Reflecting on 2019 and Looking Ahead
I have always enjoyed the New Year and creating goals for the coming year. As a breast cancer survivor, I savor the celebrations of milestones even more! A new year, a birthday, a big holiday like Christmas. These are times I cherish, a time to celebrate and reflect. It always pains my heart a little when friends say it's just another birthday or it's just another New Year, but to have that time to celebrate is pretty special and I will appreciate those dates as long as I get them.
So when the New Year comes I always like to reflect on what I am most proud of from this previous year and try to do MORE of that going into the following year. This year I am most proud of getting an idea launched! This idea is called "Warrior Revolution".
Triple negative breast cancer diagnosis
Over the last few years since my diagnosis with stage 3 TNBC in 2015, I have attended and been a part of several cancer conferences, events and more. I along with my sister who is an oncology nurse and one of my best friends, Cynthia Besteman, also a cancer survivor, we noticed there were a lot of conferences out there that were solely focused on educating on the medical “things” of an advanced breast cancer diagnosis but nothing that really focused on the wellness, pampering, and self-care. These things focus on feeding our souls, building community and having a connection with each other! So Leah, Cynthia and I started the Warrior Revolution. Warrior Revolution is open to women of all ages, all stages, and all cancer diagnoses. We host wellness events, workshops, and retreats.
Community, education and empowerment
Our first retreat was hosted on October 26-28th in Kennebunkport, Maine at the Nonantum Resort. Our 3 pillars are community, education, and empowerment. We kicked off the weekend with a cocktail party, a night with no agenda except connecting and meeting with other women attending the weekend. We had a photo booth and selfie ring set up, cocktail tickets, hors d’oeuvres, and influencer and cancer survivor, Tiffany Dyba, kicked off the weekend with some inspiring and hilarious words.
Day 2 agenda
Day 2 kicked off with breakfast, yoga and then crystal bowl meditation. It was a magical start to the day! Making sure there was a good mix of education was important so we had two panels in the morning: a medical panel that included experts in sexual health, medical oncology, gynecologic oncology, and a genetic counselor. Our second panel was focused on wellness and included a nutritionist, oral oncology dental specialist and mental health therapist. Our afternoon included break out sessions including a "cooking demo", "entrepreneurship and advocacy", “mala beads & setting intentions” and “art therapy”. We also had two dynamic keynote speakers, Dana Donofree, the founder of AnaOno and Allyn Rose, AiRs Foundation spokesperson and former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.
The best part of the night was the pajama party. We had two local spas come in doing nails and the other doing mini facials and masks. We had 90’s music going, pizza, snacks, and champagne! And we just had fun! We continued to get to know each other, hear each other's stories, talk about our sex lives or lack of, side effects we were experiencing, and how much fun we were having.
I am excited for the Warrior Revolution retreats planned for 2020. Details to be shared in the coming months.
What is something you are proud of accomplishing in 2019?
What is your big audacious goal for 2020?
How old were you when you were diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer?