Thinking of chopping my hair off again, but this time without resembling Kris Jenner. It’s 106* here in Phoenix and I am melting! What do you say? x
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.
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Hello, lovers! I’ve been hiding under a rock the past few days working away at my book. I’m happy to say I am five chapters in and it’s coming along well. It’s been very interesting to relive the last nine months and has brought up a lot of different emotions, both happy and sad. It has made me realize how far I have come and how much my mind, body and soul has endured over the last nine months of my life. Certainly it has made me a much stronger person, even though I feel weak from time to time and let my situation get the best of me.
I have some exciting updates to share. First and foremost, I have been hired by an online magazine to be a writing contributor/freelance writer. The magazine is geared toward women and cancer, but other topics will be discussed that will appeal to a larger audience. I’ve been working on my first few columns, so once the website officially launches, be on the lookout for my updates. I am very excited about the opportunity for many reasons. I am happy to be afforded the opportunity and experience to write for a magazine and strengthen my writing muscle, as well as bring further awareness to cancer and working closely with strong, independent women. I feel I will learn a great deal from this experience and can’t wait to share more details with you all!
Secondly, I had my first Doctor appointment with my Oncologist in about a month. It was so wonderful to see all of my friends that work in the office and I was well received with big hugs. It’s amazing how much you bond with the Doctor’s and nurses that are responsible for making you a whole person again. I truly don’t know what I’d do without them. They took some blood to see where my tumor markers and numbers are at since being off of chemo for the last month and a half. So, fingers crossed that my numbers have remained low since chemo. I shared with my Doctor that my neuropathy is still around, but slowly and surely getting better day by day. Over the last three weeks I have been keeping myself very busy and that has helped both mentally and physically to cure the neuropathy. As I keep telling myself, a body in motion stays in motion. Steve and I also met with a social worker that will begin seeing the both of us on a regular basis. For a long time I was too prideful to seek out counseling or to talk to anyone professionally speaking, however I have finally given in and think it will do Steve and I a world of good to discuss and work through everything that we have going on since my diagnosis. I realized it takes a strong person to admit that help may be needed and we both look forward to the benefits this will bring.
Lastly, I have been trying to go up on my rooftop to swim each day and get some sunshine. It’s amazing what a little vitamin D can do for you. Since getting sunshine each day, my mental state has been much more positive. I am trying to soak in as many rays as possible before we enter the Arizona summer. Thankfully it’s been a beautiful spring and there are plenty of beautiful days ahead.
I hope you all have a wonderful week. I’ll be updating the blog later this week!
I am a bit behind with my last chemo update, round eight. To say that this chemo round wasn’t challenging would be a grave understatement. It has been the worst, thus far. However, I came out of it at the other end and have been feeling more like myself. Watch the Chemo Round 8 VLOG for more updates!
Finally after degrading myself to a self-proclaimed narcissist, I found my bravado and said to hell with it. I realized it wasn’t a crime or a sin to crave making myself feel enhanced. When one feels decent about themselves, particularly during chemotherapy, when there are so many exterior side effects, does not mean that they don’t deserve to feel fabulous on the outside while their insides are waging a war.
Clearly chemotherapy does a number on your interior, but the impacts that it has on your exterior can really do a number on your self-esteem. It can range from hair loss, to fingernail loss, to dry, rashy and irregular pigmentation on your skin. Of course not every person battling chemo has the same effects, but lately I have been noticing my skin has been the greatest target in the bull’s-eye that chemo goes after.
There was once a time when I wouldn’t leave the house without a full face of makeup. Makeup was my safety net, my camouflage against the flaws I thought I had and that others would observe. Once I was diagnosed with cancer and began chemotherapy, I noticed that I no longer cared about going out in public with a makeup-less face. So be it if people didn’t find me visually appealing due to my lack of being gussied up. I barely had the energy to get out of bed, let alone put myself together. As time went on, I noticed that it was liberating to not feel the need to put makeup on for the sake of others, but in the same regard, I realized that getting ready made me feel better about myself. When I was dolled up, I felt less sick, at least from the outside. I grasped that I couldn’t trivialize myself for wanting to keep up my appearance during illness. In fact, it gave me all the more ump to get up and look my best. Now when I go to chemotherapy sessions, I make it my mission to look like a million bucks.
However, more recently the cause and effect of chemo has bequeathed itself upon my poor skin. For a period of time I was going monthly to get facials and when filling out the paperwork where “health conditions” was required, I would hesitantly write “cancer” . Once they were aware of my condition, I was treated as though I had the plague and they were resistant on touching me with a ten foot pole. Taking matters into my own hands, I decided that the commonly dark under eye circles, dry skin and irregular pigmentation was something I would have to tackle myself. I began researching things that help to revive skin when going through chemo. There are three key ingredients, SPF, creamy face wash with minimal chemicals and zero alcohol and a dewy daily and nightly moisturizer. All things Aveno became my new best friend and go-to for my entire facial needs. After some time, I slowly began to see results that my skin was coming back to life. While I still have the dark under eyes from the chemo effects, my skin has become less dry and I overall feel better about myself with or without makeup because of my skin care rituals.
My point is, one must do what makes them feel good. Whether it is being makeup free or putting on a full face, chemo girls must find what is right for them and do just that. Beauty can be a very ambiguous term, but the way I see beauty is by being balanced from the inside out. The makeup and skin regimen just helps me feel a little bit better about myself and allows me to confidently fight back against this cancer. After all, the cancer is an epic battle and I will win it, with my full face of makeup on. Looking good, means feeling better…💋
PS- I recently read a great book called, “Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls” written by Marybeth Maida and Debbie Kiederer, with a foreword by Betsey Johnson. The writers are cancer survivors that first handedly saw the effects that chemo can have on one’s self-esteem with regards to feeling beautified. This book provides TONS of advice as far as what to do about skin care, makeup, hair loss and stylish tips for those battling cancer and chemotherapy.