Resort 7D

Yesterday was one of the most nerve-racking days of my life. And then, it was one of the happiest.
 
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Living with the possibility that the leukemia had come back was terrifying and a thought i had trouble really wrapping my head around. I could barely sleep Monday night and literally felt nauseous all morning Tuesday until I met with my doctors. But then I met with them and the many, many prayers from myself, my family and friends were answered. “There are no signs of cancer cells in your bones or blood.” I was overcome with such elation and relief– like a 1,000 pound weight had just been lifted off my shoulders. It was incredible. It is incredible. You know when people say, “I felt like I had won the lottery”? Well, yesterday I won the best lottery you can win. So I am ecstatic and energetic to get this next round of chemo started. It seems funny to celebrate “no cancer cells being found” with more chemotherapy but that’s the way it goes (and will go) so I’m all about this chemo cocktail for the next few days in order to continue to rid my little body of this terrible disease. Officially in BEAST MODE. 
 
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(scratch that, I began beast mode last week during my bone marrow biopsy) 
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When I was checking into the Brigham yesterday, I literally couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I was practically hopping down the hospital halls, I was in just SUCH a good mood. As we bounced on over to the admitting offices, carrying a suitcase, two bags, my pillow/blanket and of course, Uncle Fred, there was a family in front of us, also carrying such items and for a second, it reminded me of when you’re checking into a hotel for a vacation. It somehow seemed “normal” and exciting. So I decided then that for the next five days, I’m not locked up in a hospital but instead I’m staying at an all-inclusive resort with luxury of on-call staff. How wonderful! After pleading my case, I was able to get back on my old floor, 7D. Thank you Jesus!! Two miracles in one day? Lucky girl! I absolutely fell in love with those nurses, (aka my resort personal assistants), and I’ve missed seeing them so I’m thrilled to be back and chat with them all! 
 
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(pic from yesterday waiting for my bed to open up. Both feeling so happy and so relieved) 
 
So around 5pm, after my room was pristinely cleaned and prepped, I checked into Resort 7D, room 76. Overall, super swaggy. The view is magnificent and should make for a great therapeutic writing area.
 
 
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Plus, the bench in front of the window is roomy enough to be my make-shift yoga mat and allows me to feel the sun and soak up some Vitamin D— what every dream vacation is made of. 
 
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The TV is flat screen, SCORE. And it’s ingeniously connected to a remote hooked up to my bed which is how we get sound. Super tech savvy. Extra points! 
 
The shower could have been constructed a bit more logically, rather than directly next to the toilet with no floor lip, causing massive chaos and flooding every time one goes to clean themselves. However, it gains additional points as the water pressure is legit and that’s obviously super important. Lastly, the flooding, although shocking, creates a sense of adventure so I score the bathroom a B. 
 
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The bed scores a B as well. The sheets are a bit paper-like but my own personal blanket, Fluffy and Uncle Fred add some softness and overall coziness. The score gets upgraded due to it’s super cool ability to move up and down the back and foot rest. Perfect for elevating my feet after a grueling day on the Brigham island. 
 
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The overall design of the room is quite unique and intriguing. Some of my personal favorite pieces are the goal chart white board, varying sizes of examination glove boxes, and by far the best piece…a biohazardous “sharps” depository. Art deco scores high at an A.
 
The staff here is top-notch, and basically my BFF’s. They are attentive, caring and most importantly, chatty! (or is it just me always chatting to them?? who knows. ) Plus, they rock bright colored, fashionable scrubs like you’ve never seen. They score an A++.
 
Most importantly, Fluffy and Uncle Fred are sincerely enjoying themselves. 
 
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This morning I enjoyed a glorious breakfast in bed: a delish bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, fruit salad and a coffee. Relaxed in front of my bay window and enjoyed the view. In addition, went for a long walk all around the resort in my gray sweatpants and keds; riding the escalators up and down, using the revolving doors, and aggressively marching around to burn some cals. All-in-all coming close to being one of those power walkers at the mall. It was a proud moment.
 
