Our Magical Day

Wedding fever has officially subsided. It’s been exactly one month since Mike & I tied the knot and became husband and wife. So, before the lovely details of the day begin to fade away, I want to write about just how incredible July 22, 2017 was in my life.

Well, I should first start by saying it wasn’t just July 22- it was the whole long weekend and the entire honeymoon. It began as soon as Mike & I crossed the Sagamore Bridge into the Cape on that Thursday. After we unloaded odds & ends for the wedding at our venue, The Dennis Inn, we checked into the house he rented for the four days (the place he would have his groomsmen and friends before the wedding!), dropped our bags and walked to the beach. Jumping in the cold Atlantic Ocean together seemed like the perfect way to begin what would be some of the best days of our lives. That night, we had our first ever “dual-family party” and some of our immediate family members who have never met finally got to. The flower girls practiced throwing petals, my mom made a teary-eyed speech, and my thoughts kept going to how “right” this newly merged family felt.

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Before we knew it, rehearsal day was here and we were welcoming our family and wedding party to the Dennis Inn to lounge by the pool before the official festivities began. Us ladies started making ourselves at home in the bridal suite, getting mani and pedis by Cape Cod Mobile Nail Company. All fun and games until I was walking down the aisle with my parents and saw Mike at the end of the aisle when it really hit me that this moment was finally happening– that our special day was about to become a reality. After the practice-run had been completed, it was time to get the celebrations started. And celebrations to Mike and I typically mean some sort of fantastic food so it was time to chow down on lobster and clam chowder. As the rehearsal dinner ended, so came the rest of our guests that were here for the entire weekend! All of our closest friends and family here to celebrate our love– I remember feeling overwhelmed as I looked around that night and saw the mix of family, friends from home, friends from college, colleagues, even one of my doctors had made it for the “night-before” festivities. I think that’s one of the most special things about a wedding– having every corner of your life represented, melding into one life together- it’s a kind of love and gratefulness I’ve never experienced before and am so thankful that I had the opportunity to feel it.

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And then the day we’ve dreamt of for so long came.

Speaking for the ladies, we woke up and were lucky enough to be led thru a beautiful “wedding morning yoga flow” by Mike and I’s weekly yoga instructor from Somerville. It was so meaningful to me to start my day with the women in my life that I love so much doing something that means so much to me. Some of them had never done yoga before, some of them may have been a bit hungover from the welcome party the night before, but they all showed up and participated because they knew it meant a lot to me. I felt about a million times more relaxed and calm when we finished and in the right mindset to take on such a big day in my life. Plus, I needed my “yoga glow” in order to look my best. And then it was onto becoming a beautiful bride!

When I was growing up, my mom used to remind me how important getting butterflies in your stomach was. She would leave me notes that had butterflies on them after high school heartbreaks and tell me that one day the butterflies would return. So when I heard the music begin and I looked out the bathroom window to watch Michael walk down the aisle, I was delighted to feel my stomach flip and hundreds of butterflies flutter around my belly. In truth, however, those butterflies are nothing new- he’s been giving me butterflies since the moment I met him. As I walked outside to walk down that aisle, my parents on each side, I felt like I was floating. I wasn’t nervous- I was excited. Beyond excited. I was thrilled- elated- grateful- so so so very happy. I was finally marrying the man I’ve wanted to marry for what feels like a lifetime. I was being given the opportunity, that on some days throughout these five years, I wasn’t sure I’d get to have. In fact, the month leading up to the wedding I had been having trouble sleeping and getting really anxious about “making it” to the wedding. Some bad thoughts were going thru my head that I believe were arising because of just how much I wanted this day to happen- how much I wanted to marry my Michael. So in that moment, as I walked towards him on that sunny afternoon, surrounded by all those we love, as birds were chirping and Halo was being played in the background, I truly felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

But then something amazing happened… that feeling of “luckiest girl in the world” came over and over and over the rest of the day.

