I'm just living life, you know, knowing that, okay, I have this roadblock, but we're going to overcome it, you know? And if things are going to be great, you know,

Melissa:

you know, and I love family that they got together and had goodbye to Bob party. I love,

Kevin:

yeah. Yeah. It, you know, and it wasn't. And so I can, I can't remember the, the morning. My surgery was scheduled for October 28th, 2003 was my surgery day. And so October 27th, we had to go and check in at the hospital. Um, and, and I, I mean, the, my mom's mini van at the time. I mean, I can remember it was loaded down. You would've thought we were headed for vacation because, you know, we had all the clothes for everybody and it, my, my aunt sent in, you know, the whole family was going to be meeting their. And, you know, and, and that's, that's my family. My family's just always been so amazing. And, and then, especially in a time like this, when, when you needed family and everybody was there, aunts and uncles and my grandparents and your everybody. And so we, we go over, go over to the hospital and now I could not for the life of me understand. Y I would have to be in the hospital a full day, the day before. So for me, it was, we were going over there, check in, fill out some paperwork and then we get to go enjoy the day. Um, get to go eat lunch all this. Well, they kept telling me, Kevin, that's not going to happen. Well, sure enough. They were right. Once you check in at the hospital, now you're not leaving. So they do a few things. Exactly. Exactly. It's. So I should tell you that that night, that, that night I can remember, um, being in the hospital and. My, my sister. And they went out, they took an order for Outback steakhouse, and that's what I chose that I wanted for dinner that night. And so they went out and got takeout for everybody. Brought it back to the hospital. All of us are piled into the, into the room and there, I had my Outback steak for dinner. And, um, have the, have the laptop going with like the DVD of one of my favorite movies, which was the fast and the furious. And my, my sister, my sister and my sister, her name is Tiffany and she's, she's five years older than me. And, um, she, you know, she was there and she was squeezed into the hospital bed there with me. And, you know, we were just there as a family, you know, And so everything was great. And then I can remember the next morning, um, the, the neurosurgeon he came in and, um, you know, made sure everything was good to go. And I don't remember this, but my mom always says that, you know, I, I asked him, you know, uh, did you have your Wheaties this morning? You know? And I said, I won't be sure you ate, you know, and ate something good and healthy, you know? Uh, and so the last thing I remember was, was being wheeled into the operating room and. And I remember my mom and dad had walked alongside the bed and I can remember saying goodbye to them, never knowing that that would be the last time that I would ever see them. Because at that point, as I say, my life fully changed and it changed the way that my life was saved. The brain tumor was removed, but at a cost, no one ever expected. And that came in the way of me awaking from surgery to be left completely blind. Wow. And, um, you know, that's, that's where I tell everybody life, both stop and a new life began and so nothing, nothing went. Right. Um, you know, I told you earlier, You know, they thought I'd be back to school in three, four weeks. I, I remained in the hospital for, for, I think like two and a half weeks in the ICU. Um, everything was going wrong. All of my, now I don't remember any of this. This is all from my family. Um, you know, telling me and so, but my family was there. My whole. Whole family. Um, everyone who could be there was other family members who wanted to come, who, you know, family here told them, you know, please don't. Um, because it was a struggle. They literally, my family had to break up into teams of my, my aunts and uncles and my parents and grandparents. And they would literally take shifts. And there were times that they said they took shifts of no more than five minutes of. Because danger going crazy with, I guess my sodium levels. And it was causing me. They said that like I had turned into like super like the whole. And so I, I was trying to constantly rip out all of the cords and all the things and the nurses and stuff said that if it wasn't for my family in there, that they would have to strap me down. And so my family was there and they stayed with me and they didn't let them do. And, um, and so it was, it was on, it was, I can't remember now how soon it was after surgery. I want to say maybe a day or two when, um, my mom was actually, she was the one she was in my room and the neurosurgeon had. And, um, I had on my toe, whether those whole socks machines that you play up on that gets gets your pulse. Well, apparently they said, I hated that. And so I constantly tried to rip it off. Well, she said that the doctor, the neurosurgeon, that he. He said, Kevin he's like, do you see this need? And he's pointing to the pulse-ox machine. And apparently it had a little red light on it. He's like, Kevin, do you see this red light? You don't touch us. Do you see this red light? And I said, no, no. Oh. And my mom said, as soon as I said that, both of them eyes just shot at each. And he walked over and he turned on the light switch. He's like, Kevin, do you see this light? And I said, no, I don't. I don't say anything. That's what I found out that I couldn't see. And my mom, my mom, um, you know, she, she tells the story and it says how, you know, there was a moment. When she was out in the ho the hallway, uh, at some point in time and said that the, the doctor, the neurosurgeon, he was there and he was at, at the desk. And at that moment, she had broke down and said she had fell to her knees and was just crying. And she, whoever she was talked to, she said, I just, I just didn't expect this. I just didn't expect. And she said she just so happened to look up and the doctor was sitting there crying and he said to her beef. And so I share that little moment with you because I will tell you that that man is my superhero. His name is, is, is, is Dr. Eric. He is still a pediatric neurosurgeon. Uh, he is the most basic person in this world, uh, because a lot of people would view it as maybe he did something wrong, which we know that he did not. I, I know that now I can tell you that. I know that it was, it was God, God knew that I was going to become blind. That. Dr. Trumbell saved my life. And, um, ed, so I can tell you that to this day, I still email with Dr. Treble. I actually email him every anniversary to tell him, thank you. And he always emails me back and it takes me so much for staying in touch with him, you know, and, um, And, and I, and I want to share this little part that I should've shared earlier was in that first appointment with him, he went over all the possible risks associated with the surgery. And as I always say, like the, you know, such and such percentage, we're going to cut off your toe, even though, you know, we're doing brain surgery. Well, the last thing that he had said. What's a 1% possibility you can become blind.

