Italian Adventure in Love

We’re on the train to Florence which means we’re half way through our trip! Thus far, it’s been more than we had even ever dreamed of! The sun has been shining, the people have been friendly and welcoming, the scenery has been stunning and the food and wine has been unreal. 
Our time in Positano was the perfect was to start our trip. We stayed at a fabulous hotel (Covo De Sarcini, highly recommend) right at the bottom of the cliffs on a small beach. It’s a fishing town so the seafood was absolutely mouth watering. I’m picky about fish so it was a shocker when I ordered mussels three times in five days. The food here in general is literally so fresh it’s hard to explain unless you’ve tasted it. I also don’t loveeeee tomatoes typically however they are so juicy and flavorful here I haven’t stopped eating them! We spent a morning at the Pompeii Ruins and it was just fascinating. Then the next day we went on a boat with about 10 other people for the day. It took us along the beautiful Almafi coast, had a few hours on the island of Capri and stopped at different grottos and let us swim around in the Mediterranean Sea. swimming was my favorite, the water is so blue and salty you float easily. We swam into the grottos and got to look up at the natural caves- it was a moment I will never ever forget. The last night we did a wine and cheese tasting. Boy the Italians do not skimp out on their wine pours- but I never complain! 🍷 There was a festival going on right outside our hotel where kids were performing ballet to mostly music from the nutcracker so we watched it from our balcony and enjoyed some music we recognize. Perfect way to end our perfect little Italian beach getaway.


Then we headed to Rome where we fell in love with this city! The history is unmatched and the vibrancy of the city life makes you smile. And of course, the food and wine is like heaven. We toured the Colosseum and got a tour in the underground tunnels where the athletes and animals would be kept before being put on the stage. Walking thru the ruins of the Roman town from 3,000 years ago and to hear about how they lived was just unreal. Yesterday we went to the Vatican and although Pope Francis was holding a mass while we were there, we were somehow not invited. But we did spend four hours going thru all the art, looking up at Michaelangelo’s work of the Sistine Chapel and then ended our time at the Basillica which was nothing like I’ve ever seen. We were lucky as the Holy Door was open, which it only is every 20 years, and it’s said that your sins are washed away as you enter thru. It was a special moment and one that I needed after the many not-so-holy thoughts I had had while touring the Vatican with an especially obnoxious visitor that was in our group and the 10,000 other visitors who bumped and shoved their way thru the museum. Okay, okay, back to the religious part of the day. My favorite part, by far, was simply getting to kneel and say a prayer in this stunning cathedral knowing the Pope had been there just an hour before. 


And as beautiful as all the sites and amazing as all the history, I think my favorite memories I’ll take are just the moments Mike and I sat and people watched outside, whether it was at a small ristorante, or The Trevvi Fountain at night, or the small cafe as stopped at to get a glass of wine where we met the best couple and chatted with them for an hour or so. It has been the small moments, the moments together, feeling content and peaceful that I will take away from this trip.
My heart is so filled with gratitude for getting to have this experience. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime and I am trying not to miss out on any of the little moments. So with that, I must get back to staring out the window of this train as we pass thru the mountainside as we head to Florence.
Caio! And lots of love & light,

Jessy 

A day blessed by a 4 leafed clover

As I write this, I’m sitting in a small Irish pub after having Oxtail for the first time and waiting for another Guinness as I listen to two young men sing authentic Irish music. Music that reminds me of what my dad would play on Saturday mornings as we made French toast.
Today I’m in Europe. I’m in Ireland. I’m going to Italy tomorrow. I can’t believe this is my life. I can’t believe that the trip that Mike and I have talked about for 3 years has come to fruition. This trip was our end goal of years that won’t go down as the happiest but will go down as the most memorable. THIS was our goal. Traveling together was our goal. Seeing the world together was our goal. 


