Don’t Quit

They say that we are all fused together by that of pain. Pain brings out the rawest form of human kindness and humanity and out of suffering emerges the strongest of souls. Pain pulls individuals together, something magnetic, something holier than gravity itself. Whether you can align yourself with someone else’s pain due to your own experience, or the experience of a loved one, cancer can be the epitome of pure, human agony.

Sometimes with cancer in particular, you can only get through it five minutes at a time, with each and every breath counted to propel you onto the next five-minute time span. For the last eight months, I have lived my life in five-minute intervals. Talking myself through the course of how to make it to the next five minutes, while chasing the fugitive that is cancer.

When you are initially diagnosed with cancer, you immediately want to reset the hands of time and relive your life in a way that you believe it could have been prevented. A fresh reboot, in hopes for a different outcome. But the truth is, no matter where we hide, cancer would still have a way of finding us. I am a true believer that every cancer patient is not reduced as a human because of their fortune, but rather given the opportunity to grasp the meaning of what it means to live, in the truest of forms. Cancer patients past and current, survivors of our yesterdays and tomorrows and the deceased share an innate bond, a bond that is unbreakable and a guild that is unlike any other on this earth, for we are fused together by pain. The thing is, there are two types of pains, one that hurts you and the other that changes you.

Within the last few days, I have been sick in bed, which always provides me with a considerable amount of time to be in my own head. Undoubtedly over the last several months since my diagnosis, there have been many twists and turns but I realize that even though there have been greater moments of grief than fortune and many things have been taken from me as a result, there is one thing cancer cannot take from me; the bond I share with millions around the world, despite their religion, sexual preference or color of their skin, we are all one in the same, fighters.

That said, I felt compelled to dedicate this post to all of my brave, unwavering cancer peers, we are all survivors and fighters, no matter the outcome. God bless you all and next time you feel alone in the world of cancer and whenever you find yourself doubting how far you have yet to go, just think of how far you’ve already been.

Don’t quit.

Don't Quit

Love, Britt x

Makeup Free ♡ Stand Up to Cancer

In lieu of all of the beautiful, makeup free faces floating around on Facebook for Cancer Awareness, here is my makeup free mug…

I challenge you all to do the same!

#BSMHB #BrittOchoa #BeStillMyHeartBlog I I


Britt x

Hello, Strangers!

#Cancer #YoungAdultCancer #Hospital #Health #Chemo #ColonCancer #BSMHB #BrittOchoa #BeStillMyHeartBlog I I

Hello, strangers!  Or am I the stranger? I feel as though I have been so disconnected as of late; from life, writing, inspiration and people.  I’d love to say exactly why, but I’m not sure that I am fully aware as to the reason myself.  Hmm, let me try to recount the days and see if I can uncover my whereabouts, both mentally and physically.

Last time I checked in, I was explaining some of the greater symptoms that I had been having from my 10th chemo round, through my 12th, as well as the subject of my neuropathy and the side effects the prescribed medication had on my body.  As mentioned in that post, I was taking Cymbalta as a means to help with the neuropathy and it did help, however the properties that came along with the drug were brutal and the Urologist determined that the medication was causing the neck of my bladder to be choked off, therefore I was left unable to urinate.

Shortly after the discovery of the Cymbalta’s outcome with the Urologist, my Oncologist called to schedule an impromptu appointment to discuss the next steps.  Seeing the Doctor upon her immediate request, she advised me to stop taking the medication immediately and then prescribed me with a drug called Lyrica, which falls a little bit closer to the results that we were looking to obtain with managing the neuropathy.  You see, neuropathy is one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy, but if not treated in a precise manner, then you may run the risk of the neuropathy being long term or potentially permanent.  That said, I gave the new medication a shot and yearned for the best.

A week or so into taking Lyrica, I felt optimistic.  Slowly, but surely the pins, needles and numbness to my hands and feet were beginning to subside and I was gaining more and more feeling, which meant walking became easier, as did grasping anything with my hands/fingers.  For a few days I was able to enjoy some comfort and wasn’t doomed to days in bed because of an inability to walk.

Just as I began to feel slightly human again, I was met once over with the encounters of brutal side effects and they were back in full swing; inability to urinate, walk, use my hands and an overall unwell detect.  As you would expect, I became annoyed with the ongoing symptoms that the neuropathy medication was contributing to my already ailing body.  I then rose to taking needful narcotics such as morphine and oxycodone, which were prescribed for  “as needed” pain relief.  Although it wasn’t the remedial purpose for the drugs, they allowed for a short-term relief of pain, but then again there are remote side effects to those drugs as well, brining forward a catch-22 on the scale of “pain” or “la-la land”.

