Brittany’s story:

Hi! I’m Brittany Long! I was raised in Tennessee with my 9 siblings, by my amazing parents. I moved out west to go to college and met my husband a couple of years later. In fact, Brittany was my neighbor at the time! So, I’ve known her for about the same time as my hubby! My hubby and I have been out west ever since. Going on 15 years of marriage and 4 children later we are still alive and well.

I say alive and well, because August 30, 2016, I was diagnosed with AML, a rare form of leukemia. I was sent directly to the LDS hospital in Salt Lake City where I stayed 32 days and had extreme Chemo. While there my doctors realized I had a very low chance of survival unless I received a bone marrow transplant. Thankfully I have so many siblings, because 4 of them were full matches. The doctors chose my brother LeGrand to be my donor. I was sent home for 3 weeks while they prepped for my transplant. Then I was sent back to the hospital for another 28 day stay while I recovered from my transplant. I could go on and on to explain my full story, but this is just a quick explanation to give you somewhat of an idea of what happened almost 4 years ago. During that time, and for months after, I had to give in to allowing people to help me and my family. I had to swallow my pride and allow others to help raise my 4 children for me, bring meals and clean my house because I couldn’t physically do it myself. My amazing mom would come to take care of us, and stay for a month at a time with a few weeks break, and then come right back. When I finally looked at myself as others saw me I was finally able to have self compassion and fully lay back and focus on myself and getting better.

Brittany and her mom during one of her hospital stays

I am now in remission and doing amazing! Fast forward about a year and a half later and my wonderful mom was diagnosed with Gallbladder cancer. You’ve never heard of it? Neither had we! It’s a very rare cancer and is mainly found after getting your gallbladder removed, it’s also in the same family as pancreatic cancer. After her diagnosis I was able to fly to TN quite a few times to be with her. My family and I just “knew” she’d be a miracle just like me! But, sadly, she ended up dying 4 months after being diagnosed. This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life. I would’ve had cancer over and over myself, if it meant not losing my mom. She was my best friend and seriously, a mom others envied.

Brittany and her mom

I have always loved being around people, in fact, I had more visitors come to the hospital than any of the nurses had ever seen! And that’s because I welcomed visitors, I welcomed them to join along in my journey. But, after Momma died, I closed myself off. I found myself having social anxiety. I couldn’t put myself out there. When I went out with friends, all I thought about was getting home and into a safe environment where I didn’t have to open myself up.

I started seeing advertisements for Brittany’s GOTG retreats. I longed to go on them but had anxiety thinking about it. I finally got the courage up enough to go on the Cowgirl Retreat…because…HORSES!! I was so nervous, but I was going to do it. But, sadly the plans fell through for me. Finally Britt advertised a day retreat, only a day! If I could do anything, I could get through only a day! So, I signed up, I went, and can I just say….it was exactly what I needed!!!

Other women talked to me, shared their stories and welcomed hearing my own. We went on a beautiful hike, had an amazing yoga session, a yummy lunch and a wonderful speaker who spoke on sharing your “unimaginable”!! It felt like it was planned for me. With other people sharing their unimaginables, somehow I felt comfortable sharing mine. There wasn’t one moment where I wanted to go home, where I felt anxious or judged. It was exactly what I’ve been longing for. I felt uplifted and stronger for going. I can’t wait for another retreat! It gave me the strength and courage I needed to know that I can get out there again and continue to be around others, because honestly, making connections with others is what gets me through this bumpy road we call life!