Overall, day number one of vacation is going great. My own bed will feel great on Monday for sure, but the Slomerville view’s got nothin’ on Resort 7D’s. 
 
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XOXO,

Jessy 

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Just Keep Going

It’s Tuesday after Memorial Day Weekend which is always a bummer. A long weekend long awaited for is over. And even though I’m not currently working I still somehow feel the “Monday blues” (or in this case the Tuesday blues). Weekends I’m not alone, I’m not in the hospital, I get to “get out” and do things. So with or without work, I’ve learned that weekends are always the best. This long weekend seemed extra awesome— I felt so grateful to be feeling strong and getting to spend time with my love, my friends and my family. What more can you ask for?
This Sunday, Mike and I did something we never really do… we went to church. My Grammy had mentioned that the Old North Church in Boston (“One if by land, and two if by sea” church) still holds masses so we decided to go to the 11am. History and a little spiritual pick-me-up… not a bad combination. Plus, today’s a big day (stilllllllll anxiously awaiting to hear from my doctors) so I thought putting in an extra prayer in the big man’s house might not be too bad of an idea. After scurrying in at 11:05, we sat down in our own pew (which in this church is like your own little penalty box. Big fan). I always dreaded church growing up, couldn’t get myself to pay attention (gotta be honest, still have a hard time), and never really understood what they were talking about. But this time felt different since I chose to go myself. So as I sat there in a little pew right next to the windows, in a place that I don’t think has been updated since 1772, I was surprised as I realized how much I was enjoying myself.
The minister gave a quick homily as there was a baptism also during this mass.  To be honest, I don’t exactly remember what the whole homily was about but I do remember this: she told a story about how Jesus had said to his disciples to just keep going (regarding what, I have no clue. Exhibit A of my attention span). She looked out to all of us, and urged us too, to just keep going. That line rang through my head the rest of the mass, “just…keep…going.” I felt like she was speaking directly to me… I felt like I came to this mass specifically to hear those words. I needed to hear those words as those three words are exactly what I have to do. I need to keep pushing on, keep moving forward, keep keeping my head up, keep being positive, keep being happy, keep being thankful…. I need to just keep going.
The past few weeks have been hard. I’ve been so anxious about whether or not the leukemia has come back that I’ve felt like I’m sitting on pins and needles.  But at the end of the day, the results I’ll get tonight or tomorrow are out of my control. Letting the “what if’s” take hold does nothing but bring me down and cause chaos in my head. Those fleeting moments, however, create a feeling like I can’t keep going, like this is all just too much. But then I do things that make me smile, like going for long walks, doing yoga, dancing around by myself to One Direction, accepting nightly back rubs from Mike (he really is the best), or even taking out my aggression on a Bozo the clown blow-up doll. Those things, as trivial as they are, make me feel good, they make me feel alive, and rejuvenated. And because of those little things in life, I’m able to realize I can absolutely do this. That this is A LOT but it’s not something I can’t handle. I can keep on keepin’ on.
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I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and are able to make it through the work week. But if you’re feeling the Tuesday Blues right now, remember…JUST.KEEP.GOING.
XOXO,
Jessy

Embrace Today

Tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow I’ll finally get the bone marrow biopsy to find out if the leukemia has come back. But it’s Tuesday, not Wednesday. It’s not tomorrow. It’s today.

And today I’m enjoying my life. Doing yoga and dancing half way through. Dancing so much my head-wrap comes off, but it’s okay cuz I’m bald and beautiful, betches. Listening to music and singling along. Sipping slowly on ice coffee and putting my feet up. Making this video just to learn something new and have fun.

Today is a good day.