Today we reached our goal. Today our goals were exceeded when we were in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the main priest came over to us as we were quietly taking in the beauty that this church was and said “he wanted us to experience something.” After having us pray in a pew that is 400 years old–out loud to him—he took us to a door that had once been used by the church when murderers were trying to get in. They cut a hole in the door so that they could stick their hands out to shake hands to signify that they were going to try to be peaceful. The door has been preserved but isn’t open to the public. Yet, somehow, “Father Tony” saw us and asked us if he could “do something special for us.” So he took us to the original door and trusted that we put our our hands thru the hole and ask those who we’ve wrong done to, to forgive us. Then, he had Mike go to the other side and he had us reach thru to touch our own hands. We promised to be loyal to each other, to always try to understand each other, to always be faithful, to always honor each other and most importantly, we promised to love each other deeply forever. All in a chapel that is hundreds of years old, with Father Tony, lingering around the corner with excitement. 

It may not have been July 22, 2017, but it felt like wedding bells were ringing as I swore to be a good wife to an Irish Father. 


Then as a typical Mike and I move, we headed from the beautiful church to the beautiful Guiness factory. It was incredible. HUGE. The history was wow-worthy and the “stouts” were even better. 


After we had gotten enough of the Guinness factory, we headed to a small pub (because thank god I had barely eaten all day!). As we arrived, it was relatively quiet but the menu looked authentic and there are Guinness’s on the menu. In. What made it magical was when two young men came with their guitar and violin and began performing traditional Irish music. THIS WAS AMAZING!!!!!!! They played so many great songs but as they began “Wild Rover” and asked if anyone knew it to sing along, I was THRILLED to get scream “this American knows!!!” 


What a day! And it was only the layover.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

P.S. Yes, I made a custom shirt with Phoebes face on it so she got to come on the trip too. SUE ME


The Guilt of Health

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I wrote a post. I can blame it on the fact I’ve been quite the busy lady in August, from bachelorette weekends to concerts to Red Sox games to doggy ice cream socials to creating a 6-page itinerary of our upcoming Italy trip, it’s been a whirlwind month but if I’m being honest, there’s another reason I haven’t written too. I have a bit of guilt that’s kept me from writing.  I used to write this blog in a hospital room when I was feeling lonely or sad or scared or upset to get my emotions out. I still have feelings of isolation or sadness or anxiety but I don’t feel like I have the right to express myself when so many things have gone right for me recently. What do I have to complain about when I know there are so many people still suffering? I know that this blog should be a safe space for me but, like everyone, I worry about what others will think. What you will think. Whether or not somebody will roll their eyes when they read my posts. People might think this is weird but I almost feel more vulnerable expressing my feelings now than when I was going through treatment. My day to day isn’t “interesting” to the outside world anymore. And god damn, I’m so happy it isn’t! My trials and tribulations are just like everyone else’s — a normal 27 year old, trying to figure out the whole work-life-love balance.

After going through cancer, I feel such a large responsibility to myself and every single person who gave me my health back to make the most of life, to be the happiest, healthiest version of myself. But sometimes having pressure to be happy, to be content, to be “living life to the fullest” is overwhelming. I learned so strongly how quickly life can change and so I hate when I feel like I’m “wasting time” or not making the most of everything.

So this was a bit of rant but sometimes that’s when I get my truest feelings out and that’s what I’m going to continue to do, keep being honest and as open as I can be. I’ll keep this blog as a place for what’s going on in my life– whether it’s inspirational or not, it’s what’s happening in my life.

On a brighter note, something that just happened in my life was getting the opportunity to be interviewed for the Red Sox pre-game show with Tom Caron last night to tell my story as a way of raising awareness and garnering funds for the Jimmy Fund. I had an absolute blast and was ready to start handing out my number to the staff to try to get me my own show! haha boy, I just loved it! 🙂 Here are some pics :

Lastly, Mike and I leave for Italy vacation this coming Monday. I went to Dana Farber today and was so relieved to find out that everything still looks good and I’m in the clear to head abroad. I’m beyond excited!

Happy Wednesday all!

