The Happiness Struggle is REAL

What a difference 36 hours can make. 

I left work at 8pm on Friday, a 12 hour day. A day full of meetings, emails and reports. As I got in my car and started driving down the highway, I lost control of my emotions when I once again started thinking “what am I doing?” I cried, and cried the whole way home. I look at my diagnosis as a blessing now since I have grown so much from it and truly believe I am and will live a better, more positive life. However, the blessing that it is to so truly feel the power of “making each day count”can come as a burden as well. There’s a beauty in naive bliss. Before I was diagnosed, I was doing the same thing I’m doing now. But it seemed okay, I was striving for the weekend. Working for Friday at 5pm. Today unfortunately that doesn’t seem right to me. I don’t want to only enjoy 2 days of the week. It is an overwhelming thought– what is going to truly make me happy, AND make me money? That thought got me so worked up to the point that I was shaking, yelling, saying “eff this shit” as I angrily drove home. When I walked in the door, my face was all puffy from crying and I let Mike have it. And as always, he was there for me. He took my hand and let me rant and reminded me that we would figure it out. In this moment, I wasn’t okay. I think in our society it’s almost taboo to say you’re “not doing so great” when someone asks you how you are? I’m guilty of it. Even when I’m not fine, I always say I’m doing really good. But here it is– sometimes I’m not good. Sometimes I’m not happy. Sometimes I’m anxious. Sometimes I’m angry. Sometimes I’m just not feeling it. And I think that’s okay. I think we should all feel more empowered to say how we actually feel more often. Life isn’t perfect and admitting that you’re day or week hasn’t been so good doesn’t mean that you’re ungrateful but you’re simply being truthful to yourself and others at that time.

But I started this blog with, “what a difference 36 hours can make.” And it can. This became a weekend full of activities and it was exactly what I needed. I needed to focus on being physical, getting out my frustration, and centering my mind to be in a more positive place. 

So like every Saturday, Mike and I started our day with outdoor yoga by the most amazingly powerful woman! 

  
  
Then we cleaned the house like maniacs. There’s a part of me that enjoys a good cleaning session. I was sweating and scrubbing the tub on my hands and knees and DAMN did it feel good when I got it looking shiny white. 

Then it was night and I headed to the Gorham Mansion in Waltham for a nighttime, blacklight yoga session underneath the stars. I was by myself, which I was nervous about, but I did it and it felt great. Looking up to the open sky and feeling the cool breeze on my face was rejuvinating and revitalizing. 

   
   
And FINALLY! Me and my Jessie woke our bums up EARLY today and got to Burlington by 715 in the morning to do a 5K with color paint/powder being thrown all over us. It was wild and way more fun than I had expected. Plus, we ran the whole time which I was super proud of us about! Being silly with your girlfriend while getting a workout in, LOVE that combination! 

   
    
  
Net net of this random blog post is to always try to remember that tomorrow can be better and that you have the choice to make it better. Maybe if I had brought that thought to the forefront on Friday, I would have had a more enjoyable ride home 😢🙈

I hope you all found a piece of happiness, fun and rejuvenation on this weekend. 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Another Angel

Yesterday my best friend Brittany’s Meme passed away. Yesterday I was reminded, yet again, of the importance of remembering that each day with those we love is a gift. Yesterday I was reminded of how beautiful and important friendships can be.
Brittany is more than a best friend, she’s a sister. I met Brittany when we were 5 years old in kindergarten and she asked me for my fruit roll-up. A rarity in my household, I swiftly denied trading for whatever snack she had. Since that moment, we’ve been by each other’s side. Throughout my childhood, The Piet’s, were my second family. I had a trundle bed in Britt’s room as I slept there so often. I went on almost every family camping trip and even a family trip to Disney when we were 16. I was at holiday’s and parties. Sometimes, to Mr. & Mrs. Piet, it probably felt like I was there more than I was my own home!! They already have four girls, but they opened their home to me and made me their 5th daughter. And that love was not just with her immediate family, but with her extended family as well. I gained aunts, uncles, cousins and two amazing grandmothers. How lucky I was to have this extended family in my life. My own family and grandparents are incredible enough, then I got blessed with this second set of family as well!
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Meme was kind, gentle and full of love. Her smile was one that would wrap around you like a bear hug (that is, if she wasn’t giving you an actual bear hug!) She was truly a beautiful soul here on this earth and I know she will continue to be one eternally. Most of all, her family was her everything and I am so grateful that I was able to be an honorary member of that family.

I will forever remember her sweet eyes, lively laugh, caring nature and sweet demeanor.

