HI!

Britt Inner Peace

The search for inner peace is a hard conquest — one that many people spend their entire lives looking for. When things get a little unsteady, I can usually look to that inner peace and strength to get me through, however sometimes when searching for it, it appears to have gone missing. So far this year, I have been missing in action from writing on my blog, to which is something I’ve always been able to turn to when I am a bit on the “emosh” side.

It’s easier for me to write when I am in pain. Maybe I’m a masochist, or my Scorpio like tendencies are driven by the moody blues, but my goal this year is to find it within myself to also be inspired to write when I am happy and share all of the positive things that are going on in my young life, rather than being limited to my cancer diagnosis. I hope to be reacquainted more with my blog and followers by sharing areas within my life that is worth sharing. The truth is, I live a life so full and that should be what keeps me going, rather than my sad story of cancer. Please don’t get me wrong, cancer is VERY much a part of my life and it still rules my life to some degree, but more than ever I am learning and re-learning to do the things I love and compartmentalize my energy into doing what’s best for me. I am no longer an injured bird, searching for a nest. Instead I have been soaring and dare I say feeling a little bit more at peace each day.

There are a few current projects in motion and things that have taken me away from my blog writing, which have challenged me in many ways. Within my other efforts of writing, even privately in my journal, I have been able to execute and exhale everything that I have been feeling. 2015 thus far has been great. I can count on one hand how many chemo treatments I have had, there haven’t been any visits to the hospital and nothing major (other than my regular treatment) that is getting in the way of enjoying my life. Just last month I was able to rejoice in a week long vacation with, Steve in Hawaii. To enlighten on how necessary and needed the trip was for the two of us would be impossible to explain. However, it revived both of us from the last twenty months of peaks and valleys.

Tomorrow will be my last chemotherapy treatment before I’m off to travel, again, this time visiting the UK for nearly a month. It will be nice to be in motion and quench my thirst for worldly experiences by spreading my wings and flying. Upon my return, I hope to revamp my blog and share with you some of my new experiences, as well as travel stories. In the meantime, I have some things coming up, so stay tuned…

To stay updated best, catch me on Instagram: @bestillmyheartblog

Yours always,

B

PS- Watch out for AWARE MAGAZINE coming soon, with a piece written by yours truly in the POWERFUL YOUNG WOMEN BEHIND THE SCENES…

AWARE MAG 2015

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King Size Bed ♡

Hello, December

Happy December, my friends and for those in the states, I hope Thanksgiving brought warmth into your bellies and hearts. It hardly feels like the Holidays, being that I live in the desert and it was a balmy 87° degrees on the very weekend that Arizona and the rest of the country kicked off the holiday season. Don’t even get me started on how quickly this year has passed. I swear I feel as though I have merely blinked and the year is nearly over. I am also aware that I am not alone in that sentiment. However, clearly I am not here to talk weather or how quickly a single year can pass before our eyes. I just figured I’d check in again.

One thing I didn’t stick to this year was my blog; the very same blog that brought me so much delight, with a pure connection with my readers and allowing for a genuine therapeutic outlet. Admittedly, I fell short of sharing many of my experiences of life with cancer, particularly as a person in her twenties. Yet, you all know and have been so patient and understanding in that I have lacked the “umph” to do much of anything at all.

Over the last few weeks, my so-called “umph” has been restored. Not to discount, of course, that all that ails me continues to do so, being no better or worse than my early days on this cancer journey. In fact my current statuesque is a dash on the unsteady side, as my tumor markers are similar to playing Russian roulette; one week they will be extremely low and there seems to be progress and then the following week they have sky rocketed, where boisterous concerns begin to be flown around. When I visited my Oncologist today, we were going over the different elements to my chemo and the method to madness of it all; taking control over my life and my cancer. Pondering whether the designated treatment is doing it’s job and if my tumors are shrinking or perhaps the opposite and my body and tumors aren’t responding to the chemotherapy, at all. In my case, neither one of those scenarios is my situation. Leave it to me to have unruly tumors that are difficult to pinpoint patterns, their plan and very own method to their madness. We’ve been reviewing my tumor markers bi-weekly to attempt to make sense of it all. One week the markers will be incredibly low, which leads to talks of lowering my chemotherapy and even possibly removing one of the five concoctions all together which would allow for more energy. Then the following week the numbers as I have said earlier, skyrocket leaving everyone, including my Oncologist, a smidgen perplexed as to what the actual situation going on inside of me is.