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

 

How Quickly Time Goes

On Tuesday night, I watched the 10 year anniversary recap of The Hills. A show that I religiously watched with my girlfriends throughout high school and college. I remember when the series ended like it was yesterday. Tomorrow begins a weekend-long Bachelorette party for one of my best friends before her wedding in one month. The following month Mike and I go to Italy and I picked out my wedding dress two weekends ago. It dawned on me as I was watching ‘The Hills, 10 year tell-all’ that life is going by so quickly! 10 years ago sounds like an eternity but it wasn’t eternity, it doesn’t feel long ago in the slightest. I think of my girlfriends from college like sisters, and then I realize it’s been 5 years since I lived in the same city as the majority of them. It’s funny how life can seem to go slow on a day by day basis but actually moves at a rapid pace. That’s why it’s important to take in each moment and really try to appreciate it. Easier said than done, but I always feel a bit happier and more content when I think about the beauty of the moment—whether the moment is big or small. Let each moment soak into your being—the good, bad, exciting, happy, sad, inspirational, confusing—soak ‘em all in because they’ll be gone before you know it.

 

That’s it for now.

 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

 

p.s. speaking of time flying by, Phoebe turns 11 months on Tuesday and I just can’t believe it. Look at how big & beautiful this pup is getting!

phoebe

Ebb and Flow

The ebs and flows of life are brutal. Sometimes they’re amazingly happy and then painfully sad. I’ve been reading a yoga book recently (surprise surprise) by a woman who was once a drug addict then turned fashion model who got her life together and then turned to yoga and has some great insight. At one point during the book she said that one of the best lessons she’s ever learned in life is that, life is always an ebb and a flow. It’s a river that keeps on going. There are days that the water is calm and the sun is shining, and there are other days when the current is so strong the beings inside the water get washed away or bump off rocks and lose their breaths. And they don’t always have to be in the ‘big’ moments that

 

My life has been full of amazing things lately—the obviously fun ones like getting engaged and beginning to plan our wedding—planning for our trip to Italy—getting ready for one of my best friends wedding—spending an entire week with my family on the cape getting to swim in the water – Phoebe being the reason that I laugh every single day. My life has come a long way from where it was just two short years ago at this point. That was a big ebb and flow but there are smaller streams too. Like how when I went to go wedding dress shopping, I ended up being stuck in two hours of traffic which made me late to my appointment – ugh, I felt so upset and mad for myself. But then I arrived and my maid-of-honor sister had a goodies bag for my mom and me and I ended up choosing the dress of MY dreams and having a fantastic afternoon with my two besties. But then we went to dinner, and I got lost on the way there. Woops. And then when we were leaving, a hail storm started and it was a dangerous ride home—my knuckles were white and I was literally praying for God to get my family and I home safely. He did. We all got home safe. And then I felt better and I popped a bottle of champagne and danced around my living room in excitement over my dress. So you can see, the day was an ebb and flow. There were good moments, and bad moments and fabulous moments. But they all passed. The only moment we have is the present. And so in those moments of “baddddd” I have found it helpful to remind yourself, that this too really shall pass.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

 

I Need Your Help

 

When the emergency room doctor stepped outside after telling Mike and my parents that I had leukemia, there was precisely one thing that popped in my mind and quickly came out of my mouth, “but I want to marry Mike,” I said to all three of them. One year from today, on July 22, 2017, at a quaint inn on Cape Cod, that dream of mine will become a reality. That dream is due in large part to the the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I have about 1,000 things to thank them for but giving me a second chance at life and giving me the opportunity to marry the love of my life and start our life together brings a level of gratitude I will never be able to match. But in just over two months, on September 25th, I will symbolically try to thank the organization that essentially gave Mike and I our future, by walking in the Jimmy Fund Walk to support the ongoing programs, medicine and RESEARCH. This research is imperative to conduct so that one day all stories have a ‘happily ever after’ like mine. Tragically, today that isn’t the case for all patients that go to the Farber in hopes of fixing themselves and getting to marry their Mike. So it’s my responsibility to help and today, I’m asking you to help too by making a donation to my walk team. 
 
Any donation, big or small, truly makes a difference in the efforts of Dana Farber and their live-saving mission. On behalf of all past, current and future patients, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
 
tinyurl.com/jessysjfwalk

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

2014 vs 2016

p.s. Cheers to one year today Stevens, I love you!

