New Year’s Resolutions: 17 for 2017

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Hiya!  I can’t believe December is nearly over. Where has this year gone? I am sure you’re asking yourself the same question. I think this year has been the fastest of my life thus far and it frightens me. They say the older you get the faster the years go and I’m starting to believe whoever “they” are. For as long as I can remember I’ve stuck to one resolution and one resolution only when it comes to New Year’s, however I’m feeling a little sparky this year and thought I’d mix up the bag. Some of these are unique to me and others are some I’ve seen floating around in the abyss. Either way, I hope you can enjoy and perhaps foster them into some of your rezzy’s for this 2017!

  1.  Set up a recurring donation:  If there is something that is close to your heart, perhaps you could have a few bucks deducted from each paycheck to go towards your favorite charity.  You won’t even know the money is missing and you’ll be doing something wonderful!
  2. Boost Positive Daily Thoughts:  This is a fun one!  Sign up for a daily, motivational text through Shine text and you can share the beaming energy with your friends and co-workers.
  3. Provide in Tangible Ways:  We don’t always have an extra $5 to give to every homeless person on the street, but perhaps we can keep a few extra water bottles in our car, a banana, or even a PB&J.  Get creative, help can come in many forms and can be a lot more than money!
  4. Downsize Social Media Time:  This is a big one for moi and for many others, I believe. Social media is just so damn entertaining and it’s fun being nosey and seeing what everyone is up to, but it can also be very time consuming.  Limiting yourself to X amount of time per day will make you feel less tied to your phone, but in case you need a little help…there’s an app (go figure) that lets you know if you’re spending too much time on your phone and kicks you OFF! Check it out for your smartphone.
  5. Get my To-Do-List ON:  I am notorious for procrastination and being scatterbrained.  I want to keep a better check on my schedule and my to-do’s in a proficient way, with the upmost potential to all of my devices and this online to-do-list seems to be the lifesaver that will help me stay afloat…and it’s free, yippee!
  6. Reality TV vs. Educational TV:  Another thing I am notorious for is reality television.  Anything on Bravo, I’m there and hooked, doesn’t matter the show or the plot, all that matters is that Andy Cohen is behind it. However, I’m not learning much other than maybe a few new hot words. So, instead of constantly filling my head with reality TV, I figure I’ll swap that out with something that is more educational, such as a documentary or something along those lines in which I can learn from.
  7. Say No More:  Here’s the deal, I want to say yes to everyone and please everyone, but saying yes isn’t good for anyone involved if you’re being stretched too thin and putting their needs above your own.  Honesty is the best policy and people will respect you so much more if you speak up.
  8. Take Time to Meditate: The practice of meditation can be physically, emotionally and mentally empowering.  Setting time aside for yourself as a body and soul is so important and has the power to improve your whole life if you practice daily.
  9. Drink Hot Water w/ Lemon:  When I was originally diagnosed a friend of mine told me to drink this every morning and I did for a while.  It is tremendously good for your digestive track, amongst other things.  It’s about that time to get back on that wagon.
  10. Learn Another Language:  In High School I took Spanish but I did not retain a thing.  I have quite a bit of time on my hands these days and a spartphone at my disposal with a free app like Duolingo.  Why not brush up on my español?
  11. Get Outside More:  Typically I am such a homebody, this upcoming year I want to start taking advantage of my awesome neighborhood and beautiful city.  Getting outside can clear your head and a bit of fresh air can do you a world of good.
  12. Build More Experiences:  Not to focus on the material aspects of life, but instead the experiences.  The short road trips to California, the weekends up at the cabin, concerts and festivals with friends, the possibilities are endless.  Experiences and memories over things and items will last a lifetime.
  13. Turn Negatives Into Positives:  We live in a world where the negatives seem to outweigh the positives these days.  Instead of looking at the glass half empty, look at the glass half full and your whole perspective on life will change.
  14. Say I Love You More Often:  Since I was diagnosed I have no shame in telling the people that I love that I love them all the time, even at times completely out of the blue.  I’m sure it gets annoying but if it pops into my head, I want them to know it.  Friends or family, it doesn’t matter — don’t carry shame for love, yell it from the rooftops if that’s how you feel.
  15. Show Others Your Appreciation:  I am fortunate enough to constantly have people doing such lovely things for me and I feel inadequate when it comes to showing my appreciation.  This year I want to be sure that I am showing my appreciation in full force.
  16. Don’t Take Anything Too Seriously: Have a laugh, loosen up, be the butt of your own joke.  You can’t take anything in life too seriously, there’s always someone out there that has it worse off than you and you must remind yourself of that.  We’re all pretty fortunate.
  17. Forgive:  Last but not least, forgive those who have hurt your or forgive yourself.  Life is too short and as we know the years are way too short to hold onto anything negative.  Come into the new year with a fresh start and a clean heart.

 

Happy New Year, my loves!

Love,

Britt

Hello, From the Other Side:

 

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The best thing about life is that everyday is a new opportunity.  As cliché as that may sound, it rings true.  Many of you know that on December 12, 2016, I underwent a rare procedure called HIPEC in an effort to provide myself with a greater opportunity to live.

There were many risks involved in having this operation, but without risk comes little reward.  I had to take that leap of faith in order to provide myself with more time and quality at that.  No doubt I had my reservations and up until the night before I was having serious second thoughts.

I’m signing up to be cut in half.”

 “Can I even endure this again, will my body be able to handle another major operation for the third time in three years?” I asked myself. My mind would not and could not stop operating on all cylinders.