Melissa:

Well, when you did say earlier that the plum sized tumor, it was around your pituitary gland and your optic nerves. Yep.

Kevin:

And so when, when he came out of the surgery, He told my family, he said, everything went good. He said that we did have to tug a little bit more on whichever optic nerve that he said that there could be something a little bit with the, I think maybe my left eye, but everything was attack. Wow. Now looking back at it, what I, I think is, is the situation is. They believe maybe the optic nerve had actually begun totally blood through the tumor. And so because of the tumor had been pressed to get set for so long that then when the tumor was removed, the blood supply was cut off. And the optic nerve atrophy.

Melissa:

You know, our bodies are so amazing. Yeah. This had been in your body, your entire life, and your body had adapted to it made its peace with it, to the point that it comes and cozy together as

Kevin:

best as possible. Exactly. Exactly. And, and so that, you know, the, and so, you know, life, life from that point, it was tough. Um, uh, thankfully, um, you know, people, people always ask me that the, the thing, whenever I share my story, a lot of people ask is, you know, your, how, how could you do it? How were you able to keep going? You know? And I always tell people that it's only because of my faith and my favorite, because I say my. My faith and I used the word faith. And I, I like to say my, my relationship with my creator with, with Jesus, um, that paired with, with my family is the only way that I, where about today. And I'm, you know, because I've said, I mean, in the, in the weeks, the months, the years after afterwards, You know, I, to the outside world, Kevin was awesome. He handled it a Basie and 99% of the time, that was true. But I of course had many of those dark nights where I would lay in bed and I would just sob and I would cry and pound my pillow and, and, uh, you know, and there were times. That I would just pray to God. And I would ask him, beg him to give me the courage to kill myself because I wanted to be out of it so bad. But every time, every time I would say no. And I always say the only reason I did it do it, the rotaries I'd never found a way to do it was because of my faith by faith and my faith. For my family. I couldn't stay on the fact of, of what they'd already been through, but lost if I killed myself what they would have to go through that. And so they're why I did it. And my faith is how I did it.

Melissa:

Kevin, your story inspires me on so many different levels. First, you know, in a backup way before there's so many times, as you told the story through the growing at the story before the surgery, before the new diagnosis, all of those years, there were so many opportunities where you could have just been angry when your mom could have just been angry. When that diagnosis or when that endocrinologist started running the tests, when that new, fresh out of school, the, the up on a pedestal pediatrician, but the new kid who didn't know anything who said, Hey, there's a problem. And connected you with the endocrinologist. There are moments there where your anger could have overtaken all of the positive stuff, not only for you, but also for your mother. There's so many ways where the story could have gone differently. Had you chosen to give in to the anger and to the what could have bins? Yes, but I didn't hear you mention any of those. I heard you mention. That you have this optimism. And I heard you talk about the choices that your family made, that particularly your mother made. And in that I imagine this woman who is obviously strong, but who obviously chose a path that was. Uh, negative one. I'm sure she had her moments. I am with out a doubt. Sure. She had many moments, but she didn't let those moments and direct her path or guide her actions.