Nevertheless, I saw the Doctor again for an urgent appointment to further discuss how we would tackle the treatment of neuropathy, while continuing to confront the main invader, which would be my cancer.   As I sat there in her office, I felt as though I was speaking to someone who I had known for years and someone with whom knows WAY too much about me, right down to my urination schedule and sleeping patterns.  However, she is also someone who genuinely cares and takes it upon herself to see that my cancer is cured and that I remain comfortable every step of the way until the euphoric day when I can say that I am CANCER FREE.

After endless amounts of brain storming, my Oncologist finally came to the decision to allow me to have a break from my chemotherapy treatment.  While this was wonderful news, it’s not under the most positive of reasoning.  She feels that my numbers are at a stage where she is comfortable giving me a few weeks to a few months relief from chemo, in an effort that my neuropathy will dissipate due to my young age, in addition to gaining back some much needed energy before starting chemo up again in the near future.

I am certainly grateful for the break, as I believe it is much needed on all accounts; both a mental and physical vacation.  Yet, it hasn’t been much of an escape thus far to meet the expectations of what I had anticipated this “chemo holiday” to be.  This has come with lying in bed most of my days, as the neuropathy has worsened, which has since led to muscle loss in my legs and has made me very weak overall.  Plus, the incessant TV commercials about laundry detergent are making me feel extremely guilty for my failure at holding up domestic duties and all of the exercise equipment infomercials result in me watching rock hard abs, all while I am withering away in my pajamas, in my bed.  That aside, it hasn’t been the visionary “The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music” type of retreat, but seemingly I figured I would take what I could get.

Fast-forward a week or so, to my self-medicating, stir-crazy essential self, with little to no movement each day, to which I was then met with Thursday of last week and things got a little more interesting, even perhaps fun…at least for me.  Suddenly, the hills were actually alive with the sound of music and I was Julie Andrews, singing somewhere lost in a sea of flowers, whilst wearing German styled clothing.  Clearly, this was not happening, but it might as well have, for in my mind it was the real deal.  Yes, folks, Thursday I spent a fair share of my day hallucinating both visually and auditory.  My Nan, being semi alarmed about my tall tales and fanciful demeanor, immediately called to speak with my Oncologist and the Dr. referred my Nan to call 911.  Coherent enough to feel that calling 911 sounded ridiculous when I literally live 2 streets up from the Hospital, I requested that my Nan simply drive me there instead.

Rapidly being treated by the Emergency Department, they ran all sorts of scans, tests, etc. per the usual trips that I have become all too accustomed to.  I continued to drift in and out of my fairytale land only to overhear the ER nurse explain that I have bronchitis and a slight fever, which was the cause for my hallucinations.  It only took them six hours and twenty tests for them to come to that conclusion, but nonetheless, we were free to go home, where I would find myself instantaneously slipping into a slumber.

The following day I was left with no recollection of what the prior day looked like, including my journey to the hospital.  The weekend continued on with my now usual routine of waking up, having a cup of tea and residing to the bedroom for the remainder of the day, accompanied by Keg and some heavy duty pills for my record breaking ailments.  Soon the weekend surpassed without little action on my part and Monday, too, was in ordinary, insignificant form.  Yet, today, here we are and like every other day my aches, pains and numbness to the feet and hands are at an all time high, alongside increased blurred vision and absent-mindedness about many occurrences over the last two weeks or so.

With the ever-so-wise husband at work, he called me, as if he knew something was wrong today.  I tearfully told him how difficult it has been to sit here and write this blog post with my brief absence from the blog and to catch my readers up to speed.  The reason being, I could vaguely remember anything at all, from the fine details right up to the obvious happenings.  I also informed him that my vision was particularly blurry and that the evils of neuropathy had spread to the top of my thigh.

This now brings me to the last twenty minutes of my life.  I called the Doctor, in which she said she was very concerned over my slight amnesia and blurred vision.  In the world of a Doctor, those can be symptoms that can be synonymous to the brain.  Therefore, I have a MRI brain scan scheduled for first thing tomorrow morning.

In the end, maybe it was meant to be that I was absent from my blog for a week or two, as it forced me to recount my time; obliviousness and not for lack of concentration or attempt.  So, thank you my friends for listening/reading as I break everything down to memory.  Wish me luck tomorrow on my scan and fingers crossed that I remember writing this despairing post!


Britt x