My Michele, Ma Belle: Alfresco We Shall

1933942_1180777715018_4109152_nEvery time I think of my tender hearted and dear friend, Michele, The Beatles song enters my quirky brain, Michele, ma belle, these are words that go together well, my Michele.  In fact I often associate people with songs, or maybe the other way around, but either way she is my spirit sister.  We met years ago at American Express when we were both working corporate America.  Not that there is anything wrong in that.  We are both just done with that phase of our life now.  She’s blessed with two beautiful boys and has blessed me with a Godson that I often gush about.

After going to bed yesterday feeling kind of crummy, my Michele text me and as shown below, this is exactly why I love her. Tonight we are going to have a candle lit dinner à la rooftop, makeup free, laughing above the beautiful desert and cityscape of Downtown Phoenix.  We may even cry a tad because that’s what we do and then we’ll laugh a little more.  But all in all, thank you, my Michele.  You don’t know how much you impact my world.

Here’s our loony conversation, telling her to show the lady at the Vietnamese restaurant my picture because she knows me and will therefore automatically know what we want.  Brilliant if I do say so myself.  We’re like Miranda in Sex & the City, except with Pho. Always a laugh, with my Michele.

PS- Don’t bitch at me bc I know The Beatles version of My Michelle is with two ll’s but MY Michle is only one. So there.

Bon appétit and cheers,

Britt x

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Sunday: Sitting Naked Smoking a Joint B/C I Can

Moments ago I sat on our outdoor chaise, smoking a joint out of an Audrey Hepburn like fashion cigarette holder, only mine was good old fashioned Mary Jane, not a ciggy.  The backdrop being pure zen as the Japanese Friendship Garden takes my breath away, although I see it day after day.

Hance park, behind the garden just so happens to be hosting Mountain McDowell Music Festival over the weekend, where the likes of Beck and Animal Collective were a part of the line up.  Being blessed with our location in Downtown Phoenix, we were able to hear the show as if we were present.  It was clear as day, all three days!  Whilst enjoying my smokey treat, the band, The Senators were up, soothing me and the rest of the actual MMMF goers with their song, Music From Another Room and I thought how fitting. 

Here I sit, in another room, per usual because of my resistance to join the rest of the public in fear of my condition.  Just yesterday Steve, myself, my family and a ton of friends went to the horse track, as they held the annual wiener races and we of course now have our little, Zoila — sausage dog.  That morning as we were gearing up to go, I felt extremely fatigued, dizzy, clammy, so on and so forth.  Mind you, within the last few weeks I have had chemo (poison) pumped into my body, switched a total of four large doses of vital medications and was placed on hormone replacements due to going through menopause at the ripe age of thirty.  Intense doesn’t even begin to skim the surface.  Long story short, I put on a brave face, per good form and off to the races we went.

Typically for me, it’s a mixed bag of nuts going out in public, meaning anything outside of Doctor’s visits and affiliate/branding jobs.  Perhaps it’s because I’m a bit nuts myself, but  often times I suffer from anxiety because I shelter myself in so many ways.  I get weirded out and nervous thinking and believing that people are weirded out and nervous by my cancer.  The reality is, that I am able to comprehend that the world does not orbit around me and that it is all in my head.  But, hey, these are the things that go through my head and I’m being honest here.  This is my circle of truth.  Then by that point, once we arrive and I see all of the beautiful faces of my family and friends all of the woes and worries of the world seemingly disappear.  That along with the spirit of my reality and my set of circumstances, as I am able to giggle and escape in which case I would take over a doobie any second.  That is the highest of all highs.  A high that any Doctor or Dispensary cannot provide.

Although we had to leave the races early and take a little visit to the Mayo Hospital, I was cleared and sent home with good news that I was just dehydrated and out of whack due to my recent changes in medication.  But, even if it was for a sliver of a second, I was able to be normal and engage with friends and loved ones, crack open a beer, enjoy the sunshine, smile at strangers, wait in the ridiculously long ladies restroom line.  You know, normal stuff.  It’s the small things, truly.

On our way home from the hospital Steve and I were starved being that we hadn’t eaten, had been in the sun and then to follow had been at the hospital.  We decided to go on a classy date to Chino Bandido, a delicacy for Phoenicians, a Mexican and Chinese combined taker-outeree.  It’s the least classiest place I can think of, but by far the most delicious.  We chowed down, crashed on the bed as soon as we walked through the door and other than watching American Restoration and answering boring emails today, you’re pretty much up to date.

