A Different St. Paddys Day Weekend

St. Patricks Day weekend is one of the many many reasons why I love living in the beautiful city of Boston. This weekend here is like no other– so full of excitement, energy and plain fun!Honestly, I was very disappointed about having to miss all the shenanigans that go along with this wild weekend but it is what it is. Luckily for this little Irish girl, I was able to have a nice day with lots of visitors! After three weeks of not being able to snuggle my favorite princess, my doctors said that I could have Eleni come in to see me. It’s amazing what a child can do for a soul…it literally made my heart feel better to give her hugs and kisses. Then some fabulous girlfriends came to chat, shower me with St. Paddys Day bling and give me some much needed girl time gossip! My parents and brother came later in the afternoon and unfortunately I wasn’t feeling well by the end of the day, but it was nice to have them here to be there with me during a not-so-great time.

Busy day for this lady but an even bigger day tomorrow. If my neutrophil count goes up to 500 (basically a number they give to my immune system), I could be going home. I’m trying not to get my hopes up but that’s basically impossible. I want to breathe fresh air, see the sun, lay in my bed, eat a home cooked meal. I want that so bad. So tonight, I’m saying an extra Irish blessing in my prayers and hoping I get my wish to go home tomorrow.

Hope everyone had a special weekend. Enjoy the week ahead!

XOXO,
Jessy

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Name Change

The Inspiration Initiative

I’ve decided to rename my blog because I want it to stand for something more than just me. More than just my trials, my tribulations, my hardships, my life. I want this blog to be a place that I share my story but also a place that people can go for inspiration, laughs and positive vibes when they need it in their own lives.
 
Not everyday can or will be sunshine and rainbows but it’s important to find the little things that make you feel a glimpse of warmth and light and that’s what I will try to ensure on this blog. I want The Inspiration Initiative to be a place that I go to share my zest for life and how I liked to live it with energy and passion. Equally as important, I want it to be a place that you can go to soak up some good energy rays and then go about your day. 
 
The goal is simple: spread the smiles. 
 
With that said, I hope everyone has a fabulous St. Paddy’s Day weekend and enjoys an extra green beer for me! I’ll be celebrating my favorite holiday a tad differently than expected but I will certainly still be celebrating! Slåinte
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(Wait! What?!?! I have hair again? Nope, that’s a magical wig!)

XOXO,

Jessy

Day 22

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Today is the twenty second day of being here at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, floor 7D. Today I cried. Today, like almost every other day, I woke up to doctors coming in my room to examine me and ask me questions. It really wasn’t unlike most other days but for some reason today I hit a wall. I hit a wall of “I want my life back.” I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to have a thousand people pop their heads in “my” room. I don’t want to be in this room. I don’t want one more hospital or frozen meal. I don’t want to poked at and given shots. I don’t want my vitals taken. I don’t want write down how much I’m peeing. I don’t want my fingertips to feel numb. I don’t. I don’t. I don’t. 

I am closer than I have been to going home but I’m feeling farther away from it today. I need to remember all the good things that I have my life and that’s exactly what I’m going to do with this blog. Number one good thing in my life? The people. I am so fortunate to have the most amazing support group and they have helped me get through these twenty two days better than I ever would’ve expected myself to.

I’m lucky that every morning I’ve had a card to open with my breakfast, filled with loving and meaningful words that brighten my spirit and help me feel rejuvenated. This has something that truly has made such a difference in making each day better and I know that not every patient is as lucky. For that, I am so thankful.  

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I’m lucky to not only work for a fabulous company currently that has been so incredibly supportive during this hard time and have sent me gifts, well-wishes and most importantly VISITORS but I’m lucky that that I also have worked for another unbelievably thoughtful company in the past who although I no longer work there took the time to create the most beautiful gift. An origami mobile filled with words of inspiration and encouragement from coworkers. It’s bright, beautiful and unique –I can’t wait until it’s hanging in my home.  

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I’m lucky that everybody wants me to have soft lips….

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I’m lucky that I met the most amazing group of girlfriends in college. Friends that will last my entire lifetime. Friends that make me laugh harder and smile bigger than just about anything. Friends that, although scattered literally across the continental U.S. somehow were able to work together to all pitch in and surprise me with the most beautiful bracelet I’ve ever seen. A bracelet that is engraved and corresponds with the longitude and latitude coordinates of where we all met– Tampa. This gift literally took my breath away because how could it not? How blessed am I to have people this thoughtful in my life? So to my Tampa Betches, you girls have and will always have my heart. 

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I’m lucky that I have the two best friends by my side through this whole thing. Who are more like sisters to me than friends. They’re both always here. Both always have been and always will be. And there’s nothing better than that. 

