Almost Thirty: Memory Lane Part I

Memory

Sometimes I get a little sentimental about the days before I was diagnosed with cancer. Often times it’s when I am relaxing my achy soul in a steaming bubble bath while Patsy Cline cradles my heart with her soothing songs in the background. Drifting into another lifetime, the thought of the long-standing side effects of chemotherapy are not lost upon me. “Chemo brain” is the common lingo used to describe the forgetfulness, where some cancer patients like myself are greatly impacted. That combined with the lethal pain management medication, it becomes easy to have left your mind in an unknown place.

If memory serves me right (pun intended), I used to be as sharp as a tack. A memory of an elephant and the ability to recount the tiniest of details was a knack I thought I’d never shake. Admittedly I see now that I took it for granted. Throughout my school days it was not unusual for me to retain everyone’s name in every single class, whether we spoke or not. It was a part of my charm, even perhaps making others feel special every so often. Maybe?

Then cancer entered my life. I started treatment and one of the initial impressions of chemotherapy, aside from the physical elements, was feeling detached from my mind and memory. Spacey would be an understatement of how I swiftly felt as my treatment proceeded, leaving me to barely recount short or long-term cognizance.

From there it trickled down and sanctioned me into thinking about where my life is presently and all of the hopes and dreams I still have for myself. The floodgates to the inevitable neatly seep in and take over, with mortality becoming the forefront of every  foggy thought. In the midst of the flood, something happens and like a life vest, my memories suddenly save me. It can be triggered by a text, a picture, a song or even a smell and all at once, just like that, I remember. I remember why I fight so damn hard everyday to beat this cancer, to reclaim my life. The memories provide the sunshine when the path is too dim to see what’s ahead. And soon, I will be able to say that I have 30 years full of magnificent memories and have been blessed with such a colorful life.

As my 30th Birthday approaches, I am going to take a trip down memory lane each day and share some of my life’s most precious moments on  Be Still My Heart Blog. Life should be celebrated and while I continue to kick cancer’s ass each day, I will always have my blog to look upon and reminisce, giving me the fuel to continue to fight for my future.

Enjoy this gem of Steve and I on a trip to California and check in as I look back through the years…x

Love, Britt x

#2 “Cancerversary” Q & A:

#2 Cancerversary

Upon my #2 year “cancerversary” I reflected upon the journey with some Q&A:

Q: What makes you smile these days?

A: Air conditioning first and foremost, but otherwise it’s just the simple things; a funny text, a song on the radio that triggers a lovely memory and of course the fact that I am lucky enough to get the summer free from chemo. A break from treatment has left a permanent smile on my face.

Q: Did you learn anything in your second year of battling cancer?

A: YES! Not all things are fair, but that is the nature of life. I’ve realized that I am here on a spiritual journey and if I’m open, l will see the beautiful lessons all around. But most of all, I’ve learned to accept my defeats and try to grow from them instead of letting them control me in a negative way.

Q: What has been your most memorable moment in the last year?

A: Ah! There are too many, this last year has been so good to me. I’d say my most precious moment was when I was in Liverpool with my Nan and a street violinist played, “You are my Sunshine” and my Nan sang it word for word to me. It was an emotional, raw moment that I’ll never forget.

Q: What have you done to make your life less stressful?

A: I’ve stuck to my zero bullshit tolerance. I often walk on such a fine line of being content and depressed and in order to remain on the positive side of things I’ve learned that I need to protect myself. It’s a challenge.

Q: Are you carrying any excess baggage into your third year as a cancer patient?

A: No. I’d say I am in a pretty great place; my tumor markers are at an all time low, my body is getting stronger each day and I am focusing on my mental health constantly. I’m also creatively in a good place, with a lot of different projects in the works.

Q: Is there anyone that deserves a big “THANK YOU”?

A: Anyone that has given me love, encouragement and support over the last two years. I always feel the love.  Steve and my Nan are saints and I can never thank them both enough, especially.

Q: What are your top three goals for the next year?

