what a week. a truly long week. i swear that every time i looked at the clock, it looked like it hadn’t move an inch. and the crawl to the weekend was painful. and my exhaustion level has been at an all time high. and that’s okay. but at the same time, i find myself having a hard time with things right now. having a hard time regulating my emotions. feeling extremely lonely. second guessing myself. experiencing levels of anxiety and guilt. it’s been a lot lately. but this morning when my alarm went off at quarter to six and i put my feet on the floor, the pound of the migraine just hit the temple of my forehead. and i wondered to myself all the different possibilities behind the migraine. was it sleep or dehydration? maybe a little of both. was it my blood pressure or maybe the fact that i had been grinding my teeth? no, couldn’t be. had to be the lack of caffeine over the week. or perhaps just cancer coursing through my body. or allergies. or nothing. so many possibilities. and so i swallowed two ibuprofen and started the shower. and here we are, fourteen hours later. after what felt like pure pleading to the universe for the weekend to arrive. and it’s arrival is still technically not here; rude but okay. i find myself feeling overwhelmed by the week that’s almost over. and i find myself feeling lonely. and i find myself craving an opportunity for things to feel new and different and calm and bright. and i think the lonely feeling stems from this deep rooted idea that i have been really great about checking others; but i am struggling to understanding why no one is checking on me. and i find myself once again, in the throes of a pretty ugly breakdown; with crocodile sized tears on my pillow and this overwhelming feeling covering me like a blanket. these ideas and thoughts and perceptions begin to absolutely destroy me.

‘you were the worst teacher today. you’re doing an awful job. you just didn’t do it right today. no one likes you. no one wants to be friends with you anymore. no one is checking on you because why would they?! you failed today. you don’t deserve to have friends. you’re a mess. no one likes you.’ i am thirty four years old and that’s my brain right now. tempting me to believe all of it. and honestly, some of it feels real. some of it feels accurate and true. i feel lonely. i feel like i am not always taken seriously. sometimes my feelings feel like they don’t fit anywhere. sometimes it feels like my best isn’t good enough. sometimes i feel small or pushed down. sometimes i feel like i try and it doesn’t even matter. but right now, i feel like my good isn’t good enough. that my efforts as a human, as a person, a teacher, a friend- just aren’t being seen. i feel lonely and small. i feel like i am trying my absolute hardest to be perfect and fit the molds and do right by everyone and it’s coming up empty.

and today, i cried at my desk. two weeks after it happened the first time. and y’all know my rule about crying at work. it’s a huge no for me. the last thing i desire is a middle schooler seeing me cry. but i definitely did. during my ten minute lunch break between the chaos of teaching middle school. because i really am trying. and i am also navigating an identity crisis. and battling trauma responses. and juggling two careers. and trying to decide what’s next. and trying to be a good friend. and trying to decipher if people hate me. and unpacking all of the things happening in my life. while also approaching a scary anniversary of a terrible illness. which is ironically, this weekend. and i am grasping for the click of a reset button. practically begging for a lifeline. for some reassurance. for a nudge that things are okay. for just any beacon that signals to me that everything is okay. no one is mad at you. no one hates you. things may feel big or heavy and you may feel small- but you are doing great. you matter in this world. to lots of people. in all the roles you carry. and bad days are okay. and rough weeks are okay. and what you’re feeling- is normal. and it’s okay. it’s okay to be sad. it’s okay to feel like the world around you doesn’t match. it’s okay to feel lost and alone. but you aren’t.

hit reset. it’s okay! hit reset. ground yourself. center yourself. cry it out. ask for help. reset, recenter, regroup, restart again. so i guess this is me- being real & upfront. that i need a nudge and a little support. that my right now is feeling a little gray. that i am in the middle of an immense transformation but also in full imposter syndrome mode. i am feeling a little beaten down by some of the things that have happened and some of the things stirring in my mind. i am feeling a little defeated and anxious but this is me; saying i need more from those who will lift me. and that i am choosing to hit reset.

that’s the beauty in tomorrows. we always get a new chance to see the sun rise and we always get a new place for our feet to land.



full confession- i am tired. there. i said it. my tiredness comes from several different places. but that’s not important. because the real issue is that when i get too tired, i tend to be in pain. that’s how my body handles fatigue. the exhaustion seeps into my muscles and into my frame and i enter this period of time where i am tired but also weak and struggling to manage the pain. last week, i worked over sixty hours. closer to seventy if anyone’s counting. and as i crawled into bed at the end of it all, i found myself unraveling the stretch of days that i had just finished. sixty six hours of work. and all i wanted to do was rest. my body was literally begging for me to slow down and stop. but my mind. for a girl who doesn’t have an internal monologue, my mind never stops. i began circling through everything that might’ve slipped through the cracks. any texts that went unanswered. any emails where the reply just didn’t happen. a collective spiral of all the possible ways i could’ve let someone down. not being enough for those around me. not checking all the boxes on my to do list. because the reality is, i am a pretty intentional person. i invest in my relationships as if they are forever permanent. i don’t expect it to be that way in return either. it’s just who i am. i put a lot out on the table and hope for the best. and everything kinda began to feel like it was slipping right past me. i was carrying this tray piled high with everything imaginable. being a good person. being the best in front of my students. crafting emails. writing a weekly newsletter. making dinner. scheduling meetings. buying birthday presents. remembering broccoli at the grocery store. juggling appointment reminders and remembering to restock on vitamins and pay rent. but also texting back. and checking in on my friends. and existing. for others. and for myself.

and if you know me, you know how i feel about anything slipping through the cracks. how critical it is that i stay afloat. how much i need to do right by everything and everyone. and i have literally stayed awake all night unpacking it all. trying to find the moments where i just didn’t hold my hands tightly enough. so that the sand wouldn’t slip through the cracks between my fingers. trying to find the moments where i forgot to hit send. or opened a snapchat and didn’t reply. where my inbox became a little overcrowded. or i didn’t hear my phone buzz. moments that slipped through the cracks. not for any reason other than my hands were too full. not for any reason other than i was carrying way too much. on my shoulders. on my mind. on my heart. on my plate. i guess what i mean to say is that i am trying really hard. to find myself. to center myself. to claim the life i had, which definitely isn’t what it is now. i am trying to find meaning. i am also working the kinks out. there’s a lot to be said about who i am and what i have been through. and i myself am trying to see that there is so much more to me than just the last three years. and i am also trying really hard to be me. to manage everything that is happening in all the areas of my life. without the slips. without anyone feeling like i am not. without anyone feeling like they slipped through the cracks. because i spend a large part of my existence sealing up any gaps. i really do.

