Go To Your Happy Place

Mike & I were both on vacation for the week of the Fourth so we went to our favorite beach, Jeness in NH one day. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Not a cloud in the blue sky, a slight breeze to keep comfortable and the sun shining in every essence. It shined on my body, my soul and my mind.

I needed a day of peace and sunshine. A day to listen to the waves and chatter of families and friends. I needed a day to rejuvenate my mind as lately I’ve been feeling like I’m running on empty. Small things have upset me, my feelings are easily hurt and I send myself into a state of sadness too often. Life is good. But I’ve been having a hard time remembering that lately. Too much time spent checking off “tasks” that seem important during the day but when I take a second to think about it, aren’t actually that significant. I haven’t given enough time to keeping my mind in a positive, healthy space and it shows thru my rollercoaster of emotions. It’s easy to forget, but keeping our minds healthy takes some time and effort.

The beach always helps me press the reset button, however. It helps me slow down and appreciate the beauty of the day and the life I’ve been given. It helps remind me of the respect I have for our great Mother Earth. It helps remind me of how grateful I am for having Mike in my life and how excited I am to marry him in 13 days (ahhh!!). And it also reminds me of little things in life that I’m grateful for too, like the fact that it’s a blessing that I live in a country where I have the right to go to the beach and swim in the waves in a bikini!! The beach is my place to help disconnect me from the “world” and in turn, it connects me so deeply to what’s important in my life and the real world that surrounds me. 

I hope that you take the time to go your happy place more often- to go wherever it is in the world that helps you reconnect to the important things in life. Because, taking the time is important.

Love & light,

Jessy 


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Tip for a Tuesday

Stupid

I’m stealing this line from the founder of the Not Impossible Labs (the speaker I wrote about a few days ago that was at the conference I attended last week). He said this line so passionately and at first I hated it. Why would I surround myself with people that make me feel stupid? That’s horrible advice, I thought. But then I quickly realized that surrounding yourself with people that make you feel stupid doesn’t mean surrounding yourself with people that make you feel inadequate or that belittle you– but rather the opposite. It means to surround yourself with people that know more than you, that you can gain insight from, perspective from, people that you can GROW from. Once you realize you may be the “stupid-est” person in the room, don’t be ashamed, be grateful– take it as a blessing– there is SO MUCH to LEARN!!! In the past year and a half, I’ve been surrounded by some of the most brilliant men and women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, and although sometimes it can be intimidating, more often than not, it’s empowering… it makes me want to open my eyes to what else is out there and the ways my mind can continue to expand.

Life is all about growing and by taking the time to surround yourself with those that you can grow from– you’re hedging your bet right.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

I’m taking this line from the founder of Not Impossible labs

Motivational Monday

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I love this quote. So often we look at things with a “you win, you lose” attitude. One or the other. Black and white. But this puts the perfect positive spin on it— “losing” isn’t fun but life isn’t about winning every race. So when you don’t come out on top, sometimes that’s when the beauty comes out and you learn an incredible amount. Always having things go the way you want doesn’t always allow for true growth to happen. Hey, I never would’ve considered being diagnosed with leukemia as a “win” but I’ve learned and learned and learned so how can I look at it as a total loss? I can’t.

So seize the day— relish in your little wins and learn from those bumps along the way. It’ll be worth it in the end!

Happy Monday— go crush this day like the warrior you are!

Lots of love and light,

Jessy

You’ve Got Mail

Last night, Mike and I got home from a VERY early dinner and found ourselves watching “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It’s such a good, truly romantic movie, and one that I had never seen until last year. I realized while watching it last night, as the snow came tumbling down outside, that it was a year ago that Mike was in New Orleans for a bachelor party and I was home by myself watching this movie having a glass of white wine. A year ago, I had no idea what was about to come my way. As I sat there on the couch, I remember feeling fully stressed at what was “happening” to me. I knew something was wrong, I was in agony about every other day with shooting pains down my back and legs making me unable to not only walk but do anything but roll around in bed and yell in pain. I was having nose bleeds regularly and blood blisters on my lips. I had bruises all over my body that had no reason for being there. And I had headaches so bad, I started keeping a neck pillow in my car so I could have some sort of relief as I drove to and from work. But as worried as I felt, I truly couldn’t have imagined the news I was about to hear and the year I was about to have.