Saturday, December 10 I had just been out with my Mum for a lovely day of brunch and pedicures.  It was special, quality, time before I was going to go into the hospital in just two short days.  After our pleasant day she dropped me off and Steve was at his parents house.  I lay on my bed as I was pretty worn out from the whole day and was going to try to catch a nap, when suddenly something came over me and I began thinking about the last few weeks prior and how I’d spent time with the people I love most; quality one on one time.  Were those my goodbyes?  I immediately began to shiver, my lips turned blue, my breathing became increasingly difficult and my body tense.  I thought I was dying right then and there.

As quickly as I could I called my Nan and word travelled fast.  She along with my Mum and Auntie Bev were on their way, as well as one of my very best friends, Allison.  Steve, too immediately left his parents.  No one truly knew what the situation was but knew in any case I needed immediate attention as my normally ever so strong brick walls had come crashing in on me.

Once they had arrived, I was clearly still very much alive but also in a state of panic and still freezing and stiff. They comforted me and Allison even called her brother with whom is an ER Doctor to get some medical advice on what they should do since I was refusing to go to the hospital.  If it actually was my time, I wanted it to be in my own home, not the cold hospital.  Her kind brother suggested that I meet everyone halfway and allow the paramedics to come and assess the situation and I obliged, particularly because those were Steve’s wishes as well.

Long story short, there were about five paramedics that came and determined I was having a forceful anxiety attack and low and behold my walls did cave in on me.  After awhile I calmed down and I was so grateful to have them by my side.  And I was happy that it happened when it did and not the morning of the surgery. For some reason I believe that, that freak out needed to happen in order for me to actually go through with the surgery, for me to know that everything was going to turn out okay in the end.

It was now time to be the queen I know I can be.  It was Monday and it was show time.  I rolled into that operating room feeling free of anxiety or fear, but instead excited for what was on the other side, post operation, despite the brutal recovery.

The Doctors practiced their magic and before I knew it, I woke up in the intermediate care unit.  I felt fabulous as the drugs from the operation were still in my system, even making a video of the news that had been shared with me that I was “CANCER FREE!” It felt so good to say those words, even if I was in la-la-land.

However, as the course of my stay at the hospital got longer and longer, the Doctors became less and less liberal with that word.  In turn leaving me to wonder what any of it really meant, even having it reiterated today at my follow-up visit with my surgeon now that I’m completely clear headed.  Where do I go from here and am I free of cancer?

The truth is, I’ve won the battle but not the war.  By having this surgery they have removed any and all signs of tumor that currently exists in my body, by cutting me open to remove them, scraping my insides and attacking with chemotherapy.  Therefore at this time I’m free of cancer.  However, I still remain a Stage IV cancer patient as I have had recurrences in the past, ones which have recurred rather quickly I might add, so I am considered a VERY HIGH RISK patient.  My cancer could come back tomorrow, next month or two years from now.  The moral of the story is I will be under surveillance non-stop by my Oncologist and looked after by the pros.  Naturally we all are hoping for the best-case scenario, but he kept it real with me, which I appreciate.

In the meantime, I’ve been home for the last week and a half recovering and it’s going well.  Slowly but surely I’m getting back to my old self.  I cannot express the gratitude I have for all of the love I’ve received leading up to the surgery, during and after.  It truly warms the cockles of my heart.  Now we are just trying to get through the holidays and get back into our routine.  When things get too routine, I just need to keep myself humble and remember that everyday is a new opportunity.

Happy New Year, my loves.

Love,

Britt x

Video: Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy

For better explanation of what the Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) is all about, I have included a video.  Personally, once I saw the video I had a much better understanding as to what this crazy, invasive procedure is all about.  The days are getting closer and closer and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for what’s to come and the thought of being cut open again. But, as I said before I am hoping for the best!  Hopefully this video helps for better understanding.

 

Love,

Britt x

Life Lessons: 30 Things

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Typically before a big surgery my mind begins to overthink, racing with thoughts of what I have learned over the last three and a half years since being a cancer patient.  The thing about cancer is that it changes people.  It sculpts us into someone who understands more deeply, hurts more often, appreciates more quickly, cries more easily, hopes more desperately, loves more openly and lives more passionately.  I wanted to take a moment to jot down the top 30 things off the top of my head that cancer has taught me and share them, pass them along.  Some being more obvious than others, some being more simple as well.  It never hurts to be reminded from time to time that sometimes it can be the small stuff that can make us the upmost happiest.

Enjoy!

  1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  2. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else does.
  4. You don’t have to win every agreement. Agree to disagree.
  5. It’s okay to show your emotions. It’s okay to feel.
  6. Don’t compare yourself to others; you have no idea what their journey is all about.
  7. Don’t bother with pity parties.
  8. Burn the candles, use the nice stemware and wear the fancy dress. Every moment is a special occasion.
  9. Go with the flow.
  10. Be eccentric, who cares if people think you’re out of your mind.
  11. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  12. You cannot hold anyone else accountable for your happiness; it’s up to you.
  13. Forgive.
  14. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  15. Time heals.
  16. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will.
  17. Believe in miracles.
  18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
  19. Listen to your body.
  20. Envy is a waste of time.
  21. Deep breaths calm the mind.
  22. Yield.
  23. Make your intentions pure.
  24. Turn wounds into wisdom.
  25. Peace will always be there for you in your darkest moments.
  26. How you feel is always more important than how you look.
  27. The big questions are worth asking.
  28. Love will always win.
  29. Always make self-care a priority.
  30. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Love,

Britt x

Painted Lady:

Words cannot express how incredibly honored and surprised I am to have artist and author, Anthony Oldham paint this insanely beautiful oil painting of me.  I have never had someone paint a picture of me, let alone something so lovely! Thank you, Anthony!

BRAVO!

Love,

Britt x