A: Obviously first and foremost is to try and stay as healthy as possible, with the thought that my terminal illness is not a death sentence and try to live as normally as I can. I’d also like to put a lot of energy into my creative power, publish the book that I am co-authoring and manifest a steadfast voice for cancer patients and survivors.

Q: What has the biggest lesson been so far with having cancer?

A: Sometimes painful things can teach us the most beautiful lessons. I’ve seen people’s true colors, as well as my own and I’ve realized that peace really does have to come from within.

Q: What are your fears?

A: Letting fear win. Once fear enters the mind, it takes over the body and I can’t afford to let that happen.

Q: What have you struggled with in the last year that you want to change?

A: Communication was my biggest struggle this year. I have a tendency to be such a loner and keeping up with people and connecting sometimes takes a lot of energy for me. But, I realize the significance of my relationships and I’d like to be able to reciprocate my time and energy more often and freely. It is so important.

Q: What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?

A: TRAVEL! A year ago I was on travel lockdown and too sick to pack up and go. This year I’ve managed to travel and it’s been bliss! My two biggest trips were Hawaii with Steve and the UK with my Nan. My world opened up again this year and changed me forever.

Q: What word best describes the way you’ve spent the last year of your life?

A: Transparent.

Q: In one year from today, how do you think your life will be different?

A: Hopefully my cancer will still be in a manageable place, where I can continue to have a quality of life. Second to that, I hope to get published and see the book lined on shelves for everyone to read. High hopes, always!

Q: Are there any issues from the cancer that you continually avoid to talk about?

A: Yes, the dynamic that takes place with family members when cancer is in the mix. Those you think would be there aren’t always able to show up for you and it is difficult to accept. So far the thing I hate most about cancer is what it can do to a family.

Q: What is something that no one, not even cancer can take away from you?

A: Writing. At times cancer can take away my will to live, but writing let’s me bleed and reminds me that I am alive.

Q: When you look into the past, before your diagnosis, what do you miss the most?

A: Pre-cancer me is such a stranger now. I miss feeling young, wild and free. Cancer can feel like a trap at times and my body feels ancient.

Q: What is the #1 change you need to make in your life for the next 12 months?

A: Let go of what I can’t change. I think that’s a quote, but accepting change is what I need to change.

Q: What have you learned about yourself in the last two years that you have been a cancer patient?

A: I’m pretty fu*kin strong!  Also, the importance of mental health — it can be so tricky!

Q: What is one thing right now that you are totally sure of?

A: That you can never really be sure of anything.

Q: What question do you often ask yourself?

A: Where is my mind? I sing it to myself though, like the Pixies.

Q: Time or money?

A: Time, it’s priceless.

Q: What is your wish for the next year of your life?

A: Happiness.

IMG_0196

I F*CKING LOVE MY GIRLFRIENDS!

WHO RUNS THE WORLD

If you drink too much, cuss too much and have questionable morals, you are probably my friend. Okay, all jokes aside, I don’t take the time often enough to say “I F*CKING LOVE MY GIRLFRIENDS!” and the thing is, I do. I’ve always been one of those lucky ducks when it comes to friends, whether past or present, I’ve always had solid girlfriends of all shapes, sizes and opinions. Absolutely there have been a few sour apples in the mix, but the rest of the batch has been unmatched.

After going through the trenches of cancer for the past two years, I realize that I have not been the greatest girlfriend in return. I’m notorious for forgetting to respond to text messages, I make plans and bail and even sometimes become self consumed with my own, crazy life that I don’t spend enough time expressing interest in yours. Yet all the while, without a doubt I still get love and you never fail to leave me off the invite list, even though you know I most likely won’t leave my house (((because, because))) and we can go days, weeks, months and even at times a whole year without spending more than an hour together, but at the drop of a hat I know you’d be there.

This one is for my girls;

Thank you for keeping it real when I have a tendency to do the most ridiculous things or have the most outlandish ideas. I come to you because I know you are wise and honest and will always have my best interest at heart.

To my friends that are now Mom’s — GOD BLESS YOU! None of you will ever truly know how in awe I am of you. I can barely remember to brush my hair and take my crazy pills and yet you manage to not only take the best care of your kid(s), but you also look crazy beautiful and effortless while doing it. I endlessly praise you!