and today, i did something that i absolutely never do. and when i say never, i mean NEVER. in fact, i can count on one hand how many times i have done this. today, i cried in my classroom. in front of my students. i cried. with eleven year olds in my presence. and it had nothing to do with them. but everything to do with me. and how much i want the world to understand me. and how hard i am trying. to be everything. to everyone. how broken my heart feels when people in my life think i am not trying hard enough. when someone compares me to someone else. when the cracks show. when i tried, and something still slipped. because at the end of the day, there’s little left for me. i have given a large part of myself to the best souls in my classroom. and a large part of myself to my incredible teammates. and a large part to my friends and family and husband and dog. a part to the laundry. the emails. the dog food order. the bills. sending a quick venmo to a friend or two. checking in on friends via text. and when the clock strikes ten and i am all by myself, i always wonder if i was enough. if i did enough. if everyone received what they needed from me. because that’s who i am. and i really am trying. trying to hold it all. in two arms. while also balancing on two feet. but also kinda sorta doing that on a bicycle. on ice skates. and it felt super uncomfortable and very vulnerable of me today. to cry in my classroom. because i began to just feel myself split. the pressure. how burdensome i feel. how it feels to disappoint people. how much it hurts to know that some people might think i am a fake friend. or a friend who would walk away from a friendship. or to compare me to a former friend- one who broke my heart years ago. i began to split into fragments. slipping through cracks. i began to feel like i wasn’t doing enough. that i am not enough. and that i am letting everyone down. i began to feel lonely. suddenly. that everything was for nothing. that the cracks were so wide; it was too far gone.

i am trying so hard right now. to be a lot of things. a teacher. a leader. a friend, wife, sister, coworker, dog mom, daughter, community member, a role model, an aunt. i am trying so hard to be enough. in all of those roles. be authentic in all of those roles. nurture all of those roles. put real time and effort into the people that are on the other end of those roles. there’s little left for me. at the end of the day, there’s very little left for me.

because what’s left is stitched together to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. i mean it.



i have been trying to find the time and space to sit down and blog a bit. things have just been a little crazy lately. not in a bad way; just very busy. lots of moving parts. long days. and the head space to sit down and unpack what is going on just didn’t really exist. and in all honesty, my brain is processing a lot. and my heart is also processing a lot. and there’s a couple reasons for all of that, and sure- i would consider myself a silent sufferer. i tend to lend myself to not being a burden. especially after my former best friend of twenty two years ditched our friendship ten days after i started chemo. quoting that my ‘cancer diagnosis was a lot’. and don’t get me wrong- it for sure was a lot. but more so for me than her. anyways, in a solid effort to not have a repeat of all that, i try to keep things to myself. i try to lay low and keep the focus off me. but honestly, i am processing a lot right now while also trying to delicately navigate my own life transitions. i am trying to become more comfortable being lonely. but most importantly, i am continuing to keep it real. authenticity is the name of the game and i am player one. and one of the biggest parts of being real is really just owning it. the whole thing. the good, the bad, the really good, the really bad and of course, all the uncomfortable things in between. something i learned very early on in my cancer journey is that not everyone sticks around for the good, the bad, the really good or the really bad. and not just when it’s cancer. i mean, in general. i used to think that when someone walked out of your life, there had to be some sort of big, extreme reason or moment. but the truth is, sometimes being real is just too much for people. it’s not always this blow up moment that leads to some dramatic exit. sometimes it’s literally just that life is too much or too real. and right now, at the milestone of two years in cancer remission- i am finding myself having issues with people being real with me. hashing things out. being honest. keeping the drama to a minimum. especially since i spend my days tackling middle school drama. and my whole life i have been craving authenticity. the ability to be myself. to be real and open. no holding back. and when my whole life was flipped upside down fresh prince of bel air style; i guess it became my mission. that if i had to lose everything else; if i had to be stripped of everything and lose all of myself- well then i surely was not about to lose the parts of me that were the most valuable to me. and that felt real and that felt raw.

it felt like it was finally okay. that just two years ago, my body suffered a great loss. an identity shift. an amputation surgery. a life saving surgery. a life changing one too. and in it all, something inside me changed too. that i don’t have to accept the hurt and pain that the universe gives me. that i have the power and the opportunity to take all of it and blend it into whatever i want. and this week, so many beautiful people reminded me of my own power and my own realness. so many people lifted me and celebrated me. so many people understood that what i have been through is not only something no one should ever go through but that it’s also something very real. it’s something very authentic about me. this side of the story and this side of the pain- i exist as i am. and while i know for a fact my tolerance for drama, insignificance, hurt, poor behavior, malicious intent or any other foolishness is pretty low; i know i don’t have to carry space for that. i am allowed to draw my circle in the sand around me. and i am allowed to get real when you do something or say something that doesn’t hit right. because after fighting for my life twice in the same year, everything inside me changed. i became hyper aware of how different everything was going to be going forward. that everything about me had changed. that the trauma i had experienced had changed everything, forever. and there’s a lot to unpack about my trauma and my experiences facing death and making life altering decisions alone. those kinds of things force you into this really overwhelming space. this place where it’s very real. it’s very black and white. it’s very straight forward. option one or option two. life or death. and the decisions are there, in front of you, with waivers and a pen. no going home and sleeping on it. it’s real and it’s now. and maybe my mind circles around those decisions too often and it brings on this immense feeling of loneliness. but that’s also real. my feelings, my trauma, everything that i have been through. and what i am going through right now is very real too. there are shifts in a friendship right now. there are career shifts happening. there are shifts within my body dysmorphia that are happening. and even shifts with my identity. and when things start to change, it can be hard for me to process. adjusting accordingly is not always my strong suit.

