The Fabric of Life

Did people talk to each other on public transportation before mobile devices? 
I’m working downtown for my new job and it’s easiest to take the train. Everyday I become more fascinated by how so many individuals can be in one location and nobody talks to each other. Nobody even makes eye contact. Most people are on their phones, texting, listening to music, checking emails, reading. Clearly, many are connecting with other people- just none of the other humans near them. It’s such a weird concept- kind of like being on an elevator – to be sharing, many times, super personal space with another individual but make no connection. Why is that? I’m totally guilty as I listen to my music and people watch. I probably would text or email or go on social media if I could but I’d crush my data in a day so I don’t. As I people watch, it’s interesting to see everyone’s moods, expressions, attitudes. Hundreds of people packing into a single object like a can of sardines most likely to do the same thing- go to work or to go home from work- but rarely is an acknowledgement made.

Even though the vast majority of us are riding the train for the same reason, it’s different than when we go on the train to go to a Celtics game- those rides, there’s a clear sense of comeroddery- we act nice towards others because we know we’re rooting for the same team, we’re doing the same thing- we must be “like each other.” But aren’t we all like each other when we’re going to work too? Just trying to make a few bucks to help put food on the table, a roof over our heads, pay for cable, save up for that vacation, to spoil our pets. 

Since I’m taking the train twice a day now, every time I get on, I think about this concept and it’s been kind of bumming me out. But then I was walking to Sullivan Station one morning and I notice some new graffiti below the underpass. 


“Even though I don’t know you, I need you….. #FabricOfOurLife”

And there it is. I’m not the only one feeling the disconnect with one another. Whoever this person is, they feel it too. 

I’m not sure how long Somerville authorities will keep this one up, but I hope they do for a little while- it made me think. I think it’ll make others think.

We may not know each other but we all need one another. I’m going to remember this before I make eye contact with someone on the train and quickly look away… maybe tomorrow, I take the time to smile. Who knows, that person could use a smile. 

3 Months in the Making

I haven’t written a blog post since my port was removed. That was March 13.  
I thought that by not writing about cancer or talking about cancer, I wouldn’t think about cancer. But there’s still not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. To be honest, there’s hardly an hour that goes by without it popping into my mind. 

Is writing like riding a bike?

Can you not write for years and then start back up again- like you never stopped? 

I hope so, cuz I’m ready to start riding again. Wait, I mean writing. 

Four months of being a stay-at-home pup mom brings up a lot of emotions and they varied everyday. One day I would be jacked up when Mike got home, so excited to talk to someone- to a HUMAN! Omg! And then others I’d be down, unable to keep a conversation because I felt so bad about myself. I felt guilty that I didn’t have a job, I wasn’t making money for our family, and that I didn’t have a better direction of where I wanted to go than I did the day before. I over-compensated by trying to do every single household chore one can think of. I became an award-winning chef. I got to spend time with family members that I know I wouldn’t have been able to if I had been working full time. There was so much good that happened in these months yet some days seemed so very difficult, so lonely and sad. What I learned, is that I need some sort of structure, I need to have a purpose, I need to feel part of a team. More than be part but I need to feel like I’m an equal part to the team. It’s essential to my happiness. Without it, I feel unworthy. Whether or not that’s a healthy realization, that’s yet to be determined. But it certainly is true for me. I’ve begun telling myself “I am worthy” during meditation. That’s because I am. But I don’t always believe it. I don’t always believe that I am worthy of this life I have been given- one with many abundances, many positive relationships, and above all, one that is healthy again. Feeling worthy is essential. It’s a piece of life I definitely haven’t mastered but I’m working on. I hope you read this and remind yourself that you’re worthy too. You’re worthy of all the good things that have happened to you, you’re worthy of all the blessings you’ve been given, you’re worthy of this life… your life. 

With that simple post, I feel accomplished and I feel like I can start writing again. I’ve had my down moments in the past 3-4 months but I also have had amazing moments- I’ve gone tubing with my whole family, I’ve helped throw and had my own bridal shower & bachelorette party! I’ve traveled to Vermont, Florida and Austin. I’ve gone on long walks with phoebs on the beach. I watched my baby brother graduate college. I’ve gone to sporting games and concerts. I picked out my WEDDING ring! I’ve done SO much actually now that I’m looking back. And the best part is that new things are happening and there’s so much more to look forward to! I want to remember every bit of it… so it’s time to start documenting!