  • I felt it when Mike said his beautiful vows
  • I felt it when I heard Dr.Mandy pronounce us husband and wife
  • I felt it when Mike spun me around and my dress twirled like I’ve always dreamt of
  • I felt it when Phoebe appeared in a beautiful flower collar so we could take pictures with her
  • I felt it when I listened to my dad give the most incredible speech
  • I felt it when he thanked the entire table of nurses and doctors from Dana Farber and every single guest rose to their feet to cheer and give them the praise that they all deserve
  • I felt it when I looked around at dinner and saw everyone I love in one room
  • I felt it when I, as well as everyone else, was sweating profusely from dancing so hard
  • I felt it when the last song, Young Forever, came on and everyone made a circle around us as we danced and took the moment in
  • I felt it when we went upstairs after everyone had left and we popped a bottle of champagne and looked thru the pictures and notes from the photobooth
  • I felt it when I laid my head on the pillow and couldn’t sleep because I was still smiling as I replayed every detail of the day
  • I felt like the luckiest girl in the world and one month in, I still do. I married my best friend and you can’t ask for much better than that!

 

So as we crossed over the Sagamore Bridge back to Boston, it was easy to be okay with “our day” being done. We had 10 days of honeymoon Hawaiian living to look forward to and the rest of our life together to be excited about!

Thank you to everyone that celebrated with us that day, and to everyone that sent us blessings and well-wishes. We are two very lucky individuals to have you all in our lives.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

More wedding pics and a video I made of footage from our honeymoon!

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Wedding Weekend Is Here

In a few days, I get to marry Michael. It feels like this day has been on my mind for years. Not just the day I get to wear a pretty white dress, but the day I get to marry my best friend. The day I get to commit myself to another human being- my person- in front of everyone that we love.

If I’m being honest, there have been so many moments in the past year- but especially in the past month, that I’ve let the stress of planning–essentially the biggest party of my PlansMorans career— get in the way of how joyous this period is supposed to be. I’ve become consumed in the details and the stress of making everything perfect. My temper has been short and my feelings have been easily hurt and the ironic part is that that man that I’m marrying is the one who has received the brunt of it. (Also my mom….my mom has seen some tears.) So, if you’re reading this Mike– I’m sorry, I love you, I promise my fuse is not typically this short! Thank you for dealing with my rollercoaster of emotions.

But as of tomorrow, the planning will be over and the celebrating will begin. And by Friday, nearly everyone that means the most to us will be on the Cape to help us celebrate. I can’t get over how amazing that’s going to be. When else in your life are you surrounded by, truly, all those you love? Hometown friends, college friends, mentors, in our case- our incredible team of doctors and nurses and of course, both of our families? It’s an occasion that we’re lucky to experience and I so want to relish in every second… I want to soak up every ounce of love and bottle it up!

But since I can’t physically bottle up this weekend, my goal is to take mental snapshots. Remember Mike’s face, remember our officiants words, remember the feel of hugs from friends and family. Remember the butterflies in my stomach when we kiss for the first time as husband and wife. Remember the euphoric feeling when looking around and seeing faces from near and far. Remember how bad my feet hurt after a night of epic dancing. But most of all, I hope I remember the feel of Mike’s hands holding mine, the look in his eye when he promises to be my husband, the wind whipping past my cheek as he spins me around the dance floor. I want to remember every detail from the day I become the wife of the man I love so much, my partner in life, my best friend, my soulmate. 

I am so excited for this day, this weekend, our honeymoon but I am most excited for another chapter in our life to begin together. In the six years we’ve known each other, we have experienced a lot of ups and downs- career struggles and stress, a cancer diagnosis, a mother lost, but babies (and a puppy!) have also been born, we’ve traveled, we’ve laughed, we’ve danced, we’ve had so many firsts, we’ve had so many happy moments together. With each hurdle, we’ve stuck together and lifted each other up. And with each positive experience, it’s felt more intense, more beautiful, more incredible because we’ve had each other to share it with.

Meeting Michael was the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. Making it to the day that I get to marry him was a far-away dream. For a brief moment, that dream flickered, but on Saturday it’s a dream that gets to come true. And that makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. My life is better with him in it- our lives are better with each other in it- and for that, I am overwhelmingly thankful. 