but what i need and what i want is for the real stuff to be accepted. for it all to just be valid and okay. and i don’t have the energy or the time on this earth to navigate through ugliness, mean text messages, petty stuff, being left on read, poor communication, low efforts- i cannot spend my remaining life moments taking all of that in at face value. and here’s the reality of it all- someone recently said something to me that really hurt. and normally, i would hold onto it. i would process it over and over again. dissecting the moments leading up to and away from that ugly and hurtful moment. it would eat at me. and sure, in the weeks since it came through in a text, i have thought about it but i have not given it more energy than i give to turning the ignition in my car. because that would be giving more of myself to something that doesn’t match who i am.

and who am i? well, that’s a loaded question. because i continue to find myself in an identity crisis that is likely to last the better part of a decade. but i do know a few things that are certain- i am as loyal as they come. ask anyone. my friendships and relationships and the roles i carry in this lifetime are the most precious to me. i am one of the best friends you’ll ever have. i love with my whole existence. and sometimes that’s to a fault. i cry when i am mad and when i am sad. i try hard to think before i do. but it’s not always a guarantee. sometimes the pain that i have been through peeks through the cracks. i have the memory of an elephant- since they never forget. i remember every single time i have been betrayed or have been hurt. i don’t keep score but i also don’t offer more than a chance or two. my more recent experiences have taught me that i know myself better than anyone ever will. and that i can be whoever i want to be. it has taught me that while life is short, whatever happens will happen. there’s very little i can control when the universe is driving everyone forward. and that it’s better to be real, be honest, be truthful and hold on tight. because the version of me that exists now is one that has truly been molded and framed by near death experiences, trauma, pain, loneliness and the honest will to live to see the next sunrise.

and it’s about as real as it gets. and i just don’t have the space or place for anyone who cares to knock me back a few pegs. i worked too hard to be here today. and i deserve the same energy and love and respect that i give.

on the day i was diagnosed with cancer, i walked into my neighbor’s backyard to share the news with my family. i never cried that day. i simply said ‘match my energy. i am not afraid.’ and that holds true today. match my energy. be real. and allow me to be real.



happy new year to y’all. whew. as my husband said ‘well that’s a wrap on the holidays’ as we exited the starbucks line this morning, i blurted ‘thank god’. and i almost apologized for the slip but realized that the holidays felt heavier this year. again, can’t put my finger on why that’s the case. but regardless; we made it to a new year. a new space. a new place. and with that comes picking my ‘word of the year’. last year was the word WHOLE; which stemmed from my immense desire to feel whole. and over the last three hundred and sixty five days give or take- i tried really hard to prove to myself that i am. always have been. that nothing is truly missing. that i am already whole. but i didn’t hit the mark entirely. in fact, i am still waiting for the check mark to appear next to the word whole on just about all my paperwork. and that’s honestly okay. because one of the things that came from this discovery of what might make me a whole ass everything is that i really did discover that everything is already here. the pieces are already here. everything that makes me the person my husband loves, my family loves, my friends love, my students love- those pieces make me a whole damn human. one really amazing human. and those pieces that already exist; well, they bring me to this year’s word of the year.


and before i give you a dictionary definition of the word and all the meaning behind choosing it for twenty twenty three instead of revisiting last year’s word; it’s important to talk about the last two years. sometimes it feels like it’s been a lifetime. actually very rarely does it feel that way. more than often, it feels like it was just yesterday. but it’s been two years. not quite to the date but we are closing in on two. and maybe it’s the anniversary creeping up that has me racing like a super human machine to try to be something that i am not. and honestly there is this huge staircase of trauma that i continue to navigate every single day. in just a few weeks, it will be my two year remission date. two whole years of navigating a life outside of cancer treatment. not outside of cancer. but outside of treatment. two years earthside in a new body. just waiting for the other shoe to drop. and over the last two years as a survivor of many things but cancer being the top contender; i have slowly but surely been experiencing the highs and lows of what it’s like to have lived when ya just might not have. and there’s a lot of pressure there- internal and external. to make your second chance pretty legit. but it’s also just a lot in general.

and yesterday at four o’clock in the afternoon, i sobbed hysterically crisscross applesauce in the middle of my unmade bed. as my brain just kept flashing the word ‘unlovable’ across the marquee in my head. just my own insecurities and my own trauma staircase creating an unlovable narrative. one that i hold true. one that i honestly believe is gospel. and so i type out this message to my husband because that’s all my brain can do. put words to paper and see how the world receives it. and here’s what i said- i feel unlovable. this is what i mean. i feel like i am not good enough for you. like my body isn’t what you want or what the world wants. i feel like i am just disgusting and you have to force yourself to want to be with me and everyone is just tolerating this version. but the truth is that even two years later, i feel broken and like i am not a real girl anymore. i worry that you miss the old person i was. i don’t know how to be seen as beautiful or sexy or lovable and in turn, it must mean no one wants me. and i am forever looking at the body that lasts for the rest of my life. because it will never be the same. i will never have a body like before. because it is gone. two years has passed and i am still weeping, full on snot dripping, shoulder heaving sobbing, crocodile tears over the loss of myself. of my body. of my body parts. of my sense of self. of what felt worthy. of it all. two whole years later. and there’s a lot that goes into all of that. things that will never make sense to anyone on the outside of this space. but the last few weeks have been pretty emotional. for some reason, a lot of my worth is tied up in what was surgically removed from my body two years ago. and right now, i am finding myself in a similar place to where i was just days before and days after my mastectomy. and i am deep in this mourning period that surrounds the idea that nothing will ever be the same. that no matter what happens from this moment forward, my body will never be the one that it was when i got married or when i first held my nephew or my niece. it’ll never be what it was when i learned to swim or in any of the photos pre cancer. it just won’t. and while most people like to remind me that i am so very lucky- it’s not about luck. it’s about me. and who i am. and who i am to other people. but it’s also about the sadness that exists from something that was never my fault. never my choice.