Happy weekend! Hoping you get to soak up the rays of sun that have finally decided to come out to play! ☀️

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!

Walking for the place that saved my life. 

To my lovely readers of the Inspiration Initiative,

First off, sorry I haven’t been so active lately. Life has been really busy but exciting (more to that later this week) and I’ve put writing on the back burner. But I’ll get back into it as long as anyone’s still reading it 🙂

ANYWAY, I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to walk in the Jimmy Fund Boston Marathon Walk as an effort to raise funds for Dana Farber Cancer Institute. As you know, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in February 2014 and just completed treatment on March 30, 2016. I have my remission to thank for the incredible doctors, nurses and medical staff that took care of me during this long journey. I also have every single scientist, researcher and person who has ever donated to finding a treatment and cure for leukemia. 50 years ago, if I had been diagnosed with this same disease, I would have been given a few weeks to live. Instead, I was given the rest of my life. I am forever grateful to each and every person that played a difference in making my full-length life a reality. 

Beyond the actual medical advances and treatments, what else is of utmost importance are the programs and support that were offered to me and my family during the difficult two years of treatment (and continue to be offered to me). They helped set me up with prior patients of similar age, therapists, conventions, books to read at the clinic, and many other “little things” that created a space and community that I felt supported and comforted by. This is why I have chosen to walk specifically with a the Young Adults Program Team which is a program I took part in and truly found a great sense of hope and help from. The funds that we raise during the walk will in turn go towards this program and allow for future patients to continue to have this offering as well. 

So here’s my ask, if you are available on September 25, 2016, please consider walking the 5K with me in honor of all those people affected by and living with cancer. If you cannot make the walk, I would so SO appreciate your consideration of a donation. Truly, any amount helps. If you can give $5, that’s amazing. if you can give $500, that’s amazing too. Every single dollar gets us closer to a world without cancer. 

And then we can do walks just to burn calories. 

Link to my personal page.

Link to join our ‘Young Adult Program‘ Team.

Link to donate!

Lots of love & light & gratitude,

Jess

Help One, Help Many

Today I was at a “Future of Marketing” conference being held in Boston. As you could guess, there was lots of discussion going on in regards to marketing, branding, content creation, digital influencers, etc. But this is called the Inspiration Initiative, not the marketing initiative so why am I telling you about it? Because during lunch a speaker came out by the name of Mick Ebeling and he absolutely blew me away. Not because he was giving us innovative ways to better market to consumers but because he told us about some amazing things he’s done, things that make you go WOW, now THIS guy is inspirational– like inventing a device which enables individuals with paralysis to communicate and create art using only the movement of their eyes OR like creating a way to PRINT prosthetic arms, using a 3D printer, in order to have prosthetic limbs become available (a typical limb costs about $15K, where this way costs about $100!!!) and bringing this technology over to parts of Africa where citizens had lost limbs due to war.

There are moments in days like this, when you’re putting off “real work” to take time “just to learn” that you ask yourself if it was a mistake to not be in the office. I was feeling guilty this morning about being at this conference since I have had so much going on at work lately. But then I heard this man speak and I thought, this is why I’m here. No matter how far being here today put me behind at work, it was worth it because this is the type of individual I can learn from. This is the type of person I want to surround myself with. A smart, dedicated, driven individual who is passionate about making a difference, who’s passionate about helping people, who’s passionate about changing the world for the better. Sometimes I doubt my abilities to truly make a difference since I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist or engineer or educator– so many times I’ve thought to myself that it’ll be impossible to make a difference in this world in my field of work. But then I hear from this man, who’s not a scientist, not a doctor but instead just an extremely passionate person that doesn’t believe in impossible, doesn’t believe that there’s anything that can’t be solved. He may not be the one who’s crunching the numbers and figuring out the logistics but he’s the one bringing the necessary parties together, he’s the one motivating people and inspiring them to make amazing things happen. During his speech, he said, “Don’t ask how you’re going to do it but instead ask WHY you’re doing it. As if the why is important enough, you’ll figure out how you’re going to get it done, no matter how challenging it may seem.”

