Sweat & Smiles

The beauty of yoga is that it truly is YOUR practice. It can be mindful, humbling, spiritual, physically difficult, but it also can be fun, and silly and happy! To me, it’s about being in the moment, whether that moment is a serious one or happy go-lucky one. Yesterday, I needed to make my heart feel good. After a  stressful day at work, and more importantly a draining day on my mind as I was of course worrying about my Grammy’s surgery (which by the way, thank you all for your positive thoughts and vibes, she came out of surgery and is recovering now at the Brigham. Thanks to you all, we all so appreciate it!) So yesterday, I needed my practice to be fun. I needed my practice to lift a load off and just let me be silly in a pretty serious day. So on went the upbeat music so I could get in some poses that would challenge me physically but also allow me to snap my fingers, shake my rump, roll my shoulders and shake my head like a dog! 20 minutes of sweating it out and smiling and I was feeling like a different lady!

I hope this video makes you laugh or smile. Happy Tuesday loves!

Lot of love & light,

Jessy

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American Ninja Warriors 

A year ago, my little body was starting to shut down a bit when it came to my pancreas and liver. I was sitting in a hospital room, hooked up on so many pain meds, being flushed with so much fluids, I was unable to not only get out of bed but unable to move myself up or down without the help of others. This would happen time and time again until February 2015 (knock on wood, it never happens again). During these bouts, I would end up having to use walkers, canes and go through physical therapy to “learn” how to walk again. But my body is strong and I’ve learned that so is my mind. With a good attitude and determination, you can do just about anything. 

So yesterday, I completed a 5K race with three of my favorite people in the world. I certainly didn’t run the whole time, but I had a blast and did the best I could do. The greatest part of this race? 10 inflatable obstacles to throw yourself into, bounce and slide down. I pretended I was an American Ninja (princess) warrior and laughed my ass off the entire time. Laughing is the best ab workout, anyways right? 

 How grateful I feel to be strong enough to complete a physical challenge like this. 🙏🏼   
 
   
 Happy Sunday, loves! Enjoy your day. 

XOXO, 

Jessy 

Body Thoughts

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I’ve been trying to work out a lot lately, eat healthy. do yoga, take the stairs. And as much as I’d love to say it’s all for my overall health, a lot of the motivation has to do with my body and how it looks. Knowing I’m going to be in a bikini next week stresses me out. I’ve been thinking about it all the time. Every time I go to get in the shower, I look at myself in the mirror and think “ugh.” Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “oh shut up Jess, you’re a small girl.” I hear it all the time and I get it. But I also know how I feel. I also am allowed and entitled to feel unhappy with my body if that’s the way I honestly view myself. It’s always really irked me when someone scolds me for complaining about how I look because they think I’m being ridiculous. I’m a petite person, I know this, but I also have flaws that I don’t like and I struggle with feeling good about myself. The reason for this blog post, however, is not to rip on people that “shoooosh” me or tell me to be quiet when I talk about my weight. But instead, it’s to vent about why I even feel this way in the first place. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and it really makes no sense. Why do I care that I have a roll when I bend over? Or that the lower portion of my belly sticks out a little bit? Those factors really don’t affect my actual life yet it affects my mental life. My body has done incredible things this year. My body has rid itself of a horrible disease called leukemia. My body has overcome pancreatitis, on multiple occasions. My body has taken round after round after round of toxins to help the leukemia never come back. Yet, somehow, when I think of my body, I think it’s not enough? If I’m being honest, that’s seriously effed up.