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I’m lucky that people have, simply put, spoiled me. Spoiled me with the softest blankets to ever touch a BWH bed, the fluffiest stuffed animals in all the land, copious amounts of candy, reading material to last me a year, endless tools to make me the craftiest Somervillian of all time, and most importantly my own personalized bottles of Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Sauce.

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I’m lucky that I have the most supportive family I could ever dream of. A sister that’s my best friend and talks to me every day and sees me every chance she gets. A brother-in-law that makes even hard situations a funny one. A little brother that has traveled back from NYC too many times to see me and be with me. Grandparents that text with me everyday (yup, that’s right. Every single one of my grandparents text!) Parents that have been to this hospital almost every single day to give me hugs and kisses and the love that I need more anything else right now. And of course, a niece that sends me stupid adorable pics of herself every day that make me happier than I can even describe. 

(I’ll take any chance I get to show off how adorable this baby is. seriously. she needs to become a baby model— get on that Courtney.) 

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I’m lucky that this guy has slept next to me…in a cot. Every. Single. Night. All 22 days. He didn’t need to do that, but he does it because it makes me feel safe and happy. He does it because he loves me, a lot. And that makes me the luckiest girl in the entire world. 

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So I started writing this blog a little down in the dumps and now, now I feel better. Because how can I not? I have SO much to be thankful for and to feel lucky about. 

I’m off to paint. 

XOXO,

Jessy 

p.s. Here’s the last thing I feel lucky for…I feel lucky that I didn’t choose this 1980’s Metal Band Rockstar Wig. 

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High and Lows

A day after my absolutely fabulous Friday and two scoops of chemo crappiness later, I’ve had an all-in-all rough 72 hours. Both physically and mentally. I woke up Saturday morning with an extreme amount of jaw, mouth and throat pain which we quickly learned is an infection in my GI tract that comes quite often as a result of chemo. As with any infection, it onset a fever and some nausea. It continued to get worse and by Sunday my fever was up to 102.5. Pretty much sucking the life out of me, even my doctor noticed I wasn’t “as perky” as normal. Luckily I had some friends and family stop by both days which helps to put my attention on something other than the uncomfortableness; even if just for a few minutes. I certainly didn’t expect that I would be Miss Pollyanna, sunshine and rainbows the whole time but this was the first really rough patch I’ve had so far– the kind that punched me in the face with the reality of just how hard and long this road is going to be.

Then we added some insult to injury: Sunday morning my hair started to bid me goodbye. Some people may call this deep denial but I like to say I was being an enteral optimist when thinking just maybe I’d beat the odds and not lose my hair. I was quite honestly clinging onto this glimpse of hope and up until Sunday morning I was yanking on my hair everyday to see it it felt “loose” and lucky for me, it had been sticking in there quite well. Unfortunately, and unknowingly to me, the hair loss comes on extremely quickly and from Sunday morning to when I first noticed hair on my pillow, I was pulling out large chunks by Monday morning (pukeeeee). This quite literally made me feel nauseous. So, since my mom was here for the day, I had one of my favorite nurses and lets face it, didn’t have much of a schedule, I decided to rip the band-aid off as quick as possible and take control of the situation. With a Beyonce playlist of “If I were a boy” and “Diva” blaring in the background, we began the buzz-a-thon: and to my utter shock, it felt great. The first row of hair took my breath a way a bit but I didn’t cry because I felt a sense of control. It felt like I was choosing this, not my sickness making me do it. Which was empowering and important for me to feel.

And, it’s gone! G.I. Jane, anyone?
(refresh the page to see a little slideshow of the whole “buzz-a-thon”)  
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One life lesson learned yesterday: anxiety leading up to a challenge is more than half the battle. The thought of buzzing off my hair ended up being far worse than the actual agony of doing it. And, if you decide to make something shitty, something fun, it’s guaranteed to be a better experience than if you didn’t.
Xoxox,
Jessy

In or out of the hospital…Fridays are the best.

Today is a good day. I’m over the two week mark of being in the hospital and if everything goes smoothly, I could be in my own bed and eating a home cooked meal in 10 days. WAHOO!!!! Not sure if I’m beginning to go crazy from being locked up in one small room, if it’s all the steroids I’m on or if I’m just feeling really happy today. But whatever it is, I’ve got my gorgeous lei on (courtesy of my Hawaiian lovah Miss Ali Catalano) and me and Uncle Fred just completed my first selfie photoshoot. BOOM.

