Fairy Falls & Crystal Lake

After our first group meeting, we headed out for our first hike. Our destination, Fairy Falls, was not very far from the bed and breakfast. Once we arrived, we each took the opportunity to enter the fall, giving ourselves a fresh new start to our individual journeys. I remember slowly making my way to the water and freezing up the moment I took my first step in. The water was colder than any water I’ve ever felt. My first instinct was to run and reject the cold water like I normally would. Then, someone said, “come on, who’s going to be the first girl to enter the fall”?

That’s when the insane competitive side kicked in and said, “come on, be brave, you can do it!!” I guess, having a slight competitive edge paid off this time because it was just what I needed to drum up the courage to walk right into the fall and lose myself in the moment. It was so cold and I could barely stop shaking enough to keep myself standing. I remember screaming “Mahalo”, like those before me, and feeling an instant surge of energy run through my body. It was as if my body had finally woken up from the stagnant stage it had been in for so long.

One by one, others followed, as those who had already entered cheered them on. We then found a spot of our own along the stream to enjoy our surroundings. It was beautiful and peaceful. You could hear the wind blowing through the trees, the water from the fall and it flowing down the stream, and the birds singing songs of joy. Though I suppose in their own language they could have very well been asking each other who’s bringing what to the next family gathering. Lol

A quick selfie after an invigorating dip in Fairy Falls :)
A quick selfie after an invigorating dip in Fairy Falls ๐Ÿ™‚

The following day after gathering again as a group, we carpooled up to Crystal Lake. It was a short hike to the lake, and the spectacular area where we all enjoyed lunch together while soaking up the nature around us. I felt so lucky to be living that moment. To often, I have a million things running through my head and a to do list, like many, that never ends. There, the only thing I had “to do” is enjoy that moment.

After a group meditation and healing exercise, we made our way to the lake for a refreshing swim. Now, when I say refreshing, I mean it was really cold. Granted, I’m a Florida girl who has been guilty on many occasions of complaining about the beach water being cold where I live, but this really was cold! For me at least. I promise not to complain about my beach again. All in all though, it was very nice, and I had yet another chance to do something I normally wouldn’t have done.

On our way back to the B&B, I received a call that completely made up for the cold water I had jumped in. While at the falls the day prior, I had asked god to please continue to provide me with opportunities for growth and to help me find balance in my career. I was spending so much time on the road, and I wished nothing more than to be closer to home. If only I could move the office closer to me, right? Well that call was just one of the few gifts this journey and god had provided me with. I was offered a job in the city, about 15 mins away from home, making much more than I was currently making, and with many additional benefits. It was the package I had been looking for when I had previously interviewed for the company. At the time the position hadn’t been available, and out of no where, BOOM, there it was!

Never in my life had I done such a crazy thing, but I accepted. In that moment, I couldn’t believe the opportunity I was presented with. I also had no idea how I was going to inform my current employer of the life changing decision I had just made. I had always pride myself in being loyal to my employer, and here I was deciding to leave after only 2 weeks. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity though, and I had to follow my intuition.

I spent the rest of my afternoon thinking of what I would say to my boss. Was I going to tell her by phone? Would I wait till I got back? The new executive administrative position I had accepted was ready for me to start as soon as I got back home. I felt however that I still needed to provide some sort of notice and I wanted to do so as soon as possible, even if it meant doing it by phone. We had a 3 hour time difference and I had reached my room late that evening. The call would have to wait till the following day…

Stay tuned,
Elizabeth ๐Ÿ™‚

Preparation day…

After sitting with my oncologist and deciding what steps we were going to take, I scheduled an appointment to see the radiation oncologist. Together, we went over what the next couple of months would look like. All in all, the plan was quite simple. I was to first undergo 33 radiation treatments then, follow up with my oncologist so that he could start me on a medication called Tomaxifen. This medication is designed to block the hormones our bodies make naturally. Since my cancer cells were 100% positive for both progesterone and estrogen receptors, my hormones needed to be blocked in order to prevent them from feeding any cancer cells that may have been left behind.

They began preparing me for radiation by first “mapping” the area being treated with a non-diagnostic CT scan. This would ensure the radiation would only be exposed to the breast area in which the tumor had been removed, preventing any damage to my heart or other organs near by. It’s actually quite fascinating to know we have the ability to be so precise. In order to pin point the treatment area, an adhesive containing a tiny silver bead was placed in 3 different locations. One a couple inches below my left arm pit, the second, on the right side of my left breast and the third, a couple inches below my right armpit. These markings would later help them calculate the distance between the area being treated and the organs around it. Once the scans were finished, the tech tattooed the area where he had placed the tiny silver beads so that later, they would know where to focus the laser beams when positioning me on the treatment table. The tattoos are about the size of a small beauty mark so they are virtually invisible to anyone unless I point them out.

I got dressed and within a few minutes the tech returned to the room, handed me an appointment card, and with a big smile on his face, wished me the best of luck with my treatments. It was official! Each time I returned to the office, I would be one step closer to completing this part of my journey. Looking back however, I now realize how little I took into account the emotional ups and downs that could come from this. I became a pro at talking myself into positive thinking but deep down inside, there was still a sadness I couldn’t overcome. I couldn’t explain exactly why it was there so I kept reminding myself to think positively in hopes of one day no longer feeling that way. Sadly however, that’s not how the law of attraction works. You can’t just think positive thoughts and expect positive outcomes. You need to take action. Do things that promote feelings of positivity and love so that you get the same in return. Had I remembered this sooner, ย I would have later found myself in a much better place…

Stay tuned,
Elizabeth ๐Ÿ™‚

ย 

The start of my emotional roller coaster….

