Crazy for the Carter Family

I haven’t written in for what feels like forever. Mostly because I really have had no updates…nothing that I felt was worthy enough to write about. Each day has been generally the same. I’m home, I’m tired, I’m sometimes nauseous and I’m still dealing with a headache that has been here for literally over a month. On a “good” day, I have a visitor or have the energy to make dinner, maybe do some laundry, go for a walk or yoga. Nothing exactly over-the-top exciting. Well, except for my new-found talent of knitting– teaching myself this craft has actually been super exciting! So it sounds negative but I’ve felt like, what do I really have to say? And honestly today didn’t start much different than the rest but today took a turn for the fabulous and I now have something to say…something really really exciting to announce and it has absolutely nothing to do with cancer. TODAY MIKE AND I SCORED TICKETS TO THE “ON THE RUN” JAYZ AND BEYONCE SUMMER TOUR!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOO WOOOOOOOOO!

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It sounds so silly but this is the most excited I have been over something in a few months. I love Beyonce. I love JayZ. I love Blue Ivy. Plain and simple, I love the Carters. They are the best and I’ve been chirping about how the two of them need to go on tour together for quite some time and FINALLY my dream has come a reality. And this is just what I needed– I needed something to put on my calendar besides my next hospital stay. It’s something fun, it’s something exciting and something I really am going to get to look forward to!

So a big thank you to my wonderful boyfriend for coming through and getting me the best form of medicine I could ever ask for! I might not be Drunk in Love lately but I’m certainly still Crazy in Love (see how I did that!? hehe)  

All hail the Queen Bey,

Jessy   

p.s. I need to learn this move before June 30th. 

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Easter Sunday Thanks

On this beautiful Easter Sunday I’m thankful for a lot but here are three things that come to mind today:
1. I’m thankful that I was not in the hospital this weekend and was able to enjoy going to a friends wedding as well as enjoy Easter with Mikes family and adorable nieces.

2. I’m thankful for Nick at Nite playing Friends every night lately. I’ve had a hard time falling asleep and “calming down” at night so reruns of my favorite show have been seriously helpful and enjoyable! There’s just something about Joey, Phoebe, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Chandler that really make bedtime that much better.

3. I’m thankful for strawberry Strudels. Yes, the flakey delicious breakfast pastries that we all dined on as 7 year olds. Well, I’ve brought them back into my life as a dessert and it couldn’t be a more delicious treat. Highly recommend. 👌

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter and we’re able to enjoy it with those you love most.

XOXO,
Jessy

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Boston Strong Forever: My Reflection 1 Year Later

One year ago today I woke up like a kid on Christmas morning. It was my first ever Marathon Monday. I had heard so much about this day and all it’s wicked glory. As a kid who grew up in New Hampshire and went to school in Florida, I had never gotten to experience the excitement and pride that this day brings. My Beacon St. apartment was directly in front of the mile 23 marker— my first floor living room window looked right out onto the street as the runners pushed through the final few miles. Our apartment was filled with mimosas, buffalo chicken dip (and an endless array of unhealthy snacks), jello shots and of course, an ice cold keg of cheap beer. It was a party and I was THRILLED to be a part of it. April 15, 2013 was a beautiful day for a race. Blue skies, a slight wind, and sunshine. A perfect day for a celebration. With a red solo cup in hand, I stood with my girlfriends on the sidewalk cheering on all the participants. I had never been to a marathon before and I truly was blown away with the strength of these participants. By the time I was seeing them, they had run 23 miles— 23 miles!!!— it’s a feat I really can’t even fathom. One of my favorite moments of the day came when a group of military men and women marched by. As they passed with an American flag being held high and proud, the crowd starting chanting, “USA! USA! USA!” I felt such a sense of pride in that moment…not only proud to be an American but to be a Bostonian. During that moment, I remember looking around at all the bystanders and all the runners and really trying to take in what is so special about this day. It’s Patriots Day. It’s Boston’s day. And for the first time, that meant it was my day too. It’s all of our day.