To my friends who have traveling souls, you may not realize this but as a cancer patient I live vicariously. I have been very fortunate to be able to travel even going to Hawaii and the UK just this year, but it’s difficult due to energy levels, treatments, etc. It’s so lovely to see photos or hear stories of your travels, its beautiful to see the thirst people have for adventure and living life to its fullest and the way you see the world is wildly contagious and inspiring.

To all my #Girlboss friends out there, no matter what profession you are in, you work damn hard and deserve it all. Your insane ability to manage squillions of things at once and be on point as a friend is beyond me. Get it!

The fearless friends that hone in on things they love to do and put effort into practicing their craft. With having the attention span of a fly and the energy of a snail, the fact that, unlike me, you take the time to run a marathon or belly dance at the nearest coffee shop means you took the time to learn something, to better yourself and immerse yourself into your passions. How truly motivating, I mean, really.

My point is, I’ve been blessed with friends from all ends of the earth and all walks of life. We may not talk everyday or laugh over brunch and a mimosa(sss) on a regular basis, but in some way you all do what you do and still manage to be a brilliant friend. So, I guess what I am trying to say is, THANKS. On days that are a bit darker than others, I can still smile knowing that I can call the most kick ass babes, my friends.

Cheers, GIRLS!

Love, Britt x

A BROAD, ABROAD WITH A BLOG, ✈

Hello, my shining moonbeams. It’s been a minute. Within that minute I have entered what I feel to be a new phase in my life, a freeing phase that is catapulted by happiness. For nearly a month, I spent time across the pond and rediscovered my life and the things I want out of it.

To start off, wow. Can I just say – I LOVE ENGLAND! I’ve always known that and I had been there times before, but this time felt different. As most of you know, if you follow my story, I have been on travel lock down since my cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2013. By nature I am a jetsetter. I enjoy being in unknown places, without being attached to my “real” life and the troubles within. When I travel, there is a certain romance to it, a freedom that allows you to be whomever you want and for me, that is living without a terminal illness. I’m able to go back to being me; an adventurer with thirst in my blood for worldly experiences. When I was diagnosed, I felt that one of the biggest losses to having cancer was the fact that I could no longer be as free as I wished to be. My citizen of the world passport would no longer apply and I’d be stuck doing treatment after treatment without an escape. My escape had become writing. If I were no longer going to be able to leave and experience life, then I’d write about it, which I have.

This year, 2015, I vowed to myself that it would be different than the last two, that I would yet again spread my wings and live a little. In the beginning of the year I approached my Doctor and pleaded for some independence from my chemotherapy week after week, to which she obliged and advised that 2015 could be my year of travel with chemo squeezed in between. It was the best news I had heard in quite some time and immediately booked a trip to Hawaii with Steve-O and planned the trip for Nan and I go travel to the UK together to attend my beautiful cousin’s wedding and share laughs and love with the family over there that we don’t get to see often enough.

The trip was so important to me and I wanted to ensure that I soaked everything in. My Nan in her very own way was my wish-granting factory, as she made the trip happen. Being that we were returning to her home town, I was fortunate enough to visit her previous homes, where she grew up, the house she was born in, the hospital she had my Mum and Auntie Bev in, where my Granddad went to college, where the two of them were married and so much more. Being able to experience England through her eyes was more than my hearts desire and something I will never be able to thank her enough for.

There were endless amounts of stories, laughs, fish and chips, tea and best of all time with family on both my Nan’s side and my Granddad’s side.   My roots are in full force over there and it was lovely to get to know that side of myself so much more. The posh wedding of my cousin, which we attended, has built memories that will last a life time, as well as traveling to Chester, Liverpool and all over the Wirral with my cousin’s and their other halves, of course also visiting London with the best company and seeing each and every friend and family member. Howls were had, love was expressed and England will forever hold the key to my heart. Quite literally, as Nan and I locked our love on Albert Dock in Liverpool and threw the key into the River Mersey. Our loved ones can continue to visit us in Liverpool, even though we may not physically be there, our spirit will always remain.