I really don’t know if there’s anything that can be done about this but it’s something that makes my mind move. It interests me that the brain works like this. That I logically know that having a “pooch” is really unimportant, but emotionally, I can’t seem to shake the fact that I absolutely hate it and want a flat stomach. Emotionally, I’m jealous of the tall (long haired) girls with lean legs and a flat stomach rather than maybe someone who’s short and stalky but brilliant and a doctor. When I really stop and think about it, I’m jealous of that doctor. I truly wish I could be a nurse or doctor but I spend more time fantasizing about having Candace Swanepoel’s body. I spend more time idealizing someone for having a nice stomach rather than someone who’s saving lives. That’s a sad fact.
I think we’re all guilty of this, however. Even the Candace Swanepoel of the world. And I don’t think it makes us bad people, it’s just who we are as humans. It’s the old “you always want what you can’t have” and having a better body always seems to be on the list. But I’ll tell you something, as much as I say I want it, I don’t know how much I truly do. Because, unlike the Candace’s of the world, I like my burgers. I love nachos. And beers. And pasta. And cheeeeeeeeeeeese. Good food makes life good. It’s an activity. It’s a part of life and one that I would never give it up just so I could attain that 6 pack abs look. Because “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is IN-FRICKEN-ACCURATE. Buffalo chicken pizza tastes WAY better than a flat stomach would feel.
Till the next random rant.
XOXO,
Jessy
p.s. I hope this didn’t come off as “woe is me” or a back-handed way to get compliments, because that’s not what I’m looking for. I just wanted to openly talk about how I feel about my body image and body thoughts in general.

Strength from Within

Sometimes I dread working out. I’m not in the mood. I’m tired. I’d rather do something else…like shopping for example (“shopping is my cardio,” anyone?) but once I make myself do it, I’m always happy I did. My whole life I’ve been “an exerciser” but it means more to me now. It’s one of the few times I feel in control. So much of my life right now is out of my control; work, getting a dog, being able to drink (or smoke hookah apparently– just got that put on the banned list recently), and my diagnosis and treatment in general (soooo out of my control). I don’t have control over what’s getting pumped into my body each week. I don’t have control over how I feel afterwards. I should, but I often times lost control over my emotions. My emotions about how my life has changed, how work is going, or “what I’m doing with my life.” My emotions are all over the place lately.

So to feel that sense of control that I’m missing in so many other aspects of my life is empowering. What’s more is that I feel strong when I workout. Not as strong or conditioned as I once was but I’m getting there. Just a few short months ago, I was in the hospital going through physical therapy to regain the strength to walk again. Thinking of that makes me think, damn I’ve come a long way. Exercising also helps clear my mind, I get to listen to music and get out my frustrations from the day. It helps put the worries of my world on hold, even if just for a little bit.

I debated putting up the picture below because my hair has thinned so badly and you can really see it in this shot which I feel embarrassed about but at the same time, I’m doing a yoga pose, called Crow. I’ve been working on and struggling to be able to do Crow. Long before my diagnosis, I couldn’t do it. You can barely see, but my feet are elevated off the floor and I’m balancing solely on my hands. It takes a lot of balance and even more upper body strength. I still need to work on being able to stay there for an extended period of time, but I felt such gratification this weekend when I was able to get into the position a few times. It shows, once again, that if you truly put your mind to something, you can achieve it.

That’s all I have for my lecture today on the benefits of exercising. Sorry if it was preachy but I’m just feeling so grateful to be strong enough again to have this piece of my life back.

Plus, let me not fool myself… bikini season is fast approaching and I’m all about being ready.

XOXO,
Jessy

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Dancing Yoga

Sometime’s when you just can’t decide between dancing around your living room or doing yoga, you should mix the two together for a workout that’s fun but still makes you sweat!

So that’s what I did. Turned up my Beyonce Live CD, rolled out the yoga mat and grabbed my 5 pound weights. Mix the three together and my worries were long gone, smiling as I shook my rump, and peaceful as I got my namaste on. What a perfect combo!

Happy Saturday everyone!