XOXO,
Jessy

Until Next Week

LK;ADKFJAD;LAJD;LKJA;LKJDF;LKJ AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

 
That, my friends, is how I’m feeling right about now. Today went NOTHING like how I thought it was going to be. I had planned to write a post tonight from my hospital room, instead here I am sitting at my kitchen table again. I’m home with a packed suitcase and another hospital stay pushed off. Good news, I didn’t get the bone marrow biopsy. Oh wait, that’s just because I’m getting it next week instead. Today I got a better understanding of what my doctor didn’t “like” last week. Basically, when my blood’s been drawn the past two weeks, things called “blasts” have appeared which indicate that the leukemia could somehow have come back (could, keyword there). Luckily, although still there, that number has decreased since last week and all my other counts were in the normal range. So both my doctors are leaning towards that these “blasts” are just immature cells that my bone marrow has produced while it’s been replenishing itself. However, the possibility of the leukemia coming back is real and therefore, until we know exactly what’s going on, we can’t move forward with my planned treatment. 
 
As my doctors were explaining everything, I started getting emotional… I was instantly overwhelmed, I felt like a ton of bricks had just fallen on my shoulders. Consoling me, Dr. Mandy talked to me about how healthy it is to get “out” my feelings and said something that really hit home. She said, “You’re dealing with death, 50 years earlier than you should. You have the right to feel the way you’re feeling.” I hadn’t thought of it like that until this moment. I had been coping by categorizing this in my head as a “sickness,” a sickness that is awful and unfair but something I would get through and undoubtedly live to tell my kids about. I’ve done a good job telling myself that the ‘d’ word is not an option. And I really still don’t see it as one. (I have way too much to do in my life to let it be an option.) But the fact that it’s ever even mentioned or considered is terrifying. The reality is, this most likely is all just a big scare; the hope is that I’ll go in next week, get this bone marrow biopsy done and find out a few days later that everything is fine and continue on with the action course we’ve had planned all along. But the possibility, as small as it may be, that the results could come back next week and things could get “more serious” than they already are leaves me a little speechless. I am, however, reassured that if the results don’t come back the way we want them to, there are still different treatment options we can try, all of which are of the goal to cure.
 
Other than those first few days, emotionally this was definitely one of the hardest/scariest days. But, just as they were there to comfort me in those first few hours and days, my doctors were there to comfort me and be honest with me…to let me know exactly what’s going on and in terms a marketing major can understand. They make such an incredible team and are so unbelievably knowledgable about this disease. I trust their decisions, whole heartedly and completely. That’s a priceless feeling. Beyond all their brilliance, however, they are caring, kind, compassionate people, and those qualities have continued to make all the difference for me. When I look in their eyes I can see how much they want this too, how much they truly care about me, almost as if I’m a loved one of theirs. I’m not though, I’ve only known them for 3 months. But they care about me a lot and they take care of me to a level that I can’t describe. I am and will forever be grateful to Dr. D and Dr. Mandy– best doctors a person could ask for.  
 
So my update today wasn’t the brightest of ones. Today was a tough day. This week will be a tough week… my mind is inevitably going to wander and I’m going to have to try really REALLY hard to stay focused and positive. I never thought I’d say the words “I’m excited to get a bone marrow biopsy” but I’m excited to get a bone marrow biopsy. I want next week to come because I want to know what we have to face. Once we know what we’re facing, we can map out our plan of attack and get back to kicking some cancer ass.
 
But before I get back to kicking some ass, I’ll take a few extra prayers this week if you’ve got ’em. 🙂 
 
XOXO,
Jessy 
 
p.s.  a shoutout to my shitty friend leukemia— go eff yourself. 
p.s.s. another special shoutout to my lovely grandparents and great aunts and uncles– apologies for my cursing. 

