One Year ❝Cancerversary❞…

Cancerversary

For some reason I have been putting off writing this blog, even though I have a mountain of thoughts about this day. This time last year, I woke up to find out that I was a Stage IV, Colon Cancer patient at the age of 27.

Zig Zigler once said, “Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to boldly walk through them.” I believe it would be a fair statement to say that cancer is a sizable obstacle. One of which I never thought I would have to face, much less when my life was merely starting. Yet, somehow when the life changing news of my cancer was uttered, I was immediately determined to overcome this obstruction and use it as a tool to learn about life, the purpose of this result and ultimately discover who I am and what I am capable of doing.

I could drone on about all of the dire things that come along with the cancer package, but truthfully I have learned that it’s not healthy to focus on the negative, but rather the positive. It’s mind over matter. Of course not every day is hopeful and cheery, but I am certainly putting all of my energy into healing after the most difficult year of my entire life. I’ve been happy, miserable, strong, weak; yet through it all, my entire mission has been to foster positive identity building. Am I 100%? Absolutely not. Am I cured? Not quite. But more importantly, I have been afforded a quality of life and have been gifted another year to enjoy my family, my friends, my dog and my loving husband.

I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel about this day, as it quickly approached. I was certain that I would be sad and in a sense of mourning for the life that I shed the day I was diagnosed. However, it was quite the opposite. Last night I went out with my friends, enjoyed a fine evening of divine live music and contentedly got inebriated for the first time in a year. So, essentially I didn’t spend the day down and blue in bed, but rather hung over on the couch and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Thank you a million times over to every person that has supported me along my cancer journey in the past year. The journey will continue and I will have many more cancerversaries to come and I can only hope to be as grateful as I am today, for gratitude is everything.

Love, Britt x

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends…♡

Over the last few days, I have opened my computer excitedly with thousands of thoughts that I wanted to bring to life through my words. Each time I looked at a blank page, paired with the blinking cursor, the thoughts were swirling through my head, but I’ve failed to be able to commit to the words that usually come so easily to me. It’s been a week and a half since I was told that my cancer has departed, for now. Within each second of every day, I have been trying to wrap my head around what this means and how I will move forward with my life, a life that will now be of quality, which was the goal all along. They say that pigeons swiftly acquaint the pushing of a lever with reaping a reward. With that, the pigeons continue to push the lever and every 30 seconds receive the reward of food, leaving the pigeons to wonder what they have done to be worthy of the gift. I am like the pigeon. What did I do to be rewarded this second chance at life; remission?

Often times when you are in the middle of a battle, whether it is war, a natural disaster, a violent attack or other life-threatening events, you become so focused on fighting back that you don’t take the time to also tend to the mental struggles that the battle brings forth. For almost a year, I had a specific map to which I had to follow in order to finish the race. Each step was pertinent to my recovery and my concentration was specifically on the cancer, my tumors and working tirelessly to physically rid my body of this ugly disease. Undeniably, I put my fists up and thrived to oppose my reality as a cancer patient, yet I aborted the fact that there were mental struggles that needed to be worked out as well.

During my last stint in the hospital, shortly after I found out about my “remission”, my Doctor felt it necessary to have a heart to heart. Having gone through this journey and trusting her with my life, I was open to anything she had to say. As she cleared her throat, she proceeded to praise me for being strong through all of the events that had taken place in the last several months, but then ensued to advise me that although I had been compliant with showing up to appointments, foregoing with all of my MRIs and scans, as well as chemotherapy, I was non-compliant when it came to dealing with the psychological aspects of cancer. The Doctor reminded me that it is nearly impossible to go through such a harrowing event and come out unscathed. Initially I was cross about her uprightness. In my mind, I was an A+ cancer patient and assumed that because I wasn’t seeking help, it meant that I was handling and managing my diagnosis like a champ. After all, I had a wonderful support system, the best family and friends and my blog, which allowed me to write my feelings and connect with so many others in a similar situation. What I didn’t realize was that once the appointments, chemo sessions and anything cancer related ended, I would find myself in a pool of psychological problems.

