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 

Time Goes On

3 years ago on this morning, I was in a hospital bed being woken by doctors and nurses. I was about to start one of the most physically painful and emotionally draining days of my life. I had just been diagnosed and rushed to the hospital the night before and today was the day I had to undergo multiple tests and procedures to determine just what kind of leukemia I had. January 21, 2014 was a day of absolute unknown and terror of what lie ahead. 
3 years later I’m waking up in my own bed with no beeping machines or nurses poking me for blood. Instead I can hear my wind chime outside, birds chirping and Phoebe is snuggled up next to me demanding for scratchies. I’m wearing an engagement ring and get to marry the love of my life in 5 months. I’m going out to dinner with my best friend of 25 years tonight for her birthday. My life is in such a different place than it was on this day in 2014, it’s almost mind boggling. 


3 years from today is still unknown. However, this time, fear has been replaced with excitement. Where will Mike & I be living? What will I be doing for work? Will I be a mom? There’s so much more living to do. There’s so much more I’m looking forward to and I feel beyond blessed that I get to feel these feelings of excitement and joy. 
The beauty, and tragedy, in life is the same. You never know what life has in store for you. You never know if the hopes and dreams you have for yourself will be realized. But you do know that you have today, and this moment and this breath. So make the most of it. Enjoy it, savor it and soak up the sunshine that is your life. 
Sending each and everyone of you – those who have my followed my blog from the beginning and those who have just found it- so much love and gratitude. I am thankful everyday for the prayers and positive energy that you have sent my way to get me to this day. 
Love & light,

Jessy 

Giving Tuesday

When I was diagnosed with leukemia on February 20, 2014, I had a doctor that held my hand and looked me in the eyes and told me that she was going to fix me. From that very first moment, I was terrified but I had a sense of hope. That sense of hope has been the crux of my strength for the past 2 years. Hope that I will survive this…hope that I will get my life back…hope that I will live to have my own children. When someone is diagnosed with ALS, there’s no such hope. They are told they have most likely 2-5 years to live in which they will gradually lose their abilities to do almost everything except for think. They are told that they will no longer have the physical capability to breathe on their own, but they will have the mental capacity to know exactly what’s happening. They are then told that there’s currently only one treatment for this disease and that it will likely extend their life 2-3 months. 2-3 months, that’s it.

I want these people to be given the same hope that I was given. They deserve it. That is why I am so humbled and honored to be working for ALS TDI, an organization that is entirely focused on research to help #endALS. An organization that is working tirelessly to help give these incredible individuals the hope they so deserve.

Today is #GivingTuesday. It’s a day to remind ourselves of what this time of year is truly about– not deals on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but giving to those we love and to those in need. I ask that today, even if just $5, you donate to ALS.NET and help us towards our goal of finding a cure for this terrible terrible disease.

https://www.als.net/donategivingtuesday

 

Lots of love, light & gratitude,

Jessy winston churchill

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

The Definition of Brave

People have often said to me in the past year, “You’re so brave.” And although I am always flattered, I also always think, “not really.” Because the reality is, I didn’t choose this, I didn’t have a choice of whether or not to get cancer and I certainly have no other option but to get treatment. It just happened. The only thing I can do is to keep my head held high and march on. But the amazing men and women of our armed forces cannot say that. They choose to put themselves in harms way to help others. They make a conscious effort to put their lives on the line in order to protect our country and our freedom. They make the ultimate sacrifice in honor of our country, when they give up their lives so that others’ lives can be better. It’s awe-inspiring. Almost unfathomable when you really sit and think about it. I truly can’t imagine. I can respect it to the greatest degree but I will never fully understand what that’s like. The men and women of our armed forces are truly the bravest people in the world. Modern-day heroes.

So as I enjoyed a beautiful few days, away from work and surrounded by friends, family, food and sunshine, I feel eternally grateful to these incredible men and women that have given everything so that I can enjoy things like doing yoga in the park, or reading a book about Buddhism, or writing about whatever pops into my little head on this blog.

Today I feel lucky to be alive, lucky to be given the life I’ve been given and even luckier to be an American.

Thank you to those men and women, a million times over.

Jessy

flags

a picture my mom took today at the Boston Commons. 37,000 American flags—one for each of the Massachusetts men and women who have died in the armed services, dating back to the Revolutionary War.