Since I’ve been back I have been reliving each moment in my head and finding it difficult to write about. My time spent there was so special, that it is difficult to express. I feel rejuvenated and feel I have a new sense of direction for my life.   Suddenly gears have started moving upon my return and from that, fresh goals have emerged. I’m super excited about the future and what it holds and as things get closer, I’ll share more deets.

In the meantime, check out some photos from my trip and watch out for some upcoming projects and collabos. Big Kiss x.

Follow me on Instagram for daily updates: bestillmyheartblog

UKTRIP16

UKTRIP15

UKTRIP14

UKTRIP14

UKTRIP13

UKTRIP12

UKTRIP11

UKTRIP10

UKTRIP9

UKTRIP8

UKTRIP7

UKTRIP6

UKTRIP5

UKTRIP1

UKTRIP3

UKTRIP2

                 UKTRIP1

Love, Britt x

Ambivalence

Romans

I’m ambivalent.   I didn’t know what that meant, what the true meaning behind such a layered word was. Sure, I had heard it time after time upon watching one of my favorite movies, yet hadn’t resonated as to what the depth of the citation was, that was until a few weeks ago.

You see, I was declared healthy two months ago, after my nearly year battle with Stage IV, “incurable” cancer. Healthy in the world of cancer, not in the real sense of the word. I was as healthy as I would ever be. My tumors still existed, but without activity of the disease, therefore aggressive treatment was no longer necessary. Until of course, an unknown date far off into the future, perhaps when I was old enough for cancer to be a-typical, following a lifetime full of contented moments, through that of an admirable, strong career, a quirky marriage and at least two children, both with names passé, like Pearl and Vernon, all in an artless attempt to delightfully balance our modern romance.   But before the far out actuality of baby Pearl and Vernon, or better yet Agnes and Arthur (see it’s the inconsistency taking action), I would have to find out what the stratums of ambivalence actually was. Was I indeed healthy? Was I a normal human? Was I happy or sad? Extraordinary or just a regular part of the vast organism holding to the ecstatic, hypnotized approach to life? Ambivalence.

If I wasn’t sick, then what was I? Surely, I wasn’t “well”. Waking each morning, deadened by the lack of feeling in all four limbs due to the evils of chemotherapy side effects, I had become just as disoriented as to what to do with myself. Throughout the course of my diagnosis and treatment, I was the animated cancer girl, the one who fought tooth and nail to live, feeling alive in the potential, yet somehow unimaginable glooms of death. I reflected. In fact, I thought a lot while I was undergoing treatment, both about life and death and how separated the two were from one another and visualized myself in both capacities. In one arena, which is life and to be living, I belted together my wishes for the future, alongside the company of loved ones and fancied myself to be this bigger, better, wiser person post cancer. Creating the version of myself that I wanted to be, I told myself that cancer chose me, to allow me to find my voice, be aú fait with the purpose to my befuddling diagnosis in my twenties and reveal to anyone who was adept to listening, what the truthful meaning to life was. Self-assuredly hailing as someone who held that special ticket, despite it’s undesirable accolades for the winnings. That was precisely it; I recognized that most would find being diagnosed with cancer in the prime years of their twenties to be a bear, an insurmountable amount of cargo that was just there to fuck up your life, even feasibly ending your life. But, unlike most, I found a way from day one of my cancerous identification to cope, to march on and be the damndest, most defiant cancer patient that there ever was. I considered the alternate and deemed that plastering my thoughts with inspirational quotes and anti-cancer propaganda would likely echo my wishes to live, therefore be skillful and talented enough to survive, because after all, survival in itself is the true virtuoso.