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Now that I think of it, all this energy is probably the adrenaline I’m still feeling from finishing my first big league acting gig. Oh what’s that you say? Let me explain… I was awoken to my favorite and fabulous nurse asking if I wanted to be in a video they were making about the hospital. Is that even a question? DUH I want to be the featured patient– how fun is that?! So I got up and quickly brushed my short new do, put it in a cute pony and pink headband and hopped back into bed (who says you have to look sickly even if you’re sick). Signed some papers and it was “lights, camera, {hospital} action!” Overall, I would say I did a phenomenal job at my first professional actress– wide eyed, pretend chatting and lots of cheesin’. Possibly a bit too much cheesin’ as they had to ask me to stop smiling so much but hey, who wants to see a grumpy gus anyways? 

After that excitement, I enjoyed a delicious bagel and cream cheese with two very plastic-y pieces of bacon. (gotta take what I can get). The army of doctors came in and had no news. WOO– as they like to say, “no news is good news.” 

Mike is working from the hospital today so I had a buddy to watch the Price is Right’ which is a highlight of the day– could that show be any better? Only if they bring back Bob Barker. But other than that, it’s perfection.

I got my yoga mat a few days ago so I’ve been doing my own little yogi sessions the past few days which have really helped a lot. It makes me feel physically and mentally strong.  

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Mike and I just finished dancing around our room for a bit which is a sure-fire way to make anyone feel good and I’m waiting for my arugula pizza from Trader Joe’s to get delivered while chomping on some delectable Deep River chips (the best ever) —  Life isn’t half bad. 

 

Happy Friday everyone, I hope you’re having a fabulous and energetic day!  

XOXO,

Jessy

 

Silver Linings BlogBook

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Mornings are hard. For a split second when I’m sleeping I forget where I am and then am reminded that I’m not home and this isn’t a dream I’ll be waking up from any time soon. Mornings also mean that there’s a full day ahead of me which can feel daunting. SO, this morning I wanted to remind myself of some of the good things that will come out of this not-so-good situation.

1. Connect with people— a true blessing has been receiving such an overwhelming amount of love and support from quite an array of people in the past two weeks. Obviously with those that I hold closest to my heart, but also connecting with people that I haven’t spoken with in years, people I am only acquaintances with, or people that I really don’t know at all but felt the urge to reach out and offer their kind words and support. It truly has shown me that people are innately goodand I am so lucky to be surrounded with the most amazing group of individuals I could ever ask for. This experience has already highlighted the importance of making a better effort in connecting with those that I love and appreciate– making the time to give a call to one of my many friends that are seemingly scattered around the country just to say hello, making the time to call catch up with someone important in my life that it’s been too long since we’ve last spoken, making the time to not get lost in the “routine” of life and put in a better effort to see my family and friends that live just an hour away in which I sometimes act like live across the country, making the time to say thank you and i love you to all those that make a difference in my life. So to all of you who are reading this blog and have connected with me in these past two weeks to offer me positive vibes and energy… thank you and i love you.

2. Try new things — I will have lots of new found “time on my hands” and while I know this will be tough road ahead physically, I really believe that the mental game is half the battle and the more active and stimulated I remain, the quicker the road to recovery will be. So there’s no better time than now to try new things and gain new “hobbies”– like BLOGGING! 🙂 or knitting, DIYing or painting. Creative outlets will be a nice change of pace and one that I’m excited about.

3. Become a famous chef-– If you follow me on Pinterest, you probably saw the outrage that I took to pinning recipes yesterday. The past few months, I’ve learned to really enjoy cooking and trying new recipes/foods. But as with most people, there’s not always enough time in the day to be slaving away in the kitchen trying all the recipes I want to discover. So lucky for me (and Mike!), I’ll be slumming around our Slomerville palace for quite some time and will have plenty of time to master this talent.

I see you Guy Fierri.

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4. Possibly get a pup — not sure if this one’s possible yet but I’ve wanted a frenchie for a long time now and there really hasn’t been a good time with my work schedule. So my wheels have already begun to spin that maybe this is God opening the door for me to have a little baby frenchie on board.

A girl can dream…

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5. Have a “summer vacation” — living in New England there is absolutely a “better” time to have chemo. And it’s called not winter. I feel lucky that I’m going to go through this just as winter is ending and the beautiful New England spring and summer are beginning. I felt sorry for myself last summer being locked up in an office building everyday during those warm weather days. And although this is not how I would’ve wished to get some extra days off, (I’d take winning the lotto instead), I’m excited to spend time soaking up more rays than I had anticipated and just enjoying being outdoors and feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.

So with that said….dear 10 degree days in March– get the eff out of my way.

6. More time with my Eleni Bear – lets face it, there’s no better therapy than snuggling with my favorite little nugget. Literally nothing better. And I’ll have way more time to do that. So BOOM– win.

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I’m sure I’ll think of more later but those are some of the main things I’m looking forward to with my new change of pace.

XOXO,

Jessy