Guilty as Charged

guilt

I feel guilty that I haven’t written a blog post in 3 months. I’ve written a few posts about random things but haven’t felt like I could publish them because quite honestly, they were me venting and expressing myself. Unfortunately, however, expression of feelings isn’t always what you want the entire world to see.

I feel guilty so much lately. About a whole array of things, I’ve begun to realize how much this one feeling affects my life every day.

I feel guilty that I got to live through my terminal diagnosis when others don’t get to

I feel guilty when I don’t see my friends and family often enough

I feel guilty when I complain about my job

I feel guilty when I don’t work out

I feel guilty when I think of all the people that helped me

I feel guilty when I don’t get home to Phoebe in time

I feel guilty when I’m being lazy and just don’t want to play fetch anymore

I feel guilty when I don’t call my friends that don’t live close by

I feel guilty when I want to go to bed early

I feel guilty when I have a drink during the workweek

I feel guilty when I spend money on things I shouldn’t

I feel guilty when I don’t do yoga regularly

I feel guilty when I don’t clean my house or help unload the dishwasher

I feel guilty when I think negatively of people in my head

I feel guilty when I drop off Smile Cards knowing I didn’t write any this month

I feel guilty when I don’t make a donation to a nonprofit/charity

I feel guilty that I don’t like my career and I complain about it to Mike

I feel guilty when I feel sorry for myself

I feel guilty that I stopped going to see my therapist

I feel guilty when I take medication to help me sleep

I feel guilty when I give Mike shit about little things

I feel guilty when I’m not in a good mood

I feel guilty for writing this post

Mostly, I’ve begun to feel guilty for feeling guilty all the time. I feel guilty when I don’t feel like I’m being the best version of me. I feel guilty that it’s the first time I’ve written a post and it’s not inspirational in the slightest. I feel guilty that it’s about me venting. I feel guilty that in the past six months, I have become cancer-free, not received one thing of chemo, gotten engaged, picked out a wedding dress, been to Italy, gone back to NYC twice, held beautiful babies, played with my dog, spent time with those that I love, live in a house and city that I adore and have my best friend to go to bed with every night—and I still somehow feel lost. I still feel like there’s something missing. I still have a hard time falling asleep at night without the medication I had been on for two years. I still whine and become sad on Sunday nights knowing I have an entire work week ahead of me. I still bitch about minute details of life when I know that there’s so many bigger problems out there. I still eat buffalo chicken nachos on the weekends even though I know they’re not good for me. I still drink beers while watching the Pats game because I like to. I still give Mike attitude at the end of the day when I’m grumpy for reasons that have nothing to do with him. I still honk at people when I’m driving to work. I still spend way too much time on the computer and my phone. I would’ve guessed that after two years of many moments of hell, I would be able to let things go easier, be more carefree, be kinder, gentler, fully in the moment.

I view the feeling of being given a second chance at life two-faced. I feel such gratitude and beauty from knowing that my eyes have been opened to how short life is and how I need to not take anything for granted and enjoy each moment and each day. But the other side of the face has created this enormous feeling of guilt when I’m not achieving the daily level of happiness and gratitude that my brain tells me I should be obtaining.

My therapist, the one that I stopped going to because I didn’t think I needed to go anymore (maybe I should rethink that decision, I know), had continuously told me for two years that I needed to have more compassion for myself. That I needed to stop being so hard on myself and stop judging every action that I take. She had said that I needed to allow myself to feel feelings that I have and try hard not to overthink everything. And while I can say I try to show myself compassion, it’s so god damn hard! It’s easier to criticize my actions and try to perfect what I’m doing wrong. It’s not healthy and I know this but I can’t seem to get out of my way sometimes.

I feel so frustrated that at this time in my life where everything seems to be going right, I somehow don’t feel euphoria, I don’t feel like I’m living this dream life. But I had dreamed of this life, since February 20, 2014, I dreamed of this summer, I dreamed of being engaged and planning my wedding, I dreamed of going back to work, I dreamed of having a French bulldog, I dreamed of going to Italy, I dreamed of having drinks with my friends at dinner and sipping on a Pumpkin Head beer while I watched the Patriots from the comfort of my house. And now I have that all. I have a Frenchie. I went to Italy. I got engaged. I bought my wedding dress. I’ve enjoyed drinks and food. I workout multiple times a week and can feel my muscle mass returning. I have a job. Yet, I still feel so confused and because of that, I feel like the most ungrateful brat that’s ever existed. I feel awful that I’m even putting these words out in the universe, that I’m letting people really see how I’m feeling. Now don’t get me wrong, my weekend in New York City getting engaged was everything I’ve ever dreamed about, our trip to Italy was literally the best two weeks of my entire life, I kiss and cuddle Phoebe every single day and tell her how much I love her, I feel at home, safe and secure when Mike is with me and continues to tell me that things are going to be okay.