Lastly, he spoke about how helping one person can help many. It’s a ripple effect– help one person or one community and let that story be told and heard. By telling that story, it can inspire others to do the same or even better, do something even greater! It reminded me that although you may only be able to help one person, it’s important to simply do what you can. Make a difference where you can, it may encourage that person to help others or influence another to do something similar. Truly, we’re all capable of making a difference.
I urge you all to take a few minutes and read about some of the amazing things this man has done and the good that is coming out of his company, the Not Impossible Foundation. To say he is an inspiration is a large understatement. http://notimpossible.com

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Batter Up

About 23 years ago, me, my dad and my Bumpa had a special day at Fenway Park– I was lucky enough to be taken into the dugout and meet Johnny Pesky. I got an autographed bat and ball that Mo Vaughn had just practiced with. Being a NH girl, I’d like to think that was the day I fell in love with Boston and all of our sporting greatness. In two weeks, I’ll be back in the dugout. This time, waiting for my chance to take a swing at home plate on the best baseball field in the world. The amazing individuals that work at the Jimmy Fund reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to participate as they offer this experience to patients at  DFCI. At first, I was a little hesitant because although I was quite the softball player in the 90’s, I haven’t swung a bat in many many years. But then I thought, what the heck is the matter with me? When’s the next time I’m going to have the opportunity to bat at Fenway? The answer is probably never so time to pony up and make some memories..

As cool as it is that I get to do this, what’s even cooler is that it’s all in part to raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This amazing day is put on as an effort to raise money for one amazing institution; one that is obviously very near and dear to my heart.

If you can afford to make a donation, please consider doing so. This is an incredible organization, one that not only saves the lives of its own patients but conducts research that is paving the way for treatments, preventions and cures to every kind of cancer– not just in our own backyard but all over the world. By donating to the Jimmy Fund, you are putting dollars towards putting an end to this dreaded disease once and for all. I’d say that’s a pretty great thing to put your hard earned dollars towards!

Here is the link to my fundraising page: http://www.jimmyfundfantasyday.org/2015/jessicamoran

Thank you so much for your support, I appreciate it more than I can put into words.

XOXO,

Jessy

p.s. In honor of my 21st century batting debut, I thought I’d throw it back to my younger years!

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The Date is Set

March 26, 2016.

This is going to be a big day for me. This is the day I will have my last treatment of chemotherapy. I will walk into Dana-Farber, see the most amazing people in the world, get an infusion of cancer-killing, leukemia sucking drugs and then I will walk out, head held high and I’ll be damned if I ever walk into Yawkey 8 as a patient again.

It will be a day I waited 764 days for.

This Wednesday, I sat in the chair next to Dr. D and when he asked if I had anything else I wanted to talk about, I just blurted out, “when does it end?” “Can I have a date?” “I need a date!.” Honestly, I really didn’t think he was going to be able to pin point it for me, but he pulled up his calendar and did just that. It was so what I needed. I’m so grateful that I’ve made it through over a year of this battle but I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately with how much longer I have to go. It’s different having pieces of your life back, like work and exercising but knowing that you’re still sick, that you still have a long way to go to make it out of the woods. Knowing the date gives me something to look forward to. To set my mind to. A much-needed finish line in my own little marathon.

Today is National Cancer Survivors Day– I don’t fit into this quite yet because I’m only half way there. i’m in remission, but I’m not cured. I have survived a lot in the past year but I haven’t gotten through it all. Next year at this time, I will feel incredible relief and gratitude if I am lucky enough to go for a walk on a beautiful June day and know that I’m two months passed my last chemo infusion. Two months into the rest of my life. It will feel unbelievable to be a survivor.

So let the countdown begin. 292 days to go.

XOXO,

Jessy

And the drinking saga continues

Warning: this is a ranting post but I need to rant.

The combination of leukemia and pancreatitis CAN SUCK BRICK KID! (reference to Home Alone 2, anyone?) I feel like I’m one year behind and a thousand years to go to end this hell. I was starting to feel normal again; back at work, going out with friends, having drinks. But as of this Wednesday (and again tonight), I got the lecture of a lifetime about not drinking for the next year. NOT DRINKING? But I just started to be able to have drinks again! I JUST had my first dirty martini. I JUST had my first bloody in a year. I JUST had a great weekend out with friends, laughing, drinking and dancing. I want more than anything to feel like a normal 26 year old, like my normal, happy, carefree self. It’s my favorite holiday of the year this weekend, St. Patricks Day. Isn’t it illegal to not have Guinesses? If it isn’t, it should be. I know I’ve complained about not being able to drink a  decent amount in the past but this is just something I haven’t been able to get used to. It’s such a big part of social life, whether we all like it or not. My grandparents drink, my parents drink, my boyfriend drinks, my friends drink, my co-workers drink. I declined an after work event yesterday because I didn’t want to have to go and be the only one to have water, or god forbid have to explain why I can’t drink. It’s literally all around me, all the time.