To everyone who has been a part of supporting, nourishing and bringing happiness to our relationship- thank you! 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

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 

Home Sweet Hospital

This Monday, I woke up and went to the Brigham with my mom and Mike. I checked in and got into a johnnie and hopped up into the bed. In a weird way, it felt normal. Being in a hospital bed, although I haven’t been for nearly a year, felt comfortable. Instantly, I was brought back into a world that I should feel very scared of and anxious around but instead, I feel a sense of security. I know to an outsider, and maybe even my family members, that must sound really strange and kind of unhealthy but for me, it’s true. Of course, I was nervous about the procedure and any complications that could’ve arisen but as I sat there in the underground’s of the Brigham by myself waiting for the doctor or nurse to come see me, I was at ease. I wasn’t supposed to be “figuring out my life” or thinking about what I want to do next or applying for jobs, all of which I feel completely lost and unsure of myself doing. Somehow, sitting in a hospital bed, I felt confident, I felt peace knowing I was exactly where I should be at that moment. I was there to put a final close on my leukemia chapter.

I was there to get my port removed.

(For those of you unfamiliar, a port is a permanent IV line that stays in your chest and allows you to give blood and receive medications through. Below is a pic of what it looks like).

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It was a day I have dreamed of for so long, incredibly surreal to believe the day had finally come. This thing, this piece of plastic and tubing that’s been a part of me for the nearly three years. Originally, it felt so foreign and I hated how much it stuck out from my chest. However, I slowly began to have a deep respect for it as I started to realize how it was the gateway to my health. Sometimes when I was at yoga, for example, and the instructor would say to put our hands over our hearts, I’d put one hand over my heart and one over my port. I started thinking of my port as a part of me, and started imagining it as my second heart. One that allowed my original heart to keep beating; it was the catalyst that kept me alive and I am so grateful for it.

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However, this Monday it was time to part ways, and to my moms delight, when I asked the doctor if I could keep it, she graciously said, “no, unfortunately we have to put it in our hazardous waste disposal.” I get it, it sounds strange to try to keep it but I wanted to because of the fact it was such an enormous and important aspect of my journey. I wanted to keep it with my other mementos from my “cancer chapter.” So I was kind of disappointed, strangely enough. But I realize, I guess I don’t need to physically hold onto something because I’ll always hold onto as a part of who I am. I will look at the scar on my chest for the rest of my life and remember exactly what was there, and exactly how blessed I am that all I have left is that minor battle wound. It’s one that I’m immensely proud of.

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So today, after two days of being sleepy and one day being kind of grumpy (I’m sorry Mike 😢 I do love you), I got myself out of the house and met with Dr. Mandy at Dana Farber, not because I had an appointment but because we wanted to catch up and chat as two friends. Dana Farber isn’t home, nor should it ever be, but I’d be lying if I didn’t feel at home there. Who would’ve thought?

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

p.s. final pic is me today… a flat chested lady once again 🙂

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Time Goes On

3 years ago on this morning, I was in a hospital bed being woken by doctors and nurses. I was about to start one of the most physically painful and emotionally draining days of my life. I had just been diagnosed and rushed to the hospital the night before and today was the day I had to undergo multiple tests and procedures to determine just what kind of leukemia I had. January 21, 2014 was a day of absolute unknown and terror of what lie ahead. 
3 years later I’m waking up in my own bed with no beeping machines or nurses poking me for blood. Instead I can hear my wind chime outside, birds chirping and Phoebe is snuggled up next to me demanding for scratchies. I’m wearing an engagement ring and get to marry the love of my life in 5 months. I’m going out to dinner with my best friend of 25 years tonight for her birthday. My life is in such a different place than it was on this day in 2014, it’s almost mind boggling. 