Live & Keep Learning

One thing that I feel I’ve become better at in the past year or so is opening my mind to other thoughts, teachings, alternative medicines and over wellness of our lives. I’ve grown up as a Catholic, I believe in God and heaven, I trust in westernized medicine and the power of going for a run and lifting weights as exercise. But I also believe that there are other religions that make sense and have useful teachings, I believe that there are beneficial practices and natural remedies that can compliment and enhance our medical practices, I believe in the power of meditation and yoga, for both physical and mental strength. Because of this, I began reading an introduction to Buddhism book called “Open Heart, Clear Mind.” It’s not that I want to change my religious beliefs, but I do find it extremely interesting and beneficial to really listen and truly appreciate others thoughts and teachings. I’m only about half way done but have already found this book to be extremely enlightening and a good reminder of what’s important in life: like being compassionate to others, taking care of yourself mentally, and having an altruistic mindset.

Today, while sitting outside on this gorgeous May day, I read about karma. There are pieces of it that are a bit “out there” for me, personally, but the overarching idea of it makes a lot of sense and can be something to really take into consideration in our daily lives. That the actions and energy we put out into the world are what we therefore will receive back from the world.

The Buddah said:
“According to the seed that is sown,
So is the fruit that you will reap.
The doer of good will gather good results,
The doer of evil reaps evil results.
If you plant a good seed well,
Then you will enjoy the good fruits.”

I think this is true in so many places in life. I have seen tenfold in the past year that being kind and caring to those around you comes full circle when you’re the one who needs love and support. Being gentle and considerate of others feelings and thoughts, makes them caring and compassionate to you in the future.

It’s Sunday night, another weekend has come to a close and a new week will begin tomorrow morning. I’m only human when I say that I’ve thought negative thoughts about those I work with, I’ve gossiped about people, flipped people off when driving to work, or passed judgment on those I don’t even know just by how they look or what they’re wearing. These actions, although natural to human behavior, are not useful to me nor will they bring myself or anybody I love happiness. So although I know I won’t ever probably be able to get rid of these negative actions in my head completely, I think it’s wise to put a more conscious effort into eradicating these types of attitudes when possible.

Karma: you get what you give. So give wisely.

Lots of love and light,
Jessy

p.s. how cute are these little smiling Buddhas? Especially the one throwing up the deuces. I can’t.

Buddha

The New Normal

For eleven months, all I’ve been dreaming of is getting my life back— in particular, going back to work and being able to have a drink. I’ve said it time and time again, and that time is finally here. And it’s really, really….weird. Going back to work last week was overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. I was so thrilled to be back in the “real” world (however I’d argue that my life has been pretty real this past year) but I had forgotten that the real world isn’t exactly what I had cracked it up to be. Back to cube land, back to meetings, back to traffic, back to getting up early and getting home late, back to work clothes and no pajamas. I had gotten very used to my life revolving around cancer, revolving around being as healthy as I could be, focusing solely on myself and getting better. My days were lonely and boring but in a way, I had grown accustomed to it. So getting back into the grind of working is proving to be more difficult than I had expected. Everything just feels different. Physically, the day tires me out much more than it ever has and since I’m still going through chemo, there’s things like achey-ness and headaches that I have to learn how to just push through. What’s more is that my mindset has shifted so much from where I was a year ago. I feel so lucky to be here, so grateful to be alive and able to go to work. However, this feeling like I’ve been given a second chance at life is a bit overwhelming. I want to make a difference in the world and help other people as so many people have helped me. Instead, I do social media for a company that makes billions of dollars a year, so in reality I’m just helping the rich get richer. I am so grateful to still have a job but I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around going back to a work life where nothing has changed while everything in my life has changed so drastically.
The beauty, however, of the working world is the pure bliss that the weekends give you. After one short week, I was quickly reminded of just how rewarding a Friday night on the couch with a glass of red wine feels. Wait, wine?!?! Yup! I am able to have some drinks again and it feels ahhhh-mazing! Saturday night we went to a bar for Mike’s birthday with a bunch of friends. As I was dancing around in the bathroom while I got ready, I realized how excited I was to go “out.” How just the act of doing my hair and makeup, something I’ve often complained about in the past, was making me so genuinely happy. I hadn’t gotten to go out like a normal 25 year old in almost a year and that night, I was getting to do that. It was SO fun to have fun.
The past week and a half has been a whirlwind of old experiences with a new attitude. And that attitude is gratitude. Gratitude that i’ve made it this far. Gratitude that I was able to go back to work, to have a drink with friends, to workout at the gym, to exercise at all, to eat normally again…that I’m able to have a life again. i’ve still got a long road ahead of me and a lot of work to do but I’ve come a long way. I’ve got myself a new normal and I’m just going to have to get used to it.
XOXO,
Jessy