I feel guilty for these negative feelings and emotions when so much is going right. I feel guilty because people that I know and love are going through horrible breakups and divorces, are dealing with health problem of their own, caring for a loved one that’s battling cancer, out of work and struggling to pay for childcare, grieving a loss of a loved one and so many more examples of real problems, real issues. Me not knowing what I want to do with my career and trying to achieve an unattainable goal of happy, content and successful life can barely be considered a real problem, however, to me, it feels like this insurmountable problem. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a mountain and I can’t see the top, I have no idea how high this peak is or how long it will take me to reach the top. And because of that, I feel frantic. I feel like a deer in the headlights, whipping my head around wildly looking for the right way to go but unable to find any sort of tree marker because I don’t even know if the top of this mountain is attainable with my abilities.

So, for today, I sit here at my computer with a “De-stress” and “stay calm” essential oils next to me hoping that I can figure out a goal, figure out a direction, figure out what I want, figure out what will make me happy, figure out what will make me feel content and fulfilled but most of all, I hope that I can learn how to not feel guilty, not feel ashamed that I feel the way I do. My hope is that by writing this piece, if you ever feel guilty for similar things that I do, that you feel less alone.

I’m hoping that my future blog posts will be more upbeat– to be truthful, I think that’s why I haven’t written in so long. I felt like my readers don’t want to hear about my little, and neurotic problems, nor do they want to read a post about my amazing Christmas weekend in NYC. I  have felt a sense of, you guessed it, guilt, if I begin to write about things that don’t fit into the box of “inspirational.” I began the Inspiration Initiative to express my feelings and to document my journey through a difficult time and I did that. I stayed true to my feelings, and I never felt guilty when I complained or vented because it felt “fair” to write my negative emotions regarding a cancer diagnosis. I knew nobody was going to judge me for that. But talking about that I’m frustrated by my career confusion or how much fun Mike and I have been having lately on the weekends, or the flip flop feeling in my stomach I get when I think about my body image, how much I love my dog, or what delicious meal I’m cooking that night, I know I can get judged for these type of content topics more than I could have been before. But I think it’s time for me to begin writing again more frequently. It’s time that I close the cancer book and start a new book that’s simply this: My Life. The ups, the downs, the in-the-middles, and all the moments in between. My cancer journey will still be part of it on days because the reality is that that diagnosis changed me, those experiences scarred me– some scars are ugly and some are beautiful, but they all remind me of the time period. But I’ve begun a new book and I hope it gets brighter by the second, and I’d love if you come along with me. It’s not going to be the same stories as you’re used to, but they’re still my stories.

If you got to the end of this ranting and redundant post, thanks. And, I’m impressed. I know this wasn’t beautifully written, I know this wasn’t inspirational, I know this wasn’t my best work but it made me feel better. For a few different reasons it made me feel better but at least for one, it erased the guilt I felt about not writing a blog post in a while.

I’ll be back.

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

I’m Free

Today, I cried some tears of joy but mostly, I smiled. I smiled because today I got my last infusion of chemotherapy. I smiled because I was told that after looking at over 1 million of my cells, ALL of them had been cleared of leukemia. I smiled because my nurse Andrea had a “Nuked the Leuk” shirt made for me. I smiled because there were 15 nurses and doctors waiting behind a curtain as I arrived to surprise me and give me hugs. I smiled because I was with Mike, my mom and my dad- the three people who were with me the night I was diagnosed and have been there for me every step of the way since. I smiled because I walked out of the doors of Dana-Farber and knew that it was my last time there as a patient. I smiled because I got given the greatest gift I could ever receive– a restored, renewed and beautiful life.

I smiled because my baby brother put together this video montage using pictures and videos that I’ve taken over the past two years. I had planned to post a bunch of pictures from today but I’ll do that later– right now this video has made me smile on the outside and on the inside.

Today, after 769 days, I crossed the finish line. Today, I was reminded of every single person that helped me get to this point- every friend, every family member, every nurse and doctor, every person who sent me a card or commented on my blog with well wishes- I thought of everyone. Today, I feel more blessed, more grateful, more humbled then I ever have in my life. Today I feel free… and I feel that because it’s true. I am free.

