Who is Tonya and how I came to start Todos Y Tonya…
My name is Tonya, 52, mother, adventurer, traveler, optimist. I have worked in the travel industry for almost 15 years and after that I was a horse riding instructor for almost 15 years. I had my life on track and in order, or so I thought... In October 2015 I felt a small lump in my right breast. The doctor sent me “just to be sure” to the Gelderse Vallei hospital. A mammo, a scan and two punctures later (the first showed nothing, (tribute to my oncologist Wilfred de Roos, who didn't trust that) knocked the ground out from under my feet:
Breast cancer. How? I was 47, happy, healthy, fit and cheerful.
Surgeries followed and on Christmas Day I had the first of a series of 7 rounds of chemotherapy. I went through all the nasty side effects you can think of. And then I was done at the end of April. I thought. My hair started to grow back a bit and I started the hormone course that I would have to take for 5 years. Tamoxifen. Within a few months I was “chemically depressed”. Luckely I was allowed to switch to Anastrazole and from that moment on, everything went better. Slowly better. During that time I also went on holidays a few times. Bold with a wig, puffed up, dosing with my energy, full of emotions. And it was not easy: my self-confidence was zero, I did not recognize my own body, I was often tired and wanted to sleep for a few hours. Sometimes recalcitrant, sometimes angry. And there was no space, understanding or opportunity for that. Swimming was suddenly no longer fun, because everyone was “watching”, and I was “fat”. And I wasn't "fun" anymore... A sad summary of a difficult time.
I am now five years later, I have had the necessary challenges in life and I recently lost my mother to cancer. And again there's a question: what if you know you are not going to get better? If you know you have to say goodbye? What do people need and want in that stage of life? Where do you go? To make precious memories, to enjoy?
I am glad that I have found my path with this project, this challenge, although it took some time. That is partly because of my illness, because of what happened to me. Cancer has cost me a lot, but also brought me a lot. Cancer is also never finished, it always stays in the back of your mind. Anyone who walks or has walked in these shoes knows that, And in the end, luckily, most of us find our own right path. Mine runs to Spain. And my mom walks with me…
Blix and Todos, my two dogs look after me, you and the Finca. Blix is a playful Jack Russel with Bambi legs who is over a year old and Todos is a 5 month old Spanish Mastin. Todos comes from a rescue center. Blix has the heart of a lion, Todos will grow as big as a lion. Both can be trusted 100% and are super sweet and watchful! Of course they have their own place here at the Finca and you as a guest will not be bothered by that, although they are also happy to come and get a pat if you like!