March 25th: A Day I’ll Remember 

The bone marrow biopsies are a thing of the past. It was a stressful morning as things got pushed back and I didn’t end up being taken in until 12:30. So while we waited, we took pics…obviously. 

  
Then I was taken in and I had to take a pic with my most fabulous doctor who has done all my spinal taps and all my bone marrow biopsies since the beginning. Not only is she the most fashionable lady at the Dana but she also is the absolute sweetest. 

  
Now it was time to get suited up- and tis the bunny season, I just had to…

  
So then it was time to chill with the silliness and get this thing some and over with!

   
 
Go time.

(Warning:this is a little graphic but Mike took it and I found it fascinating as I’ve obviously never seen it from this angle!)

  
And just like that, I took my last “big breath”, Susan pulled the marrow and it was over. I instantly started crying but it was tears of such joy, relief and gratitude. I felt so empowered and so strong in that moment. I have hated this procedure every time, I have always gotten so worked up before and after as I wait for the results. But the reality is, it’s out of my control now. I’ll get the results next week and I really feel deep in my heart that the leukemia is out of my body so the moment just hit me so hard, like WOW, I’m really almost done. The finish line isn’t around the corner anymore- it’s right there, I just have a few more steps until I cross that yellow line.

As always, Michael was there by my side. Today, actually holding onto my feet, but right there with me, making sure Halo was being played at the appropriate time and loving me with everything he has. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I really am the luckiest girl in the world. 

   
 
With that, I’m making myself a bowl of ice cream and continuing to relax on the couch with my two loves for the night. Thank you for the millionth time to everyone who said a little prayer for me, I owe you big time.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

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The First of the Lasts

Today was one I’ll never forget. 

Today I had my first cry of the “series.” Only 2 episodes left of this series of my life. The series finale comes two weeks from now. There will likely be a lot of excitement and hoopla. Mike will be with me and so will my parents. Two weeks from today, my veins will take their last push of chemotherapy and my body will be full of toxins one last time. But today is today and today was, in a way, was just as exciting. For a year now, I’ve lived in 3 week cycles. And so today was the first of the lasts. It was was week 1 and therefore I had my final meeting with my oncology team- Dr. D, Dr. Mandy and me. There have been so many people that have gotten me through this journey but at the heart of this machine, it’s been the three of us. So it was so special to me to get to be with them, review my labs together, laugh with them, reminisce a bit, and then, OF COURSE, make them take a selfie.   

While we were taking this picture, it hit me how exciting this moment was. How I’ve waited over two years to begin the goodbyes. I began jumping up and down and clapping my hands, I was overcome with the feeling of “ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!! This is real!!!” I hugged Dr. D and he walked out of the room. Then, I instantly stopped jumping and covered my face as I could feel the tears beginning to stream down my face. This journey has been so long, it’s been so hard, it’s been absolutely brutal at times but it’s also been so incredible because of these two individuals and I don’t want to say goodbye. I’m sad, really sad to say goodbye.

Lucky for me, I will see them again in two weeks when I cross the finish line but this time today was important. I needed just us to be a team, just the three of us, one last time.

So I dedicate this blog to the best team I’ve ever been a part of. 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Thankful For So Much

When I was growing up, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Thanksgiving. I was a picky eater. I focused on the fact that I didn’t like the food. If you don’t really like vegetables and you’re not into turkey, good old T-giving can be a tough day. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized what an incredible day it really is. I’m happy to say that now that I consider myself quite the foodie, I absolutely love all the delicious food I get to stuff my face with BUT I love even more to have a day that’s specifically dedicated to giving thanks. It’s a day focused on being grateful for all you have and to be with those you love and reflect on all that you have together.

Since being diagnosed, I have found true strength when I count my blessings. When I consciously think about all the things that I do have in life, no matter how hard the day, my mindset is always helped. It helps ground me and helps put things into a necessary perspective. So today in honor of this amazing day that is completely dedicated to being thankful, I am going to list out everything I feel so lucky to have in my life.

I am thankful for…

  1. My Michael
  2. My family
  3. My Phoebe
  4. My friends
  5. My incredible doctors (especially Dr. Mandy & Dr. D)
  6. The most amazing and caring nurses (especially Andrea, Rachel, Margo, Deb, Kristen!)
  7. To be a patient at the most amazing cancer institute in the world— Dana Farer
  8. To have a job
  9. Having a roof over my head
  10. Having food to eat everyday
  11. Being an American
  12. Living in New England
  13. Being a Patriots Fan
  14. Being able to practice yoga
  15. Sharing a home I love with a person I love
  16. Music!!!
  17. My under desk bicycle
  18. Having a safe car
  19. Dancing
  20. Technology
  21. Fresh flowers
  22. Queen B
  23. T-Swift, in particular, “Shake It Off”
  24. One Direction
  25. Buddhism
  26. The ability to opening my mind to alternative ways of thinking
  27. Clothes & Shoes that I love
  28. A working pancreas
  29. Good food and being able to eat it!
  30. Buffalo chicken
  31. Strawberry strudels
  32. Being in remission
  33. Having hair again
  34. Soft, fuzzy pajamas
  35. Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for this blog and most importantly thankful for all the supportive and wonderful people that have followed my journey. I’m thankful that you’re part of my life and thankful for everything your support has provided me throughout a challenging portion of my life.

I hope you all have a beautiful day, and remember to truly give thanks to all that you have in your life. Even if you’re going through a tough time, try to think of at least one thing that you can feel true gratitude for — whether that is as important as another human being in your life or as simple as being able to have a glass of wine. Whatever it is you’re thankful for, be truly thankful, down to your core.

