#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.

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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

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Love, Britt x

Goodnight 2014, Hello 2015… 🎉🎉🎉

Holiday Card 2014

As evidence, this blog post declares that I have survived yet another Christmas. It’s now New Years Eve, one of my favorite holidays for many reasons; the promise of a clean slate, a perfectly wrapped excuse to wear head to toe sequins and an anticipation that 2015 will be our tomorrow, a new start, new pattern of thoughts, new wave of emotions and a new connection to our world. Typically, a new year offers up many things that we look forward to and we are quick to put the year that we were once too, so excited about, now neatly on the shelf along with the years before it. Lately I have been having fragments of memories and thinking about what 2014 meant to me; perhaps things I can take away like small victories and lessons learned.

Reflecting upon my year seems like one big fog. It’s pretty apt to say that I’ve spent most of the year in a king size bed and on chemo. That paired with taking advantage of my medical marijuana, watching indie flicks and appearing as if I am in a time warp of the nineteen-eighties; as my ensemble of sweat pants, side ponytail and questionable socks would give me away. Looking back on 2014, things went as fast as we could think about them and is fair to say that this has been the fastest of my life and certainly the cloudiest and clearly something that I have never experienced prior to. Moments of 2014 in my cloudy memory appear to be on old film, with just flickers of proof that certain things happened at all. In years past I have thought certain years to be long, but 2014 was something else. A lot happened, yet nothing at all.

For starters, I discovered that sporting hats with short hair is weird. But then I said fuck it, who cares if it looks weird, I like hats and that’s that. So forth, I continued to wear hats of all kinds throughout the year and the real lesson learned was if you are fond of something, even if it might not be “the thing to do”, DO IT ANYWAY and to hell with what others may think.

On a more serious note, I also realized that happiness was not going to hit me like a train, as Florence Welch once declared in her clever lyrics. Happiness is a state of mind that I’ve had to work extremely hard to achieve this year and by doing so I have been in therapy and I am learning how to be happy again after I suffered severe depression because of my disease for the majority of the year. Yet, therapy has allowed me not to feel trapped by my depression and disease and appreciate moments with everything I have on this earth. Create a world of your own happiness, live in that bubble, pay no mind to the people that wish not to be a part of your world and allow yourself to feel free of anything that doesn’t belong in your own shadow of happiness.

Say no. Say yes. Over the course of the year I noticed that when I was more honest about things and feelings and all of that human b.s. that makes us feel alive, I felt healthier inside. I’ve learned to say ‘no’ to the things I am not interested in or don’t have energy for and I’ve recognized that it’s nothing personal to those I have said no to in the last year, but more about satisfying my own needs. It sounds so selfish and despicable, but it’s the truth. Nature your own wants and needs and you’ll become a much happier and organic person, so that when you do say ‘YES!”, you know you’ll make it worth their while.

Moving on…when they aren’t forced on you, rituals are awesome. I’ve attended many events in 2k14; weddings, funerals, significant birthdays, births, marathons and so on. All of the said listed are merely celebrations of life and celebrations that matter. We are living; breathing miracles and we have been given this great adventure called life, so my experience over the last year has taught me that rituals are simply celebrations and to treat everything, every moment as it were the celebration of your existence.

Lastly, I have become aware that prudent patience is worth the wait. Yes, even that eye twitching, lip biting, heart racing kind of patience. I’m thrilled to share that with my persistence with treatment and patience with my journey, it has allowed my disease to be considered as stable (not to be confused with remission), but I now have the ablility to say that I am at a place where I can call the shots on my chemo, take small breaks, do maintenance chemotherapy and call myself happy and almost healthy. It took a ton of poison to allow me to get to this place and with that came many adversities. However, I will now have a chance to catch a break, revisit the life I had prior to cancer, or as closely to it as possible. I’ve been cleared to travel and explore the world as I wish to do. But, most importantly it means that I have gained back some control over my journey and can free myself from having to be battle hard as I did so tirelessly in 2014. That said, goodnight 2014 and hello, 2015….

PS-
‘HAPPY New Dreams
HAPPY New Days
HAPPY New Desires
HAPPY New Ways
HAPPY New Year
HAPPY New You.’

Love, Britt x

Like Watson Loves Sherlock…

Hands

Growing up with a realist viewpoint on relationships, I was never into mushy-gushy romances. I grew up with strong women around me, preaching that you don’t need a man to feel loved, beautiful or smart. It so happens that I felt all of those things on my own. By nature, I am Scorpio – needless to say, I am very passionate about most things and extremely independent. As a child, I could not have imagined the feeling I’d have of love from my future partner and as it would turn out he exceeded my expectations.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I met my now husband. Within the spectrum of six years, we’ve had our blissful moments of being young and in love, as well down on our luck, scraping for rent money and arguing over what now seems so silly. There was a certain innocence to our early days, both with hearts that were wild and free. My new boyfriend, fresh out of the military and myself, a go-getter and a good time, we shared an instant connection and within a matter of days after meeting, we were an instantaneous team. We were like minded in may ways, both independent and cultured, we shared our travel stories that came before one another and bonded over a variety of things that stimulated us in this world. We knew we wanted to make our way to a life worth living and together at that.