Maybe if it was the only thing that had been taken away from me in the past year, it would be easier. But it’s not. Too many things have been taken away and I’m getting frustrated. Like my first trip outside the country to the Dominican Republic- CANCELLED. To not being able to go to Marathon Monday, the greatest day in Boston. To having my career be put on hold for 11 months and then to get demoted for having cancer by the time I get back (shows the real heart of corporate America). To losing my hair, having it grow back and then have it thin again so I look like a balding old man. To not being able to eat normal foods for months and being on a feeding tube. To STILL having to watch what I eat — like when having a cupcake on my birthday almost sent me into pancreatitis number 5. To spending about 100 days in the hospital in 2014 and not in my own bed. To having this push off personal milestones (like an engagement ring, anyone?!?)
I cried twice since being home from work in less than an hour. Sometimes it’s just too much and right now, to be honest, I’m overwhelmed as all hell. I’m working long hours, way more than 40 a week, and for something that I’m just going through the grind over. Now, after long ass work weeks, more than ever do I want a glass of wine. I want to relax. I want to go out with friends and get silly and dance in bars. I want normalcy. I want my life back.
I try to remind myself that this is not what’s important. What’s important is that I’m getting stronger and getting healthier. But having drinking basically tabled again really set me back mentally. As Dr. Mandy reminded me tonight, I’m not normal yet and I can’t begin to think that I am. I have a full year of treatment ahead of me. A regimen that’s reduced but not easy. A regimen that puts a big strain on my body, both mentally and physically.
So as I sit here tonight, not having the Sam Adams Cold Snap that’s in my fridge (and calling my name), I’ll try to remind myself that I’m lucky to be here, lucky to have the people in my life and lucky to have the doctors I do to tell me what’s up and remind me what’s important, even if I REALLY don’t want to hear it.
End rant.
XOXO,
Jessy

A Golden Birthday

A year ago today, I turned 25. A year ago today, I received the first round of my chemo cocktail. A year ago today, I started the journey that was my 25th year of life. And it was a hard one. The hardest one yet. Today, as I turn 26 on the 26th, I’m so grateful to be where I am at this moment. Turning a quarter century old, I wasn’t yet sure if I would be cured, if I would respond to my treatment plan, if I would live to see 26. I like to think that in my heart of hearts I knew I would beat this and I would win, but to be truthful, there is always that “what if” in the back of your head. But today I’m stronger and so much healthier than I was a year ago today. Today I know I’m going to be okay, that I still have a long road to walk but that I can do it and that I will do it. Today, instead of being in the hospital, eating the single worst meal of my life (an absolutely nauseating chicken stir fry), I’m going to be busy at work and then spending the night with my mom, dad and Michael at a delicious restaurant in Somerville! We will cheers over a delicious cocktail called the Dorchester (pink lemonade, vodka & a cucumber…so good!) and we will celebrate all that we overcame together in year 25 and toast to a healthier, easier, and just plain better year 26.
As I’ve said so many times, this situation has taught me such a great deal, but none more than how truly blessed I am for the support system that I have. My birthday seemed to come early this year when last week on my one year “anniversary,” #inspirationaljessy stories starting popping up on my newsfeed. SO many people reached out…close friends and family, previous coworkers, people I haven’t talked to in years, people I’ve never met at all but read my blog. It was incredible. It made what was supposed to be a day of sadness, a day of celebration and happiness. The love I felt on that day was something I will never, ever forget and I thank each and every one of you who made it so special. It was the best birthday present I could ever have asked for.
People say turning 26 on the 26th means it’s your “Golden Birthday” and I think there couldn’t be a better time to have a golden birthday. So my birthday wish is to to have a golden year, one that sparkles and shines, one that brings out the best in me and allows me to help others, one that continues on my road to recovery. My wish is that this year is truly magical. Because a girl can dream, can’t she?
XOXO,
Jessy
p.s. yesterday at clinic, my amazing nurses surprised me with a beautiful birthday cake and “happy birthday” sing-a-long. It was so sweet and absolutely made my day so wanted to share some pics!
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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