and so i cried for a long time last night. and my husband, god love him, held me while i cried. because sure, in two years, a lot has happened. and there is a lot to welcome in a new year. but there is still so much sadness and grief and mourning and healing and trauma that exists inside of me. that even though two years has slipped by, i am still so sad that my life was stolen from me and that my body was changed in ways i will never forget. and i remind myself that healing doesn’t have to be finished nor does it have to be hidden. that there can be ugly and uncomfortable parts of cancer remission out loud and in the open. that my suffering does not have to be silent or behind a closed door. that when the last surgery happens or the last vial is dosed into a port is not the end of the story. there are chapters and pages and sequels and series. there are moments that continue to alter me in remission. and there are moments from my past that still keep me awake at night. and that even in two years of healing and therapists and recurrence scares and boundaries and fighting for myself; there is still so much left to do as a survivor. there is something new to navigate every single day. there is always someone out there who is convinced the past is the past. there is always a bump or a symptom that dumps you right back at the top of the trauma staircase. because it’s never over. it’s never not right here. sometimes, it’s the last thing i think about. and other days, it’s consuming.

and so i guess i am just here to bother you all by saying that my head and my heart are in a weird place right now. they are really having a hard time finding peace and love. two years in the making. and there’s a lot of societal pressure to be skinny and beautiful and financially stable. and quite honestly, i can’t handle the pressure. i can’t handle juggling what i want while trapped inside what i don’t want. what i never asked for. what was never my fault. and i don’t know how long i have to cycle through it. maybe for another two. who the hell knows. but what i do know is that i have reached a point in all of my lengthy healing processes; a point in all my trauma cycling and a point in all my patterns of grief where i really, truly, honestly, one thousand percent do not care to give anymore energy or thought to how people perceive me. whole or half. healed or healing. i am above it. i am not accepting any negativity or gaslighting regarding where i am in all of this. i will not receive comments about my feelings. i will not be reminded of how lucky i am or that i had a good kind of cancer. i will not open myself up to people who desire to alter my trauma staircase or who suggest therapy to me. LOL. because lemme just say this- i am doing everything imaginable to live my life after cancer. and if it exists- i am doing it or i have tried it. and so this year, i am embracing where i am in my healing. i am embracing where i am in remission and the place i stand as a cancer survivor. i am embracing the struggles and the wins. embracing what this new year will bring.

because we are entirely made of the pieces of our lives. of our traumas. of our experiences. and those pieces- they make us whole. and for me, it is time for me to EMBRACE all of the pieces of me.



that’s a wrap on the holiday season of twenty twenty two. it came & it went. all in what felt like a blink. some years, it feels like the magic lasts a lifetime. other years, it feels like it literally drifts in and out in the same breath. for whatever reason, this particular season didn’t feel a certain way for me. i tried for weeks to put my finger on it. maybe i needed some time off from work. maybe i needed to sit in a quiet space for like an hour. or maybe i just needed like fifteen minutes of free time to gather my thoughts. either way, my winter break started off rather chaotically and quickly became very overwhelming. my mental health and my brain were just kinda spiraling. i kept plugging in the word ‘holiday’ in an effort to try to trick myself into some kind of better place. but the reality is that i was unable to really get out of this funk. this space that felt all too familiar. one that i had spent some time in during the earlier days of chemo and even in the immediate moments after my mastectomy and sometimes even just on a random thursday in survivorship. there’s this immense invisible pressure; to have a plan. to have all these things checked off and figured out. i always feel like i am in this race against everyone. this societal game where i need to have more and more figured out every single time the calendar starts ticking down the days til january first. a new year. ugh. there is something about it that just doesn’t feel like a fresh start. that this massive weight is bearing down on me. that at thirty four- i am still navigating everything. finances, relationships, goals, my health, my brain, cancer, my brain, survivorship, friendships. and all the roles that i carry- making sure they are all fulfilled and satisfied. that i am not letting anyone down; even if it means letting myself down. it’s a lot. and i know, i know. you’re probably thinking it’s as easy as just saying no or just letting stuff go or my favorite- not filling your plate so much. but the reality is that everything on my plate and in my brain is important to me. it’s mine and it’s valuable and it’s not as easy as just layering it into some other basket off to the side. or neglecting it altogether. that’s not me. that just isn’t who i am. and the past few years have held a lot of growth. measurable in my opinion. and there is much realization in how much i have done in these past few years. but it’s hard for me to say the same about twenty twenty two.

and it is really easy to be hard on myself as this year comes to a close. because i didn’t accomplish any of the shit on my original resolution or goal list for this year. not a single thing. and i really mean that. this was the year that it was all supposed to come together. a surgery. better health. picking up the remaining pieces. but in reality, as we finish out the remaining few days of this year- i am feeling like a failure. and not just because of some weak resolution list that’s buried in a landfill at this point. but because i didn’t feel that incredible spark that typically comes when a new year is about to begin. it’s usually this massive opportunity to start over again. and maybe it’s because my brain is just feeling like it’s on overload. or maybe it’s because the joyful holiday spirit just kinda fell apart this year. maybe it’s because i still feel like this world isn’t mine. that i wasn’t built for this. for all the stuff that i still wanna do but have to do it in this body, with this brain; and this stamina. maybe it’s because i keep trying to catch up and it feels like something always comes to undo all my hard work. i feel so pressured to lose weight, buy a house, invest in the stocks, join a gym, find a hobby, make a career leap, make more money, pay off debt. but in reality- i just wanna clean out my closets and organize the cheese drawer in my fridge. i want my dog to come home when i call for him and i want a private chef to make dinner every day. i want this new doctoral program to be manageable and for everyone to stop asking about how i can make it into a career. i want the pressure to be lifted. that existing is okay. no. more than okay. that being here, right now, in this moment is actually good. because that’s what works for this brain of mine. after being in a trauma induced space for so long.

