Love is Present: Open for Business!

Box_MusicI am excited to share with you that after many months of hard work, multiple conversations, test ideas and lots of learning,  I have officially launched Love is Present.

Love is Present is an online platform to send thoughtful and practical gifts in a box. The gift boxes aim to provide encouragement to others during difficult times and to help celebrate happy moments in life. The business was built with the idea to help answer questions many of us face when wanting to communicate to others: what do I say? what should I send? where can I find something unique for my friend/family member?

Many of you know that I am passionate about helping others to become a better version of themselves and I believe feeling loved and supported despite distance has a strong and positive impact in the way we celebrate accomplishments and overcome difficulties.

Love is Present is a startup, a small business that has the goal of making this world a better place through the products we include, the organizations we support, the communities we serve, and the encouragement we provide.

I am grateful to the incredible advice, support, and feedback I have received to get the startup to this point.

I am looking forward to continuing learning.

Happy Gifting,

B

 

 

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Clear Scans! Moving Forward

 

Navy_111515
My hair is curly and crazy

A couple of weeks ago, I had my three-month follow-up scans and appointments. I am happy to report that my scans are clear and my next follow up appointment will be in a year from now!!

 

We are excited about moving forward, excited about being able to enjoy our present while inventing and building our future.

My desire to help others and give back to the community is now stronger and I am directing my energy, talent, and knowledge to engage in fulfilling and meaningful activities.

I have two big projects lined up for 2016: One is to continue learning and for that I am going back to graduate school again, this time to get my MBA at the University of Maryland. The second project is related to connecting people through simple acts of kindness especially during tough times. (Stay tuned!) 

I am grateful for life, for kindness, for friendship, and for love.

Thank you for reading!

365 Days of Life

Sunset.  Foto Credit: Dave
Sunset.
Photo Credit: Dave

Today is a special and emotional day.  A year ago, on September 16 of 2014, I was in the hospital with Dave and my parents patiently waiting for the harvested bone marrow cells my brave sister Caro donated on a pure act of unconditional and endless love to save my life.  I am forever grateful to Caro, Dave, my parents, sister Cris, my in-laws, Marsha, brother-in-law Rafa, my friends, colleagues, and extended family for their prayers and support.

The fact that today I was able to run more than three miles at my fastest pace on record is a result of a joint effort and countless hours of care from my family and the talented team at Johns Hopkins.

Thank you to the love of my life, Dave, for serving as the Caregiver-in-Chief who made sure I had everything I needed to get back on my feet.  You are my inspiration, my everything.  I love you!

Thank you so much Marsha for sharing your expertise as a nurse to take care of me during the tough first period of post-transplant.  I am incredibly thankful to my mother-in-law, Kathy, who dedicated over two months to take care of me and helped us with multiple chores at home, you have served to remind me that love and family matter the most.  Thank you to my father-in-law, Terry, for his support, patience, and humor during extremely challenging times.  Thank you to Dr. Kanakry, Laura, Dr. Bolanos-Meade, Viki, Laura, and Lynne.

Thank you to all my friends and colleagues who shared their love and encouragement in multiple creative and thoughtful ways.

Although this year hasn’t been easy, I am thankful for the gift of life and the opportunity of having a future free of disease. I am certain God has a plan and a mission for me (God, this is just a reminder that I am here, I am listening, I am ready, show me the way….)

Today I celebrate life!

Thank you for reading

Great News!

Each three months I have a PET scan and a series of studies as a follow up post-transplant.
I just want to share with you a quick note and great news. I got the call from my doctor today confirming my scans from last week show NED (No Evidence of Disease), this means there are no signs of lymphoma = remission.
I feel happy, grateful, and blessed!

A rose from our garden!
A rose from our garden!

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all great dads in the world! especially mine.

Thank you dad for teaching me to create and enjoy music.

National Survivors Day

Each day is an opportunity to become a better version of yourself.
Grateful for the gift of life. Happy National Cancer Survivor’s Day!

Celebrating!

Five & 1/4 Miles

Spring is here!

Happy Run!
Happy Run!

Yesterday we were blessed with a beautiful and warmer day so I decided to go for a run outside!!!!. I am happy to report that I completed 5.25 miles.