In “You’ve Got Mail,” Meg Ryan’s book store is forced to close down due to a large, conglomerate book store opening up just down the street. She’s tormented with the fact that the life she had envisioned for herself and grown accustomed to, is so abruptly taken away from her. As I watched last night, I empathized with her character so much more deeply than I had just one year ago, as our stories are not the same but I so understood how she felt getting her “life” ripped away from her. But by the end of the movie, she’s making the best out of a bad situation and turns out to be writing her own book and allows herself to truly follow her butterflies and finds herself in the arms of Tom Hanks. She lets life take the reigns and it leads her to happiness. That’s what I’m still trying to do, trying to let life take the reigns, follow the things that give me butterflies in life. Because one thing I’ve learned in this past year is that life’s too short, too precious and too unpredictable; you’ve really got to enjoy each day for what it is. Whether it’s a good day or bad day, just appreciate the day. Appreciate it because you’re lucky to be here and lucky to have what you do.
XOXO,
Jessy

Back at it Again

On Thursday I found out that my pancreas had suffered a leak in it during the first two pancreatitis attacks. So my doctors quickly scheduled an endoscopy procedure for the next day to place a stent where the hole is. I was so nervous about it as I hate being put under and I’m anxious about a foreign object being in my body. But I trust my doctors so I knew it was what I had to do. Friday morning came quickly and with Mike by my side, I had a stent placed in my pancreas. Everything went smoothly and the doctor was really pleased with how the procedure went. I was even able to go home that night in time to pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters!! (Huge deal to me cause I had been really looking forward to that so I would’ve been really sad if that got taken away from me). Anyways, Saturday morning I woke up with intense pain in my stomach, I was rolling around and just could not get into a comfortable position. So I took pain meds that typically help and waited an hour. No such luck. After a call to my oncologist, Mike and I were on our way to the emergency room (which was filled with drunk halloween goers. Woof). My hope was that I would be able to go in, get some IV pain meds and head home but that wasn’t the case. After being in the emergency room for 6 hours, I got admitted, again, to the Brigham 7D. I am so frustrated because I had been doing so well. I was eating, my nausea was starting to go away, and I was overall just feeling good. So being back in the hospital bed hooked up to 100 different machines and unable to drink or eat…I feel more than discouraged.

On the bright side, it’s freezing out (I saw snow flakes out my window-ahhhhh!!!) and I’m inside all day. My amazing doctor made me two “pancreatitis” playlists to listen to (how sweet is that?!) My family and Mike have been by my side the whole time. And I got onto my favorite floor which makes things so much more enjoyable and comfortable. Definitely not an ideal situation but I’m trying to positive because things could definitely be worse.

(Here’s a pic of me and my TPN feeding tube at home! Fun, fun, fun!)

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XOXO,
Jessy

PS this is not a pic for the faint. So if you don’t like bodily functions, I’d X out now. But below is a pic of my pancreas before with the hole (on the left) and it now with the stent in it (right side). I thought it was pretty cool so wanted to share with you guys!

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Can’t Sleep

I do some of my best writing at 4:30 in the morning…on steriods. And that’s what’s going on right now. It’s exactly 4:37am and my mind is racing and I can’t sleep. So instead of laying here in bed with my eyes open, I thought I’d write down how I’m feeling and what’s new.