it needs to be okay to just be present. to just be here. not in twenty twenty three making astronomical plans. not in june, planning what might be my greatest idea yet. not in five years from now. just right now. relishing in the joy that is getting to today. getting to this point. getting to a place where it’s okay that my savings account went to the veterinary emergency room last weekend. that i have five hundred and twelve dollars worth of southwest flight credits but they are not the vibe right now. that i am feeling overwhelmed by my own possessions and don’t know where to begin in the decluttering. that i am not sure when i will be able to own a home. and that i am still paying off medical debt. that it is okay to be in a place where- well, where things just aren’t one hundred percent figured out. or one hundred percent packed with joy. to be in a place where the spirits didn’t feel as bright this time around. to be in a space where the anxiety was a little high and the coping mechanisms were a little weak. where things just didn’t go my way. and that’s okay. and it’s also okay that i am not really jumping for joy at the freshness of a new year. because it comes with a lot of other pressures. and right now, i just want to be happy and settled in this space.

twenty twenty two had its highs and its lows. i even wrote them out in an effort to push my brain into a bigger gratitude space. because the big picture should include the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. weather forecasts are not strictly sunshine and rainbows. so here’s the highlight reel of twenty two:

january: welcomed twenty twenty two in nebraska with my bestie

february: one year in remission! got my first nose piercing!

march: five year wedding anniversary ✨

april: recurrence scare number three but all clear!

may: girls weekend at the lake!

june: summer break! reunited with my bestie!

july: twelve day road trip with amazing friends & our five year vow renewal! bestie graduated nursing school!

august: surgery is rescheduled. year 12 in the classroom starts!

september: peppa pig surprise! COVID19 booster shot

october: recurrence scare number four but all clear! celebrated my thirty fourth birthday

november: accepted to a new PhD program!

december: new position at work in leadership and blessed to work with an incredible team after a tough start to the school year. harley caught pneumonia at school. missing my bestie as my nebraska trip was cancelled.

it was a busy year. no doubt. filled with lots of everything. it was busy. it was disappointing. it was fun. it was wild. it was expensive. it was full of love and friendships and traveling. it was filled with emotion and lessons. it was a turning point in a lot of ways. it forced me into uncomfortable places and scary spaces. it was filled with more health navigating and more scans than i would like to see in twenty three. it was a year. i didn’t hit any major goals. i didn’t check off any major milestones. but i did okay. and it’s okay that it wasn’t the most joyful of years. it’s okay that it felt a little less fireworks and parade filled than other years. and it’s definitely okay to just be feeling okay about the new year approaching.

make a list. or don’t make a list. set goals. don’t set goals. do whatever works for you. survive. thrive. do what makes you happy. don’t be so hard on yourself. this year was hard. trust me, i know. but remember that joy is not a requirement. it’s not a checklist item. it’s just something that comes and goes. and it’s okay if things are just okay right now. there is joy to come. there is joy in the next season. we can create it. we can manifest it. we can be our own joy.

happy new year babes.



man, what a week. actually, what a season. i know for a fact that i am not alone in the idea that this time of year feels overwhelming. there’s so much to do and so much going on. and it feels like the hours are literally slipping through my fingers like sand. it’s this immense season of gratitude and peace. it’s this season where you’re doing and going and moving. shopping, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, planning. balancing the roles and responsibilities. working long days. waking up when it’s dark and getting home when it’s dark. and for me, today just started off on the wrong foot. my dog has pneumonia. and spent the better part of last night coughing and sneezing and throwing up. so when i was still up scrubbing my carpet when the first alarm went off, i just knew. it was gonna be that kinda day. and of course, it was still raining when i walked out of my house at quarter to seven. mother nature never asks me for my weather advice, especially when my hair is straightened. i spill coffee down the front of my shirt; the one that i have to wear all day at work. juggling a zillion things in my hands as i am running on the coffee that isn’t on my shirt and about sixteen minutes of sleep total. i am already regretting wearing uggs and a long sleeve shirt as sweat is upon my brow. and in case you’re curious, teaching on the day of break requires a monumental amount of rest, patience and the ability to juggle one thousand things at a time. and of course, i love spending time with my students. but it’s also pure chaos. and it’s overstimulating and loud. it’s a million things and a million questions. but also a to do list before break that’s a mile long. it’s not having my disney plus password so we can’t watch the grinch. it’s hot chocolate that becomes lukewarm chocolate because of my time management. it’s clorox wipes and overflowing trash cans and scrubbing desks. it’s last minute gift wrapping and carline duty. and the sighs of relief when the morning ends. and i am so grateful for the season we just ended as a school community. one that felt very sad and chaotic and lonely at times. it felt like a sigh of just weight leaving as the break became within reach.

but the bigger picture is this. that i came home and anxiety flooded me. that my sick dog is very sick. that my grand plans for a relaxing weekend are slowly disintegrating. that the common cold has struck my house and the mountain of laundry still needs to be tackled. everything thing feels large and overwhelming. my to do list is pages long and my energy level is lower than low. there are still gifts to be wrapped and i know i forgot things on my grocery list for sure. the cleaning lady is coming on friday but nobody can be in her way so there’s that. planning an escape for my husband and dog. i just cancelled my flight to see my best friend. and it has me in tears. because there is just too much happening. life is just throwing a lot at me. and it’s hard to juggle everything at once sometimes. people ask me all the time- ‘how do you do it’ and the simple answer is ‘i honestly don’t know’. i am usually heavily caffeinated and very tired. i am usually wearing one of the last clean items i own or eating a bag of raw veggies that was shoved in my lunchbox last minute. four days this week, i ate pretzels for lunch. just loose ones in a bag in my desk. pure chaos i promise. the outside looks way more put together than the inside. and in the scheme of mental health; this week was definitely tough. the loss of stephen twitch boss as well as receiving the sad news of my friend chelsea. the world felt a little sadder and the notion of taking care of ourselves and of one another became loud and clear. and today, i found myself wanting to just shout to no one in particular- ‘when can i have a break from looking after myself?’ and i mean that in the most sincere fashion. that there are days when the invisible workload hits different. when i become so tired of planning meals, washing clothes, cleaning the fridge, making beds, making returns, mailing bills, stripping sheets, ordering dog food, buying birthday gifts, stain treating a tshirt or wrapping a christmas gift. but here we are- overwhelmed and overworked. overstimulated and overtired. the gifts that keep on giving.