Yet, there is a point to all of this rambling.  As I lay on my terrace on my chaise lounge, listening to The Senators at MMMF, I realized it’s okay that I cannot do it all anymore.  These are the cards I have been dealt.  Instead, I decided to strip down to my birthday suit. You heard me, correctly.  I got completely stark NAKED, smoked the hell out of my joint and escaped to the most beautiful and cerebral place that exists only in my mind.

I live on such an extreme spectrum in life and I’m not quite sure if I will ever figure that spectrum out, or rather if it will figure me out. And perhaps that’s for the best.  Things come to me in other ways; I am so in tune with myself in a rainbow of other ways and at the same time I am a complicated woman, a Scorpio woman at that.  But damn, it felt so emancipating and comforting all at once, to stand in front of the sunshine in my bare, raw state — showing my scars and my body without any shame or guilt for who I was in that very moment.

I can only wish that everyone experiences such nirvana.

Have a beautiful sabbath day if that is your thing, beautiful ones. Otherwise, peace and love, always.

Love forev,

Britt x

Food Exploration: Vegan Food, Fighting Fatigue with Chef Jason Wyrick

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In the effort to broaden my horizons, as well as up the ante on my health and wellness, I attended a cooking class this afternoon.

This happened to be out of the ordinary for me, as I am rubbish at cooking or anything having to do with the kitchen. But, it’s a new year and a new me (maybe).  The class was offered by the Cancer Support Community- Arizona and was led by Chef, NY Times Bestselling Author and vegan genius, Jason Wyrick.

Over the years I have been an on and off again vegitarian and have always had an interesting and psychological relationship with food.  Nowadays, I often lack much of an appetite and when I do, it’s usually all of the terrible foods as opposed to the proper, nutritious meals that my stomach can handle due to my colon cancer.

Prior to today, I had zero knowledge of Chef Jason, or the benefits that a vegan diet can bring.  This class was specifically built around fighting fatigue and understanding on a high level how to retrain your palette to the different compounds within organic foods, as well as the antioxidants and super foods that are best to boost your energy.  Seemingly, all of the things that I am clueless about, yet happened to find incredibly interesting and eye opening after today’s course and the three recipes that Chef Jason shared.  Delectable and mouthwatering seems like a cheap shot, considering just how appetizing and healthy his recipes were.

Here are the vegan soup recipes that Chef Jason shared.  I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Green Tea and Shiitake Noodles

  • IMG_56752 to 3 cups of brewed green tea
  • Salt to taste
  • A sprinkle of five spice (Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Fennel, Cloves and Sichuan Peppercorn)
  • 8 to 10 small shiitakes, sliced
  • 1 small package of ramen, udon noodles, or thick rice noodles
  • Cubed extra firm tofu
  • Keep brewed tea warm and add the slat, five spice, and sliced shiitakes
  • Bring to gentle simmer and add noodles, cubed tofu and cook noodles al dente.

Chilmole with Sweet Potatoes and Beans

  • IMG_56764 to 6 guajillo chiles, toasted and rehydrated
  • 3 cups of water
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 cup of masa harina
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of rinsed beans
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • Puree chiles and water, transferring to a pot
  • Add pinch of cinnamon and salt to taste
  • Bring to simmer then add sweet potato until al dente
  • Slowly whisk the masa in until the soup thickens
  • Add beans, spinach and serve

Avocado Roasted Garlic Soup

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  • 1/4 cup of roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 large avocados
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of water
  • Puree all ingredients
  • Serve room temperature


Be sure to check out Chef Jason Wyrick and sign up for free recipes, videos and tips to a healthy vegan diet at www.thevegantaste.com!

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Love and yum,

Britt x

B.K.O. for #BSMHB – Donate a Photo:

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if I told you that YOUR photos could help a charity in need?  ‪#‎JohnsonandJohnson‬ have created an amazing app, making it possible for you to donate one picture per day, and they will contribute $1.00 to the trusted cause of your choice (list provided in app). What a better way to kick off the season of GIVING by being able to give everyday! Download @donateaphoto via the App Store. 

B.K.O. for #BSMHB

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Love,

Britt x

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