Super-Heroes 

As many of you know, my mom works for a small Catholic elementary school in New Hampshire. My brother went to school there, my aunt is on their board and my mother was a kindergarten teacher for 10 years before becoming Vice Principal. It’s a very close-knit community and one that my family has a long-standing relationship with. So, when I was diagnosed in 2014, the entire school, from teachers to parents to students rallied around my mom, myself and my family to show their support and love. Being a Catholic school, the students began praying for me weekly, asking God to “heal Mrs. Kathy’s” daughter. Every single child at Mount St. Mary’s Academy did this for me… for over two years. If that’s not good karma, I don’t know what is. So when the kindergartners found out that I had completed treatment this March, that God had “cured” me, they made me cards and a beautiful handmade Super Woman Cape. I was blown away by this gesture. I’m definitely not a super-hero, I did what I had to do and was the only option I had. But the fact that these little girls and boys thought I was some sort of super hero warmed my heart more than I can ever describe.
So about 3 weeks ago, I got the chance to go meet every single one of those students, wearing not just my cape but the biggest smile on my face. I was lucky enough to spend the entire day with these incredible little humans who are so full of life, so innocent but so smart, and so funny and so loving! They didn’t have any filter and didn’t think twice when they asked me questions like “Why did I get cancer?” “Do people look at you different when you don’t have hair?” “Does chemo hurt?” “How did it feel to find out you have cancer?” Some of these questions I’ve literally never been asked before because I think adults would be shy or feel rude to ask such direct questions but the reality is, is that those questions are real, they’re honest and above all, they’re human. I learned so much from these incredible kids and they instantaneously became my super heroes.
It’s a true blessing to get to be surrounded by children, and we should all open our minds to really learning from them more often Because as Shakespeare once said…


Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Stevens Put A Ring On It

It’s been 3 weeks since Mike surprised me and told me to get my lazy butt out of bed—we were going to NYC for the long weekend, he said. My eyes nearly burst out of my head and I whipped off the comforter so fast Phoebs barely had time to jump up. IT WAS ENGAGEMENT WEEKEND, I THOUGHT. OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. So I started frantically running around the upstairs like a kid who was just told they’re going to Disney World for the first time and threw the most random assortment of things into my luggage—a bathing suit? Yes. A pair of pajamas? No. Everything I own that’s white? Hell yah.

And just like that, we were packed and on a train back to NYC. I say back because NYC is where we pretty much fell in love. Our first date was exploring the city at Christmas time with our main goal of seeing the Rockefellar Tree at night. We had started the day as really good friends (with a little bit more than friends feelings) and ended our day with sweet smooches and (literal) hair-on-fire love! From that night on, we had continued to go to NYC for summer visits and Christmas time “anniversary” visits where we’d see the Rockette’s and guzzle delicious beers at the oldest bar in Amerca, McSorley’s. Everytime we went, we had a magical time. But once I got diagnosed, we didn’t go. It felt like too much to go all the way there – I felt like I would be annoyed that I couldn’t go to my favorite bar—how if I got car sick on the long ride? It just didn’t work in that 2 year period. And that’s okay, because that’s what made this weekend even more incredibly special. WE WERE BACK!!!!!!! And we were back stronger and more in love than ever.

 

When our cab dropped us off at the Waldorf Astoria, I felt like I was dreaming—are we really staying here? Oh boy, now I really know something fancy is going on. But it didn’t come quite yet – we walked around the Park then got some lunch and grabbed a drink downstairs at the hotel bar as we listened to a beautiful pianist. Then it was time for dinner at Gotham. Before our taxi driver could take us there, however, Michael had him take us to Rockefellar. Just the place we had been in search of the first time. Except this time, instead of awkwardly looking at each other because we weren’t sure if we should kiss—he knelt down on his knee and asked me to be his wife—he promised that we would come back to NYC, together, forever and ever and ever. And I, of course, said yes. And then we shared one of many kisses in the Rockefellar Center.

 

With that, I obnoxiously began calling my family and best friends as well as notifying anybody in an ear-short distance of our engagement and the most beautiful ring that was now on my finger. The weekend was perfect – it was just our weekend – in our favorite city. Just the two of us – just how we began – and just how we’ll end one day.

 

I can’t put into words how grateful I feel that Michael fell in love with me—that we fell in love with each other—that I have someone who is so caring of others, so smart, so handsome and so funny. I am so thankful for the kind of man he is and how hard he works and how much he gives of himself so that our little family can be happy.