It makes sense though, because just like everything in life, it’s a mystery. I’m not sure that I will ever be able to make sense of my cancer, nor will I ever be able to make sense of my roller-coaster ride of tumor marker results week over week. Instead, my mind has recently chosen to compartmentalize those things and I have been pushing myself to live the life I daydream about, as I have been laid up in bed for the past year and a half. Be brave, push the limits of my pain and makes strides towards healing the mental tolls that cancer has imparted on me. If you were to ask me how I arrived at this ever-evolving place of newfound energy and peace, I’m not entirely sure if I would be able to pinpoint it. However, a little something is telling me that it began with a little appreciation.

It began with reassessing how I was regarding my appreciation for my surroundings; people, things, places, etc. Once I reevaluated all of those things, it was representative of the life I want and that perhaps I had been taking most things for granted. There was a sudden shift in my mental state. My lack of genuine appreciation to the people in my life, the roof over my head, food on my table and even despite my unfortunate health circumstances, I understood that I am still here, breathing and on the journey that is life. It reminds me of a certain quote by Tony Robbins, “[If you] trade your expectation for appreciation, the world changes instantly.” It truly starts right there.

Pushing myself beyond the limits of my pain has been very challenging. Most of 2014 has been spent in the confines of four walls and a comfy bed. I’m sure to some that may sound very lovely, perhaps a vacation from life. However, as I lay day after day, I couldn’t help but begin to think about life and all of the things I had wished for myself and my dreams to capture the world by it’s heartstrings, but then losing everything I had worked for and still wished for.   I had begun to see the world with a different vision and was maddened by all of the things I didn’t think I was capable of doing or having since being diagnosed as a Stage IV cancer patient. Unsurprisingly, that is a hard pill to swallow and naturally, you wish for a new reality, or no reality at all due to the gloomy reality you are currently in. After such a long period of time and some much needed therapy throughout the later half of the year, it was then that a new reality finally began to sink in. For starters, I became more accepting of my cancer, forgiving of my situation and told myself that if I could find a way out of the gloom, I wouldn’t waste another minute being unhappy or living my life on a king size bed. I began to follow the rhythm of my wild heart and push myself to do things that once made me, me. Spending every day in bed is now something of the past, there are new winds in my sail and I am going to be more grateful for the things I am capable of accomplishing, rather than focusing on things I don’t believe I can do. But, psssst – anything is possible and it’s not bad to think you are capable of it all, because we all are. We are alive, damnit.

That said, as we spend the holiday season amongst friends and family, I will not be taking anything for granted and in the meantime I will continue to push myself beyond my cancer and fight for my place and purpose in this world. A PET scan will be taking place next week to try to gain some insight as to what my tumor(s) are doing and if there is anything to be concerned over. I’m a firm believer that what you think about, you bring about – so only good vibes allowed! As I had mentioned time passes so quickly, I am sure December will fly by and we’ll be ringing in 2015 before we know it! There are plenty of fun things planned for this month, so expect some updates sooner rather than later. As always, thank you for reading and continuing to support me so vigorously, it does not go unnoticed.

Just one last thing, thank you to the lovely anonymous reader who sent me this picture today. It melted my heart.

Fan Drawing

Peace and love always.

Love, Britt x

Us…♡

#US #Love #LoveGoals I #BSMHB #BeStillMyHeartBlog I www.bestillmyheartblog.wordpress.com

I #BSMHB #BeStillMyHeartBlog I www.bestillmyheartblog.wordpress.com

I #BSMHB #BeStillMyHeartBlog I www.bestillmyheartblog.wordpress.com

I #BSMHB #BeStillMyHeartBlog I www.bestillmyheartblog.wordpress.com

I #BSMHB #BeStillMyHeartBlog I www.bestillmyheartblog.wordpress.com

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

You, You, You, You…YOU ☚ ☚ ☚

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Cancer in all of it’s varying masks has the predisposition to inflict havoc on all areas within one’s life; mind, body, soul.  The all-consuming veneer that is the disease attires a masquerade, shadowing your every move until there is nothing left to do other than reveal itself in its entirety, in its whole hearted completeness.  Once this illustration of pretenses occurs and are no longer concealed under the cheap surface, we are left but with the raw aptitude that this malady brings forth.

In my case, my cancer hid away from me for what I believe to be years.  That was until one day, it decided it didn’t want to hide behind concealment any longer.  Within a transitory moment, my world went from being cancer-less to cancer-full.  With that comes a lot of altering sentiments, but more than anything cancer becomes the center of your world and you instantaneously begin to orbit around it.