3 years from today is still unknown. However, this time, fear has been replaced with excitement. Where will Mike & I be living? What will I be doing for work? Will I be a mom? There’s so much more living to do. There’s so much more I’m looking forward to and I feel beyond blessed that I get to feel these feelings of excitement and joy. 
The beauty, and tragedy, in life is the same. You never know what life has in store for you. You never know if the hopes and dreams you have for yourself will be realized. But you do know that you have today, and this moment and this breath. So make the most of it. Enjoy it, savor it and soak up the sunshine that is your life. 
Sending each and everyone of you – those who have my followed my blog from the beginning and those who have just found it- so much love and gratitude. I am thankful everyday for the prayers and positive energy that you have sent my way to get me to this day. 
Love & light,

Jessy 

Guilty as Charged

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I feel guilty that I haven’t written a blog post in 3 months. I’ve written a few posts about random things but haven’t felt like I could publish them because quite honestly, they were me venting and expressing myself. Unfortunately, however, expression of feelings isn’t always what you want the entire world to see.

I feel guilty so much lately. About a whole array of things, I’ve begun to realize how much this one feeling affects my life every day.

I feel guilty that I got to live through my terminal diagnosis when others don’t get to

I feel guilty when I don’t see my friends and family often enough

I feel guilty when I complain about my job

I feel guilty when I don’t work out

I feel guilty when I think of all the people that helped me

I feel guilty when I don’t get home to Phoebe in time

I feel guilty when I’m being lazy and just don’t want to play fetch anymore

I feel guilty when I don’t call my friends that don’t live close by

I feel guilty when I want to go to bed early

I feel guilty when I have a drink during the workweek

I feel guilty when I spend money on things I shouldn’t

I feel guilty when I don’t do yoga regularly

I feel guilty when I don’t clean my house or help unload the dishwasher

I feel guilty when I think negatively of people in my head

I feel guilty when I drop off Smile Cards knowing I didn’t write any this month

I feel guilty when I don’t make a donation to a nonprofit/charity

I feel guilty that I don’t like my career and I complain about it to Mike

I feel guilty when I feel sorry for myself

I feel guilty that I stopped going to see my therapist

I feel guilty when I take medication to help me sleep

I feel guilty when I give Mike shit about little things

I feel guilty when I’m not in a good mood

I feel guilty for writing this post

Mostly, I’ve begun to feel guilty for feeling guilty all the time. I feel guilty when I don’t feel like I’m being the best version of me. I feel guilty that it’s the first time I’ve written a post and it’s not inspirational in the slightest. I feel guilty that it’s about me venting. I feel guilty that in the past six months, I have become cancer-free, not received one thing of chemo, gotten engaged, picked out a wedding dress, been to Italy, gone back to NYC twice, held beautiful babies, played with my dog, spent time with those that I love, live in a house and city that I adore and have my best friend to go to bed with every night—and I still somehow feel lost. I still feel like there’s something missing. I still have a hard time falling asleep at night without the medication I had been on for two years. I still whine and become sad on Sunday nights knowing I have an entire work week ahead of me. I still bitch about minute details of life when I know that there’s so many bigger problems out there. I still eat buffalo chicken nachos on the weekends even though I know they’re not good for me. I still drink beers while watching the Pats game because I like to. I still give Mike attitude at the end of the day when I’m grumpy for reasons that have nothing to do with him. I still honk at people when I’m driving to work. I still spend way too much time on the computer and my phone. I would’ve guessed that after two years of many moments of hell, I would be able to let things go easier, be more carefree, be kinder, gentler, fully in the moment.

I view the feeling of being given a second chance at life two-faced. I feel such gratitude and beauty from knowing that my eyes have been opened to how short life is and how I need to not take anything for granted and enjoy each moment and each day. But the other side of the face has created this enormous feeling of guilt when I’m not achieving the daily level of happiness and gratitude that my brain tells me I should be obtaining.

My therapist, the one that I stopped going to because I didn’t think I needed to go anymore (maybe I should rethink that decision, I know), had continuously told me for two years that I needed to have more compassion for myself. That I needed to stop being so hard on myself and stop judging every action that I take. She had said that I needed to allow myself to feel feelings that I have and try hard not to overthink everything. And while I can say I try to show myself compassion, it’s so god damn hard! It’s easier to criticize my actions and try to perfect what I’m doing wrong. It’s not healthy and I know this but I can’t seem to get out of my way sometimes.