XOXO,
Jessy

A Slap of Reality

It’s been almost a month since I’ve been back at work. I’m coming in early, leaving late, chugging through long days. Overall, just really feeling the stresses of being a working girl again. And I have to admit, I love it. I don’t like waking up early (obviouslyyyy) but I like waking up with a day full of productivity and socialization in front of me. That was something in the past year I struggled with so much. I often laid in bed for long periods of time after waking up because I simply couldn’t reason with myself of why I needed to get up. So it feels incredible to be making my to-go coffee and heading out the door in the morning. Beyond work, I’ve been back to practicing yoga and going to the gym. Exercising feels awesome because I know it’s something good I’m doing for my body. With so many harsh toxins going into me every week, it feels only fair that I would give this body of mine something to feel good about. Another piece of really exciting news is I got a new car— WOOO HOOO!!!! I’ve only ever owned sh*t boxes (proud owners of them though since I saved my own money in both high school and college to be able to purchase them), but after rear ending some lovely lady that also works at TJX (another story, another time), I said goodbye to Carmen Elantra and got my dream car…a 2012 Hyundai Sante Fe- beep beep! New car, back to work, back to exercising, and back to eating and drinking! My pancreas has really done a 180 and I’ve been off pain meds for over a month and am eating practically a normal diet again! Mike and I even had nachos the other weekend and after over 6 months of not having them, we were in HEAVEN! I’ve also been able to have some drinks lately, which if you’ve read my blog in the past year or know me even slightly, you know that that’s a big deal. It makes me sound like a lush but so be it… I like to have drinks. I like drinking beers and watching the Pats. I like having a glass of red after a long day of work. I like having margaritas with my tacos or going to hotel bars with Michael and getting house snack mix and martinis. I like being Champagnes Moran. And Champagnes Moran I was two weekends ago. Mike and I had an awesome night just the two of us going out to dinner then heading over to a new bar for after dinner drinks…it just felt normal. And that feeling of normal gave me such a sense of pure happiness, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, I felt amazing. I felt like “Jessy” was finally back in action!

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HAAAAAAAULLTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s what it felt like. That’s what getting pancreatitis and being hospitalized for it for the fourth time a week ago felt like. A W-T-F moment. A “no! no! no!” moment. A “this can’t be happening” moment. It felt like a punch in the gut…literally. My life had just gotten back to my new normal. I was feeling like me again. Life was being good to me. And then I go in to have my stent removed on Friday and the stent gave the doctors trouble coming out. So much so that it broke in half while they were in there. So with that much struggle going on, my pancreas got “upset” and pancreatitis hit me again. I spent 28 hours in the emergency department before being transferred to a hospital room and another day asking when I could get transferred to 7D. We watched the Pats game on a 13 inch TV with no apps and no beers. (but with the company of some of my favorite people, Mike, my mom and Dr. Mandy!).
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I sat in a hospital bed trying to get as much work done as possible as I couldn’t bear thinking I was taking more time off after just coming back from being out for 11 months. I’m back on pain medicine and wearing my stupid heating pad day and night. I got released Tuesday night and was back to work by Thursday. It was such a hard week and I’m so glad it’s Saturday. Having a taste of my normal life again and having it taken away again is a lot to handle. I started crying really hard when I got home from work yesterday while I was talking to my mom… I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. It feels SO unfair this time. Everytime has felt unfair but this time just seems like too much. Having what I’ve wanted back this entire year— normalcy— and then having it taken away one more time is more painful than I can really put into words. Mike came home just as I was sitting there sobbing on the couch and for the millionth time this year, he gave me a hug, kissed my forehead and talked to me about it until I felt better. I had been trying to just “keep marching along” and pretend like this was something “I’ve done before, I can do it again” but it’s more than that this time. It’s frustration to a whole new level. But after crying and talking it out, I felt better. I’m already one week down. I’m already out of the hospital which is a lot better than the first three times. I’m back at work and have something to keep my mind off it. It’s likely that it won’t take as long to heal this time. And there’s no more stent in me which means no more endoscopies which hopefully means this truly is the last time I’ll deal with pancreatitis.
AND lastly, the Patriots are Super Bowl Champions. So really, life is still pretty good.
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Happy weekend everyone!
XOXO,
Jessy

Happy & Healthy

Back to reality, huh? Just like many of you, I decided to take some time “off” (of writing) during the holidays. I had such an amazing two weeks. Saw so many family and friends, gave and received some great presents (like my new iPhone I’m writing from), went on a perfect getaway with Mike up north where we ended the trip ziplining through the trees of the white mountains and just got relaxed and rejuvenated for 2015.