Kevin:

Yeah. And, um, I will tell you this, I will tell you this, that, um, that my mom, my mom will tell you that the reason that, that I'm the reason. That they could get through it. And, um, because it, it, it wasn't, it wasn't as easy on them, especially, especially in terms of, of our faith relationship with God is as far as, especially my mom and my sister, they struggled for a long time and, and, um, you know, and especially, you know, my mom, my mom always. Always says that she finally came to this point where she said, if Kevin isn't mad at you, God, how can I be? Wow. And, um, and, and, you know, and, and, and my mom also, she, she also shares a story that, um, I'll share to two stories that, that happened. Soon after I came home from the hospital and, and I have to share them from her perspective, because I don't remember any of it, you know, because, because I actually had short-term memory loss. Um, you know, for six months after surgery, um, was one of my many medical complications. Um, but, but you know, just the trauma of, of brain surgery. So I don't remember a lot of this, but, but she, she told me. That kind of regards to what we were talking about. That one point my sister, something was going on with my sister and my sister was apparently complaining and in an upset about something happening with either friends or something to do with college, you know, and in chooses, you know, really upset about it. And, and my mom said that my mom, you know, went to her and told her, you know, Tiffany. You know, if your brother can get up every day with a smile on his face, you know, I think you can at least try. And my mom said that afterwards, she said that she, I had come to her at some point and she said that I came out to her and I told her mom don't you ever tell that to Tiffany? Yeah, that's her problem.

Melissa:

Tiffany, I'm going to die. You that's going to hit pretty dang hard.

Kevin:

Yeah. Well, you know, and so, but you know, but what my mom said that I said to her was mom, listen, Tiffany's problems are just as big to her as mine are to me. And my mom said that that moment, you know, she said, talk about, you know, just making her feel as big as a P, but, you know, It wasn't, that's how, that's how my mindset has always been is that, you know, no words, other people's problems are big to them, no matter what they are, you know, and that's just, that's just part of me and part of who I am, you know? And, um, and that's where I said that, you know, this positive person that I am. I believe is all part of the person that God created. Because as I've said, the first 17 years of my life were, were designed to prepare me for what was to come. And I can literally look back on my entire life and see how it all fits together. Like a jigsaw puzzle, all preparing me for what was to come when I turned 17. Wow.

Melissa:

And you know, what a remarkable gift you gave your sister when you allowed her the space to be authentically her.

Kevin:

Yes, exactly, exactly it. And you know, it was just, you know, the thing of it is too is, you know, my entire family, you know, everybody was affected by this. Um, everybody was a trauma abode in, in trauma mode for a really long time. And it literally was just going through the motions of life. We were basically all in survival mode, you know, and, but I can tell you, what's amazing is it's been 18 years. This past October was the 18th anniversary of my surgery. And I can tell you, what's so amazing. And I'm so grateful for is my family, because the same family that was there, then it's the same family that's here today. And, you know, and I can say that, you know, all of this had such a bigger reason for happening than that did, even our minds can comprehend. But one of 'em that I'm so thankful for is the fact that I can say. You know, at 35 years old, three of my best friends or my mom's sister and my grandmother.

Melissa:

Wow. Sounds like you have an amazing family.

Kevin:

I do. I do. I do. What

Melissa:

about that? You all were in trauma mode for quite a while. Was there a point where that pivot happened or did it gradually over time? Did you find your steps again? How did that work or how.

Kevin:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I can tell you for myself, for myself, it was, it was gradual. Um, it, it happened much slower than, than the, uh, so-called expert said it should have. Um, because, because, you know, be blind, we found out about some amazing resources. Again, however they fit together. Something that we didn't even know existed literally in the city. Right next to where I live is an amazing group of, uh, blind services, um, from, from places called, uh, division of blind services center for the visually impaired, the Conklin center, all these places. Never even knew existed before and then to find out on your radar. Yeah. Now we have all these amazing resources available and, and so, so those resources were amazing, but those resources also had people, these, you know, counselors who, you know, the people who I dealt with were people who had been blind from birth. They knew no different. And so they, you know, made sure. To let you know, especially it was always more my, my family, my mom, my mom in particular, um, you know, who had to deal with it, of the people, you know, he should really, you know, be a further along by now, he needs to accept what has happened and move on. Um, you know, and that came from not only them, but. From friends and everybody has an opinion about, you know, what your son should be doing and how he should be handling it. And, um, and so, you know, they had to take a lot of that brunt and, um, for me, you know, it just, it took. It took time. I, you know, I always said when people would say, you know, you know, I need to, you know, accept it and move on. I would get so angry and I'd say I accepted. I can't see, you know, but the truth of the matter was, was that for a long time, I literally was just doing what I had to do until I could see again, because, because in the back of my head, everything is fixed. They're doing, they're doing experiments with stem cells and stem cells, you know, that that could cure it. You know, I'm getting to see again, I'm going to see you again. Of course I am. And so, you know, so that continued a to 10 you'd add up until finally, just through this gradual progression, um, you know, all of a sudden, you know, Things just kind of shifted. And I finally came to a point in my life where, where I started saying, you know what, I, I still have hope and I still have faith that I'm going to see a good one day. I know I will, but I'm okay with the fact that it may not be a time it happened. And so until that day happens, I'm going to live this life for all. It's. Right now. And that's where I really, you know, just, just became it. And it really helped because I, I had actually started my own home-based travel agency, um, back in like January of 2013, which, which was amazing for me because it gave me something to focus on something to build. I got to, to literally build a business and it create a brand that. And designed vacations for people because traveling was something that, that I love to do before I went blind and beloved to do after going blind, realizing that, you know, this world, you know, Everybody thinks of it as going and see the site. See, you know, but it's more about experiencing the place and the people. And so the

