I don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Not because I don’t think people can stick to them. I just believe we should all live our lives like that every day. Instead of resolutions, I come up with a word that I focus on throughout the year. I pray about it. I ask God to put it in my heart.

This year the word is JOY.

I plan to implement that one simple word … JOY … in everything I do and even the simplest of moments. Like being able to drive to the grocery store to shop because I’m healthy enough to be able to do that. I remember a time not long ago when I couldn’t. If we choose to see the beautiful blessings around us everyday – a sunny day, a good cup of coffee, the trees outside your window – we can begin to focus on the good things in life and experience more JOY!

For me, 2018 was challenging but amazing! I finished treatment in January for my recurrence, had an eight week break, and then started my new oral chemo drug! Which thankfully my body has tolerated really well.

It was a year of balance.

It was a year of finding myself.

It was a year of learning to control my thoughts and actions.

And in between all of that, it was a year full of amazing trips and memories.

The hardest part of being a cancer patient is learning when to say, “no.” I’ve always been a “yes” person because I’m never wanting to let anyone down. But sometimes you simply need to protect your energy in order to put yourself and your health first. I’ve learned what my limits are and how much my body can take and when to rest. That’s the key … rest. It’s so important for me to take the time to reset my mind and take care of me! And not feel guilty about it!

As women, we often take on the role of caretaker for everyone around us. We constantly put others needs before our own. The pressure can be overwhelming.

So remember, it’s OK to say no! It’s OK to put yourself first. It’s OK to rest and reset your mind!

I’ve learned to spend 15 minutes of quiet time every morning to clear my mind and set my intentions for the day. I’ve learned through meditation and prayer to trust in God’s plan for my life. To not fear my cancer and know God has me right where he wants me to be. I’m here to help others. We all have a path to walk in life. And I know this is mine. It may be messy and imperfect at times, but when you get down to it, life is such a gift. We have the power to create the life we want and in doing so, create joy for ourselves and those around us!

Cancer has a funny way of making you look at life differently. You appreciate the most mundane tasks, like standing at the sink washing dishes because you have the energy to do it. You look at a sunset and can’t believe God could paint something so beautiful. It’s hard to explain to others that haven’t experienced it, but you develop an amazing appreciation for LIFE.

I’m looking forward to 2019 and living my life with JOY.

There are SO many unknowns for those of us fighting ovarian cancer. But when you step back and think about it, that’s true for ALL of us whether we have cancer or not. So make a point everyday to find the joy in all the little things in life!

For me, I’m going to concentrate on the joy of taking care of myself for a bit. Eating healthy, exercising, meditating, making memories and traveling here and there and everywhere in between. So if you don’t see me at a racetrack, I’m out making memories with friends!

I still go for bloodwork once a month to make sure my body is handling the oral chemo well, but every time I leave the doctor’s office, I say a prayer for all the patients fighting and for the fact that I am able to get in my car and go on about my day when I leave there.

Life is tough. It’s complicated. And at times, even downright ugly. But out of all the ugliness, comes some of the most amazing moments of love, compassion and perseverance. So try to focus on those!

Stay strong and always be kind to yourself.

XO —