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To my Piet family, I can’t thank you enough for making me part of your family and allowing me to have known this remarkable woman. I am here for you and I love you all from the bottom of my heart.

All my love,

Jessy

I Get By with a Little Help From My Friends

Yesterday we were so lucky to spend some time with very close friends. They had rented a house on a lake in Maine with their family so we decided to visit and stay over before we start our mini vacation in Portland (writing this from the beach now! 😍) Anyways, while we were there, I was able to try paddle boarding which I’ve always wanted to do. So, at the before going in for dinner, I decided I wanted to take one out once more and went by myself. I started rowing and thought to myself, “wow I’m really good at this, I’m cruising.” So I continued rowing and found myself floating along the lake, completely in the moment. I kept looking up at the sky and then down at the water flowing around me and couldn’t help but feel so blessed and so thankful that I had been given this moment. I kept thinking to myself that it was about a year ago at this time that I was hit with pancreatitis and it was then that my most difficult physical troubles began. So I felt so lucky that I was strong enough now to be doing something active like this by myself. 

Time continued to go by and I continued to not have a care in the world. When I got to a certain point, I decided it was probably time to turn around. I started to switch directions. Difficultly #1. After multiple tries, I got the board turned around started rowing towards the house, which at this point was far, farrrrr out of sight. So I start paddling, as hard as I could but wasn’t moving too fast anymore. Oh well, I thought, no big deal. Then all of a sudden I see Michael paddling along in a kayak. “Rescuer #1” has arrived. He gets to me and instantly asks if I’m okay followed with “what the hell are you doing?” I’m baffled. Doesn’t he mean, what the hell is he doing? I’m fine. I’m having a great time. After telling him he can leave because I’m good on my own, he decides to stay and kayak next to me as I try to adventure back. So I go a few minutes passing a house with a family sitting on their deck. Tired, I decide to pause to take a break. As I stop, I realize I am FLYING backward; right pass the family I just passed a few minutes ago. Uh oh. Difficultly #2. So Mike says, you need help? Nope, I say. I’ve still got this. So I start paddling again and as the wind picks up, I begin to realize that I’m going at a rate of  about 1 inch a minute. Gotta change my strategy. So I sit on my board and decide that’ll help the situation. No such luck. Now Mike starts insisting that I let him help. So, begrudgingly, I say okay and we tie my paddle board to his kayak and it’s decided that he’s going to try to tow me back. Difficultly #3. I’m determined to pull my own weight so I try paddling while he is as well. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Next I decide I’m going to get in the water behind the paddle board and start kicking as I hold onto the board so he doesn’t have my weight to pull along. Difficulty #4. As that’s failing miserably, I let go of the paddle board and decide I’m just going to swim back. It takes a few minutes for him to notice that I’m swimming alongside but once he does, that doesn’t go over well. Difficultly #5. We then start arguing as he’s convinced that it’s going to either take hours for me to get back to the house, I’m going to drowned trying or at the very least “puke blood.” So as the words “my parents paid for 13 years of swimming lessons for a reason, I AM FINEEEEE” 🏊🏽 are being screamed out of my mouth, “Rescuer #2” comes up in his kayak. We’ve now both been gone for so long, everyone at the house is beginning to seriously worry. I then tell our friend Nate that I’m just swimming back and he gives me a definitive “that’s not going to work.” It’s now decided that I’m going to get in his kayak and he’s going to be able to paddle board back. So we pull over, I eat shit as I attempt to get in the kayak and then am finally successful the second try. Then, finally, all three of us find ourselves rowing back into our dock. Mission complete. 

After a while of explaining myself and apologizing, I went to an upstairs deck and laid on a hammock overlooking the lake and laughed to myself at the debauchery that had just ensued. But as I was chuckling to myself about what a disaster my original peaceful paddle boarding adventure had turned into, I also thought about how I did end up truly needing help. When Mike first arrived, I was annoyed to be honest. I felt like he was overreacting and not trusting me enough to understand that I am able to take care of myself. I was so determined to prove him wrong, and to show that I could do this on my own, we wasted a lot of time, attempting different ways that we could make it back, ways that ultimately didn’t work and made me more tired than I already was becoming. I tend to do this, in an effort to prove that I’m not weak, I over exert myself and don’t take the help when I actually need it. I’ve learned in the past year, that it’s so important to take help. Everyone needs help, we’re individuals but we can only survive by being dependent on first ourselves but then others too. I forget this often, as I did yesterday, but it was a good lesson to learn (once again) that sometimes you have to put aside your pride and just say yes when those that love you are trying to help you. That sometimes, taking the help can be the strongest thing you can do, not the weakest.

Moral of the story: be conscious of the currents. If you’re cruising down a lake the first time you’ve ever paddle boarded, instead of thinking “I’m Queen👑 of the paddle board🏄🏻,” you might wanna think, “the wind could be helping me and I may be screwed when I turn around.” Note to self: be more humble. 🙏🏼

Happy weekend friends.

Lots of love & light, 

Jessy 

  

Friendship is the Best Medicine

There’s not too much that takes my breath away but these little boys just did. They show that true friendship is a bond like no other and one that can help make even the worst of times better. My friends have helped me so much this past year, whether it was being a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to my worries, a visit while I was stuck in the hospital bed, making me laugh while I was down or even creating a video montage of about 10 of my closest friends dancing to a song that I love (yes, they really did that!). I wouldn’t been able to get through this experience without the love of my best friends. True friendship is such a rare and beautiful thing and these boys are an amazing reminder of just how powerful simply being a good friend can be.

Happy weekend everyone!

XOXO,
Jessy

All You Need Is Love…and Friendship

I haven’t written a blog post in a week. I’ve started them, but haven’t been able to finish. I’ve wanted to write one but haven’t been able to find the right words for how I’ve been feeling. Because quite honestly, I’ve been feeling just about everything but inspirational. I still don’t know if I have the “right” words to say but I do know that it’s healthy for me to get out how I’m feeling and that’s what I shall do. Because my hope is that one day, I’ll read this back and it’ll be just a reminder of what I went through and how far I’ve come. And I gotta be honest, I can’t wait for that day. So March 26, 2016 (two years from remission)— get at me.
Last week, I received an email from Dr. Mandi (one of my two absolutely fabulous doctors). I had asked for some sort of outline of the next two years so I could get a better understanding of what was really ahead of me. So I got it, just like I had requested, and it scared the absolute hell out of me. Two years of treatment spelled out in front of me. Two years of a lot of procedures, appointments and chemotherapy. Two years of my life not being my normal life, not being the one I want to live. And being not even two months “in,” it pushed me over a cliff of anxiety, sadness and anger. This past week was hard… both physically and mentally. My body is achey. My head is still pounding from a spinal tap I got 10 days ago. I’m tired, really tired. But worse than the physical annoyances, I’ve been mentally struggling to stay above water. I felt so many emotions and none of them were positive. I felt sad, lonely, overwhelmed, confused, and honestly, pretty pissed off. Pissed off that so many important things in my life have been pushed back or paused. Pissed off that my whole life I’ve always tried to make healthy choices for myself and this still happened. Pissed off that things like taking a shower is a production. I found myself being jealous of complete strangers for reasons like they have long hair or are jogging or walking a dog. I was finding myself having to talk myself out of bed in the morning. And so when Dr. Mandi’s email came and I read, line by line, how intense the next two years will be, it scared me, because I felt like I can’t handle two years of weeks like this.
All in all, I was having a big pttty party for myself and I knew it. But I couldn’t snap myself out of it.
But then Thursday night came and for the first time in days, I went to bed with a big smile on my face. Not because I felt physically any different than the rest of the week, and not because I magically was feeling more positive. Thursday was different because it was the start of a weekend with three of my best friends… one who lives in Boston, one who lives in Chicago and one who lives in North Carolina. And the excitement of spending an entire weekend with my girlfriends was just the medicine I needed. Our time together was different than a typical girls weekend, consisting mostly of ‘lounging’ and relaxing but simply being together took my mind off of everything else and made me happy. So the power of friendship prevailed over anxiety, anger and sadness. Prevailed just when I needed it to. Just when I couldn’t pick myself up on my own. Friends and laughter and love picked me up and gave me something to look forward to and be thankful for and to simply enjoy. Because snuggling on the couch, watching trashy tv, eating candy and making each other giggle is one of the most enjoyable pastimes a girl could ever ask for.
Now my girlfriends have all gone home and it’ll be just me again this week but I feel different than I did on Thursday morning. I feel different because I’ve been reminded that these next two years won’t all be like last week. Some will be, yes. But there will also be a lot of days that are happy and fun and enjoyable. And those are the days that I’m going to think about and look forward to when I begin to put on my pitty party hat again.
So CHEERS to fabulous girlfriends!
XOXO,
Jessy
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p.s. this Sunday I’m thankful for 1. my girlfriends (duhhh), 2. Uncle Fred (my adorable stuffed bear), and 3. the weather finally starting to warm up (but lets face it, I could use another 20 degrees warmer).