but i find myself reminding myself that the moon has phases too. sometimes it graces us with a sliver of light. just enough to get by. other nights, it’s full out. showing the whole damn thing. fully participating in the night sky situation. and there’s a lot in between. waxing and waning and going through the motions. it’s a whole thing. and i can be a whole thing too. a range of emotion. a range of situations. a drastic difference from one day to the next. and sure, we can sometimes call mental health into question. but sometimes, the phases are just part of this life. just part of figuring it out. and the phases- whew- they deserve to be judgement free. they deserve to be received as they are. a phase. a passing moment or two. a stretch of time where it might be bright or it might be a bit faded. regardless, a phase. not a forever. just a moment or less light- maybe a time for pause. or grief. or sadness. or being overwhelmed. or all of it.

the moon moves in phases. offering us a glimpse into its full emotional state of being. sometimes we get the full show; and other times, just a sliver of light.

both still bring the dawn. xo.


i sat down tonight with this desire to put pen to paper and write something. something transformative. or maybe even something that felt big or important. but this season of life that i am in really doesn’t hit the mark on any of those. it’s a season in which i feel like i am still becoming someone. someone who doesn’t really know what life is supposed to look like. someone who has experienced an immense amount of trauma in a short timespan. and the exposure to that trauma has left this massive hole that is supposed to be able to be filled with experiences and some sort of transformation. but instead, my life is feeling a little lonely. imposter syndrome is often swallowing me whole. i find myself drowning in a lot of anxiety about the people around me and what they think. i am always worried that i am too much. and i am always worried that people might leave. because the truth is, there is a lot of trauma that i experienced that hasn’t been talked about or said out loud. that being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer kinda stole the show. but so much was happening in my life at that moment. and so many things continued to chip away at an already broken heart. and a lot of it i kept behind closed doors. because my whole life was crumbling in front of me. the pieces of myself were literally shredding in front of me. my arms couldn’t hold all the parts of me that i wanted to save. and in turn, so much of what i was going through, went untouched. and here’s the part of the blog where you are probably rolling your eyes & saying ‘oh gosh, here we go again’ but no, this isn’t one of those moments where i just dump the super, overflowing luggage out onto the middle of the floor. no. it’s more about figuring out why the luggage is still packed; thirty months after the disaster began. and there was a lot happening all at once and not much has changed in that regard. i prefer to keep myself busy and my plate a little full. some see it as problematic and others think i am crazy. but the truth is, i am best when i am not sitting. when i cannot give my mind the opportunity to overthink or to fall into these wild patterns. where i cycle through all the terrible moments and memories. a toxic trait of mine. because there are untold tales and really awful moments. and there were days where it just didn’t entirely make too much sense to keep going. and finding the strength to take a step each day; to wake up each day- man, it was a lot sometimes. and as a person who puts mental health pretty high on the priority list- i can for sure say that my sanity was tested regularly. and between being diagnosed and announcing my leave of absence from a job i absolutely loved to watching friends walk out of my life and having a third of my body amputated- there were moments there that i didn’t even know were part of my becoming.

becoming what exactly? what a loaded question. and something happened this week that really sent me into a sad space. it was hurtful and made me question every molecule in my body. made me spiral into old moments and put my character on the line. it had me questioning who i am and who i have become. and for me, that’s just unraveling some of the work i have been diligently doing for years. and i spent hours thinking about who i have become just over the last year or so. not even the whole span of my life. just recently. and sure, maybe my edges have become a bit sharper. maybe my ability to speak up has become a little louder. sure. i am willing to take ownership of the shape in which i have become. i own how much my experiences has moved me and molded me into what stands here now. i not only own it and recognize it but i am okay with it. because for the longest time, i was holding back. i was doing and saying and moving in ways that suited everyone but me. i was so hyper focused on becoming something that worked for everyone else. looked a certain way for everyone else. was accepted by everyone else. but the truth is, cancer stripped me of everything i ever knew. it made me vulnerable and uncomfortable. it scared me and shook me. it broke me and built me. it forced me to look at everything without the rose colored glasses. it showed me everything, clearly. and this week- i questioned my character because of something someone else did and said. and after i sobbed for what felt like an entire day, i began to unpack the whole experience from start to finish. that what someone says about you says more about them than it ever will about you. and it made me come back to the word

• becoming •

that in the last thirty four years, i have been in the process of becoming something. whatever it was at that moment. becoming a good friend. becoming an advocate for myself. becoming a wife, a person in the world, a teacher, a human being. becoming someone who is worth fighting for everyday. becoming someone who deserves respect. becoming someone i admire. becoming someone everyone else admires too. it’s always about becoming someone. becoming someone who has healed and processed and healed some more. becoming someone who has raised hell but also walked through it. gracefully, might i add. and now, in this season, i am still working on what is yet to come. what i have yet to become. obviously, the regular antics continue. but there is something rooted deep in my soul that desires to manifest an even bigger becoming. one that stems from the biggest healing. one that has grown from the best boundaries. one that has been watered by my own traumas and experiences and healings. the biggest becoming.

one that is built by yours truly. for yours truly. one that shows you exactly how far i have come. and exactly how incredible i have • become •



one of these days, i will open the notes app on my phone and the first thought will not be that it’s been one of those weeks. but honestly, it has been. the kind that makes you cry before you go to bed. the kind that hurts. the kind that crumbles your decent mood. the one that causes you to basically abandon your meal preps, your routine, your schedule. it was one of those weeks where i sent an email on a thursday that literally started with ‘happy friday!’ well this is awkward. i felt drained at two pm today. and i went to bed at eight last night. and if you know me, then you know sleeping is just one of those things that doesn’t come easily. and today, i took some shortcuts to make my life easier. i ordered my homeroom more pretzels via amazon; even though they sell those at the grocery store. i also abandoned all dinner plans and ate french fries in my car in traffic. some might call it chaos but really, it’s just what’s working for me right now. because for whatever reason, this season of my life isn’t necessarily harder than other seasons but it’s definitely not easier. i am in a place where different pieces of myself have been laid out before me. and i am trying to weave them into a nice, beautiful finished product. but it’s not going so well. well first of all, some parts of me are pretty broken. and before you get mad at me for saying that about myself, i am allowed to say whatever i want about myself. so some of the parts of me are exactly that- pretty broken. some are missing. some don’t make other people feel all that awesome. and some are overwhelming. some are old parts. and some, extremely new.

