Updates: 03/31/2014

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Hello, lovers! I’ve been hiding under a rock the past few days working away at my book. I’m happy to say I am five chapters in and it’s coming along well. It’s been very interesting to relive the last nine months and has brought up a lot of different emotions, both happy and sad. It has made me realize how far I have come and how much my mind, body and soul has endured over the last nine months of my life. Certainly it has made me a much stronger person, even though I feel weak from time to time and let my situation get the best of me.

I have some exciting updates to share. First and foremost, I have been hired by an online magazine to be a writing contributor/freelance writer. The magazine is geared toward women and cancer, but other topics will be discussed that will appeal to a larger audience. I’ve been working on my first few columns, so once the website officially launches, be on the lookout for my updates. I am very excited about the opportunity for many reasons. I am happy to be afforded the opportunity and experience to write for a magazine and strengthen my writing muscle, as well as bring further awareness to cancer and working closely with strong, independent women. I feel I will learn a great deal from this experience and can’t wait to share more details with you all!

Secondly, I had my first Doctor appointment with my Oncologist in about a month. It was so wonderful to see all of my friends that work in the office and I was well received with big hugs. It’s amazing how much you bond with the Doctor’s and nurses that are responsible for making you a whole person again. I truly don’t know what I’d do without them. They took some blood to see where my tumor markers and numbers are at since being off of chemo for the last month and a half. So, fingers crossed that my numbers have remained low since chemo. I shared with my Doctor that my neuropathy is still around, but slowly and surely getting better day by day. Over the last three weeks I have been keeping myself very busy and that has helped both mentally and physically to cure the neuropathy. As I keep telling myself, a body in motion stays in motion. Steve and I also met with a social worker that will begin seeing the both of us on a regular basis. For a long time I was too prideful to seek out counseling or to talk to anyone professionally speaking, however I have finally given in and think it will do Steve and I a world of good to discuss and work through everything that we have going on since my diagnosis. I realized it takes a strong person to admit that help may be needed and we both look forward to the benefits this will bring.

Lastly, I have been trying to go up on my rooftop to swim each day and get some sunshine. It’s amazing what a little vitamin D can do for you. Since getting sunshine each day, my mental state has been much more positive. I am trying to soak in as many rays as possible before we enter the Arizona summer. Thankfully it’s been a beautiful spring and there are plenty of beautiful days ahead.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. I’ll be updating the blog later this week!

Love,

Britt x

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Happy Valentines, babes!

Hiya!  Happy Valentine’s Day!  I know I’ve been a ghost as of late, but it has becoming incredibly difficult for me to type/write as my neuropathy is at its worst.  I do have some updates regarding my chemo and treatment and I will indulge on that subject this weekend. As for now, enjoy your Valentine, as I’ve enjoyed mine today.

x

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Love,

Britt x

Us…♡

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Cancer has a way of becoming self-consuming.  Suddenly, your world revolves strictly around you.  You become the center of your own world, by means of Doctor visits, relationships and ways to keep yourself moving along, when the possibility of life and death is a glooming balancing act.  Having said that, many things fall to the wayside and unless it has to do with the Big C; you may or may not have the energy to fulfill other areas of your life like you were once capable of doing; i.e.- work, exercise, relationships (both romantic and friendships), housekeeping, grocery shopping and all of the things that were once second nature.

More recently, my lack of normalcy has increased by way of exhaustion as I slip further and further into the realm of treatment.  It’s not often that I have ample energy to get up and brush my hair, let alone run to the store or tidy the house.  Countless duties have since fallen upon my husband, Steve and without much complaint.  The real principle of this story is how cancer can affect marriage.  Marriages can suffer from a lot lesser of grounds, but when cancer enters the picture it befalls a whole set of un-embracing worries and difficulties.

For the patient, even when there is an absence of energy, you want to remain somewhat independent.  However, typically so, chemo and a drug-induced mindset may have you disregarding some vital aspects to your recovery, such as remembering to take your medication, eating the right foods for your body and overall judgment when it comes to your best interest.  This is where a caregiver or spouse in my case would come into play.  Being a caregiver or spouse, or even both, in which Steve plays the role of many at this current stage in life, can be extremely tiresome with an ongoing dependability from yours truly.  My personal reliability on Steve at times goes unnoticed by me.  He is so upright and honorable with each hat that he dons and quite frankly not enough credit is given on my part.