Undoubtedly as time passed and our “honeymoon” stage came to an end, we learned more about what made us tick, living habits and moved in together and shared a small place that we called home. Over the course of what I call, “Part I”, we encountered many twists and turns and the growing pains of where our relationship was headed.

Two short years after being in a relationship, we felt it was time we took our bond to the next level; marriage. Our engagement was stressful, we fought like cats and dogs and it was fair to say that people were questioning our union. Although hectic and demanding, we made it through our engagement and had a shit show of a wedding (yes, it was a shit show). However, none of that mattered because all that stood out on that day and every day thereafter, was the fact that my hand was in his hand and our souls were jointly on fire. If only we knew then what we know now. Our lives took a sharp turn when a year into our marriage, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer at age 27.

I read an article the other day that inspired me to write this, as Steve and I are on a journey that we never expected, much like many other forks in the road, but this time it was life and death. Steve at the age of 28 had to take on a responsibility that didn’t seem possible in the marriage clause. Yet, from day one he managed to take the bull by the horns and build me into the warrior he always knew I was. Making it his personal mission to assist me in getting well, there were many sacrifices that had to be made. We had it all, lost it all and slowly he’s working tirelessly to ensure that we have whatever we desire, but most of all, health.

What I’ve realized is that Steve doesn’t shower me with compliments on a daily basis and sometimes his sarcasm goes too far. There are days when I’m too tired or lazy to get out of bed and he holds me accountable. At times he makes me get out of the house despite how poorly I feel, just so I can get some fresh air and a little sunshine. And other times, he is so into watching Discovery Channel that he doesn’t glance up when I walk out of a room. We shift and we shape and marriage isn’t always made up of kisses, flowers and dreamy gazes into each other’s eyes. Instead, it’s about being real with one another, loyalty and having the best interest of yourself and your partner, as a unit.

Life since being with Steve has been far from perfect. We love hard, we fight hard and by no means is our life sensationalized. We’ve had down right shit times and then the simplest of moments can bring us pure ecstasy. We are each other’s echo through everything in life and when you strip away all of the “things”, love still holds no bounds.

Out of our six-year relationship, the past two years have been my favorite. Of course it may sound sullen, as I have been battling cancer for the last two years, yet we have formed an even closer, fiercer, unbreakable declaration to walk through this life together. We have had the best and worst of each other and at the end of the day, I chose it all. I believe in my husband and he has without a doubt shown his very own belief in me, his warrior. The rest of our lives may be trying and forgiving, but we’ll always be in it together.

Thank you, Steve for being the biggest pain in my ass and my best friend, forever. I love you like Watson loves Sherlock.

Love, Britt x

A Quick Hello…

The second I was diagnosed with cancer, my life was forever changed and I was a part of the cancer world; doctors, sickness, sacrifice, resilience, sadness and most of all the incredible bonds with people that you may have otherwise not known. That’s the blessing in it all, meeting individuals fighting a similar struggle and truly, 100% understanding that person and their soul.

In the last few weeks, three very impactful people lost their lives to cancer. Words cannot express the sorrow that cancer and death has brought to their families, who are now also a part of the cancer world, forever. Naturally it has made me gain some perspective, even inspiring me to pray to the entity that is my God. I hadn’t connected with my faith since being diagnosed, particularly talking to the person upstairs. I know it should all make sense someday, but I can assure you, it certainly doesn’t at the moment.

However, the loss of these three lovely souls has stimulated me to spend my time wisely and freely here on Earth, truly live life the fullest. In the last two weeks, despite chemo and feeling unwell, I have evolved into a stronger person than I was weeks before. Firstly, I celebrated my twenty-ninth Birthday with all of those I love and adore and felt the upmost appreciation for the gift of aging. Lets be real, twenty-nine is scary, it’s the end of an era and there are no more excuses of being irresponsible or spending your rent check on a pair of Chanel pumps. When I think back through my twenties, I realized how much life I lived within in the parameter of those essential years. Having said that it only seemed natural to ensure that my twenty-ninth year of life goes off with a bang and in spite of my circumstances, have the best fucking time ever. Make it count.

With this new wheel in motion, I have expanded my horizons, put myself in some necessary, yet uncomfortable situations and survived, not to mention, was a part of a great cause via the Colon Cancer Alliance and raised money and walked the Colon Cancer Undy5k. It was our second year of being a part of this wonderful, championed group of people standing up to Colon Cancer. Seeing all of the faces of my peers battling the same disease and doing it with everything they have was an amazing thing to be a part of and the Undy5k is now something that my friends, family and overall supporters will do year after year. A cure is possible and so is life.

Cancer can make things really difficult and there are days that you don’t want to wake up, you want it all to be over. But, in the end death is a part of life and evolution, we’re each here for a purpose and to make the most out of the precious time we have here.

To my friends who have lost their battle, may you rest in peace and may you be in a state of pure nirvana. Thank you for the life you brought to all of those around you and the impact you may have never realized that you had.

To my family, friends and supporters across the globe; thank you for the constant encouragement and going on this journey with me. I am happy to say, “#TeamBritt “ came in the top ten of the Undy5k in terms of what was raised. What would I do without all of you? Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Here’s a few pics from the Undy5k.  Talk soon. xx

Undy5k 2014

Undy5k 2014

Undy5k

Undy5k 2014

For more pictures of the 2014, 7th annual Colon Cancer UndyRUN 5K please visit:

azcentral

Love, Britt x