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

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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

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

Normality…

At this point, I am sure you’ve all realized that I am terrible at keeping promises; i.e. updating my blog regularly as vowed. I wish I were here to tell you that I was living life on the wild side, out there in the world doing once in a lifetime things, but instead of that I’ve been doing just the opposite; I have been living  life in normalcy.

Normalcy is something that for a while was far out of my reach. It felt as though that anything “normal” left the day of my diagnosis, which it did in a way. Yet, now I am discovering more and more normality. I’ve been keeping quite busy- spending time with family, friends, throwing my husband a dirty-thirty pool party and continuing to be inspired by everyday things that cross my path. Although I haven’t been writing much as of late, my inspiration for general things has been transcendent. My mind somehow has been opened wide and I feel as though I am experiencing every fiber of what life is about; to be happy, even if that means being normal.

While still working on my book about my journey with cancer, I am a little “cancer-ed” out at the moment.  I suppose that is in some way a good thing, cancer is no longer consuming all of my thoughts.  That said, I will be taking a brief break from that and will also be starting a fictional novel. Updates on that to come!

On another note, tomorrow is my third chemo round (2.3).  So far this journey with the levels of posion have not been terrible.  Certainly not wonderful, or what I look forward to every other week for 3 day each time, but it’s all about mind over matter.  This time I have gone into it knowing what to expect and essentially showing it whose boss in this situation.  After all, it is my body- why shouldn’t I be in charge?  The symptoms have been minimal, the regular aches and pains, increase in neuropathy (you’d think I ought to be used to that by now) and then some night sweats, which I had never experienced prior.  Needless to say, I am grateful that the side effects are bearable and I am just plugging along, enjoying life.

As this particular blog is semi-all-over-the-place, I will share some pictures from Steve’s 30th Birthday party this past weekend, as well as a challenge, taking place on Facebook regarding positivity and gratitude. I challenge all of you to do the same, even if not on social media, but for yourself, to take a minute to reflect on what you’re thankful for and/or positive things happening in your life.

Cheers- talk soon xx

Steve's 30th

“Holy Shit You’re Old” – Compliments to #UrbanOutfitters for the banner ♡

Steve's 30th

FLOATS, FLOATS, FLOTS and gigantic balloons. This picture is dreamy!

Steve's 30th

Vixens

Steve's 30th

Who doesn’t love a pineapple dressed up in flamingo sunnies?!?!

Steve's 30th

Sunset

Steve's 30th

BIGGGGGG

BEST.CAKE.EVER CRED:  Allison Langa

BEST.CAKE.EVER
CRED: Allison Langa

No he's not naked!

No he’s not naked!

Piñata

Piñata

Steve's 30th

Candy and shooters!

Steve's 30th

Reunited at last!

Steve's 30th

My love ♡

Steve's 30th

#creepy

Steve's 30th

Fireball Whisky

Steve's 30th

Auntie Bev ♡

Steve's 30th

Positivity Challenge:

Positivity Challange

Love, Britt x