Good Days Making the Bad Days Harder

It’s the night before another hospital appointment and most likely a five day stay to begin the next round of chemo. As I had mentioned in my last post, I’ve had a great few days. A great week, in fact. My energy, and spirit, has been high and I’ve genuinely just felt happy. I’ve done a good job at putting tomorrow “off” in my mind and just enjoying the time away from the hospital and off the chemo. But as tomorrow nears closer, I know I can’t put it off any longer and I’ll be in that hospital room before I know it. I’m anxious for multiple reasons…I have another bone marrow biopsy tomorrow, one that was not planned. So I’m nervous about the physicality of the procedure as I know how uncomfortable it is. I’m also anxious about the results of the biopsy as my doctor is doing it to double check that nothing has come back due to a something he saw in my labs last week. He’s “almost confident” it’s nothing but obviously wants to be sure. And “almost confident” makes me nervous. Really nervous. I’m anxious about how I’ll respond to the next round of chemo as with each new type of treatment I get there’s always the possibility that there could be complications. I’m anxious about simply being in the hospital for five days— the bed’s not comfortable, I can’t stand the food and the little beeps and noises all night drive me crazy. So basically, I’m just anxious for it to be one week from tonight. 

 
Last week when I thought I was going in for the five days I wasn’t nearly as bummed out as I feel right now. Since I hadn’t felt “good” in over a month, it made me have a little bit of a “who cares” attitude. But tonight I feel much different than that, I’m bumming hard over having to go back tomorrow. I feel this way because I know that starting back up with the chemo means that my body will be knocked down again. While I logically know that this is what my body needs and that it just means one step closer to being cancer free, emotionally it’s been so freeing and exhilarating to feel like myself this past week. And I just really, really don’t want that feeling to be taken away from me. I don’t want to feel sick, or nauseous, or tired, or have another month-long headache. I think since I felt a sense of normalcy the past week, it makes it that much harder to say “bye” to it tomorrow. Correction: it’s not goodbye but just “see ya later” for a little bit. One day all these crappy days are going to add up to one healthy, happy life. And that makes it all worth it. 
 
For now, I’m enjoying a bowl of ice cream (addicted), watching The Voice and enjoying my last night at home for a few nights. Thinking some good thoughts for some good outcomes tomorrow. 
 
XOXO,
Jessy 

Happy Days

On Wednesday morning, I packed my suitcase, grabbed Uncle Fred and my favorite blanket and headed to the hospital thinking I would be there for five days. Two hours later, Dr. D came in the room and said we’d have to wait a week until I could start my fourth round of chemo. I was certainly not looking forward to being in the hospital for five days but I was ready for it. I had mentally prepared myself and there’s always a sense of “excitement” to start the next phase because it just means I’m one step closer to the end goal. So in a weird way, I was disappointed that I didn’t get admitted last week— not to mention, my bags were packed and I knew I’d have to unpack just to repack— the worst. 

But what originally felt like a setback quickly turned into something I felt grateful for. Not only has the weather been absolutely gorgeous but physically I’ve felt better than I have for quite some time and therefore was really able to enjoy just being home and having some time to myself. I had plenty of energy which allowed me to work on a mothers day gift for my mom all day Thursday (before & after pic below… loved the way it turned out)! Friday night Mike and I went out and got pizza from our favorite place and caught up on some TV. It was a perfectly lazy night.
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Saturday, Mike and I had fun day, plain and simple. The day felt normal and that’s exactly what we needed. My Grammy bought me a membership to the Museum of Fine Arts: Boston for my birthday and we hadn’t been able to use it. Feeling good, I got all dressed up and we headed downtown. We so enjoyed the museum, so many beautiful and interesting pieces of work. I especially loved an exhibit called “Think Pink” which examined the history of the color pink particularly in fashion. We saw Lucien Lelong sketches, Oscar De La Renta dresses and Louboutin shoes… I was in heaven.
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Then we headed to Boylston, walked around for a bit to see all the beauty that’s Boston in Springtime and enjoyed an early dinner outside together. Came back to our home and watched the Bruin’s demolish the Canadiens on our comfy couch. Glorious day.
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Today was special as well. I felt really lucky to be able to spend Mothers Day, not in the hospital as we had planned on, but at home in Manchester with my family. My Nanny was there. My sister was there. And of course my mom. If we had only had my Grammy there, I would’ve been with the four most important women in my life. I’ve been so blessed to have so many strong women surround me and show me what it means to be a wonderful mother. And since it is mothers day, I’ll tell you a little about my mom. She’s the best. She’s the happiest, most loving, funny, beautiful woman I know and above all else, she is my best friend. I’m such an unbelievably lucky lady to call her my mumma.
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Sunday nights can get me a little bummed but tonight I feel happy and lucky that I’m in my own bed, watching the Revenge season finale knowing I was able to have such a fabulous weekend with a lot of people I love. If I would’ve been admitted on Wednesday, I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy these past few days like I have. Everything really does happen for a reason.
XOXO,
Jessy

