Never Hurts to Try

On Tuesday night at around 9pm, my mom called. I was worried at first– why is she calling so late on a work night? So I picked up a little panicky. And then she sounded panicked.

She had a teacher workshop at her school on Friday that she was running and the health and wellness speaker that they had scheduled had just backed out.

And then she said, would you be able to do it?

At first, I felt like was she calling the wrong daughter. I’m not a motivational speaker and I have a lot of experiences but I don’t have any certifications in any sort of health and wellness fields. So I told her I’d think about it and let her know the next day.

And then I thought. I thought about the oratorical contest I had signed up for in middle school and won. I thought about a business presentation I had done in college to a start-up company and won. I thought about the speech I made at my alma mater two years ago in front of hundreds of students and the speech I made last year to a bunch of golfers that work for corporate Applebees discussing the importance of raising money for Dana-Farber. Then I thought about the interview I had done on NESN before the Red Sox game. And as I thought about each of those experiences, I remembered, I actually like public speaking and just maybe, I’m not that bad at it.

And then, I got excited. I thrive off these sort of things… pressure filled objectives. But I was still weighing it in my head because the reality is, I’m not a professional speaker. I’m not a therapist, or yoga teacher or medical professional by any means so would the teachers of this school think me preaching to them about life be a little ridiculous?

But as I was going back and forth, a little birdy flew into my head and said, “what does it hurt? what do you have to lose?”

So I called my mom and said I’d do it. I might be only 28 years old but I have gone through a lot and I am confident that I could teach someone in that room something. Even if it was just one person and one thing, I was sure I could teach something.

I then spent Wednesday and Thursday writing and editing a presentation that would touch upon my cancer diagnosis and the insights that I garnered from that two year life event. I talked about different tactics that have helped me in coping with stress and healing the pain and anxiety a diagnosis brings — or any sort of emotional uprising brings. So I wrote and then I edited and then I practiced to Phoebe. I give her a C+ for her audience abilities. She doesn’t do much listening, rather more playing but she’s so darn cute, if I could win her over, I could win anybody over.

So this morning, I did it. I went to that school and I spoke about my experiences and how I think what I’ve learned can be brought into the classroom and into those teachers lives on a daily basis — like yoga, meditation, mantras, deep breathing, taking care of yourself. And it was SO fun. My hope is that the small audience I spoke in front of enjoyed the hour presentation and were able to take a way at least one thing to brighten their own lives. But even if they don’t, I know I took a lot away from this experience.

I took a chance. I said yes to something that I didn’t think I was qualified for. And by doing that, I opened a new door of possibilities to myself and met a lot of kind, loving people while doing it.

So as you go into this weekend, remember to keep your heart open. Remember to keep your MIND open to new opportunities. Sometimes, the things that scare you the most are the best things that ever happen to you.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

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 

The Cutest Daily Affirmation

Sometimes Tuesday mornings are rougher than Monday’s so I decided to do a pump-you-up Tuesday video! This clip came out a while ago but I thought, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a must and if you have, it’s worth rewatching! It really is the tri-fecta: makes you laugh, makes you smile and makes you think… if we could all be more like little Jessica.

I LOVE EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I’m Excited for You Tomorrow

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Tomorrow I go to the Dana. I go every Wednesday and I never look forward to it but tomorrow, tomorrow I’m excited. Weird to say that I’m excited to head to the hospital but I’m hoping that tomorrow is the start of a long stretch of pain coming to a close. I meet with my pancreatologist and hopefully get the all-clear to begin eating again. Now I know it won’t be an “eat whatever you want” conversation but even being able to have a fruit smoothie or grilled chicken breast will be such a big deal. Like I’ve said over and over, I’m so hungry. Hungry and beyond crazy with cravings. All I can think about is food…sandwiches, pizza, angel hair pasta, sushi. I’m a ways away from all that but a girl can dream. I also start on steroids tomorrow for five days which make me absolutely insane when it comes to eating. They make me so hungry and able to eat like a growing football player. So tomorrow as I meet with my doctor, I will be putting on my persuasive pants and begging him to allow me to start my journey back to the real world of food. Wish me luck.

Tomorrow also marks the restart of my chemo regimen. I’ve been paused for two months because of the pancreatitis but tomorrow I start it up again. It will feel good to restart as I have been worried to be off my planned track for this long…for obvious reasons. Chemo’s no fun but progress is. The start of this next round of chemo means I’m one step closer to getting my life back, one step closer to being cured. And those things are something to be excited about, really excited about.
XOXO,
Jessy

Milestones

Today is milestone day. Today marks the end of my brain radiation. It was only an 8 day preventative treatment regimen but it’s another thing to check off “the list” which feels incredible.

All-in-all radiation was strange. The process is pretty simple— you go in, get on the table, strap in, get zapped for a few minutes and then it’s done. It doesn’t hurt and it’s quick, so in that regard, it’s pretty great compared to chemo. However, it’s sneaky because it makes you really exhausted which is never any fun. The worst part, BY FAR, was getting fitted for my mask a few weeks ago. Basically, in order to make sure that my head doesn’t move an inch during the treatment (don’t want to zap the wrong areas), you have to have a mask created specifically for your face that you wear each time. It fits tightly around your face and then locks in place so you can’t move. Definitely would not be ideal for the claustrophobic! But with the help of my girl Beyonce, we blared music throughout the room and it made the few minutes go by quick and painless. Nothing a little Yonce can’t make better.

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So with one of my best friend by my side, I walked out of the Brigham today with my mask in hand and am happy to say that getting my brain radiated is a thing of the PAST. WOOOOOOOOO CHIL’!

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And then we have tomorrow. It will be another long, hard day but at the end of it I get another milestone under my belt. Completion of the CNS (central nervous system) phase.  I will receive more chemotherapy and then one final spinal tap (this is the fourth in a two week period).  But as long as everything goes as planned, this will be my last spinal tap for 18 weeks!!! That’s about as long as I’ve been going through treatment so that my friends, is a very welcome and pleasant change of pace for this young lady!

Milestones are important. They symbolize progression and moving forward. And that’s what I need right now, to keep on keepin’ on. Onward and upward: it’s what it’s all about.

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XOXO,

Jessy