and as if the universe felt comfortable enough to loosen the reigns; i found myself saying goodbye to my psychiatrist after twenty three years together. we met when i was eleven years old; literally crying my way through middle school and having panic attacks about sleeping. she held on through the angsty years- when i would legit slump in a folding chair in her office in high school sweats and a tie dye shirt and refuse to make eye contact. she diagnosed me with bipolar disorder just weeks before i turned twenty. she walked me through my multiple medication changes and self medicating days. she cried when i was diagnosed with cancer. and gently carried me through chemotherapy and remission and my surgeries. and today, we said goodbye. as she enters retirement and i continue to navigate the ups and downs of whatever this is. remission. survivorship. life. twenty three years. almost a lifetime. i have sobbed in her office. i have screamed in her office. i have had every emotion in front of this person. and today, we parted ways. before we hung up, she said something to me that i realize i have been waiting my whole life to hear. she said, ‘alix, you amaze me.’ whattttt! me? couldn’t be me. amaze?! feels a little big and unnecessary. but she laid it all out for me in the final minutes of our call. that she has been amazed by my resilience. by my growth. by the transformation. in twenty three years and in the last twenty three months. and that even though the universe dealt me one of the shittiest hands, i took all of those moments; all of those lessons; all of the heartache and sadness and grief and resentment. all of the unfairness and misery. all of the missed moments and opportunities. all of it. and i wove it all together. and i created something that made me comfortable in starting over. in resetting my whole life. and as she’s saying all of this to me- it begins to make sense. that it wasn’t for nothing. even though sometimes it feels that way. the hard parts were the final pieces. the final stitches. the way i was finally able to weave all of this together. to come to this place. nearly two years in remission. to be in this place of healing; not healed. healing.

and sure; there are moments that truly ache at the core. there are moments so triggering that when they come back, i can cry on the spot. there are moments that were so painful and losses so indescribable. but there was also a lot to be found. there were so many pieces of myself that couldn’t exist anymore and pieces of myself i had not even found yet. there is one thing that no one ever tells you about making it to the other side of something as big as cancer and infectious diseases. and that’s the notion that it doesn’t happen overnight. the healing. the growing. the painful process of weaving yourself back into place. it doesn’t happen overnight. it’s not easy. it’s not fun. it’s lonely. it’s painful. it’s four steps forward and then eight steps back. sometimes, it’s weeks before you move at all. it’s even harder when you’re also managing other people’s expectations of your healing. and your own expectations. and the world’s still moving. it feels like you’re stuck. but you also don’t wanna move. and you’re afraid of what’s next. but no one tells you any of that. that healing is messy. and uneven. and even unfair at times. but at least it’s mine. and i am slowly weaving the parts and pieces of my life back together. stitching the broken sections. filling in the gaps and holes. making it stronger in some places. being mindful of the frayed edges. reminding myself that it was beautiful before it was torn.

and it’ll be beautiful once it’s all woven together again.


up for air.

just last week, i sat at my mom’s kitchen counter and cried. it had been a rough week. one that was filled with appointments and lab results. a week where a radiology technician told me that the only vein left was starting to become too scarred to use. it meant that the hands and feet would be the only choice going forward. all my veins blew in the icu, just two and half years ago. when your body’s temperature is nearing one hundred and four, you become so internally dehydrated. and all my veins blew. it was a week that held a lot of fear and anxiety. while also teaching the youth of america with a straight face. it was a week that brought good news regarding my most recent scans. news that cancer was not attacking my liver. but in it all remained that my body is still not my body. that i have an auto immune disease. and that stress is causing massive flare ups. that my liver has been damaged by chemotherapy and tons of medications. and that overall, this is my new existence; my new normal. and i shared a few weeks ago that i truly feel like i am stuck in a space where my deepest connection will always be to the ghosts of my life. that because my body was destroyed and taken from me in one of most gruesome and unfair ways; i am instead forced to grieve it forever. and in these intense moments of grief, it truly feels like the most unfair existence ever. it tackles you into this place where all you want is what you had. and all you had is gone forever. and the memories of my life before cancer are slowly sinking into the back of my memory filing cabinet. overwhelmed by the moments from the last two years. and i am dying to upload an album titled ‘finding myself’ but i still find myself searching. frantically. and i remind myself pretty much on the regular that it’s a process. the whole thing. the whole damn thing. it’s a process. from day one to now. from the big c word in a pink wallpapered room alone in a hospital with a woman named allison. to today. to the moment at the kitchen counter just last week. where i found myself falling apart in a way that makes perfect sense but no sense. that right now, my grief pattern is pure exhaustion. it feels exhausting to be alive right now. it feels exhausting to be managing my health while grieving right now. it feels exhausting to try to trust and love a body that also feels like it’s failing and being failed. it’s exhausting to try to explain to people that i hate this part just as much as the other parts. and that my grief is also in other areas. that even though i never wanted to be a mother, i will never, ever, ever get to change my mind. that i brought cancer into my family tree. upped the risk for the women in my life. it’s a lot. just a lot. a lot for a person who just went through a lot.

