What a Week Can Do

One week ago today, I was running on about an hour of sleep, crushing a 101+ fever, puking up anything I tried to consume, sitting in a hospital bed, and thoroughly pissed off. 

Today, I’m getting things down around the house, sipping on green tea, watching birds enjoy my bird bath (so chute), enjoying being in my house, listening to Sam Smith and feeling thankful for having just had such a wonderful weekend. What a difference a week can make. 

I got out of the hospital on Friday and it weirdly took me the whole night to mentally “feel better.” I couldn’t really kick the anxiety I felt from being locked up in the hospital for five days. For some reason, this stay really kicked my ass and even Regina’s pizza couldn’t get me out of my funk. But Saturday was a new day, a better day and the start of the weekend hit the “reset” button. Mike and I walked around Harvard’s “Arnold Arboretum” on Saturday which was perfect. In the city, but I felt so far away from the hustle and bustle of Boston. There were gorgeous flowers, endless walking trails, and my best friend holding my hand– couldn’t ask for much more. I even removed my baseball cap for a bit (which felt amazing) and we walked around as the beautiful bald-headed couple we are right now. 

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After walking around for two hours, we headed to my old stomping grounds in Brookline to enjoy an early dinner on the outside patio at Barcelona, the same restaurant we went on our first date in Connecticut. Meat & cheese, soft shell crab, grilled cheeses with “jamon,” salad, and mussels… we rolled out of there.  

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Sunday, Mike went golfing went with his brother and a few friends as I contently cleaned up around the house and did some errands (one week of getting nothing done makes cleaning such a fun thing!). I then headed to Mansfield to spend the afternoon with Mike’s sister-in-law and nieces. Elle, who’s almost three, loves princesses, reenacting Disney movie scenes and is the sassiest little thing around. I’m obsessed. There’s nothing quite like playing in a “castle” tent, pretending everyone else are monsters and chatting about earrings, pink dresses and dolls. So lucky am I to have that little nugget in my life. Doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad day to a 3 year old, she’ll make it better. 

I hope you too had a wonderful weekend and got to do things that made you smile. Happy Monday! 

XOXO,

Jessy 

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I get knocked down, but I get up again.