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I had just finished babbling on the phone to my mom about what a fun and fabulous day I was having. Probably a bit too much fun for a Monday afternoon but then again, it was my first Marathon Monday so what else do you expect?! Then this day of excitement, pride and joy became a day of tragedy. I was outside at the time and people from inside the apartment yelled for us to come in and see what had just unfolded three miles from where I was standing. An act of pure evil had just happened. Quickly a house full of people drinking and laughing became a house full of people surrounding a television, silent and crying. After a few minutes, we began bringing runners inside to give them water. Our apartment was suddenly full of a lot of people I didn’t know but it didn’t matter. We all had the same thoughts, feelings and emotions. A bunch of strangers became one. A city became one. And one act of evil had created hundreds of acts of greatness.
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The days following the Boston Marathon were strange. The suspects had not been caught and everyone in the city was on edge. Walking to my car the next morning, there were armed military men at the T stop dressed in bullet proof vests and carrying enormous rifles. I hated it. That’s not what I should see on my way to work, I thought. That’s not what anyone should see on their way to work. It felt un-American. On Friday April 19th, after being in a lockdown all day, completely glued to the television and truthfully frightened, the ban was finally lifted in the early evening. Mike’s brother and sister-in-law had just had a new baby girl two days prior and we had planned to meet her that night. So we jumped in the car and sped off to Newton Wellsley Hospital. After being greeted by an army tank and having our car searched, we parked and ran upstairs. The moment we were walking in the hospital door, “suspect #2” had finally been located and was being handcuffed and taken away. I felt so much joy from this news, so much relief for our city and for all those who had been directly affected by their cowardly acts. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I hoped he and his god awful brother rot in hell. I felt such anger, such hateful thoughts towards these so-called human beings. And then, just when I was feeling such nasty and almost barbaric emotions, we opened the hospital room door and were greeted with a miracle; the best humanity has to offer…a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Cheeks rosy, skin soft and eyes filled with innocence. She was perfect. She didn’t know the horror that had ensued on Monday or the anxiety ridden week that had just finished. Because she was just a baby— a baby born into the most spectacular city, with her whole life ahead of her. I’m so grateful for seeing her that night because that angelic little baby unknowingly took away all the negative thoughts in my head and replaced them with hopeful and happy thoughts. Baby Tori won — baby Tori won against two terrible terrible monsters.
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The morning of April 20th, I think the entire city breathed a sigh of relief that April 19th was a day of the past; I sure did. I felt relief but also felt a sense of urgency to go enjoy the magnificent city that our law enforcement had just risked their lives to protect. So I strolled on down to Newbury and walked my favorite street in America. Then I headed over to the Boston Public Gardens filled with flowers that were blooming magnificently and signifying the start of Spring. And then, with a heavy heart, walked to the edge of Boylston, to where a memorial had popped up honoring those lost and injured in the marathon, to pay my respects and say a little prayer. It was a special day in an even more special city.
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The week of April 15, 2013 taught me a lot. It taught me that life can take unexpected turns so you should always enjoy the present because who knows when it can change. It taught me what a fabulous day Marathon Monday truly is— and to never, EVER not take it off from work (it’s so worth the vacation day). It taught me how much we need our law enforcement and military. It taught me that good always prevails over evil. And it taught me that Boston is truly the greatest city in the world.
#BostonStrong- yesterday, today and always.
XOXO,
Jessy

The Little Things Matter

Wanted to share this video as a friend shared it with me a few days ago and I thought it was beautiful. It’s a great example of how you don’t have to do grandiose gestures to make a difference. It’s the little things that you do in your life that make a difference.

Plus, this is the Inspiration Initiative after all isn’t it? So get inspired. Do something nice for someone else today!

Xoxo,
Jess

What a Wonderful World

Last night Mike and I slowed danced in the living room. It’s something we’ve always liked to do but I look forward to it even more lately as it’s a special few moments just between the two of us. Right as one 1950’s song ended and we were about to clean up from supper, Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” came on. We continued to dance. 
 
As we continued on in our little romantic comedy and I listened to the lyrics, I thought about just how meaningful this song really is to me. It’s a song that when I was about 5, my sister and I sung to our Nanny and Bumpa at their 40th wedding anniversary and whenever I hear it brings me back to my childhood and fills my heart with so much warmth and happiness. It played on a day that for the first time in over two weeks I felt good. I felt like myself. I felt silly and happy and energetic. As it played and Loius sung about red roses blooming, I couldn’t believe that on the same day I had seen the first set of tulips pop their beautiful blossoms through the dirt. Spring officially sprung for me yesterday. 
 