Being that I want to bring to light the full disclosure of cancer and all that it encompasses, it would be a sham if I chose to leave my marriage out of the picture, for that is one of the leading relationships in my life and also has an infinite impact on my life with cancer.  I often think of what it would be like to be single as I am going through all of this hullaballoo.  Sure, I have an outstanding family and set of friends that would and have united around me during my time in need, both the sunny and gloomy times, but somehow being single during this time would be a far different experience.  Conversely, what if I would have ended up with someone other than Steve?  I think about that too and it scares me to death, but also makes me cringe at the thought.  Steve is the only person whom I can picture to go on this tumultuous journey with and I truly believe he was placed in my life for many reasons, this being one of them.

A lot of emotions come from being a fulltime sick person.  Unfortunately a lot of those emotions are taken out on the ones you love most and see most.  In Steve’s case, he lives and breathes my cancer prognosis right beside me and regrettably sees the not so fetching sides that I have to offer, as his wife.  There are days, sometimes even weeks where I do not see the light of day with the exception of Doctor appointments or chemo treatments.  As Steve leaves for work each and every morning, there I am laying in bed.  As he comes home to me each night, there I lay in bed, still.  It’s difficult to not feel as though I have become a shell of who I once was and the thought of getting up and out of bed at times feels as though I would be walking on broken glass.  Day after day, night after night, Steve sees my physical and mental condition fading further and further from him, all the while continuing to be the man standing aside me, ensuring I have taken the appropriate medication, eat dinner and then puts me to bed to do it all over again the next day.  Point being, he sees the worse of it all and the ratio of good to bad, is most definitely bad.

As we attempt to take this all in one day at a time and communicate as much as possible in an effort to stay vigilant in our marriage, Steve opened up to me the other day about something that had been weighing heavily on his mind.  He doesn’t often get asked how he is coping with all of this, as everything tends to revert back to how I am doing.  But moreover, his concern was that when I do have energetic days, I am so conscious of trying to keep my friendships afloat that I spend all of my good days with them, all the while he doesn’t get to benefit from any of my upbeat days for quality time between him and I.  After digesting his concerns, I realized that he was so spot on.  I couldn’t bring myself to recall the last time we spent doing something fun, like we used to do pre-diagnosis.  Prior to being diagnosed, Steve and I were true adventurers’, partners in crime and truly loved being by each other’s side, whilst having endless amounts of laughs and good times.

Now, here we are six months into my cancerous life and those times have become few and far between.  As I awoke on Monday morning, I convinced Steve to take a few personal days from work so we could go back to being us.  The us that had always been footloose and fancy-free.  We spent a few days drenched in fun by lunching, going to the movies, walking around window-shopping, having a picnic on a farm, driving up South Mountain, with a small hike to the top peak where we felt we were on top of the world and in the end just had some good old fashioned quality time.  After our few days in martial bliss, we felt a sense of reconnection and despite my health issues, if we keep us on the right track, then balance will be restored in our world.

Steve, words will never be able to express the gratitude I have towards you and all that you do for me.  You are my blessing through all of this pain and I love you more than anything.  Thanks for standing by me through the worst of times and may the best of times soon be on our side.  Love always, Britt xx

Love,

Britt x

Unpremeditated Divine Gift

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I haven’t shied away from sharing the ebbs and flows of my cancer diagnosis.  It’s no secret that more recently I have been deeply despondent.  My downcast deriving from a marriage to my bed and rem curates a sense of unaccomplished existence.  It’s just the price I pay in order to come back to life; lots of sleeps, stacks of missed moments in time, bridged with a loneliness that lingers while I repose in my cocoon, awaiting to spread my wings and become a butterfly.  In the dark hours of the night, memory becomes your partner; fostered and cherished as you remind yourself of all the good times life has given you before it was decided that your world would turn upside down.