I feel so frustrated that at this time in my life where everything seems to be going right, I somehow don’t feel euphoria, I don’t feel like I’m living this dream life. But I had dreamed of this life, since February 20, 2014, I dreamed of this summer, I dreamed of being engaged and planning my wedding, I dreamed of going back to work, I dreamed of having a French bulldog, I dreamed of going to Italy, I dreamed of having drinks with my friends at dinner and sipping on a Pumpkin Head beer while I watched the Patriots from the comfort of my house. And now I have that all. I have a Frenchie. I went to Italy. I got engaged. I bought my wedding dress. I’ve enjoyed drinks and food. I workout multiple times a week and can feel my muscle mass returning. I have a job. Yet, I still feel so confused and because of that, I feel like the most ungrateful brat that’s ever existed. I feel awful that I’m even putting these words out in the universe, that I’m letting people really see how I’m feeling. Now don’t get me wrong, my weekend in New York City getting engaged was everything I’ve ever dreamed about, our trip to Italy was literally the best two weeks of my entire life, I kiss and cuddle Phoebe every single day and tell her how much I love her, I feel at home, safe and secure when Mike is with me and continues to tell me that things are going to be okay.

I feel guilty for these negative feelings and emotions when so much is going right. I feel guilty because people that I know and love are going through horrible breakups and divorces, are dealing with health problem of their own, caring for a loved one that’s battling cancer, out of work and struggling to pay for childcare, grieving a loss of a loved one and so many more examples of real problems, real issues. Me not knowing what I want to do with my career and trying to achieve an unattainable goal of happy, content and successful life can barely be considered a real problem, however, to me, it feels like this insurmountable problem. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a mountain and I can’t see the top, I have no idea how high this peak is or how long it will take me to reach the top. And because of that, I feel frantic. I feel like a deer in the headlights, whipping my head around wildly looking for the right way to go but unable to find any sort of tree marker because I don’t even know if the top of this mountain is attainable with my abilities.

So, for today, I sit here at my computer with a “De-stress” and “stay calm” essential oils next to me hoping that I can figure out a goal, figure out a direction, figure out what I want, figure out what will make me happy, figure out what will make me feel content and fulfilled but most of all, I hope that I can learn how to not feel guilty, not feel ashamed that I feel the way I do. My hope is that by writing this piece, if you ever feel guilty for similar things that I do, that you feel less alone.

I’m hoping that my future blog posts will be more upbeat– to be truthful, I think that’s why I haven’t written in so long. I felt like my readers don’t want to hear about my little, and neurotic problems, nor do they want to read a post about my amazing Christmas weekend in NYC. I  have felt a sense of, you guessed it, guilt, if I begin to write about things that don’t fit into the box of “inspirational.” I began the Inspiration Initiative to express my feelings and to document my journey through a difficult time and I did that. I stayed true to my feelings, and I never felt guilty when I complained or vented because it felt “fair” to write my negative emotions regarding a cancer diagnosis. I knew nobody was going to judge me for that. But talking about that I’m frustrated by my career confusion or how much fun Mike and I have been having lately on the weekends, or the flip flop feeling in my stomach I get when I think about my body image, how much I love my dog, or what delicious meal I’m cooking that night, I know I can get judged for these type of content topics more than I could have been before. But I think it’s time for me to begin writing again more frequently. It’s time that I close the cancer book and start a new book that’s simply this: My Life. The ups, the downs, the in-the-middles, and all the moments in between. My cancer journey will still be part of it on days because the reality is that that diagnosis changed me, those experiences scarred me– some scars are ugly and some are beautiful, but they all remind me of the time period. But I’ve begun a new book and I hope it gets brighter by the second, and I’d love if you come along with me. It’s not going to be the same stories as you’re used to, but they’re still my stories.

If you got to the end of this ranting and redundant post, thanks. And, I’m impressed. I know this wasn’t beautifully written, I know this wasn’t inspirational, I know this wasn’t my best work but it made me feel better. For a few different reasons it made me feel better but at least for one, it erased the guilt I felt about not writing a blog post in a while.

I’ll be back.

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!