When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I decided that when my treatment was over and I was feeling well enough to do so, that I was going to Italy. It was something I had always wanted to do, and now was the time. No more delaying dreams.
This trip would be my reward for a hard fought battle and it was the "carrot" that kept me focused on completing all the nasty steps of treatment. I had pictures pasted throughout my house of the beautiful places I would go.
The time had arrived and my doctor gave me permission to travel.
But, there was a new problem. I had developed PTSD, which is a common after-affect of cancer, and I was afraid to go. At that time in my healing, PTSD had nearly consumed me and I was afraid of so many things.
I was mad at myself.
Prior to cancer, I had flown 50k+ miles per year on business traveling the globe solo, and I had never been afraid. What was wrong with me now?
Cancer was culprit. Cancer took so many things from me and to top it off, it left behind this new challenge of PTSD. It made me mad all over again. But, I was determined to go to Italy. The flight was booked, and the house was rented. I was going to Italy. No matter what.
I worked with my doctor and spoke to a therapist and learned ways to face PTSD without having it consume me. I learned ways to distract my mind when I felt the wave of fear coming on. I learned to reclaim my power.
Fast forward 30 days and I was on my way.
My solo one-month trip to Italy had begun. I flew to Florence, drove myself to Sienna and stayed in a beautiful Tuscan-style farmhouse overlooking the vineyards. It was like a picture from a movie and it felt so good. I had done it! I had conquered breast cancer and PTSD and I was actually in Italy!!
My sister and brother in-law joined me for a period of time in Sienna and we all had the time of our lives. Driving through the country side, visiting the sites, tasting wine and living la dolce vita.
One of the things I remember most about the trip was the beautiful churches. They were stunning with beautiful marble arches and awesome artwork.
I visited sixteen churches during my stay and I lite a candle in every single one. I prayed to God and thanked him for seeing me through my cancer journey. I prayed for continued strength and for him to show me the way forward.
I cried sixteen times. It was a powerful moment each time I lite that candle.
I was so proud of myself for making the trip.
I was flying solo, but I was never alone.
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