World Cancer Day & Childhood Cancer Day

 Every year on February 4th since 2000 has been World Cancer Day!

You might be wondering why that day is even important. Currently, 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, out of which, 4 million people die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years)! World Cancer Day and Childhood Cancer Day are opportunity]i to spread the word as a community and raise the profile of cancer in people's mind, as well as in the world's media. 

February 15th was Childhood Cancer Day!
Globally, childhood and adolescent cancer is threatening to overtake infectious diseases, as one of the highest causes of disease-related mortality in children. I hope and ask that stakeholders in healthcare, parents, families, and communities advocate for government collaboration with national civil society organizations, non-profit groups and local communities to ensure that children and adolescents with cancer have appropriate care and support through the childhood cancer journey. It's not an easy journey and children with cancer - and even survivors like myself - will always need support. Be a voice for the voiceless and help raise awareness. You may think.. why does this apply to me? my child doesn't have cancer.. I never had cancer, etc. I thought the same once, and I never realized how important awareness for childhood cancer was until it happened to me. Don't wait until it happens to you or someone you know. Become educated and share your knowledge, donate, and continue to raise awareness to those around you and our government. If you'd like to make a donation then check this link out - >

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Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year Friends!

I brought in the new year in a great way! I was surrounded by good friends and I stayed out and danced all night! Unfortunately, I was too busy having fun to focus on getting pictures (on top of the fact that I was at a super packed night club lol), so you'll just have to imagine me dancing away with my friends! It was a great time honestly and I wish I could go back and do it again. But I know this year is going to be AMAZING and I already have so many fun things planned to do (in between my studying of course, ha!)

2016 was a rollercoaster. The passing of my grandma hit me hard. I am still grieving. The holiday season was very emotional for me because I always used to spend them with her..I'm actually going to keep this short because I am not one for pondering posts lately...

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and a very happy new years celebration! I love the reflection that a New Year brings, but I am really looking forward to 2017! I have a lot of BIG goals I want to accomplish this year and I am very excited to check them off my list!  

It's a fresh start so be sure to make this year count! Whether the resolutions you have are big or small, take each day one step at a time and don't forget to put new energy towards all of your goals!
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5 Years Cancer Free, Now What?

For anyone that is familiar with cancer, you know that hitting the 5 year mark is huge in the cancer world. Most cancers, if they recur, are most likely to recur in the first 5 years. So, when survivors reach that 5 year mark, it is a huge milestone and many feel like a huge weight is taken off of their shoulders knowing that the “5 year date” is behind them.
To be completely honest, I've been far too stressed, busy, and distracted with other things in life to really process this huge moment, but I know what I'm feeling deep inside.
I honestly have no words. I have had a really hard year, but this.. this is the light at the end of the tunnel. The icing on the cake! The day that marks a huge milestone in cancer survivorship is finally finally mine. I did it! To be honest, I never thought I would get here. I didn't even think I would make it to high school graduation and now I am a senior in college. Now, don't get me wrong. I’m under no illusions that five years under my belt gives me a permanent free pass. But I know that I worked hard to make it here and I am going to celebrate all day! 
When you feel threatened and like your days are numbered, you really learn how to LIVE your life fully, and you appreciate things that so many take for granted. I've lived more each year since cancer than I had in all of my life prior to cancer combined, and I've had five amazing and full years like that now. Cancer really does open your eyes and give you a whole new perspective on life, and I wouldn't give that back for the world.
So what changes in my life moving forward, now that I’m five years cancer free? Do I forget all of this, and go back to living my life how I did before? Not a chance. Cancer and the challenges of life after have marked my life in ways that are permanent, and I've had to evolve in ways that are permanent in response. There's no going back.
A cancer diagnosis as a teenager is a very deeply traumatizing experience in that it strips us of every sense of security that we might have had about our lives, our health and supposed longevity, and our futures and if we'll even have one anymore, all during the period of our lives when we're supposed to feel invincible.
I can never know how many days I have, or if my cancer will come back or not. Living my life fully in the present each day, helps me feel secure in that I'm not wasting my days or my life. 
I passed the 5 year mark… it just brings me to praise. It literally drops me to my knees. Our God is so incredibly mighty.
There are many days I wish he wouldn’t have used me and my family to show His glory in the way that he has ( I know that is completely selfish), but I am just blown away by Him and utterly thankful, as I have had a literal front seat to His miraculous power.
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Thankful For...