Then there was the opposing side, the crosswise model of what my ambivalence projected. Death; something, which is often thought of when in the amphitheater of cancer and its expiry ways. In the beginning death terrified me. I wasn’t ready to die, for I had not been able to tender my contented moments, alongside my wicked cool career, prevailing marriage to my sweet and the opportunity to raise our idiosyncratic children, what were there names again– oh, right, Pearl and Vernon; or better yet Scarlette and Everett. Once again changeability was proving to be a deep conflict in my ambivalent psyche. At first it was the things that I needed to do to avoid death, run from it and show who was boss. For fuck sake, it became my all intended apparition. I lived and breathed how to evade death, yet was walking so closely to the other station, in which once the train comes to a screeching halt, so does your life. It wasn’t until recently that I thought of death in a positive light. This being after my declaration of health. Somehow, suddenly, without the possibility of death lurking about, I became less amused at trying to stay alive, or even wanting to for that matter. It’s not quite been put together how my mind can connect the madness and logic, medically or otherwise, as to how an individual who had fought so fiercely to live on, yet is now blessed with an endurable second chance, has wishes to be a part of the departed. Yet, the days, weeks and months following my good fortune became more and more difficult than the voyage through cancer and its treatment. Once again, how could I piece together my menacing thoughts, when the news of my remission should have brought me great contentment, enough to propel me back into the real world, amongst the living, working towards my life altering movement into the truths about cancer, the depths of its shadowy distortion and how I still made it out with enough sanity and grace to possess my adoring marriage and obscurely assorted future baby names.

As time proceeded, I continued to gain greater and greater disposition to the latter. The latter of course being the death scenario. All of the sudden, death didn’t scare me; I had made peace that my chances to live or die were 50/50. Nonetheless, ambivalent. It was as though I was meant to bring ambivalence to the surface, if, for nothing else to describe in full, the live definition of what ambivalence is. Once the 50/50 shades of cup empty or half full were exposed, it became even more clear that if you are only giving yourself a 50 percent chance of living, then you might not be torn either way. Life, death – ah I could stay or go. If you are so much as only “caring” that your survival rate is a shot at 50, what if your carelessness to live lessons below that? Does that make you depressed? Better yet, does it make you want to kill yourself? How can anyone answer that in sincere fashion, after all, depression doesn’t always result in suicide. Very easily I could be a mildly depressed person and not ever feel the pain behind no longer wanting to live. It was a large spectrum, but nevertheless a spectrum that I was unfamiliar with, as I did not have any previous bouts with depression and in return, had nothing to compare it to. For all I knew over the last few months, depression was a common side effect after diagnosis, treatment and everything else in between. I couldn’t have known that this wasn’t the norm, i.e.- allowing yourself to wallow in the news of remission, pining for treatment, fearful of what the future may hold, stressed with getting back in touch with your life previous to cancer and lastly, realize that you cannot cover up depression with a bit of crimson red lipstick, along with new tattoos, hairstyles and even desired trips to the beach. No, these were all things that lead to a temporary feeling of pleasure, but masking the real issue at hand; depression.

As the news of my remission came to be further and further away, my uncharacteristic woes became more and more prevalent. It started with having loss of interest in most things; seeing friends, enjoying outings, returning text messages or phone calls and then forming even greater barriers of not wanting to go out in public, not being able to sleep, forgetting to shower and at last unable to get out of bed, at all. My crying episodes were morning, noon and night and my medicinal marijuana became more than a pain management tool for my neuropathy, but a safety net in which I was beginning to desire for the numbness of a temporary escape into peacefulness where unicorns and mermaids existed. When Steve would ask what was the matter, the only thing I could murmur was that I wish I had died, or that I no longer wanted to be “here” and by “here”, I was referring to planet earth, this life, element, tier or whatever you wish to call it. I was done, I had enough and thoughts of permanent sleeping seemed ideal.

I couldn’t tell you what had happened for me to go from one extreme to the next. On one hand being the poster cancer baby and on the other, a suicidal, not down to hack it, girl who was too brave during treatment and ran out of the short supplied bravery when approaching “remission”. Ah, yes, once more, a theme for you, a theme of ambivalence. Did I long to exist or expire?   This became a fairly common question that I would ask myself and when in the deepest of blues, would share my carelessness towards living and carrying on, but rather my longing to perish in a conquest of feeling total and utter peace. Death was now defined as peace. A peace that up until my remission news, was found right here on this earth and in the body of Britt Ochoa. Now my sense of peace seemed to be in the once believed darkness of death. Beginning to become an every day wish, those around me, particularly my husband, began to feel useless in the attempt to make me happy. For my happiness came in the opposite of living, somewhere I would be eternally at rest, both mind, body and spirit.