Cinco de No Drinko

This blog post I’m going to come off as a real lush. I’m pissed about not being able to drink; plain and simple. So if you think that’s wrong, click the X button now.
 
Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo and I wanted a Caronarita. Bad. Unfortunately for me, it will be 2016 until the next time I’ll get to suck down one of these festive yet aggressive drinks. This holiday comes on the heels of a weekend that I got really bothered about not being able to have an alcoholic beverage. Mike and I went to a wedding in NH. I was so excited for it…. so excited to be out of the house (and not at the hospital). So excited to use the jacuzzi so that I could put some use to the bathing suits originally purchased for our Domincan trip. It was so fun to get dressed up and see a bunch of friends. The ceremony was beautiful, bride looked so angelic and the groom was grinning from ear to ear- it was a magical moment to watch. Then the cocktail hour started and the drinks began to flow. Okay, I thought, no big deal. Then we sat down for dinner and there’ a glass of champagne in front of each plate. Ugh, maybe I can have just one sip? I’m a few days off chemo and have a few days before the next round. One sip it is. Woopsies, that made it way harder. I wanted the whole glass. But one sip is all I knew I could “sneak.” And then the drinks continued to come flowing all around me. Everyone was indulging, as they should be at a wedding, and I slowly became saddened by the situation. I enjoyed dancing with my boyfriend who goes borderline insane but phenomenally impressive on wedding dance floors. (It’s almost like I’m dating Vince Vaughn from Wedding Crashers.) I was honestly having fun and enjoying this special night but as everyone else around was getting tipsy, it ate away at me that I “couldn’t,” that I’m not “allowed.” I decided not to go to the after party and just head back to our hotel room after the wedding ended. I laid in the bed wanting to go downstairs to the bar but couldn’t push myself to do it. So instead, I laid in bed and thought a lot about why the absence of alcohol in my life is bothering me so much. Coming up with an answer didn’t make me necessarily feel any better but I started realizing that I think it relates to the importance of being part of the group. I’m bothered about not being able to drink because it makes me feel isolated, it’s a reminder that I’m not a normal 25 year old right now, it’s a reminder that I’m sick, it’s a reminder that I can’t just do whatever I damn well please. And you know what? I like to do what I want to do, that’s for absolute sure. 
 
Honestly, I have felt embarrassed or ashamed about really communicating how sad or left out I feel about not being able to have a drink. It’s easy for me to say “oh well, shouldn’t be my biggest priority right now” or “things could be worse.” And those both are true, but the reality is it’s harder than that. The reality of actually hanging out when everyone else is drinking is not the easiest, or the funnest and it’s going to be like this for two years. That’s a long time to feel like the odd man out. At this point in my life, having some drinks with friends is a huge part of social life. Whether it’s Harpoon Fest, having Sunday Funday bloodies, beers at the Sox game, tailgating before a summer concert, or having a Caronarita for Cinco de Mayo, lots and lots of the events that go on outside of work consist of drinking. And I’m not looking forward to not taking part in these things for the foreseeable future. 
 
Tomorrow morning I head to Dana Farber and will be admitted at Brigham & Womens later in the day for my next round of chemo and will stay for five days. Definitely not looking forward to being in the hospital for five nights but hey, I’m guaranteed that there’ll be no temptations. I mean, unless my nurses decide to celebrate National Nurses Week with some cocktails. 
 
Okay… end rant. 
 
Olé!
Jessy
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