and i think that i have been afraid to say that it’s been exhausting. that it is exhausting. because everyone is exhausted. and i really try not to look at comparative suffering. that everyone is allowed to suffer. everyone deserves to feel however they feel. and i hate when people compare my suffering to something else happening in the world. like of course my suffering isn’t as terrible as what is happening in the world. but it’s also my suffering. and i take ownership of it. it’s messy and confusing and exhausting. but it really is. exhausting. above everything else. and sure, therapy helps. and medication helps. and support groups take the edge off. but it’s still my reality. my forever. my story. and between navigating survivorship and the recurrence scares that continue to block my path to healing, i find myself simply coming up for air. like when you’re swimming. beating your arms against the surface of the water. you’ve gotta come up for air. even when it’s not the best moment to do so or even when it might be a little too long since you last surfaced. you still have to breathe. and while it’s been six hundred and thirty days since i beat stage two breast cancer, some days it feels like it’s only been six hundred and thirty seconds. there are moments of intense grief and sadness of a life i never got to finish living. of a whole person who is no longer here. of a whole existence that was shed for the sake of survival. and i find myself in the swells of grief and sadness and loneliness. in the swells of an identity crisis that is also a health crisis. in the midst of teaching the youth of america. and i continue to come up for air. only to continue to swim. to paddle against the currents. and it’s hard. and uncomfortable. and ugly. and messy.

but it’s mine. it’s my swim meet. it’s my lap across the pool. and i keep coming up for air. swallowing massive gulps of oxygen before sinking back into it. and it’s not easy. and sometimes i feel more tired than when i started. but i continue to come up for air.

and eventually, i will strike shore. and it’ll only be air from there.



frozen two is better than frozen one. again, change my mind. just under two years ago- i published a blog post with that exact first line. UNKNOWN. and today, that was the first word that came to my mind. unknown. and i knew that i couldn’t have possibly made it this far in life without publishing something with a title like unknown. because the last two, almost three years of my life has been laden with unknowns. unknown viruses. unknown side effects. unknown cancers. unknown challenges. unknown recoveries. unknown battles. unknown wins. unknown curves. unknown tears. unknown fears. it’s been just a massive series of all these things that are never announced and never planned.

hey. how’s it going? oh me? nah, it’s a lot. okay fine, i will just go ahead & spill it. my rollercoaster of a life just keeps throwing loops and turns at all angles and points. and this week ahead will hopefully either rule some mysteries out or truly rope me into another set of diagnoses. and then a big, important all day affair of scans happened today. right now, i am trying to understand all of things that are happening to this new version of my body. these new symptoms and issues and hurdles that keep presenting themselves at terrible times. and while it may seem like i am just chugging along- i am actually have quite a hard time with it all. and this week was definitely not my favorite. it was long and tiring. and it felt like every single day had some new bullshit delivery for me. and tonight as i was driving home, the song ‘ghost’ by justin bieber came on. and i found myself pulling apart the lyrics. and replaying the song over and over again. until i was crying, parked in my driveway at ten o’clock at night. dead tired from teaching the youth of america but truly exhausted from just existing. and here they are; the lyrics that just sank me into a place of new found grief.

“i need more time but time can’t be borrowed;

i’d leave it all behind if i could follow.

since the love that you left is all that i get,

i want you to know- that if i can’t be close to you, i’ll settle for the ghost of you. i miss you more than life.”

i just kept clicking repeat on the stereo touchscreen. to hear those lyrics over and over and over. as this new ocean of grief consumed me. it clicked. this is what it’s like. this is how i can explain it to the people who keep saying toxic shit to me. this is how you can make life after cancer seem less like a dream and more like a reality. these lyrics. everything from my life before is now this ghost. gone. leaving me with just memories. and i can never have my life back or my body back or anything from the former place back. and so i have to settle for the ghosts. the remains. the faintest ideas of what it once was. and i am forced to miss it all. for the rest of my life. and i realize how silly that might sound. but the truth is that i miss all of it. i miss how sure and safe it felt. i miss the security of an undiagnosed body. of a frame that could exist outside of an mri tunnel. i miss all the things attached to that. i miss being comfortable in my own existence. and sometimes i look back on photos and wonder if i would’ve done things differently if i knew i had an expiration date on my body. on my identity. on all of it. and i have been working on finding myself better acquainted with the word WHOLE. it’s been my mission since entering remission. and honestly, it’s not going according to plan. it has not been easy. not very successful. because i have been sitting here; waiting for my life after cancer to be more like my life before cancer. and each day, i come to the realization that it just can’t be that simple. because i am not the same person i was before cancer. and that’s okay, i guess. meh. still on the fence if i am being truthful. there’s this grief and bitterness that still exists. and maybe it stems from the fact that remission has not been even slightly close to how it is painted. it is easily just as hard as battling cancer. yes- surviving cancer is just as hard as battling cancer. and here’s my hot take- when you’re battling cancer, you have a guide. the whole freaking time. there’s a nurse at every corner. you don’t eat, sleep, breathe, swallow without someone there to chart it. and it’s incredible. you don’t feel alone. you have a plan. it’s out of your hands. it has answers. but on the other side- it is suddenly ALL me. and this side, well, it’s a lot. like a lottttt. more than navigating the woes of chemotherapy. more than side effects. more than the big c. it’s living the rest of my life on the outside of myself. settling for the ghosts of the first thirty years of my life. stuck with this massive filing cabinet of memories that are slowly fading. grasping the fact that eventually, i won’t remember the first version at all. that there will be more photos of me in this body than my first one. that this is the body that gets to move on. that it’s just me and the ghost. and part of me feels like there are pieces of me somewhere else. that not everything carried over. that in my trauma filled two years; not everything fully healed. because the truth is- there are nights when all i want is the warmth of the body that held me for years before i was diagnosed. there are nights where my brain refuses to forget the memories held in that body. there are nights where i quietly sob, wishing it was different. and every single day, i worry about being heard, being loved, being seen in this frame. because i worked for what felt like forever in the old body to find peace and love and acceptance. and now, everything feels off. and unsure. and unknown.

and if i can’t be close to you, i’ll settle for the ghost of you. i miss you more than life.

it’s true. even on the best days, i miss you. i miss the body that i was born into. i miss the body that carried me through the darkest times. i miss how sure and safe it felt. it feels so hollow. it feels so empty. it feels so unfinished and unfair and unfulfilled. it feels different and stitched. feels like we are never on the same page. i feel like i can’t get it right this time. i feel like a failure in remission. i feel like i don’t deserve this space. i feel broken. i feel scared. i feel unheard. i feel guilty. i feel like a part of me is missing.

so right now, i am settling for the ghost of everything i have said goodbye to in the last two years.

but particularly myself. i miss you more than life.