Three days ago, in what I now find to be a cry for help, I took an unwise amount of Morphine, followed by equal amounts of Ativan. Fortunately, all that happened was a good scolding from my husband for my lack of sensibility, some tears, a tad bit of shame and of course sleepiness. When my plan didn’t work, I begged Steve to get me out of town; somewhere I could escape my thoughts and be in stillness with my soul. The days leading up to it were nothing short of a shit show. Outside forces definitely played a part after firstly, finding out that my sister in laws peg my cancer to karmic forces and secondly the words of my mother in law disparaging that she is sick and tired of me using cancer as an excuse. An excuse for what, you might ask? Who knows, either way the debauched negativity was piling high, along with the consistent lack of support and compassion, a top of my already mounting sadness and depression. For the majority of the weekend, I spent talking to God or whomever it is that supposedly watches down on us. I apologized up and down for being gifted a second chance at life and not knowing what to do with it. I continued to apologize for taking a place in the line, when there are so many fighters that fought the good fight, but nevertheless didn’t win in the end. I was willing to bargain with him, in my guilt stricken way. If there was someone who wasn’t going to make it, like, for sure, you know, as if living wasn’t in their deck of cards, yet regardless they fought every day with a smile on their face to live. My proposition was that I would trade places in line with that person, a person who would really put a second chance to good use and not waste it, like I had been doing for the last two months. I had in fact, found myself pleading with the man upstairs, swearing that I would do anything to get out of my life and transitionally swap spots with someone more worthy. My conclusion surmised that I had already been afforded a pretty full, interesting life and it got to a point where, aside from experiencing parenthood, I had satisfactorily done everything that I absolutely HAD to do. Sure, everyone has his or her “bucket list”, or my preferably labeled “to-do” list, but sincerely, aside from that I asked myself, would I really be missing out on anything else if I continued on with this life? Naturally, if there was something not worth missing- how could I miss it if I no longer existed in the first place?

Fast-forward to yesterday, I had two appointments. One being my standard monthly port draw so we could discuss the results come Thursday with my Oncologist and the second being a meeting with a social worker, in an effort to relieve me of some of my sadness and dark thoughts. As we arrived to my first appointment, we walked into the Doctors office, which I had become so lovingly connected to over the past year and I signed myself in, ready to get it over with so I could move on to the next appointment and be on my merry way, back to bed, where most recently I found myself most comfortable. I sat next to Steve in the waiting room and before I could count to ten, I was running out of the place and practically having a meltdown for all to see. Once Steve caught up with me, I tried to explain my sporadic thought wave, but failed to fully make him aware as to why I fled to begin with. The only thing I could bring myself to say was, “I can’t do this!”

Frustrated and puzzled, Steve then drove me to my second appointment of the day, which turned out to be the one and only appointment of the day. When we sat down with the social worker, the first question she asked was how long Steve and I had been married for. Before Steve could answer, I burst into uncontrollable tears, eventually coming to a break for a breath. The counselor said that it appears I need psychiatric help due to my recent state of mind and my battle experiencing cancer and all that I have gone through in the past year. She, in good faith, did not feel it would be wise to wait to get into see someone a week from now, expressing that attention needed to be drawn immediately, even going as far as suggesting I check myself into a hospital for mental and behavioral health. Without hesitation and my very own will power, I too, thought that checking myself into the loony bin would be the very best and most relevant, responsible thing to do.

Despondently, yet unavoidably, I decided to check myself into a psychiatric hospital the following day, as in today. Please note that I was in no way doing this to gain pity, to invite praise, nor did I do it to be an inspiration in the least.   Instead, I decided that not caring about my 50/50 chances of living or dying is not the way I want to live. I recognized that there is a life beyond a cancer diagnosis and even a reality after remission. I so desperately seek to get better so I can be the bigger, better, wiser person that I fancied I would be, along with advocating for cancer and all of the woes it can bring about. As I woke up this morning, I was ready to get started. Steve drove me to the hospital, where I was told a room would be ready for me. Signing myself in, I was unsure as to whether or not I was making the right decision and my stomach was in knots. Once again, I hadn’t any previous experience with depression, let alone a mental ward. My only recognition of what it might even be like was from the movies I had watched where they show the petrifying sides to mental institutions.