I was successfully reaching my physical goals during my recovery but, emotionally I was riding the most intense roller coaster of my life. The kind that made your stomach tie itself in knots and could make you lose your lunch. Since the beginning of my journey I tried to keep a very positive outlook. I refused to say things like “I’m going to win my battle against breast cancer” or even refer to it as the “fight against breast cancer”. Why? Well, it all starts with the “law of attraction.”

My partner and I were so turned off by the amount of negativity in words like “fight” and “battle”, that we agreed to use less aggressive words. For example, instead of “my battle with breast cancer”, we refer to it as “my journey with breast cancer”. Did you notice the difference? One almost instinctively sends you into “defense mode” where as the other places you into a sort of “daydream” as I like to call it.

A journey is often times associated with something positive so your mind begins to create happier thoughts allowing you to question the good that can come of your current situation. For a while this really worked for me because I was genuinely ready to explore what this gift was trying to teach me. However, even the most positive people can hit extreme lows. That’s what began happening only days after my surgery.ย I was motivated to set physical goals but emotionally I had become angry and resentful.

Why me? I’m a good person. I even began to question god himself. With so many bad people out there, why did he choose me? I have never be one to wish anything bad on someone else but I was just desperately trying to find logic in something that I couldn’t understand. I felt like such a terrible person. How could I question god and his plan for me? Why couldn’t I just be happy that I was given another chance and continue to see it as the gift it was?ย I realize now I was chosen because of my strength but none of that made sense then. I was fearful of the unknown and I felt tainted. I was marked by this disease and I would forever be known as the girl with cancer. I felt like somehow I had lost my identity.

I had so much time to think in those two weeks and all I was doing was feeling bad for myself. At times I would even cry myself to sleep. I was so scared of the cancer still being there after surgery or the possibility of it coming back. My mind was playing dirty tricks on me and making me sick to my stomach. I had reached a new level of weakness and vulnerability. A side of me I never wanted to encounter. I wanted so badly to set a positive example and resemble a woman full of courage and strength but the truth is, I was a frightened little girl drowning in my own fears.

I remember asking god to please help me find my purpose in this journey and apologizing for my ungrateful behavior. There were people losing there lives because of cancer and here I was complaining I ever had it, even after a successful surgery that had removed it from my body. “I’m such a horrible person”, I thought to myself. I couldn’t believe how selfish I was acting and how much I couldn’t control those emotions. I think back to that moment and realize now that the emotional roller coaster I was on was normal and all part of the journey but, in that moment, all I could do was write and pray that I would one day regain my sanity and again feel like the Elizabeth I once was…

Stay tuned,
Elizabeth ๐Ÿ™‚

 

*** Note to reader ***

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!! See you again Monday! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

The law of attraction…

Now was the time to get myself in order and start getting ready for the big move. I remember coming home the evening of October 30th 2013 after a long day at work and just wanting to jump in the shower and head to bed. Never mind dinner, I was to tired for that. While in the shower contemplating all of the things I needed to do prior to moving I stumbled across the same lump I had found early January in my left breast. I recall briefly playing the conversation I had with the doctor over in my head, “Because you are so young I would simply recommend for you to have it checked in 2 years. There is nothing you need to worry about.”

At that time only 9 months had past but, on a more recent note I had been feeling a lot of pain and discomfort. So much that I couldn’t sleep on that side so I figured checking in on it might be a good idea. As soon as I began to examine the area my heart grew heavy and my throat felt like it had a knot in it. It had grown! I was desperate for a second opinion in hopes of a different reaction so I asked the one person I knew could tell me if they noticed a difference, my mom.

I had shown it to her the first time around and knew she would give me her honest opinion. “Mom, remember the lump I had you feel in January? Can you feel it again and tell me if you think it’s grown?” She barely touched it and I could already tell what she was going to tell me. “You need to get it checked Elizabeth. It’s grown a lot. How did you not notice this before?” She was right, how didn’t I notice? I was so consumed with my plans that I had literally put it out of my mind. Never gave it a second thought.

Needless to say that night I couldn’t sleep. All I could think about were the calls I needed to make in order to get my testing scheduled. The following day I spoke to my boss. He immediately scheduled a mammogram and ultrasound for that very afternoon. “Why is this happening now?” I didn’t have time for bad news. I was moving in 2 months, had just transitioned from a runner to a triathlete and I felt better than I had in years. Well, at least that’s what I said out loud.

In reality I was scared. Fearful that I might not find another job, that I would find myself lost in a new city and farther than I had ever been from everything I’ve known. I couldn’t even find comfort in all of the prepping I was doing to ensure a smooth transition. I was full of self doubt. In the end however, non of that mattered to the law of attraction. All it heard me say was, “I want to grow and experience life differently. I want to find my calling and appreciate every gift life has to offer.”ย Well my fellow readers, that’s exactly what I got.

After my testing was done I was called into the back room to sit with the reading physician. I was the last one there and nervous to hear what she had to say, but at the same time felt I could handle any news given to me. “Regardless of the outcome there are options and I’m strong”. I kept repeating this in my head until she looked at me and said, “I’ve compared the results with your last exam and this doesn’t look good. We will have to do further testing but, I’m afraid the findings are similar to those of a patient with breast cancer”. What? The “C” word? Sure, I’ve heard and said it a million times before but, never did it make me feel as speechless.ย It literally took my breath away.

The worse part of it was that somehow I already knew she was going to tell me that and even than I wasn’t prepared to hear it. The law of attraction was giving me what I wanted, “a chance to grow and experience life differently. To find my calling and appreciate every gift life had to offer.” You see, I never specified what tools I wanted given to me to help me grow or what I wanted to experience differently in life. I just put my desire out there and the universe delivered it…

Stay tuned,
Elizabeth