This time last year we had all the hope of a new year and new decade ahead – and wow, look how that turned out!
While 2020 was a huge year of disruption and change, both personally and globally, I feel so incredibly grateful to be living an ‘almost normal’ life in NZ while the rest of the world crashes back into further lockdowns, mutated variants of the virus, overwhelmed hospitals, and crazy antics that threaten the very bastion of democracy in the US. While 2021 brings the promise and new energy of a new year, I’m reminded to not take things for granted.
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since being diagnosed with breast cancer (28th January) and I feel eternally blessed at how easily I’ve come through treatment. At the appointment with my oncologist just before Christmas, she was very happy with my progress, and gave me a clean bill of health. The genetic testing I undertook came back clear, which is great news for my extended family, and now it’s just regular monitoring for the next five to 10 years to ensure it doesn’t come back!
The business has also rebounded better than we expected after the Covid lockdowns, which allowed us to celebrate our incredible team with some very well-deserved pampering at Spring Spa in Ponsonby for the team Christmas party. It makes us even more grateful for your support in what has been a crazy ride of a year – thank you!
Flashback to our fabulous team Xmas party in December 2020
My dad has just started his third round of chemo, and so far seems to be tolerating it reasonably well, although he is constantly fatigued and has lost of lot of weight. He has an appointment with Auckland Haematology this Thursday to explore whether he might be a suitable candidate for bone marrow transplant. We are all nervous for him – a big thank you to those of you who have reached out and said you are praying for a good recovery, it’s greatly appreciated! It seems to have worked well for my recovery, so 🤞🤞 it works just as well for dad!
We had a lovely Xmas break – on New Year’s Eve I took my dad down to Ashburton for Xmas with my brother Jamie, and his family. It was poignant in that it was the first family Xmas we had had in Ashburton with my dad since Jamie and I were teenagers – and also for the possibility that he may or may not be with us next year. It’s very much been a reminder to make time with family count, to tell them how much I love and appreciate them, and to enjoy the time we do have together, even if it’s just ‘hanging out’.
We had a wonderful four days with Dad, Jamie, his partner Grace, and my nephews, Lachie (8) and Ollie (6). We visited some houses with incredible Xmas lights and displays in Ashburton; opened loads of presents on Xmas day; went to the local pool and threw a ball around with the nephews; and visited some of our favourite extended family – we created some great memories! We then celebrated Grace’s birthday as a family on the 28th, before I flew back up to Auckland with Dad, who stayed the night before travelling home to Russell.
Grace’s birthday lunch in Ashburton
While Xmas for me is about family, New Year’s Eve has always been about friends – although this year was a little different as I went glamping with three of my girlfriends and their three little girls, aged 3 to 5, at the alcohol-free, family-friendly, ‘Resolution Festival’ – four days and three nights of yoga, workshops, plant-based food and awesome music! What a positive way to see in the new year!
My gorgeous NYE crew! The glamping tents we stayed in for New Year’s Eve
After zipping home for a night (to discover we had been burgled) I then set off with a Canadian friend for a Great Tour of Northland for four days! I finally managed to get to Cape Reinga for the first time, and we visited my dad and ex-step mum in Russell, checked out historic sites throughout Russell, Kerikeri and Mangonui; visited Tane Mahuta and the Kauri museum; rescued a lady suffering from heatstroke while we were at Cape Reinga; did loads of hikes; visited more family at Whakapirau on the way back through; and ate loads of great kiwi food! We crammed a lot into four days!
Finally made it Cape Reinga!
In the past I have used the time over the new year period to set big goals and strong resolutions. With all the change and turbulence over the last year, and greater uncertainty than usual about the year ahead, this year I decided to be much kinder, and set ‘intentions’ rather than stringent resolutions and lofty goals. One of my intentions for this year is to (finally) create non-work space in my weekends, allowing me to spend more time with family and friends, or even start some hobbies! One of the clear messages from last year’s cancer and Covid combination was to slow down. I realised on reflection that I have for many years used my weekends to catch up on work. Now I get to create a new pattern and get my work done in work time so I can have freedom of time in my weekends!
The end of last year marked 20 years of cosmetic injecting for me, and this year we will celebrate The Face Place being open 20 years! It’s a huge milestone, and one that at times has taken a lot of blood (no pun intended!), sweat and tears, and at the same time has brought so much joy, purpose, and pleasure into my life.
I recognise last year was an incredibly tough year for so many people. Whatever the next 12 months brings, I’m hopeful that the changes and adjustments we have all had to make over the last 12 months have shown us that we can adjust and pivot and grow in response to the challenges. My mantra for last year became ‘where is the opportunity in the challenge?’ While I’m still waiting for this year’s mantra to show up, I hope that this year brings you many more opportunities and fewer challenges, along with the knowledge that whatever challenges we face, we can get through them!
Wishing you a 2021 full of ease, grace and happiness,
Dr Cat 😻