The opaque hours of the night also convey the things I want to do when recovered health fits me like a glove. This experience has allotted for mass self-discovery, but I want to also re-discover myself once this is all over and use the lessons I have learned from these happenings and run away with it.  Traveling seems the best place to set myself completely free.  There is a romance to traveling, no one knows who you are, what you have endured and there are no strings attached to anything, but being wide open for self-discovery and the rest of the world as well as all of its stories.  Just the mere thought of travel pulls me out of these days that seem to be offering little hope.  But the hope of being part of a vast organism to explore and create sustains that there is light at the end of this long, very dark tunnel.

Becoming more and more of a rarity, I was able to catch up with some of my wonderfully, lovely friends over this past weekend.  I had slept enough the week prior and assembled up enough energy to revel in delectable margaritas, live music and some damn good company.  Suddenly the silk screen of sadness and melancholy lifted and we all picked up exactly where we left off.  Conversations about nothing and everything at the same time.  It was fantastic to see them, catch up and regain some of the normalcy I so crave.

Today my chemotherapy treatment picked back up and although my levels were still not satisfactory, they were stable enough to move forward with treatment.  Hopefully I will feel decent over the next few days and enjoy some moments.  I guess the real moral of the story is that living is an art form, everyone’s picture is painted a little differently and truly knowing that, as death is at your door step day after day, the gift of breathing is a sort of constant euphoria, and to understand that gift is gloriously deliberate, unpremeditated divine gift of the few.

Love,

Britt x

Cancer Blues

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Awaking this morning with a depleted outlook, I found myself feeling as though I was positioned between a cliff and the sea.  Not knowing whether I wanted to jump or keep swimming was a testing contemplation.  Feeling an unfamiliar form of heartache, unlike anything I have ever felt before, differing from the run-of-the-mill heartbreak of a first love, clinging to a defeated dream or some form of rejection that life bargains.  I was weak in my feelings, reacting to being swallowed by sadness and the uncertainty that my life now carries.  Rapidly, I was consciously aware of the essence of every emotion that my brain and heart was expending.

Everyone says, “You’ll be okay”, “Everything will work out”.  While I believe that in my heart of hearts, the paradox is the energy, strength, power and resiliency it takes to get to get there.  At times, it becomes very difficult to not throw in the towel and let nature take its course.  While I realize that sounds harsh and forbidding, it is the simple truth of what a cancer patient feels from time to time, particularly when the silent fears light the fire that’s in our head.  Cancer enhances the reality that we don’t have an endless number of days and that death condemns all of us, but vaster wakefulness appears before a cancer patient.

In part, my cheerless day was controlled by matters of what my life now lacks. Having always been a person that sets my sights as far as I could see and living by the words of being all that you can be, my time has now become restless and trepidation over time running out has become well defined.  I was never one who believed in a quick fix remedy, but now I wish for nothing more, so I can take back the life that was once mine.

In a tireless effort to escape from my own thoughts, I needed to breath in fresh air and knew of just the place to get it, our rooftop.  As I lay on the roof, I was met with the sunshine and blue sky.  I closed my eyes and inhaled the fresh, crisp air.  Suddenly the ice that had coated my heart melted away and the glistening sunlight left me feeling freer than a world without gravity.  Floating above my aforementioned shadowy thoughts, my mind was ignited with a sense of unblemished reflections.   Feeling further and further from where the day began, I realized that I shouldn’t give up so easily.  Speed is not the key.  Perhaps this experience is making me appreciate things at a slower pace.  Quick fixes are merely temporary, but taking the time to get where you desire will be well worth it in the end.

Nothing lasts forever and I need to reason with the fact that my life is momentarily on hold, while I fight everyday for my life.  At times it has and will continue to bring me to tears, but in the span of my lifetime, beating this cancer will be my greatest accomplishment and hopefully a lesson to live each day as though it were my last.  I can feel it in my bones that I will not be defeated, but sometimes I need to feel the sunshine on my face to overcome the cancer blues.   My utopia will rise and my purpose will show itself, but patience is fundamental.  In the meantime, I will settle in the majesty of the sunshine, blue skies and the thought of being free from this malicious disease.

Love,

Britt