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This week I had plans to make delicious meals like grilled buffalo chicken sandwiches, to go out with girls from work for dinner, tackle the mounting pile of laundry in my closet, practice yoga, and enjoy the hot weather that’s finally hit New England. Instead, I’ve been at the Brigham since Sunday night. Instead, I’ve been lying in a hospital bed almost continuously for 4 days. I spiked a fever on Sunday night after getting home from spending time with my dad and Bumpa for Father’s Day. Halfway through our attempt at watching Frozen, we were packed and on our way to the emergency room. After getting blood taken in both arms, a new IV put in, x rays, urine tests and a CT scan done, I was on my way to 4C, Room 56 (could’t even get into my resort 7D). Worst. Sunday night was scary. Really scary. I couldn’t stop the bad thoughts from racing through my head. What was wrong?  Am I not responding to the chemo correctly? Am I having some sort of allergic reaction to all the medicine I’m on? Could it be that the leukemia has come back?? Unfortunately, I still don’t have an “answer” as all the tests that have been run have come back negative. But this is actually a good thing as it means most likely this infection is due to my extremely low counts and my body being unable to fight off anything because of all the chemo.
(this is a pic from the ER on Sunday night. I thought twice about taking it, and thought three times about posting it. But it is what it is. And that’s what a chemo patient looks like in the ER with a fever. #nofun)
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My whole body ached, my head pounded, I couldn’t keep down any food or water and I could barely stay awake for more than an hour— I felt so physically and mentally exhausted these past four days. And then yesterday it all just sunk in and made me angry, made me grumpy. I had Mike hold a pillow so I could hit it as hard as I possibly could for about 5 minutes. I sobbed uncontrollably when the nurse was changing my IV line. Because it hurt? Yes, it hurt, but I cried because at that moment, as Coldplay of course was playing in the background (what’s wrong with me always listening to them when I’m sad), I just couldn’t take it, I just couldn’t take any of this anymore. I hit a wall. I don’t want people poking me and sticking me with things or ripping tape off of my extremely sensitive arms (a side effect of chemo is that your skin can become very sensitive to touch), I don’t want to feel like shit and be sleeping all day. I don’t want to be trapped inside while the sun is finally shining and the air is hot and inviting. I don’t want any of this, I kept thinking. I want my life back, as simple as that. It’s something I’ve said a lot on this blog, and something that has gone through my head probably 1000 times more. I just want my life back. So in between apologies from my nurse who thought she was borderline killing me from the sounds of my sobs, and Mike stroking my arm and saying everything’s going to be okay, I was able to pull myself together and stop the dramatics. Once she left, I beat the pillow. I had to. I had to physically get out how angry I felt. I’m obviously angry about this situation in general, but I felt angry about being here this week. I didn’t plan on this. This isn’t part of my “schedule.” Everything I had planned to do this week is pushed off now or cancelled. And that’s why this time feels so different.  This is another interruption of the already-interuppted life I’m living right now. And I hate the interruption. The other times I’ve come in (other than obviously the first time) I’ve been prepared and ready for it. This time I’m just sitting here feeling ripped off, feeling sick and feeling frustrated. I’m trying hard to stay positive, to continue to try to enjoy everything I possibly can. Like going boating this past weekend to celebrate one of my best friends 25th birthday. Days like that make me feel alive and make me feel so happy and so thankful that I’m able to still enjoy a day like that. Because those days are special and I know it. But it’s hard, it’s hard to always come back to those happy moments when you’re feeling beaten. As much as I try, sometimes thinking of bright days ahead just doesn’t do the trick in the moment. But then again, I got to feel that sun on Saturday. I got to laugh. I got to feel the ocean spritz on my face. I got to dance. I got to enjoy myself for a day. That’s more than some people can say.
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So as always, I feel a little better after this blog post. I needed to get out how kicked down I’m feeling. Because I’m not doing silly dances or arts and crafts this week. This week I’m struggling. This week I’m reminded that I’m in the thick of this horrible disease. I’m only 4 months into this long journey but I’ve still come a long way and I have a lot to be proud of and thankful for. There will be more rough weeks ahead, that’s for sure, but there will also be days like Saturday, on the boat with good friends and good food. That’s what will get me through.
Back to resting and getting rid of this fever.
XOXO,
Jessy

Mouth Watering Turkey Burger Recipe

I just NEED to share how delicious our dinner was tonight. Basically, a top 5 burger of all time.

Here it is.

Breakfast Turkey Burger Bomb.COM

Burger patties: 

50% ground turkey meat 50% hot turkey sausage

minced onions

olive oil

bread crumbs

chili powder

oregano

one egg

s & p (if you don’t know, that’s salt and peppa. all about that Guy Fieri lingo)

Toppings:

toast a delicious bulky roll with sharp cheddar cheese on top of one of the buns.

fair helping of mayo on the other bun

2-3 slices of crisp bacon

iceberg lettuce

one egg, over easy so the yolk is runny and scrumptious

 

Now it’s time to NOM.NOM.NOM.

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(feel like this pic doesn’t do the burgahhh justice but still, look at all that yumminess)

 

You’re welcome,

Jessy

p.s. I talked a lot of chef game when I’m in the hospital and I feel like I’m finally delivering. So enjoy peeps!

All the Little Things

While finishing my yoga practice this afternoon, as I always do, I thought about the things I have gratitude for. Things like “the life I’ve been given” or “my family” always pop into my head but today a bunch of little things popped in too. Things that, although small, are so wonderful in this life.

