I was presented with the opportunity to help raise money for a non-profit organization called Pink Ribbon Girls. The organization was founded by breast cancer survivors who have a passion for supporting and empowering others who are currently in the fight against breast and gynecological cancers. The organization strives to balance the fear and uncertainty that breast and gynecological cancers bring to individuals and families by providing FREE direct services of healthy meals, housecleaning, rides to treatment, and peer support to our clients, to ensure that No One Travels This Road Alone…™
I hope that everyone is doing well and staying healthy. As you know, I absolutely love blogging, but it is always one of those activities that goes to the bottom of “my list” if I do not sit down and actually write…
I can honestly say that the last year of my 30’s was one of the best years of my life! If I had to choose a theme, it would be “live in the moment…”. Tom, The Littles, and I moved to Amsterdam with so much excitement and the urge to TRAVEL! I am far behind on my Travelogues, so there are places that I have not had a chance to write about unless you have seen pictures on Facebook or Instagram. When I think about each place that we have visited I think about the special memories we created in each of those places. I also enjoyed having family and friends visit us in Amsterdam. Traveling is about the planning (mostly done by Tom, LOL), the adventure of reaching your destination, and “being in the moment” when you are there. Seeing the sites, listening to the different langues spoken, and trying new things. We enjoyed taking day trips to many parts of The Netherlands. The beauty of living in Amsterdam is that is centrally located to many of the places that we visited for a long weekend.
Our trip to Portugal was absolutely amazing and was a celebration of our 40th birthday. I will write a Travelogue about Portugal soon…
I have also “lived in the moment…” by joining and writing for the American Women’s Club of Amsterdam. I met so many amazing women and created lifelong friendships with many of them. Also, creating friendships with Dutch locals from the gym, pet store, and local hangouts, etc. In addition, becoming an Independent Consultant for Arbonne was definitely something new for me.
I feel that I have changed so much as a person and with that being said another change will be occurring, Tom, The Littles, and I are now living in Houston. I am looking forward to seeing our family, friends, and Maverick. I am forever grateful for the experiences that I have had living in Amsterdam and traveling throughout Europe. Amsterdam will always hold a special place in my heart! This past year has been unforgettable and I look forward to what God has in store for us…
I was a honored to be a guest blogger for an amazing non-profit organization called Compassion that Compels (CTC). CTC gifts cancer patients Compassion Bags while they are receiving treatment. CTC not only spreads compassion in the United States, but they are now a global non-profit organization! Founder and CEO, Kristianne Stewart, and her team have hearts of gold and spread HOPE one Compassion Bag at a time! I wrote a post for the CTC blog in March called Self-Care Is Not Selfish! Kristianne encouraged me to share my post on my personal blog in light of all that is going on worldwide.
MARCH 10, 2020
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the definition of self-care is care for oneself. It sounds very easy to do, but often times it is something that many people do not practice. Self-care is not selfish. You must take care of yourself so that you can take care of other responsibilities like taking care of your children and job commitments, etc.
During my breast cancer journey, I feel that my self-care was guided by my oncologists. I was well educated about each type of treatment I would receive and what that would look like including side effects that may occur. I was prepared mentally because I knew what each treatment would entail. Yes, there may have been things that did not go as I expected, but my doctors were quick to help the situation with suggested remedies to try. Also, I was able to get in touch with nurses and had an after hours phone number for the cancer center emergency room, if I needed assistance. After the first round of chemotherapy treatment, the other rounds of chemotherapy were similar. After the first radiation treatment, the other radiation treatments were similar. I rang the bell in November 2017 to symbolize the end of my treatments and being cancer free. I had a large gathering in the radiation waiting room with family and friends – my amazing support system.
When everything was said and done, I suddenly felt like I had so much time on my hands because I was not going back and forth to the cancer center for treatments. I did not feel prepared to go back into the ‘real world’ because it was not something that was discussed with my doctors. I did not receive information like I had with all of my treatments. I felt lost living my ‘new normal’. After my breast cancer journey, I was not the same person that I was when I was diagnosed.
My self-care practices were lacking. I was filled with anxiety and uncertainty. At times, I felt like a robot, I would go to work, come home and crash on the couch and do it again the next day. At work, I was physically present, but my mind was always somewhere else.
Everyone across the world is now living in a different time. Many people are experiencing different types of emotions on a daily basis, myself included. The emotions are similar feelings associated with grief: anger, denial, acceptance, etc. Grief is a process and your emotions can change from day to day. I believe that I am now accepting of what is going on around me, which makes things easier for me to live my day to day life. I do not have control of what is going on around me, but I can try to control my emotions as best as I can.
The global pandemic that we are experiencing can also trigger emotions from our past. I know that the global pandemic has made my feelings resurface stemming from my breast cancer diagnosis. That was a major event in my life that I had no control over. All I could do was ask God, “WHY?”. I would say that that experience has made me the person that I am today. I want to help others that have been in similar situations as myself and help them to not feel so “lost”.
When I received chemotherapy, my oncologist encouraged me to stay as healthy as possible. Often times, that is easier said than done. Every action you take requires thought, strength, and being germ-free. Many people are taking the same actions today as a person that is receiving chemotherapy treatment takes, especially those with a compromised immune system.
My gym is organizing International Online Happy Dance Day on Saturday, March 28th at 11:00 A.M. in Amsterdam. I am going to participate in International Online Happy Dance Day again at 11:00 A.M. CST on my FB group page. If you would like to join, please message me and I will invite you to my FB group.
“The happy feeling dance! To get and give some positive energy these days. Please join online together with your family & friends, also when you are not a good dancer. Let’s make a happy online party“-Lena (the organizer from my gym)
Hi Everyone! I have been adding several educational and mental health resources to my FB page. If you are not on FB or do not check it frequently, I wanted to share two of my favorite activities: exercising and coloring!
My gym, Fresh Fitness, is offering at-home workout classes! I have been very happy with the FB group and participated in some of the classes and workouts – we all exercise in the same language!
On Monday, March 23rd, they are adding a group class for children.
Please let me know if you are interested in joining and I will send you the link.
I have been thinking of all of you and HOPE that you are staying healthy!
Personally, I do not feel this post deserves the title, Amsterdam Adventure, but I wanted to keep things consistent. In all honesty, I keep asking myself, “Is THIS really happening?”.
I originally planned on flying to Texas on March 31st for my 6th month check-up appointments at MD Anderson. When Tom and I heard of what was going on, with the corona virus (cv), we quickly changed my flight to leave on March 3rd. I also updated my paperwork to have Macy fly with me. Tom decided not to change his flight and was going to stick with the original plan and fly with Moxie later this month. My flight was cancelled. Tom and I are going to regroup and decide what we are going to do in a few weeks, we should be able to fly into Dallas. When we arrive in Texas, we will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. We are basically self-quarantined now, except for a quick trip to the grocery store or when we walk the dogs. The Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, stated that all of the restaurants, schools, cafes, coffee shops, and sex shops were to close on March 15th at 6:00 P.M. The last time a Dutch prime minister directly addressed the Netherlands on television was in the 1970s during the oil crisis.
Amsterdam has so much more to offer than the coffee shops and sex shops. I know that before I moved here, I thought that was really all that there was in Amsterdam, which is a shame because Amsterdam is a very unique city.
My husband Tim and I started planning a trip to Amsterdam as soon as our son Tom told us he had been asked to relocate there for his job. We have traveled to Europe several times, but we had never been to Amsterdam. We visited Tom, his wife Jen and their two little dogs Macy and Moxie, for almost 2 weeks over Christmas 2019.
It feels like it has been forever since I have sat down to write… January was a long month, I had the flu and was sick for about two weeks with a continuous cough. Being sick interfered with my workout routine which interfered with my mood. The weather was very gloomy and dreary. I did not realize how much I missed the sun when I had not seen it in days. I talked to other people that I know and they felt “blah” also. Maybe it was Seasonal Affective Disorder, either way, I knew that I had to make some changes… I bought myself a light lamp as a substitute for sunshine and continued taking Vitamin D. I try to sit in front of the light lamp once a day for about 30 minutes while I am on my laptop.