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

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More Memories

It’s been over a week since Mike and I returned home from our Italian vacation. I can’t believe how quickly time is going by lately. It seems like yesterday that we got engaged on Memorial Day weekend but in reality an entire summer full of fun has gone by and a vacation that we’ve been planning for two years has come to a close! In less than 300 days, (295 days to be exact) we say “I do.” My eyes bug out of my head when I read that — 295 days!!!!!– it’s funny how when times aren’t the best, the days go by at a snails pace and when they’re going great, the days go by in a blink of an eye. Although I wish I could slow it down a little, I’m feeling so excited, happy and most of all thankful that I’m getting to experience some of these special moments in life!

The last time I blogged, we were on a train to Florence so I wanted to share some more photos from the last two cities on our trip! Florence was filled with art (a big artistic wiener to be exact) and LOTS of food and wine! Venice was filled with streets made out of water and rooftop swimming & prosecco. This country is so beautiful, diverse and magical, I hope you all get to experience it one day!

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family run hotel in Florence

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my main man Guy Fieri in Italy!

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confused tiger

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old time wedding gowns

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outside the Duomo

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being warriors

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Tuscany!!

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Sienna!

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tasted the grapes and they were delicious!

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rainbow in Tuscany!

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rose all day. including the car ride back to Florence!

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Davidddd, you stud you!

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the most delicious balsamic!

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having our engagement blessed by Grappa!

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inside the Duomo

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meat, cheese, wine.

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becoming a wine expert

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always reppin our phoebs

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VENICE!

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need this pool in my life more often

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street flooding

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starting our tour with cheese, prosciutto and of course wine!

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drinks in the street?! I LOVE ITALY!

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being a local and drinking from the street

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a bar from the 1500’s

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The city of Love!

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masquerade

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Tiramisuuuuu

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last night in Italy

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On our way to Phoebs

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Halfway home Phoebs!

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PHOEBEEEE! 🙂

Italia- you were the most delicious, gracious and fun hosts ever. Thank you for making our trip more magical than we could’ve even dreamed. Until next time. Ciao!

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Italian Adventure in Love

We’re on the train to Florence which means we’re half way through our trip! Thus far, it’s been more than we had even ever dreamed of! The sun has been shining, the people have been friendly and welcoming, the scenery has been stunning and the food and wine has been unreal. 
Our time in Positano was the perfect was to start our trip. We stayed at a fabulous hotel (Covo De Sarcini, highly recommend) right at the bottom of the cliffs on a small beach. It’s a fishing town so the seafood was absolutely mouth watering. I’m picky about fish so it was a shocker when I ordered mussels three times in five days. The food here in general is literally so fresh it’s hard to explain unless you’ve tasted it. I also don’t loveeeee tomatoes typically however they are so juicy and flavorful here I haven’t stopped eating them! We spent a morning at the Pompeii Ruins and it was just fascinating. Then the next day we went on a boat with about 10 other people for the day. It took us along the beautiful Almafi coast, had a few hours on the island of Capri and stopped at different grottos and let us swim around in the Mediterranean Sea. swimming was my favorite, the water is so blue and salty you float easily. We swam into the grottos and got to look up at the natural caves- it was a moment I will never ever forget. The last night we did a wine and cheese tasting. Boy the Italians do not skimp out on their wine pours- but I never complain! 🍷 There was a festival going on right outside our hotel where kids were performing ballet to mostly music from the nutcracker so we watched it from our balcony and enjoyed some music we recognize. Perfect way to end our perfect little Italian beach getaway.


Then we headed to Rome where we fell in love with this city! The history is unmatched and the vibrancy of the city life makes you smile. And of course, the food and wine is like heaven. We toured the Colosseum and got a tour in the underground tunnels where the athletes and animals would be kept before being put on the stage. Walking thru the ruins of the Roman town from 3,000 years ago and to hear about how they lived was just unreal. Yesterday we went to the Vatican and although Pope Francis was holding a mass while we were there, we were somehow not invited. But we did spend four hours going thru all the art, looking up at Michaelangelo’s work of the Sistine Chapel and then ended our time at the Basillica which was nothing like I’ve ever seen. We were lucky as the Holy Door was open, which it only is every 20 years, and it’s said that your sins are washed away as you enter thru. It was a special moment and one that I needed after the many not-so-holy thoughts I had had while touring the Vatican with an especially obnoxious visitor that was in our group and the 10,000 other visitors who bumped and shoved their way thru the museum. Okay, okay, back to the religious part of the day. My favorite part, by far, was simply getting to kneel and say a prayer in this stunning cathedral knowing the Pope had been there just an hour before. 