I ran in Quiet Waters, a park near home that is located on the Chesapeake Bay. I was able to run most of the time, but I had to walk and slow down on the hills. Indeed I struggled some moments, but I was determined to go as far as I could and I took it slow. I captured the photo on the right when it was time for me to run back home.

When I got home I was so happy to notice our flowers on the front and back of the house started to bloom. Spring brings new beginnings.

Tomorrow the port I have kept for three years is being removed. It is a minor surgery.  I am so looking forward to not having this device anymore.

Thank you for reading and have a great week.

-Bea

Flowers!!

Grateful and in Remission!

Enjoying a beautiful day @ Chesapeake Bay
Enjoying a beautiful day @ Chesapeake Bay

After 10 days of anxiously waiting for my scan results, my oncologist said the word we were praying to hear “Remission”.

We are grateful, happy, and excited to leave in the past these very challenging three years and a half. It was a long and difficult road that taught us the importance of having a support network of friends and family, the critical role of healthy eating and exercise to heal the body and to keep it strong. We witnessed and experienced the power of prayers, hope, and faith. And certainly we are blessed with the gifts of life and love.

I am no longer the same person and now I am on a mission to create a better version of myself.  I know and believe I have a grater and bigger purpose in life to accomplish.

Certainly, life is about the moments and relationships we create, it is about enjoying the time with family and friends, it is about overcoming difficulties and leaving the past behind. Life is about seeking balance, practicing kindness, being grateful, and pursuing a better version of yourself.

Thank you for keeping me in your prayers, for giving me strength and hope when I needed it the most. May this experience serve as a reminder that life is a precious gift.

Thank you for reading and may God bless us all.

Love,

-Bea

Valentine’s Reminder

HeartI hope you had a terrific weekend and celebrated love. And yes, it is great opportunity to take a pause and cherish love and friendship. Many of you might be surprised since in Mexico Valentine’s Day is the day to celebrate not only love but friendship. I have great memories from High School when we celebrated El Dia del Amor y la Amistad (The day of Love and Friendship). Each year high school seniors dressed formally and delivered letters, roses, flowers, and brought Serenata (Serenade) on behalf of others. It was a lot of fun not only because seniors will raise money towards graduation or a trip, but because classes were interrupted by deliveries, guitars, and short love songs. I also remember girls always competing to see who will receive the highest number of roses and letters. Obviously your heart will be broken if you didn’t receive a rose, flower, or a letter (not fun). Regardless, even though Valentine’s day is a popular and commercial day I like the reminder that love prevails and surrounds us. Love is manifested in many shapes and forms through our friends, colleagues, family,our faith, even strangers, and our furry friends. But most importantly love is a gift from God.

I know. I haven’t shared on the blog my thoughts and feelings about faith and it has been on purpose since I struggled to make peace with the challenges I faced and for a long time I felt I was left behind. It was until I started reading about faith that I understood that faith is about trust and letting go, about the belief of a greater plan for us, the deep understanding that we are not alone and instead we are blessed with love, resources, faith, and strength to persevere.

The last couple of weeks have been tough because I am going through a roller coaster of emotions and I am nervous about my upcoming scans in March 2. Physically I feel stronger and better each day, I am able to run a bit more and my hair keeps growing and the graft-versus-host on my skin is less painful and noticeable. Emotionally most days I feel super excited, positive, and great; but others I feel the complete opposite. Despite difficult days, I know I will persevere.

I will keep you posted and thank you for reading!

Lots of Love,

-Bea

100 Days on Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Happy 2015!

May this new year bring health, opportunities, harmony, and peace to all of us.

I am grateful for starting a new year surrounded by family and friends. I value the support received and the lessons learned in 2014. Most importantly I am grateful for the gift of life.

During the Holidays, my parents and sister Cris visited and spent Christmas with us. We had a great time and celebrated the fact that on Christmas Day I reached 100 days post-transplant.  And to conclude the holiday season, we welcomed  the new year with my in-laws.
Christmas with Family

These 100+ days haven’t been easy but I have been patient. I am still in risk of infection and dealing with side effects on my skin associated with   Graft Versus Host Disease – a common consequence of the life-saving bone marrow transplants.- However, I started walking and running again, I am not struggling with daily nausea anymore, my hair started to grow back, I am tired but it is manageable, and I will go back  to work on January 5; all things considered I am in good shape.

I feel hopeful and I am looking forward to a great and positive year.

Love – Bea