Things like:

birds chirping outside my window while I’m laying in bed
the smell and sense of calmness from a good candle burning
the refreshing feeling you get from drinking a cold glass of water
cuddling
all the yumminess that is a slice of cheese pizza
scratching a winning lottery ticket. even if it’s only $1
the happiness inside me while listening to a favorite song
slow dancing
a good belly laugh
Often when I’m being “thankful” for things in life, I tend to think only of the big things, like family, friends, health, love, but it’s important to also think about the little things in life that make your core smile. Because those things make make life great too, they’re the “warm and fuzzies” that make life special and wonderful. And so those things too, along with all the “big stuff,” I feel so very thankful for.
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XOXO,
Jessy

Count On It

I was looking at my Instagram account this morning. Flicking through picture after picture and quickly, I got to “BC” pics, or “Before Cancer.” I’ve looked at old pictures a lot in the past three months, there’s a sense of such warmth and goodness to looking at smiles on my friends and family faces. And smiles on myself, reminding me of a life that I was living and loved so much. However, today when I was looking at these pictures, it felt like a previous time. Like a past life. A time that I’ll never get back. Because the truth is, I really will never get it back. I’ll never be the same girl I was when I rang in 2014. But in all honesty, how could I ever think I would be the same person? It wouldn’t make any sense. As with anything difficult in life, you can’t go through it and stay the same person. Isn’t that the whole point of the journey? I remember ringing in the New Year and thinking about just how amazing 2014 was going to be. I had just moved in with Mike a few months before and things were going swimmingly. I had just gotten my first promotion and would be beginning to work on a new brand, doing new and exciting things. I had an adorable 4 month old niece who I loved more than I knew was possible. I had amazing friends and an amazing family. I was feeling truly at the right place at the right time. I was feeling like this was my time. Things were falling into place and years of hard work were starting to come together. I could see clearly of where I was headed, what I wanted to do. And then January 14th I woke up in the middle of the night with the feeling like a tractor trailer was crushing my tailbone. It would take over a month to figure out what that crushing feeling was exactly but I think of that moment now as so symbolic. Symbolic of how quickly life can change. How quickly things can completely take a different turn. Logically, I know that that wasn’t the exact moment that the leukemia hit my blood stream but in my mind, I think of it like that. I think of it like I went to bed on January 13th a normal, healthy 24 year old and I woke up, on January 14th with my life being crushed and ran over by the leukemia tractor trailer. What’s even more symbolic is the fact that I would be struck by this disease, by this horrible, horrible disease on the very day that person who has saved me through all of this was born. January 14th is Mike’s birthday. Mike has made me laugh when nobody else can. He’s made me smile when I’m grumpy. He’s given me hugs when I don’t want to be touched. He’s kissed my forehead when tears are running down my face. He’s made me genuinely happy…happy in a time when I could never have imagined being happy. He truly is my angel. And so it feels fitting that my modern-day angel would be born on the day that I began to truly need him, to depend on him in all the ways a person can really depend on someone other than their self.

As I’m sitting here at my kitchen table writing this post, I’ve lost all sense of my emotions. (it’s probably not helping that Florence & the Machines are on in the background and it’s raining heavily outside). But I can’t stop crying and I don’t really know why. I’m having such mixed emotions. I feel so physically and mentally exhausted today. But at the same time, I feel sharp. Recounting in my head all that I’ve been through and thinking about all I will continue to go through has brought me to a sense of clarity. Maybe it is still my time after all.
The question “Why me?” has gone through my head a thousand times. I’ve probably thought it 10 times just sitting here writing this post. But it suddenly dawned on me that I should stop questioning “why me” and try to feel grateful for being “chosen” to go through this journey. If I view it as something I was chosen for rather than something that just unfortunately “happened” to me, it gives this whole experience a bigger purpose. So why was I chosen? Why me? Because I can deal with it. Because I am so much stronger and better than this disease. Because I am blessed with family and friends that are so much better and bigger than this disease. Because I will walk away from this disease and be a better person. A stronger person. A more caring person. A more giving person. A person that helps others and makes a difference in the world. “AC” Jessy will be so much better than “BC” Jessy.
Count on it.
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XOXO,
AC Jessy