And as beautiful as all the sites and amazing as all the history, I think my favorite memories I’ll take are just the moments Mike and I sat and people watched outside, whether it was at a small ristorante, or The Trevvi Fountain at night, or the small cafe as stopped at to get a glass of wine where we met the best couple and chatted with them for an hour or so. It has been the small moments, the moments together, feeling content and peaceful that I will take away from this trip.
My heart is so filled with gratitude for getting to have this experience. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime and I am trying not to miss out on any of the little moments. So with that, I must get back to staring out the window of this train as we pass thru the mountainside as we head to Florence.
Caio! And lots of love & light,

Jessy 

The Guilt of Health

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I wrote a post. I can blame it on the fact I’ve been quite the busy lady in August, from bachelorette weekends to concerts to Red Sox games to doggy ice cream socials to creating a 6-page itinerary of our upcoming Italy trip, it’s been a whirlwind month but if I’m being honest, there’s another reason I haven’t written too. I have a bit of guilt that’s kept me from writing.  I used to write this blog in a hospital room when I was feeling lonely or sad or scared or upset to get my emotions out. I still have feelings of isolation or sadness or anxiety but I don’t feel like I have the right to express myself when so many things have gone right for me recently. What do I have to complain about when I know there are so many people still suffering? I know that this blog should be a safe space for me but, like everyone, I worry about what others will think. What you will think. Whether or not somebody will roll their eyes when they read my posts. People might think this is weird but I almost feel more vulnerable expressing my feelings now than when I was going through treatment. My day to day isn’t “interesting” to the outside world anymore. And god damn, I’m so happy it isn’t! My trials and tribulations are just like everyone else’s — a normal 27 year old, trying to figure out the whole work-life-love balance.

After going through cancer, I feel such a large responsibility to myself and every single person who gave me my health back to make the most of life, to be the happiest, healthiest version of myself. But sometimes having pressure to be happy, to be content, to be “living life to the fullest” is overwhelming. I learned so strongly how quickly life can change and so I hate when I feel like I’m “wasting time” or not making the most of everything.

So this was a bit of rant but sometimes that’s when I get my truest feelings out and that’s what I’m going to continue to do, keep being honest and as open as I can be. I’ll keep this blog as a place for what’s going on in my life– whether it’s inspirational or not, it’s what’s happening in my life.

On a brighter note, something that just happened in my life was getting the opportunity to be interviewed for the Red Sox pre-game show with Tom Caron last night to tell my story as a way of raising awareness and garnering funds for the Jimmy Fund. I had an absolute blast and was ready to start handing out my number to the staff to try to get me my own show! haha boy, I just loved it! 🙂 Here are some pics :

Lastly, Mike and I leave for Italy vacation this coming Monday. I went to Dana Farber today and was so relieved to find out that everything still looks good and I’m in the clear to head abroad. I’m beyond excited!

Happy Wednesday all!

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

 

How Quickly Time Goes

On Tuesday night, I watched the 10 year anniversary recap of The Hills. A show that I religiously watched with my girlfriends throughout high school and college. I remember when the series ended like it was yesterday. Tomorrow begins a weekend-long Bachelorette party for one of my best friends before her wedding in one month. The following month Mike and I go to Italy and I picked out my wedding dress two weekends ago. It dawned on me as I was watching ‘The Hills, 10 year tell-all’ that life is going by so quickly! 10 years ago sounds like an eternity but it wasn’t eternity, it doesn’t feel long ago in the slightest. I think of my girlfriends from college like sisters, and then I realize it’s been 5 years since I lived in the same city as the majority of them. It’s funny how life can seem to go slow on a day by day basis but actually moves at a rapid pace. That’s why it’s important to take in each moment and really try to appreciate it. Easier said than done, but I always feel a bit happier and more content when I think about the beauty of the moment—whether the moment is big or small. Let each moment soak into your being—the good, bad, exciting, happy, sad, inspirational, confusing—soak ‘em all in because they’ll be gone before you know it.

 

That’s it for now.

 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

 

p.s. speaking of time flying by, Phoebe turns 11 months on Tuesday and I just can’t believe it. Look at how big & beautiful this pup is getting!

phoebe

I Need Your Help

 

When the emergency room doctor stepped outside after telling Mike and my parents that I had leukemia, there was precisely one thing that popped in my mind and quickly came out of my mouth, “but I want to marry Mike,” I said to all three of them. One year from today, on July 22, 2017, at a quaint inn on Cape Cod, that dream of mine will become a reality. That dream is due in large part to the the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I have about 1,000 things to thank them for but giving me a second chance at life and giving me the opportunity to marry the love of my life and start our life together brings a level of gratitude I will never be able to match. But in just over two months, on September 25th, I will symbolically try to thank the organization that essentially gave Mike and I our future, by walking in the Jimmy Fund Walk to support the ongoing programs, medicine and RESEARCH. This research is imperative to conduct so that one day all stories have a ‘happily ever after’ like mine. Tragically, today that isn’t the case for all patients that go to the Farber in hopes of fixing themselves and getting to marry their Mike. So it’s my responsibility to help and today, I’m asking you to help too by making a donation to my walk team. 
 
Any donation, big or small, truly makes a difference in the efforts of Dana Farber and their live-saving mission. On behalf of all past, current and future patients, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
 
tinyurl.com/jessysjfwalk

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

2014 vs 2016

p.s. Cheers to one year today Stevens, I love you!

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