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are having an awesome day with your family and friends enjoying some good food. I hope you had a relaxing morning with your family watching the Macy’s Parade and hopefully now eating some good food! I wanted to take a few minutes and reflect on what i’m thankful for…

No Work
Christmas Decorations
Christmas Movies
Modern Technology
Ice Cream
Good Music
Family Memories
Comfy Clothes
Cool Weather
Star Wars Movies
Harry Potter Movies

It’s so easy to get dragged down by what goes wrong or unreached goals. I’m at the point in my life where I see that people are constantly evaluating where they are in life in comparison to other people. It’s so easy to look at your friend who just got engaged or your cousin who just had a baby or coworkers getting a promotion that you wanted. But the truth is, we all have struggles. And we all have a lot to be thankful for. I hope you've taken time today to reflect on what's important to you and what you're thankful for, not just this time of year, but year round.
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Cancer: A Battle No One Wants To Fight Alone

Chemotherapy is not a one-size fit all experience. When you are faced with chemo, a billion things run through your mind. "How sick will I get?" "Will I vomit often?" " Will I lose my hair?" "Will it even work?" 
Getting through chemo and recovering from it became the priority of my life for awhile. It is draining, both physically and mentally. The reality is, you can't control how your body is going to react or how fast you bounce back. I felt alone through this process most of the time. I didn't know anyone going through the same thing. And I honestly didn't care to know anyone going through this situation. Because of this, I felt alone.
But I wasn't alone.
This is Tiana. I met Tiana not too long after my treatment started. She got treatment at the same Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH) clinic as I did, at a lot of the same times, I got mine. The first time I "met" her, I heard her talking to her mom a few feet away from me. I thought to myself "she sounds like she's my age". At this point in my treatment, I had only seen kids ranging from toddlers to pre-teens in the clinic or hospital getting treatment. No one my age. No one that fully grasped what we were all going through. I was very intrigued by this.
A few weeks went by and I went back for another round of treatment, Tiana was there again as well. This time my mom and I spoke to her and her mom before we got settled. They both seemed tired, as were my mom and I. However, I was happy to know that she would be there next to me again. Understanding exactly what I was going through, going through it "with me". Although I was not happy that we both had to be there for the reason we did, I was happy that we were there "together", and not alone. Knowing that someone close to my age was there, experiencing what I was experiencing.. it motivated me in a way. I thought to myself "If she can do it, I can keep pushing too." Unknowingly, Tiana became someone that helped me get through treatment because she was a constant reminder that I was not alone. And when she finished a few months before I did, I knew that, if she could finish, I could finish too.
Your family and friends can encourage you and motivate you throughout your treatment. They can remind you of how strong and brave you are. This may help some people, and I am very grateful that my family and friends did this for me. But no one did for me what Tiana did. No one was there "with" me, going through it with me. No one fully understood what I was going through. But I knew that Tiana did.
Tiana doing chemo
Tiana sat in the same hospital beds I did. She ate the same hospital food I did. She heard the same annoying beep of the machine you see above. And although every person's cancer and chemo experience are different, one can relate to another person who's gone through it. It is an unspoken understanding between people who've had cancer and gone through treatment.
After her last day at the clinic I didn't see Tiana for awhile. We did keep in touch, though! We became more than just "chemo neighbors". We became friends. I'm blessed to have Tiana. God allowed her to be in my life because he knew I needed someone to understand what I was going through. She never talked to me about her experience. I just knew she was next to me doing the same thing. It oddly kept me going. And believe me when I say I wanted to give up a million times.
People often talk about “fighting” cancer, as if you have some sort of control over whether the chemotherapy we poison ourselves with is actually effective. But you don’t.
What does cancer really look like? Most of the time it’s not a fight – it’s a full-on beating and you just have to sit there and take it because you don’t have any other choice.
And after that beating is over you try to restart your life. You’re overly optimistic and you push yourself, and when you can’t do something because you’re too weak and too tired you’re surprised. After it’s over, you have to admit that you’re still not where you thought you’d be years after being diagnosed. It’s hard.
But you're not alone. I'm not alone.
So, thank you, Tiana. For being there for me, even when you didn't know you were.
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5 Ways to Disconnect

The photographer (Erick Pickersgill) took this photo and removed the phones to show how terribly addicted we are.
Something that I truly struggle with is switching off. Being a blogger, youtuber, and online tutor means that I am on social media ALL the time. It is the norm for me to constantly check my apps and just see what everyone is up to.
I've created a list of ways to disconnect from the online world when you need a break. And let's be honest, we all need a break from social media sometimes.
  1. Turn off all of your devices. Although this one may seem like a no brainer, we all forget to do this sometimes. Even if you just turn it off for an hour it can help! Although, when I do it I have to let certain people know I am so they don't think I've died or anything.
  2. Read a book. I love to read, and I always have. Picking something that you can truly get immersed in is best and it's a great way to disconnect.
  3. Have some "me time". Go shopping, take a bubble bath, or have a netflix marathon! When all else fails, having some me time is a great way to stay away from social media because you get distracted quickly.
  4. Hang out with friends. Making time for your friends (without you both being on your phones the whole time) is very important. It's also a great way to just unplug!
  5. Get out of the house. Take a walk or hike (bring your friends with you!) and just escape the house for awhile. It's a good way to not be tempted to get on your phone.

How do you switch off from being online? I would love to know, so comment down below :)