The in-take process took nearly four hours. You sit in a standard waiting room, much like the ER, only you are amongst other mentally unstable people searching, or being forced to get help. The staff asks you a series of questions, notably related to self-harm or the potential harm to others, followed by a therapist asking you if you are well enough to sit in the waiting room without any suicidal attempts. Once you answer the first series of questions, you are called back to a room, a room that is plain in color and all over decorum. For approximately an hour, the therapist continues to ask you further questions, specifically related to your needs, diving right into the realness of why you are there to begin with. Once you have satisfied all of the questions, you are once again released back into the waiting room, amongst your new friends and neighbors for the next few days.

The entire time I was in the private room retorting to inquiries, something was telling me that this wasn’t the type of help that I was in need of. More than ever I needed to be at home, in the comfort of my own four walls, my husbands care and a mouse click away from my favorite movies brought by way of Netflix. However, I was committed to getting help and more importantly recognized that I wanted help so I could march forward with my young life, with things like goals, a purpose and future wishes. Every fiber of my being was in doubt of this, but again, I wanted to prove to myself that I wanted to live and show myself that a prospect of positivity could come out of this experience, perhaps even one day experiencing motherhood to children with antiquated names. Exiting the interrogation room, I returned to the waiting room to find an uneasy look on my husbands face. I quietly sat next to him, thinking the same thoughts. When he looked at me to express how uncomfortable he was with me staying there, our brain waves united, but I didn’t want to be the first to say it. Precipitously, I was no longer ambivalent. Long gone were the thoughts of unbalanced hesitation as to whether I wanted to live or die. I was now, more than ever, certain that I didn’t want to harm myself or put my life in jeopardy, particularly after fighting such a difficult battle and coming out on the other end.

Just as quickly as I checked myself in, I checked myself out. In no way am I taking the seriousness out of what mental hospitals are there for, but in this slim occurrence I came to understand that being a little under motivated after such an epic battle is par for the course. Sure, not every cancer patient and survivor may experience depression, or even so, not to such a degree, but either way, I was accepting that I was a little fucked up at the moment. And you know what, that’s okay. The important thing is that I see the improvement I need to make in investing back into my life and the wonderful people who are in it. Re-focus my energies on positivity and so it’s not to fester on the negative and those who partake.

Shortly after my escape, I shared with Steve my newfound motivation for living and in no fancy way, getting my shit together, immediately if not sooner. Perhaps it was just the driving force that I needed, or perhaps it would become just another life experience to add to the list. Either way, I found myself in a grateful state of mind. Grateful for my loving, devoted husband and friend, appreciative for the beautiful family and friends in my life, a safe environment to call home and most of all, the will to lucidly broach my life intentions, whether they be in the immediate future or far off forthcomings; I was fucking alive, damnit and for the first time in a long time, in high spirits to have fought for the life I have ahead of me.

At the end of the day, I centered myself with some much-needed yoga at the Cancer Community Center, alongside my fellow cancer warriors. My wounds are not all healed, my head is still a little foggy and I have a lot of soul searching and therapist visits in my future. But, I can now understand that depression is very real, as are thoughts of self-harm and it is never too late to cry out for help. Everyone needs a little mental break now and again, just as long as the ambivalence between wanting to live and die always concludes in the drive to live the beautiful life we were imparted. Now, I dare you, go find your bliss and let go of any uncertainty. Life has a way of finding its way back and I couldn’t be more indebted that I have found mine.

PS- my apologies for saying “fuck” a lot.   Sometimes there is just no other way to eloquently say the “f” word and get your point across. xx

PSS- I am also recovering from a severe popsicle addiction, but I suppose that will be another story, for another day. xxx

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

American Cancer Society:  Depression Support/Reading Material

Cancer Support Community

Love, Britt x