Diminutively, prior to the recent change in events and the cancer diagnosis, I was unknowingly feeding into the cancer; already orbiting myself around it, while it wore it’s camouflage and prepared for terror on my body.  It weighed me down, made me less of a person and to be frank complacent with the mediocre nuances of life.   Then, once it undisguised itself and I became aware of the cancer, it suddenly took over in another fashion, but this time being Doctor’s appointments, subjects of conversation and the incessant nagging in my brain telling me that “Hey, just a reminder, you have cancer…”  

Even while I sleep, I am retold that I have cancer.  It becomes something that you live and breathe.  On the other side of the spectrum, it also may have the tendency to engage you in egotistical behaviors.  Suddenly, everything is about the cancer, you have the cancer, therefore everything is about you.  If you aren’t careful, it can clout your thoughts on that and that alone.  At appointments you are naturally talking about you, when catching up with friends or family they care enough to want to talk about you, strangers on the street see you with a fusion pack and they want to talk about you.  You, you, you, you.  YOU can’t get enough of you or rather AWAY from you.  

After the first few days undergoing my chemotherapy treatments and awaking from my fog, my Nan decided it would be a good idea to head up to the pines and simply get away.  What I really wanted was to get away from ME.  I spent the last four days in beautiful 60-degree weather, enjoyed the smell of rain and was able to escape from the world, but most of all myself.  It was an opportunity for me to engross myself in anything but my cancer and take a breather from talking about it with Doctor’s, friends and yes, even myself.

My point is, everyone in my life means the world to me and they are always asking how I am and I’ve realized that through cancer I have some of the most amazing people supporting me in my life; despite my diagnosis.  What I want to ensure I work on throughout this process is supporting those people, too and realizing that even though my reality right now is everything cancer, it is not everyone else’s.  I am vowing to not let the cancer consume me, but let me consume it.  Instead, orbit around my family and friends and show cancer that with or without a mask, I am not ducking from it’s disparity.  I am standing up to cancer and there will be a day when I am able to relish in things outside of this hideous disease and myself.

Love,

Britt x

⌛ Life in a Fogg ⌛

First Chemo Fog

I’ll preface this post by stating that drugs of my choice throughout my 27-year-old life have been limited to Tylenol PM.  Particularly, after my thyroid surgery at 21, where shortly thereafter, insomnia like conditions consumed my nights and interrupted my days.  The sleep aid became a remedy to assist me in functioning like a “normal” adult, allowed me to attend my 9 to 5 and ultimately walk with the living, during daylight hours.

Having said all of that, for the majority of my life I have been a complete and utter prude about introducing any ill-formed drugs into my body, including over the counter and clearly recreational drug use.  My idiosyncrasy of a conscious would rear it’s ugly head and leave me with thoughts of, “I can’t do that, I’ll get in trouble…”, or “I shouldn’t do that, it could cause cancer.”  Low and behold, here we are nonetheless.  Irrecoverably so, I stand by my choice for being a down and out pedant when it comes to drugs and my life choices thus far.

Now here I sit, a 27-year old, rejected of any major vices, whom has Stage IV cancer and is fighting the toxins and heavy duty venoms that is chemotherapy.  Today I began my fourth day of chemo, the first day thus far without the ball and chain, or fusion pack, as they prefer to call it.  Almost unrecognizable to myself, the reflection is too foggy to even diagnose, I cannot identify with myself and most illusionary, the fragmented thoughts in which I am trying to possess.  Chemo has hit me and it has hit me firm.

Yet again, I desensitized myself from the trajectory that is chemo.  Figuring I would be the golden-child, the one that was able to get by without a funny feeling or a hiccup in the side effect line up.  As history proves, my instincts were sorely miscalculated.  Barely able to see outside of the mist that lands two feet in front of me, my body wants nothing more to rest, while my disseminated reflections work overtime.  My legs and feet are roaring to go, as though I have been struck by the jitterbug, but contractedly so, my perplexed lower half is unable to oblige.

I want nothing more than to strike the complaints of my once ill-fitted sleep deprivation.  Over the last few days, I have slept more soundly, without aid, mind you, than I have in over 6 years.  Now of course, I have caught up on the last six years of sleep and I am rebutted by my blunderers sleep habits.  Old habits die hard, after all.

So, as I try to manage the cancer with the poisons in which they are injecting into my body for the next six months, I give you my first few days of chemotherapy and how it has cast itself so abundantly upon me.    My dearest friend, Crystal mentioned to me today that chemo is the small price I have to pay to get the cancer to go away.  And you know what?  She’s right.  I am fortunate enough to be able to go through chemo and fight for my life, instead of surrender to the disease that is currently living deep within me.  But at the end of the day, the truth is, in no eloquent terms, cancer sucks, chemo sucks and that’s the cold hard truth.

Until next time, my friends…

Love,

Britt x