100th Post

This is an exciting and special day not only because it marks one year since my liver resection surgery, but also because this post number 100 on my blog! Double yippee!

What started out as a way to keep in touch when my husband and I moved to China has turned into a resource for cancer survivors and illness sufferers. Oh and in-between, I chronicled six months of living in France. What a ride!

To commemorate the moment, I wanted to share a few of my favorite and most popular posts. It was really fun to look back. I love how this blog has served as a history of my life.

Thank you for reading.  Here’s to the next 100!

Most popular posts:
Waiting for Hair: The Toll of Chemotherapy and Cancer
For me, losing my hair wasn’t hard — it was the waiting for it to grow back that has been the most challenging.  And for the hair update, click here.


2014, 2015 & 2016

Living Universal Truths on My Cancerversy
September 1st is my cancerversy and the universe conspired for some incredible things to happen.

Testing My Confidence
My terrifying debut to the french language.

Belgium: More Than Beer and Chocolate
Christmas in Brussels, Bruges and Ghent.

My Night in a Brothel
Spending the night in a 24-hour Asian spa – sketchy or awesome? Both.


Favorite posts:


At the End of the World on Cancer Survivor’s Day

The Ordinary World
My journey through cancer and to the Camino de Santiago.

Lessons Learned in Advocating
Your life depends on not letting your guard down for a moment. Here are some of the important advocating lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Why I’m Kicking Italy to the Curb
Where my obsession with the Camino de Santiago all began.  To read all my Camino posts, click here.


Holly visits China

Hol(l)y Crap
When one of my best friends visited me in China.

The Adventures of Henri & Moi
Driving a manual car in a foreign country is terrifying.


One Year of Hair After Cancer


As featured on curetoday.com

August marked one year since I shaved my head just two weeks after my first round of chemotherapy. I knew the hair loss was coming and decided ahead of time to shave at the first signs of clumps on my pillow. As I wrote in Waiting for Hair: The Toll of Chemotherapy, “Losing my hair wasn’t hard – waiting for it to grow back has been the most challenging.” I still stand by this statement.

When treatment ended, I became obsessed with taking a daily photo so I could see the progress. A watched pot never boils; this saying applies to hair growth, too. It seemed the day I stopped taking regular photos, it started growing like a weed.

Another daily task was scouring Pinterest for secret solutions. I put castor and peppermint oils in my shampoo. I massaged my head to wake up the hair growth follicles. I took biotin. The result: a freakish amount of blond hair on my earlobes that was never there before. Once a friend commented on my unusual amount of ear hair, I stopped and deleted this Pinterest board.

I’m happy to be past the point where unusually short hair prompts a conversation. I loved when other survivors approached me with their words of wisdom and encouragement, but there were also those who opened their mouths without thinking. For instance, there was the TSA official who asked, “What did you cut your hair for?”

With a sarcastic smile, I replied, “It wasn’t voluntary.”

I’m not sure he ever got it, but I questioned his intelligence for commenting on a woman’s hair in the first place.

I shared this story with a fellow survivor who advised me to respond to this question by saying, “I survived cancer!” This prompts celebration and not pity or surprise or embarrassment for asking. Great advice.

After about two months of growth, I looked in the mirror and saw a mullet staring back at me. Initially, I planned to tough it out as I grew it out. My philosophy was, why would I cut off perfectly good hair? However, the mullet lead to a change in strategy. If my hair was going to be short, it might as well be cute and short. Now I go for haircuts every month and only during the last week do I look like Joe Dirt.

For a while, I threatened my husband to dye it purple or pink or that wonderful grey that is so in style. I was in the, “I just survived cancer and I’ll do as I darn well please,” phase. But the reality is, I’m too chicken, which I find funny considering a year ago I was walking around with a bald head and couldn’t care less. Oh, how cancer changes perspectives constantly.

Whenever I’m frustrated with the current status of my hair, I stop myself and say a prayer of gratitude that I have any hair at all, because not so long ago I didn’t. I also think about those in the place where I was a year ago. Like everything in life and in cancer, it is a journey. And as the saying goes, it’s the journey and not the destination.

However, my next destination might be extensions. Stay tuned.

Read this on curetoday.com: One Year of Hair After Cancer

Read all my articles with Cure.

And here’s a photo summary of my hair re-growth:

Lessons in Friendship During Cancer


As featured on curetoday.com

A cancer diagnosis is a life changing moment. Your body, mind, perspective, spirituality, quality of life, the amount of free time, work, finances, habits and relationships are all about to be shaken up. Change in any one of these categories is bound to bring discomfort to your existence, but all of them at once is beyond overwhelming. What keeps us from drowning in the sea of change is the people in our lives who come to the rescue – our friends and family. (READ MORE)