Nearly every day since I have been advised of my disease free state, I have failed to feel the happiness that I had expected to feel upon achieving this type of news. Suddenly, I felt as though I was dropped off on an Island, somewhere in the middle of the deep blue sea and rescue was nowhere in sight. Every time I had these feelings of gloom, it would immediately be followed up by a surmounting level of guilt; here I am, now in a temporary remission and fortunate enough to get back to life and I was feeling unsatisfied. What kind of ungrateful person must I be? I asked myself over and over again.

As the weekend approached, Steve had setup a get together with all of my friends to celebrate my new found freedom from cancer and an overall celebration of life; he called it Remission Celebration. I had been looking forward to a night out with all of my wonderful friends and supporters in one place and through my cloudy thoughts of the week leading up to it, the thought of the celebration kept me together. Arriving at the destination for the celebration, I became eager to kick off my heels and have a perfect night. The bar was packed and as I looked through the crowd, most of the people were there for me. I was in awe of how many wonderful, supportive people I had in my corner and suddenly it all made sense. It may not be clear as to why I was given this second chance, but I will gladly accept the reward.

In the meantime, I realize that I have a lot of healing to do and seeking out help does not make you weak. It is my goal to get busy living. I may not be the person that I was prior to my diagnosis and I doubt I will ever be that person again, for I have transformed in so many ways, but just the same I want to enjoy every second that this life has to offer. Through some heavy soul searching and self-acceptance, I am certain that I will find my purpose and the reason why I have been given the wonderful opportunity to be ALIVE.

Thank you again to all of my incredible friends who helped me to celebrate my great news, as well as my family for being endless backers. I will continue to keep the blog updated with my thoughts and happenings. Cheers, loves!

Love, Britt x

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❝My Best Friend’s Wedding❞

♡ An open letter to my very best friend, along with a video that captured the utopia that was our time spent together and her wedding celebration. ♡

Crystal,

When we met nearly two decades ago on that fateful Halloween, you donned a perfect Doctor outfit, while I was dressed up as ridiculous French Maid.  This set the tone for our personalities and our friendship.  You have always been the responsible, studious one, while I was a bit crazy and at times wild. However, that couldn’t be a more perfect balance for us; you are the yin to my yang.  While you were dubbed the good child and I the bad child, we created many memories over the years, finding endless ways to entertain ourselves and not realizing that the days of our youth was only momentary.

We entered each other’s lives at the perfect time, as we were both the only children in our families.  We immediately took to one another and soon our friendship spun into a sisterhood.  We would play house for hours, ride our bikes pretending they were horses, have our Saturday golf lessons and ultimately spend every waking second together, all the while never getting on each other’s nerves.  Even as children we had an unbreakable bond that most people do not find in a lifetime.

As we developed into our teen years we remained as close as could be, as we entered the awkward years that is high school.  Where you went, I went and vice versa.  Even after I moved to Wisconsin in the middle of our high school career, our friendship remained intact and we would travel hours by plane to visit one each other and pick up exactly where we left off.

We tried living together as we entered our earlier twenties, once I moved back to Phoenix and we soon realized that being the best friends that we were, did not lend it self to also being roommates.  And you know what?  So what, we had a little blip in the road of our twenty year relationship.  That’s what relationships are all about, ebbs and flows.

Crystal, you have always been number one in my book.  We have thousands upon thousands of stories, inside jokes and memories to fill the pages of books.  I’m inclined to say that there is truly no one more marvelous than you.  I am so proud of the beautiful person that you have become, all of the wonderful things you have accomplished and most of all I am joyed to stand before you after all these years and say “congratulations” on marrying your best friend (in male form obviously).

As for Sunny, I don’t have to tell him what a four-leaf clover you are.  He knows that you are hard to find and lucky to have.  I have known you longer than I haven’t known you.  I know that you are as picky as it gets when it comes to gentleman suitors and that Sunny must be pretty special to nab your fancy.  I know that the two of you will also fill pages and pages of memories over the years and if anyone is worthy of your companionship, it is Sunny.

I may not have a lifetime of experience being married, as it has only been two years, but I do have a lifetime of experience in an impeccable friendship with you.  My advice:  always treat each other with respect, first and foremost, listen to one another and most of all, laugh.  Laugh at yourselves, laugh at each other and laugh together.

Here’s to a marriage full of love, laughter and forever friendship.

Loving you always,

Britt x