It’s been a little while since I’ve written a post, the frequency of the posts have slowed down in the past month and I know it. It’s not because I’m getting bored with my blog or anything of that sort but rather because I’m bored with my life right now. The past 3 weeks have consisted of not eating or making bland, “soft” meals, throwing up, napping, being curled up in pain, going to the doctors, watching tv, sleeping. Repeat. I’ve felt anything but inspirational. I’ve felt bad for myself quite honestly and that’s really it. I felt bad for myself that Mike and I had to cancel a trip to Newport this weekend that we had looked forward to nearly all summer due to my condition. I felt down for myself that I’ve felt so sad lately, it doesn’t feel like me. But as I sit here in bed in the wee morning of hours, I am thinking about everything good that has still happened over the past three weeks.
– I got to see two of my best friends, one from high school and one from college, that live in California and Florida and I very rarely get to see. It’s always rejuvenating to visit with friends, especially those you haven’t seen in quite some time.
– I got to spend time with my family and Mikes family. Both by the pool. Both with our little nuggets. And I’ve said if before but I’ll say it again, there’s no better cure than hanging out with children you love. They put a smile on your face no matter how crummy you may feel.
– I got to slow dance with Mike to Frank Sinatra.
– I got to dance crazily to “Shake It Out” by my girl T Swift with Mike (yes, there’s a lot of dancing in this house). Works for a good belly laugh every time.
– I have been reminded how strong I really am. I have learned how much my body can be put through and how I will bounce back and come out on top, even if it takes a while.
– I got to start back up on the chemo cocktail yesterday. Now this may not be traditional “fun” but being paused is a stressful feeling as you know it’s just pushing back the end goal. So I was thrilled to continue back on the march.
– I’ve learned that the guy sleeping quietly next to me (thank god, it’s a snore a lot of the time!) is the best thing that ever happened to me. That even at my lowest and grumpiest, he loves me unconditionally.

So for a crappy few weeks, there’s still a lot of good that has come out of it. And that’s important to remember, even at my lowest lows. Sometimes, I just have to write it out. I hope you all are having a wonderful and blessed week!

XOXOX,
Jessy

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The Next Chapter

Monday afternoon I walked outside for the first time in 25 days and although too cold for my liking, it was the freshest, most crisp air I’ve ever breathed into my little lungs. Getting to sit next to Mike as we drove home through our fabulous city made me the happiest, proudest Bostonian to have ever lived. Stepping into our home was overwhelming but beautiful at the same time. I felt a sense of relief and gratitude that I was able to be in my own home again, as I know not everyone dealt this hand is always as fortunate. Then together Mike and I jumped into the most gloriously comfortable bed I’ve ever laid in and spent a few minutes simply enjoying being together in our home and in our bed. It was a moment I’ll never forget. 
 
And then there was Pizzeria Regina’s. Never have I shoveled food such like a wild animal in my life but I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Buffalo chicken pizza. Pineapple & prosciutto pizza. Mediterranean Greek Salad. 
Nom. Nom. Nom. 
 
With all the excitement of being home, there also came a very daunting feeling. Because as I woke up in my own bed yesterday morning and everything in my home was physically the same, nothing was the same. The last time I woke up in this bed I went to work like every other day not knowing what life was about to hand me. Since that day, my life has flipped upside down. And while I do truly believe everything happens for a reason and this is just a difficult chapter in what is an amazing life…it’s going to be hard. Really, really hard. 
 
But lucky for me, as with every other day so far in my small journey, my family (that includes you Mr. Stevens) was here to pull me up and help me see all that I am lucky to have. And that it’s not just my life that’s changed but all those that I love lives that changed. And that we’re in this hard, long road together. 
 
Today I had my first visit as an outpatient and it went really smoothly– my doctors and nurses, per usual, were amazing and made me feel comfortable and calm. As scary and new as this experience is to me, they constantly remind me that they do this every single day and are the absolute best at what they do– the reassuring feeling this creates is invaluable. While I was in the hospital, I’m not going to lie, I was going absolutely insane over the terrible food… I watched literally hours and hours of the Food Network (I know, I know I’m as masochist), so after a long but successful morning, Mike and I found a spot that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives hosted by my idol Guy Fieri and treated ourselves to some of the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. Wooooo chil’ they were good! 
 
So now I don’t have to go back to the hospital until next Wednesday where I will get a bunch of treatments done including my second bone marrow pull. REALLY not looking forward to that but it will tell us something very important– if my leukemia cells have disappeared! And that, that’s some news I want to find out! Until then, I will keep on keepin’ on and enjoying all the little things in life… like silky sheets, snap chatting with The Voice (yup, did that last night), going for walks, painting my nails, looking at old pictures and of course, eating dynamite food. 
 
Happy Hump Day everyone– hope it’s a fabulous week so far! 
 
Xoxo,
Jessy 
 
P.S. I had cold pineapple and prosciutto pizza for breakfast yesterday morning and I didn’t feel one iota of guilt. Probably doing it again tomorrow. 
Sue me.