Melissa:

distinction between those two

Kevin:

things. Exactly. And so, so, so building a challenge and see, that's kind of, when I would say I moved into that next stage, you know, was, was through that. And, um, you know, and that really helped.

Melissa:

And I also want to ask another question once that tumor was removed from around your pituitary gland. I don't think you're the shortest guy in the room anymore.

Kevin:

No, no, thank goodness. There's the power of better. And so, so I started, um, as is I always laugh. I, I said I'm at 17 years old. I always joke. Wow. I became the youngest old person real quick. Cause I'm like now I've got, I've got a cane, a pill cell, and a handicap parking permit and terrible. Oh, but yeah, no. So I literally got our medication and so that was one of the crazy things was I was, I started on a growth hormone. And so that was just this little shot. I would give myself every. And, and I actually still, it's still about it because our body continues to produce a small amount of growth hormone, even when we're not growing. And, um, but I started grow, I grew a quarter inch a month. And so I literally went from like five foot three to now I bike a little over five 11. Wow. So, yeah.

Melissa:

Yeah. But like for

Kevin:

Kevin now, Life for me now. Um, well it took a big change, you know, I think the pandemic changed a lot of people's lives, um, for, for various ways. Um, for myself, it, it really has kind of put me into a new chapter of life. I was set up to have my best year on record with my travel agency, um, going into 2020. Um, I had big plans for, for October of 2020 was going to be the, my 17th anniversary of when I went blind. And, and I, and I, and I have to say to, to have this make sense is the fact that I told you the night before my surgery, I had Outback of the hospital. Well ever since then, my family, and generally it's been just a small group of us, generally, my parents, um, you know, my, my grandparents, sisters, stuff like that, maybe a few aunts and uncles, we go to Outback, steakhouse, every anniversary. And so we do that and I always love it now because you know, the waitress or waiter always ask, oh, you guys celebrating something? Yeah. We're celebrating the anniversary of when I went blind and they're like, no, no, no, no, no. This is actually the anniversary of what. And then they look at us even more strange, long story. Just don't worry about it. So, so, so I say all that because 2020, you know, being a travel agent, you know, not only was I was, I booked you all these other trips for other people, but I. A huge group cruise for family and friends, there was close to, I think, 30, 40 of us going on a seven night Caribbean cruise on the anniversary because I said it was crazy because it was the 17th anniversary. So it meant that at that point I had been blind for as long as I had been able to see. And it happened to be in the year 2020. A number synonymous with vision. Sure. And so, you know, and so, so I think I had named the trip something about like, you know, like, uh, recreating the mini meaning of perfect vision in 2020. And, uh, so you know how to all this school stuff, but then the pandemic happened and the literally that trip along with my entire business was, was basically wiped clean within a week. Uh, And so there I was, and, and, you know, we're all at home and do it the whole, you know, quarantine thing. And, um, that's when then, you know, I stepped into a new chapter without even realizing it. And that was starting a podcast. And I had had the idea of doing like a YouTube channel for a while. And so of course, you know, like pandemic happened. Oh, perfect opportunity. And then quickly realizing whoa, a blind guy and now video, this is just way too complicated. And so I'm like, you know what, instead let's do a podcast. And so at the time I didn't even really listen to podcasts. I think it was my sister who was the one who recommended the. Um, and so I ended up getting into the podcast and game and, and started my podcast. That was all based around travel, basically using it as an extension of my travel agency. And so I started sharing stories of my own trips and then interviewing people in the travel space and, and all that. And so I kept doing that. And again, just this natural progression happened throughout 20 20th. People kept telling me, they're like, Kevin, we love you. They're like, we've always said you have a voice for radio. And they're like, you know, we love the podcast. And I'm like, well, you know, I'm like, I loved doing it. And so it just kept this natural progression until finally, uh, 20, 21 came in. And at that point I was realizing, okay, Oh, my gosh, like booking guests on the podcast is way better than canceling vacations. And so, so I ended up, you know, I finally got to this point throughout, you know, 20, 21 when, when people were starting to come to me, wanting to book vacations. And if it wasn't something that was super easy, you know, I just, I didn't even want to do it anymore. And here's the truth of the matter is. I knew for a long time, um, for a long time that that being a travel agent, wasn't what I was supposed to be doing with my life. It was good for me. It served a purpose. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't where my gifts truly were. And God allowed that door to close and a new door to open. And that new door that opened was, was me stepping into podcasting. And so now today, um, my podcast is just absolutely amazing. It has opened so many doors of opportunity to meet just the most absolutely amazing people that I said. If it wasn't for my podcasts, I'd never even had known these people existed.