 

My heart is beyond full as we start this next chapter of our lives, together—I feel like it’s really time to leave the past behind and begin planning for the future—a future that is filled with love, happiness and butterflies.

 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Lemons Into Lemonade

Lemons into LemonadeEveryone knows I love me some Bey. I tend to get a little crazy with it and I know this but the reality is, her music got me through some really tough patches and so I feel connected to her, as crazy diva as she may be. 
Her new album Lemonade came about about a month ago and I was lucky enough to hear it all live at her concert in Foxborough last Friday night. 
The more I listen the more I relate. No, I’ve never been in a romantic relationship that someone’s hurt me so badly- I’ve never dealt with infidelity but I know what it feels to be cheated on. 
When I was first diagnosed with leukemia, I felt like my body cheated on me. It let me down, it betrayed me. I had loved it and taken good care of it for 24 years and that’s how it repaid me? Her album talks about all the emotions that she felt during her struggle with her husband- how she felt angry, sad, overwhelmed, then went through grieving and forgiveness and the important process of feeling free again. 

My favorite verse from the album goes like this…

“They say true love’s the greatest weapon

To end the war caused by pain

But every diamond has imperfections 

But my love’s too pure to watch it chip away

Boy nothing real can be threatened

True love breathes salvation back into me

With every tear came redemption

And my torturer became my remedy”

And that couldn’t be more true. To me, it’s saying- SHITTTT that was hard. But you know what? I’m strong and the love that I have for myself (or in her case, him) is much stronger than any pain I could ever feel. It was my body that “tortured” me but it is me treating it with love and respect and understanding that has been my remedy. I honor it. 

I think the story of infidelity and betrayal is one that any human can relate to. We’ve all experienced it on some level or another. Betrayal, whether it be with a lover, family member, friend, workplace, or in my case, my body can be infuriating and beyond upsetting. Betrayed, in any form, hurts the soul. But if you can come to terms with it and choose to move past the negativity, it can make you a stronger person because of it. 

Now this is not my way of getting you to go listen to Lemonade but instead I hope that it’s just a good reminder of an important lesson in life… When you’re served lemons, always always make Lemonade. 🍋🍋🍋

Lots of love, light and SLAY BEY SLAY BEY,

Jessy


p.s. If you are looking for a pump-me-up song, you NEED ‘Freedom’ in your life. I literally March as if I’m in a step crew every time I hear it. 💃🏻💃🏻 sue me. 🙌🏼

P.p.s the video is her ending the show with Halo- the song that I sung to myself over and over and over during hard procedures or times during the past two years. Seeing her sing it live, with fireworks going off in the background was a moment that felt very surreal and one that I’ll never gorget. Very grateful. 

6 Weeks In

I used to count how many months “down” I was. But tonight, I can say I’m a month and a half “in” and headed back to Dana Farber for the first time as a “graduated” patient tomorrow. It’s already been 6 weeks since I got my last dose of chemotherapy and my body and mind are finally beginning to truly heal. After two years of a tingly tongue and numbness in my fingertips, those underlying & continuous feelings have gone away. So have much of my fatigue, headaches and nausea are gone. I no longer have to stop eating two hours prior to going to bed because of a daily chemo pill. I’ve gotten to lift life restrictions.

I’ve had a dirty martini. 🙌🏼


I’ve eaten sushi.


I’ve gone in a public pool and hot tub and not worried about getting an infection.


And had a mani/pedi day with my best without worrying about going against doctors recommendations not to in order to reduce risk of more infections.


I’ve gone to the Red Sox game with friends and stayed out too late on a work night.


I’ve become obsessive over the new Beyonce album. (Download ‘Freedom’ and then try telling me she’s not my soul sistah)

I’ve done yoga and felt strong the entire time.


I’ve had a 24 hour get-away with Michael


I’ve lived six weeks of a “free me” and damn, it feels good.

I still have so much to work on and mentally get through; some days I’m good and some days I’m emotional. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, I still don’t know exactly why I was given this second shot but I’m so grateful for it. I’m so happy to get to live my life!
Lots of love & light,

Jessy