Friday, April 15, 2016

Eliminating Chemicals in Costa Rica



What? Life isn't about great shoes? Ok, it's not, and I learned that the hard way. Before my cancer diagnosis, I was a consumer. Lots of clothes, shoes, furniture, a big house, a vacation house, cars... That was me, shopping and filling up a big storage unit (house) with stuff I didn't need, didn't want all that much, and meant almost nothing to me (minus my favorite Kate Spade handbag and Michael Kors sandals). Life has become a quest to strengthen relationships, create memories, take care of my health, and find joy.


Such is our latest trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua for my daughter's Spring Break. When we organized the trip, I was looking for a place that would peaceful, restful, healing, and fun. A place where I could continue my physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery from a really hard stem cell transplant that took place over November and December. That took out any location where intensive touring and walking was part of it (like Europe or Asia). Some day, but not now. We settled on an all inclusive swanky resort in Costa Rica.With that as our home base, I could rest and do nothing if I wasn't feeling great while my family could do more aggressive excursions. Or, if I was feeling up to it, I could do a whole lot more.


Turns out, I felt pretty dang good on the entire trip. I didn't sleep much because thanks to the Dex that I'm taking, it just kept me amped up. We flew into the Liberia airport, took a 45-minute shuttle to our hotel, the RIU Palace, and got our room. Unlike a cabin on a cruise, it was spacious. We immediately unpacked and went to the pool, The weather was luscious and hot-- 95 degrees and humid. The next day, we booked tours to Nicaragua for the day, ATV, horseback riding, and a jungle tour. While William and the girls went horseback riding on back roads, I got a 90-minute massage on the beach overlooking the ocean. I concentrated on being in the moment-- listening to the waves crashing on the shore and the birds chirping. It was so peaceful.

Our trip to Nicaragua was a long and grueling day and so worth it. We made it to Granada, which was like a Spanish town. The country was incredibly poor, basic, and beautiful. We ate loads of fresh fish, beans and rice, and grilled veggies and plantains.

I mostly went without my wig except at dinnertime. It felt awesome and amazing. Hats were my best friend, though, to keep the sun out of my face and off of my neck. We laughed, and ate, and ate some more. It was seriously a perfect trip. I came back emotionally and spiritually stronger. Hooray!

We fed wild monkeys, we explored small towns, and saw beautiful life. I bought a bracelet to remember it: Pura Vida. The pure, good, happy life. A mantra I can, do and want to live with every single day.

Go Natural!
But here's something also really cool... William has discovered a new hobby. In his attempts to help me with nutrition, heeling, and life in general, he has started making all natural, pure bath products. Instead of using chemicals all the time, he his helping me eliminate them when it is easy to do. Why not? Many studies show that the stuff in our beauty products can cause cancer-- like the aluminum in deodorants, chemicals in sunscreen, lotions and soaps. So we took with us homemade deodorant and guess what? It is literally the best product on the market. I've tried Tom's all natural. Within hours, you sweat and smell. It's useless. I spent $15 on Schmitts, which I like but it is so pricey! William made ours and it works all day long even in the hot, sweaty Costa Rican sun. He also made all natural sunscreen. It was probably and SPF +50. No chemicals. And it worked! I came back with nary a sunburn. I am super paranoid about sun exposure and this left me confident to walk on the beach in my swimsuit. He also has made bath bombs that I put in my bathtub every night. They have calming, anti-cancer properties that leave my skin feeling moisturized and smelling delicious (thanks, Doterra essential oils, which I also drop under my tongue every night). I'll be writing more about these products one-on-on when later. But if you're interested in details, email me!

With that, I will tell all you cancer survivors out there this: Life must be lived with purpose. It is possible, even when you're sick. When you're feeling horrible, know what you are going to do when you feel better. Reward yourself. You deserve it! For me, it was traveling again and getting some botox and lip fillers. For someone else, maybe it's a puppy, or a new pair of great shoes, signing up for a yoga class, or starting a cancer support group. Whatever you do, LIVE. LIVE as great and as amazing as you can. Because that is what matters. Your relationships matters. Love. Enjoy every day God gives you because it is a gift. It is a gift for EVERYONE but us cancer survivors know it all too well. And be kind and good to yourself.

Peace and love,
Lizzy