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.
There are things in our lives that are out of our control, which create feelings of uncertainty, but something that is in our control is self-care. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of self-care is “care for oneself”. I created a FaceBook (FB) group called Self-Care for your Mind, Body, and Skin. The group focuses on the importance of taking care of yourself. I post motivational and inspirational quotes for my members. I also incorporate the importance of taking care of our bodies, what we put in and on our bodies. I promote a healthy lifestyle that incorporates exercise, gratitude, and self-care activities. I look forward to connecting with my members and am always thinking of what I would like to post next since I do not have the opportunity to blog everyday.
Arbonne is also one word that I write about in my FB group. The name Arbonne comes from a village in Switzerland, which has come to mean “beautiful tree.” This is a metaphor for all things Arbonne-natural and enduring, providing shelter and abundance, always green and always growing. Arbonne’s products are pure, beneficial, and safe.
The majority of people want to develop and grow. They also want to be the best version of themselves and live their best life. I know that I do! I want to live a fulfilling life and become a mom. I am a mom to my fur babies, but I want to have the opportunity to hold a baby in my arms that I do not have to give back to their mother. What I would give to hear a baby cry… My husband and I have wanted to have a family for a very long time, but obstacles always seem to arise. One of those obstacles are health issues that I have had to face. Many of my readers know my medical obstacles if they have read my blog or at least read my headline blog post.
One medical obstacle I have had to face and still face is an advanced form of endometriosis. I have also overcome miscarriages and breast cancer. Each of these medical obstacles have helped me reexamine how I am taking care of my body.
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.