All my love & light,

Jessy

A Moment In Time Reminds

I’ve been looking through a lot of old pictures and videos today. I have tons of these videos, me by myself, talking about the day. This one struck me because I watch this and know how hard it was. I am so excited to #nuketheleuk but I think processing what a difficult journey this has been for me, helps me heal.

I’ve come a long way since this day, buzzed head sitting alone, looking out the window but these raw moments were the reality of my days. Not each one cheery or inspiring. 

On a brighter note, i got my second to last treatment today. Friday is the bone marrow biopsy and one week from tonight I will be a cancer treatment graduate. 

All my love & light, 

Jessy

Favorite Things

I’ve always been a big Sound of Music fan– the entire movie is just incredible. But this song is the epitome of what makes it’s awesome. It’s so important to remember the little things in life that make us happy so here are a few of my favorite things:

  1. Chatting with Mike in bed after we turn off the lights
  2. Being outdoors and watching the water
  3. Riding waves in the ocean and feeling the salt water splash upon me
  4. Relaxing with family and friends
  5. Feeling sunshine hit my face
  6. Being in shavasana after a hard yoga session
  7. Getting back scratchies
  8. Sitting in a hot tub
  9. Getting kisses from Phoebe
  10. Reading in bed
  11. Listening to my niece laugh and watching her dance

What are some things that make you happy? Deep down to your core happy?

I bet you just thinking of a few of these things will make you smile.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Fall Fiesta

When it’s cold outside, and we’ve been cooped up inside for days, remind me of days like this…

When I woke up and headed to a corn maze with three of my favorite people in the world.  And sipped on delicious hot apple cider.  

And then picked pumpkins that we’ll carve into jack-o-lanterns and continued to use my selfie stick to capture the moments (best purchase ever, no shame here). 

    
 And then came home and thought, what better day to go for a run!? So I strapped on my yoga pants and sneakers and headed down to the good old Mystic River in Somerville. I decided to take a new route and found a great, long path right along the water. I feel so happy when I’m near the water, doesn’t matter what kind, even if I have the highway to my left, as long as I have the river to my right, I feel a little more at peace than typical. And then as I continued to run I came along a three story lookout tower that I marched right up, did some sun salutations, looked out onto the Boston skyline that I love so much, felt the sunshine on my face and felt so grateful for the moment that was upon me. Healthy enough to be running again, strong enough to climb flights of stairs and in a good enough place mentally to be able to feel the sunshine on my face, totally alone and realize how lucky I truly am. And okay enough with myself to laugh at how crazy my hair has become. 

   
   
Then I picked up some fall essentials to decorate our front steps, because honestly a decorated house is a happy house. And a happy house is a happy me. 

   
 
Now I’m sitting in my Brady jersey & sweat pants, with pulled pork on the oven (thanks to the best boyfriend in America), and a good old O’Doules in hand with my snuggley guy. 

  
Fall is a special time of the year in New England. 

Life is good today. 

Remind me of this day in January. 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Cracklin Yoga

It’s been a stressful few weeks. I’ve been working so much I feel like I’ve been missing out on me time and in particular exercising and yoga time. Literally, it feels like my arms are in chains attached to my computer. So tonight, even though it was only for 15 minutes I took some much-needed time and did some at-home, silly yoga. Sometimes it’s good not to take it so seriously and not practice so rigidly but simply do what feels good in the moment, for you! So I wiggled around and stretched a lot and took deep breaths to calm my mind and of course, danced around to some good music to make myself laugh and loosen up the muscles.

It’s good to be a yogi & I’m so grateful to have found this practice.

Cheers to loosening up and making yourself giggle!
Lots of love & light, 

Jessy

Motivational Monday

  
I think this quote says it all. We all have those negative moments, it’s about pushing through and getting yourself out of the hole. DON’T LET NEGATIVE THOUGHTS DESTROY YOU! GET OUTTA THERE IF YOU’RE IN THERE TODAY. 

Take a deep breath, think about what you’re thankful for and remember, everything’s going to be okay.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

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 

Motivational Monday

quote

It’s easy to say that things didn’t work out the way you wanted them to because “the opportunity just never presented itself.” I find myself saying that sometimes, but it’s crucial to remember to make your own opportunities. To do things that put you in the right spot. To work hard to make your dreams come. To not let outside elements or obstacles get in the way of finishing whatever race you began.

As we begin this week, remember that you can do anything you put your mind to. If whatever you’re trying for doesn’t work out one way, try doing it another way. YOU. CAN. DO. IT.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy