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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Birthday Blessings

Yesterday I turned 28 years old. I spent the morning with the six people that mean the most to me in this world, my family. We got brunch and bloody’s then hung out at our place for a little while. There was lots of laughter and . The previous night I had been with a bunch of friends for a joint-birthday party. We bowled and danced and sang Celine Dion. I woke up tired on Sunday morning, but I woke up with a smile on my face with a warm feeling in my heart of love and gratefulness.


I have always loved birthday’s. OBSESSED with my “birthday week” in fact. Growing up, it always fell on February vacation so I took that as the world’s way of saying we should be celebrating the occasion ALL week long. And while I’ve grown older, my love for birthday season still remains. However, I enjoy it for a few different reasons — one, it’s an excuse to get together with people that I love. Two, sometimes I get gift cards so I can satisfy my shopping yearning. And third, it’s a nice reminder to reflect. Each year, I enjoy thinking about what this day was last year or the year before or the year before that. And, what the next year’s day will be like. I enjoy taking a trip down memory lane. Last year, I was at a yoga retreat and had just been let off “house arrest” as I had called it. The year before, I had celebrated with a bunch of my hometown friends and had drinks for the first time in nearly a year. The year before, I was in a hospital room with a party hat on about to receive my first round of chemotherapy. The year before that Mike took me to an unbelievable steakhouse where I got a dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives and lobster mashed potatoes. Every year, as different as they are, I thoroughly enjoy February 26th. Even on years that I have been sick, it’s always a happy day. It’s a feeling of simple accomplishment– not the big “finish line” accomplishment type feeling, but similar to a mile marker– that sweet feeling you have when you’re running a race and you see the yellow painted line along the route saying you’re at mile X. Yes, you have many miles to go but at this moment, your legs are still strong, you’re still breathing deep and the music continues to play. I kind of feel like I’m on mile 3 or 4 of a marathon. I haven’t quite hit my stride but I’ve got a good pace going and am looking forward to journey ahead. There will be moments I may stumble or want to call it quits but I know when I finish, I’ll be able to say I did my best and had fun doing it.

When I was 27, I completed treatment for leukemia, I stood beside one of my best friends as she got married, I watched the Pats win the Super Bowl, I snuggled with my Princess Phoebe about 1,000 times, I traveled to Italy, I quit my job, I saw my girl Beyonce sing Halo live and of course, I got engaged to the love of my life. Not sure how year 28 will be able to top that, but I’m willing to try!

Thank you to everyone who had reached out with your kind words and warm wishes for a special day. I am beyond blessed to have you all in my life.

#OfficiallyInMyLate20s

Love & light,

Jessy

Stevens Put A Ring On It

It’s been 3 weeks since Mike surprised me and told me to get my lazy butt out of bed—we were going to NYC for the long weekend, he said. My eyes nearly burst out of my head and I whipped off the comforter so fast Phoebs barely had time to jump up. IT WAS ENGAGEMENT WEEKEND, I THOUGHT. OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD. So I started frantically running around the upstairs like a kid who was just told they’re going to Disney World for the first time and threw the most random assortment of things into my luggage—a bathing suit? Yes. A pair of pajamas? No. Everything I own that’s white? Hell yah.

And just like that, we were packed and on a train back to NYC. I say back because NYC is where we pretty much fell in love. Our first date was exploring the city at Christmas time with our main goal of seeing the Rockefellar Tree at night. We had started the day as really good friends (with a little bit more than friends feelings) and ended our day with sweet smooches and (literal) hair-on-fire love! From that night on, we had continued to go to NYC for summer visits and Christmas time “anniversary” visits where we’d see the Rockette’s and guzzle delicious beers at the oldest bar in Amerca, McSorley’s. Everytime we went, we had a magical time. But once I got diagnosed, we didn’t go. It felt like too much to go all the way there – I felt like I would be annoyed that I couldn’t go to my favorite bar—how if I got car sick on the long ride? It just didn’t work in that 2 year period. And that’s okay, because that’s what made this weekend even more incredibly special. WE WERE BACK!!!!!!! And we were back stronger and more in love than ever.

 

When our cab dropped us off at the Waldorf Astoria, I felt like I was dreaming—are we really staying here? Oh boy, now I really know something fancy is going on. But it didn’t come quite yet – we walked around the Park then got some lunch and grabbed a drink downstairs at the hotel bar as we listened to a beautiful pianist. Then it was time for dinner at Gotham. Before our taxi driver could take us there, however, Michael had him take us to Rockefellar. Just the place we had been in search of the first time. Except this time, instead of awkwardly looking at each other because we weren’t sure if we should kiss—he knelt down on his knee and asked me to be his wife—he promised that we would come back to NYC, together, forever and ever and ever. And I, of course, said yes. And then we shared one of many kisses in the Rockefellar Center.

 

With that, I obnoxiously began calling my family and best friends as well as notifying anybody in an ear-short distance of our engagement and the most beautiful ring that was now on my finger. The weekend was perfect – it was just our weekend – in our favorite city. Just the two of us – just how we began – and just how we’ll end one day.

 

I can’t put into words how grateful I feel that Michael fell in love with me—that we fell in love with each other—that I have someone who is so caring of others, so smart, so handsome and so funny. I am so thankful for the kind of man he is and how hard he works and how much he gives of himself so that our little family can be happy.

 

My heart is beyond full as we start this next chapter of our lives, together—I feel like it’s really time to leave the past behind and begin planning for the future—a future that is filled with love, happiness and butterflies.

 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

6 Weeks In

I used to count how many months “down” I was. But tonight, I can say I’m a month and a half “in” and headed back to Dana Farber for the first time as a “graduated” patient tomorrow. It’s already been 6 weeks since I got my last dose of chemotherapy and my body and mind are finally beginning to truly heal. After two years of a tingly tongue and numbness in my fingertips, those underlying & continuous feelings have gone away. So have much of my fatigue, headaches and nausea are gone. I no longer have to stop eating two hours prior to going to bed because of a daily chemo pill. I’ve gotten to lift life restrictions.

I’ve had a dirty martini. 🙌🏼


I’ve eaten sushi.


I’ve gone in a public pool and hot tub and not worried about getting an infection.


And had a mani/pedi day with my best without worrying about going against doctors recommendations not to in order to reduce risk of more infections.


I’ve gone to the Red Sox game with friends and stayed out too late on a work night.


I’ve become obsessive over the new Beyonce album. (Download ‘Freedom’ and then try telling me she’s not my soul sistah)

I’ve done yoga and felt strong the entire time.


I’ve had a 24 hour get-away with Michael


I’ve lived six weeks of a “free me” and damn, it feels good.

I still have so much to work on and mentally get through; some days I’m good and some days I’m emotional. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, I still don’t know exactly why I was given this second shot but I’m so grateful for it. I’m so happy to get to live my life!
Lots of love & light,

Jessy

First of the “lasts”

Today was a big day for me. 

Today, Januart 20 2016, I sat with Mike at the hospital for about 7 hours 

Today I got a spinal tap. But this spinal tap was different, I still had Beyonce blaring and my healing stones in hand, but this spinal tap was my LAST one. This one is a check mark off my treatment list. 

This video are some moments from today. I want to begin recording things more as we go to the end, I gotta remember everything! This is a weird time in my life but it’s a special time and I never want to forget it!

Thanks for all the positive prayers and vibes going into today. I’ll get results in s few days. 🙏🏼

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!

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Lots of love & light,

Jessy