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Spring brings such a magical feeling here in New England. It’s the end of short, cold days. The end of a dreary, dull winter. And the beginning of long, warm days. The beginning of a season full of sunshine and color. Spring truly does create a sense of hope. Hope that the days ahead will be better and brighter than those of the past. This year, that sense of hope is so empowering and invigorating for me. I needed spring (I think we all did). I needed to see those tulips pop through. It signified the start of something new. Something that is beautiful and brilliant. Susan Bissonette said, “An optimist is the human personification of spring.” And so this year (and hopefully every year going forward), I will strive to be just like spring. 
 
Today I get to write this sitting on my back porch, breathing in crisp beautiful fresh air. It’s a bit nippy and while I would typically complain, this year I don’t mind being a little chilly. I don’t mind because as I feel the wind whip on my face, I feel so alive and it reminds me of the days I sat in that hospital room looking out the window wishing I could feel this wind and hear those birds chirp. And because of that, I think to myself…what a wonderful world it truly is.  
 
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XOXO, 
Jessy 

All You Need Is Love…and Friendship

I haven’t written a blog post in a week. I’ve started them, but haven’t been able to finish. I’ve wanted to write one but haven’t been able to find the right words for how I’ve been feeling. Because quite honestly, I’ve been feeling just about everything but inspirational. I still don’t know if I have the “right” words to say but I do know that it’s healthy for me to get out how I’m feeling and that’s what I shall do. Because my hope is that one day, I’ll read this back and it’ll be just a reminder of what I went through and how far I’ve come. And I gotta be honest, I can’t wait for that day. So March 26, 2016 (two years from remission)— get at me.
Last week, I received an email from Dr. Mandi (one of my two absolutely fabulous doctors). I had asked for some sort of outline of the next two years so I could get a better understanding of what was really ahead of me. So I got it, just like I had requested, and it scared the absolute hell out of me. Two years of treatment spelled out in front of me. Two years of a lot of procedures, appointments and chemotherapy. Two years of my life not being my normal life, not being the one I want to live. And being not even two months “in,” it pushed me over a cliff of anxiety, sadness and anger. This past week was hard… both physically and mentally. My body is achey. My head is still pounding from a spinal tap I got 10 days ago. I’m tired, really tired. But worse than the physical annoyances, I’ve been mentally struggling to stay above water. I felt so many emotions and none of them were positive. I felt sad, lonely, overwhelmed, confused, and honestly, pretty pissed off. Pissed off that so many important things in my life have been pushed back or paused. Pissed off that my whole life I’ve always tried to make healthy choices for myself and this still happened. Pissed off that things like taking a shower is a production. I found myself being jealous of complete strangers for reasons like they have long hair or are jogging or walking a dog. I was finding myself having to talk myself out of bed in the morning. And so when Dr. Mandi’s email came and I read, line by line, how intense the next two years will be, it scared me, because I felt like I can’t handle two years of weeks like this.
All in all, I was having a big pttty party for myself and I knew it. But I couldn’t snap myself out of it.
But then Thursday night came and for the first time in days, I went to bed with a big smile on my face. Not because I felt physically any different than the rest of the week, and not because I magically was feeling more positive. Thursday was different because it was the start of a weekend with three of my best friends… one who lives in Boston, one who lives in Chicago and one who lives in North Carolina. And the excitement of spending an entire weekend with my girlfriends was just the medicine I needed. Our time together was different than a typical girls weekend, consisting mostly of ‘lounging’ and relaxing but simply being together took my mind off of everything else and made me happy. So the power of friendship prevailed over anxiety, anger and sadness. Prevailed just when I needed it to. Just when I couldn’t pick myself up on my own. Friends and laughter and love picked me up and gave me something to look forward to and be thankful for and to simply enjoy. Because snuggling on the couch, watching trashy tv, eating candy and making each other giggle is one of the most enjoyable pastimes a girl could ever ask for.
Now my girlfriends have all gone home and it’ll be just me again this week but I feel different than I did on Thursday morning. I feel different because I’ve been reminded that these next two years won’t all be like last week. Some will be, yes. But there will also be a lot of days that are happy and fun and enjoyable. And those are the days that I’m going to think about and look forward to when I begin to put on my pitty party hat again.
So CHEERS to fabulous girlfriends!
XOXO,
Jessy
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p.s. this Sunday I’m thankful for 1. my girlfriends (duhhh), 2. Uncle Fred (my adorable stuffed bear), and 3. the weather finally starting to warm up (but lets face it, I could use another 20 degrees warmer).