Melissa:

Kevin you guys tell us, what's the name of your

Kevin:

podcast? Of course it is called the load-out with Kevin Lowe. And so the whole thing with my podcast is basically featuring the stories of ordinary people. Living out extraordinary lives, all of the hope of inspiring others to, to live out their lives. Uh, no matter what obstacles may be standing in the way. Love it. Yeah. So the whole point, you know, is just to, to, to be a place of, of sharing positivity and, um, and so it's awesome for me that, that, you know, as I say, I get to let people for what see others, the way that I do, and the fact that you don't see them at all, you get to see them by the words that they speak, the stories, they share their voice and, and you get to paint your picture of who they are. And, um, and I just, I love it. Absolutely love it. And now that's, you know, kind of, uh, turned into me, stepping into the role as a life coach, where I'm now starting to work with other people who are kind of traveling down the same path that I've already been down. People who have become disabled. Um, they're in their twenties, maybe in their thirties. There had this life changing disability, and now they're trying to figure out how to move forward in life. And now I'm able to give back by working with them. One-on-one coaching them through the process that I went through, you know, sharing it with them. And, um, and I love it. I just, uh, it's just, you know, as I've said, my nothing in this life, in my opinion happens, happens for them. Things happen for a reason. And I like to believe that even when we can't see it at the time, it's all for a good reason. And for myself, maybe becoming blind, be doing my podcast, being a lifetime. It's further emphasizing that of making it for a good reason. And by doing that, I'm able to give back and help others. And as I've said, you know what, when I started sharing my story, when I started speaking at schools, I've done a lot of schools, everything from, from kindergarten and first graders up. The middle school and high school students is, you know, I'm like when, when I started doing that and I started getting this awesome feedback from these children, especially the middle school students. And I saw the impact that me sharing my story was having, it was at that time that I finally kind of came to this place. And I said, you know what? Maybe all that I've been through is worth it. If I can help just one person. Make their life a little bit easier because they've heard my story.

Melissa:

I bet they love you, Kevin, your personality is just infectious. I would love to just hang out with you and chit chat and ask you about 40 more questions. I so much appreciate that you took the time to share your story with us. I feel so inspired by everything that you've shared. And my main takeaway is that. Positivity can change outcomes. I can see how your story could have taken a completely different path. Had you had your mother, had your father, had your sister, your family, all of these people who were central to your lives to your life, had they allowed the negativity to cloud their perception to cloud they're moving forward? Your story could have been so much. But because of the positivity and because of your faith, you are here and you're happy and you're inspiring, and that is the takeaway I'm going to have from this.

Kevin:

Uh, well, thank you. Thank you. And it is, um, I have to say that, you know, I understand that, you know, being positive, um, it's not something that's just natural to everybody. And that's why I've said that for myself. Again, I go back to God and I say, it's a gift that he instilled in me so that he knew that I could take what happened to me and use it for good. And I'm so thankful for it.

Melissa:

Uh, and it's not, uh, you mentioned that, that you had nights that were really dark and really heavy, but you chose different. Exactly inspires me tremendously.

Kevin:

Uh, what, what thank you. That, that means so much to me and, and, um, you know, I appreciate, I appreciate everything that you've just said. I appreciate the opportunity to share my story with, with you and your audience. Um, that's just honest, honest to goodness. That's just kind of what lights me up inside, um, is getting to share, share my story of, of, you know, overcoming the darkness.

Melissa:

Hm. All right, Kevin, thank you so much. And folks make sure you check out the low down with Kevin Lowe. It is a fantastic podcast. You will love it. And if you know anyone who has had a disability, make sure you send them Kevin's way in the. What has it been an hour that we've been talking? I feel so inspired. Imagine working with Kevin, how inspired you would be. So, Kevin again, thank you. And I, I hope that 20, 22 holds amazing things for you.

Kevin:

Thank you.