Every year, people always wish me a happy and healthy new year. I say it too. But until this year, I don’t think I truly felt the importance of this wish. This saying is so often used but so rarely embraced by the one saying it. We simply say the phrase and wish it upon those around us but don’t make it a priority to ensure that we, ourselves, are “happy and healthy.” After a year full of doctors appointments, hospital stays, chemotherapy and radiation, I’ve learned what a true blessing it is to have good health. A blessing that should not be taken for granted. But while I’ve been burdened with many health issues this past year, I’ve also been reminded of the importance of “making the right choices.” These are the things in life that we have control over, like eating healthy, working out regularly, staying hydrated each day, and exploring alternative medicines like acupuncture and massage therapy. All the little decisions add up so make each day count. Take every opportunity to better your body and therefore better yourself. Things like drinking natural teas that have added benefits such as lowering cholesterol or providing your body with antioxidants. Getting that massage you’ve been thinking of— it’s not just pampering yourself, it’s helping to lower stress and better circulate your blood. Avoiding food and products that have chemicals and toxins. Exercising multiple times a week. This doesn’t have to mean wasting away on the elliptical (unless that’s your thing!), it can be so many different things like going for a long walk, doing yoga, taking a zumba class, lifting weights, or climbing the stairs in your house a few times. Whatever it is you can find time for in your day, do it! It makes a huge difference. Just recently, I was cleared to begin going to my gym again. I was amazed at how much strength and endurance I had lost since the last time I had worked out there but I also know that the body is a powerful tool and one that, with training and dedication, can do pretty amazing things. So although we do not have control over some of the big things life can hand us, like accidents, diseases, or in my case, cancer, we do have control over the little things that can add up to a lot. Being healthy is a combination of good choices, so try to make the right ones.

Now comes the second part of this wish. Happiness. Even more than the gift of health, I’ve learned the blessing that it is to feel true happiness. I’m lucky in the sense that I’ve always been a genuinely happy person; little things get me excited like winning $5 on a scratch ticket or having a 1D song come on the radio (yes, One Direction. I may be 25 but I will always get obsessive over boy bands.) So when there were days upon days that I honestly had to try hard to crack a smile, it felt off… it felt, not normal. Feeling happy doesn’t come naturally to everyone and it certainly comes and goes depending on the time and difficulty of your life at that moment. But what I have realized is that, above anything else, the power of your mind is a force that’s hard to be reckoned with— that staying positive and keeping an optimistic outlook will make all the difference, even at the worst of times. As I said, there were many days that it was extremely difficult to stay positive and felt nearly impossible to feel a sense of happiness. However, I was always able to close my eyes and remind myself that I am a strong woman, one that has been given many gifts in life and one that has an incredible support system. These things, no matter how terrible my day was, gave me a glimmer of happiness. Remind yourself of these things when you are feeling down— say out loud what you feel blessed to be or have in this life; it’ll make you feel better, even if just for a little bit. Happiness is something that is often taken for granted, I surely took it for granted before this past year. But what I’ve learned and hope to pass on to the people who read this, is to really enjoy the “ups” in life so you can show yourself compassion during the “downs.” Smile when a snowflake falls on your nose, sing out loud when your favorite song comes on, be grateful when you’re laughing with friends, close your eyes and really feel the sun beating on your face, and dance HARD whenever you damn well please.

C-r-e-a-t-e happy. C-h-o-o-s-e healthy.

XOXO,
Jessy

Photo on 1-5-15 at 6.15 PM #2