Happy Thanksgiving, loves!

thankful

Lots of love & light,

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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Music Miracles

Early in the summer, Jessie and I bought tickets for the Sam Smith concert that would be at the House of Blue. It’s something I’ve been so looking forward to as the venue is awesome, the artist is incredibly talented and it would be a fun “night out” with one of my best friends (something that doesn’t happen nearly enough anymore). So as the days creeped closer to September 15th and I did little to no improving here on 7D, it became clear making it to this concert was going to be a stretch. However as soon as I mention this to my wonderful team of doctors, nurses (and Mike), an action plan is sprung into place. House of Blues is called so we can get disability seating since I’m constrained to a wheelchair right now, Mikes boss (who’s a frequent goer of the HOB) reaches out directly so Mike can be given a free pass to come in and be able to assist me getting settled, my social worker calls the venue to get an exact time of the setlist so I can maximize my time out, my doctors and nurses do a bunch of extra paperwork to allow me to be “discharged” for a set amount of time, and my dad who stayed in Boston until 1030 at night so that he could drop us off and be right outside the door when we got out to drive me right back to the hospital.

There was so many people that went into making last night possible for me. Something that I arguably will be able to do plenty of times in my life. But last night was different. I had been looking forward to this night with my best friend all summer. So if I hadn’t gotten to go, cancer would’ve taken that away from me. But the amazing people I have surrounding me didn’t let that happen. So many people went into making last night a reality for me and it warms my heart to know they all did it for nothing other than my happiness. That’s pretty incredible. That’s a mini miracle. That shows you that people are good….people are kind, and thoughtful and considerate. I am truly lucky to have been able to witness something like that first hand.

So to everyone who made last night such a special night for me- thank you! It’s just what I needed to keep on pushing forward!!!

Xoxox,
Jessy

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Until Next Week

LK;ADKFJAD;LAJD;LKJA;LKJDF;LKJ AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

 
That, my friends, is how I’m feeling right about now. Today went NOTHING like how I thought it was going to be. I had planned to write a post tonight from my hospital room, instead here I am sitting at my kitchen table again. I’m home with a packed suitcase and another hospital stay pushed off. Good news, I didn’t get the bone marrow biopsy. Oh wait, that’s just because I’m getting it next week instead. Today I got a better understanding of what my doctor didn’t “like” last week. Basically, when my blood’s been drawn the past two weeks, things called “blasts” have appeared which indicate that the leukemia could somehow have come back (could, keyword there). Luckily, although still there, that number has decreased since last week and all my other counts were in the normal range. So both my doctors are leaning towards that these “blasts” are just immature cells that my bone marrow has produced while it’s been replenishing itself. However, the possibility of the leukemia coming back is real and therefore, until we know exactly what’s going on, we can’t move forward with my planned treatment. 
 
As my doctors were explaining everything, I started getting emotional… I was instantly overwhelmed, I felt like a ton of bricks had just fallen on my shoulders. Consoling me, Dr. Mandy talked to me about how healthy it is to get “out” my feelings and said something that really hit home. She said, “You’re dealing with death, 50 years earlier than you should. You have the right to feel the way you’re feeling.” I hadn’t thought of it like that until this moment. I had been coping by categorizing this in my head as a “sickness,” a sickness that is awful and unfair but something I would get through and undoubtedly live to tell my kids about. I’ve done a good job telling myself that the ‘d’ word is not an option. And I really still don’t see it as one. (I have way too much to do in my life to let it be an option.) But the fact that it’s ever even mentioned or considered is terrifying. The reality is, this most likely is all just a big scare; the hope is that I’ll go in next week, get this bone marrow biopsy done and find out a few days later that everything is fine and continue on with the action course we’ve had planned all along. But the possibility, as small as it may be, that the results could come back next week and things could get “more serious” than they already are leaves me a little speechless. I am, however, reassured that if the results don’t come back the way we want them to, there are still different treatment options we can try, all of which are of the goal to cure.
 
Other than those first few days, emotionally this was definitely one of the hardest/scariest days. But, just as they were there to comfort me in those first few hours and days, my doctors were there to comfort me and be honest with me…to let me know exactly what’s going on and in terms a marketing major can understand. They make such an incredible team and are so unbelievably knowledgable about this disease. I trust their decisions, whole heartedly and completely. That’s a priceless feeling. Beyond all their brilliance, however, they are caring, kind, compassionate people, and those qualities have continued to make all the difference for me. When I look in their eyes I can see how much they want this too, how much they truly care about me, almost as if I’m a loved one of theirs. I’m not though, I’ve only known them for 3 months. But they care about me a lot and they take care of me to a level that I can’t describe. I am and will forever be grateful to Dr. D and Dr. Mandy– best doctors a person could ask for.  
 
So my update today wasn’t the brightest of ones. Today was a tough day. This week will be a tough week… my mind is inevitably going to wander and I’m going to have to try really REALLY hard to stay focused and positive. I never thought I’d say the words “I’m excited to get a bone marrow biopsy” but I’m excited to get a bone marrow biopsy. I want next week to come because I want to know what we have to face. Once we know what we’re facing, we can map out our plan of attack and get back to kicking some cancer ass.
 
But before I get back to kicking some ass, I’ll take a few extra prayers this week if you’ve got ’em. 🙂 
 
XOXO,
Jessy 
 
p.s.  a shoutout to my shitty friend leukemia— go eff yourself. 
p.s.s. another special shoutout to my lovely grandparents and great aunts and uncles– apologies for my cursing.