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

A Hello Travels A Long Way

I’m walking to work on this still kind-of chilly Monday morning and I was feeling sad that the weekend was over. It was such a good one. But then just as I’m beginning my 2 mile trip, an older man sitting beside an open first-floor window wishes me a “good morning.” This has happened before and each time it does, it completely changes my mood and genuinely makes me so happy! I’m not sure how long he sits there wishing all the walker-bys a good day but for such a simple gesture, it does such good for my soul. 
In general, walking compared to driving, always makes me calmer and there are a lot of reasons why but one of them is the human interaction. So often in cars, we forget that there’s a human in that machine that’s cutting us off. Conversely, you don’t forget a humans a human when their physical body passes by. Typically, you tend to be more compassionate and understanding of whatever it is they may be doing. 
So on this Monday morning, I’m reminding myself and all of you, to be kind to people– kindness doesn’t have to be grand gestures or gifts- it can be a small smile or gentle hello. Make a difference in someone else’s day. The whole world would probably be a little better off and definitely a little happier if everyone remembered to act like the older man in the window this morning.
Have a wonderful week!

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Two Years of Bubble Girl

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Two years ago this picture was taken. This was the first time that I had been able to see Leni since I was diagnosed. Truthfully, it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

A few days later and this picture was taken….

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was still severely neutropenic at that point which is why I had to wear a mask and gloves when she was around. This picture is such mix of emotions: I feel such love and warmth when I look at the two of us locking eyes. She is truly my little angel and I’m so grateful to have her as my Goddaughter. But it brings an emotion of sadness because I sit in bed two years later and feel like, although so much has changed, not much has changed at all. 

Since that picture… I cut my hair….

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Then I lost it all.

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But then slowly things started to turn around and I started getting fuzzies. Photo on 6-11-14 at 4.22 PM

it was time to fix my pancreas — with a full head of hair! PRAISE JESUS! IMG_5248

And then on January 12, 2015 I marched right back into the work force. I came back to the same desk I had left abruptly on February 20th 2014. IMG_5164

I even bought myself a new car to deal with all the winter snow– santa fe BEEP BEEP!IMG_5262

Then I started balding again which was no fun but I kept my “crow” cool and namasted on.IMG_4013

Then I went back to my old almamater and made a speech for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. It was a moment that I’ll never forget.

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things were starting to feel like normal again. IMG_6602

I was even able to put my hair in a pony tail!!!!!!!!IMG_7118

I was getting stronger and doing things with friends. IMG_7912

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AND THEN THIS HAPPENED. IMG_9199

PUP. MOM. = Life changed forever. In the best way possible. IMG_9376

I’ve been feeling so much happiness. Like I’m finally in the right place at the right time. IMG_0377

But then three weeks ago happened and I was made into Bubble Girl again– not able to see anyone who hasn’t cleared themselves as very healthy and certainly no going into work or public places. Then I had a week that I got taken off the house arrest and I sighed a sense of relief knowing that my counts were going back up, they weren’t yet where they need to be for treatment, but they were in the right direction. THEN I go into clinic last Wednesday. Uh oh. My counts have dropped to lower than they were even before when I was put on house arrest. So not only am I told, no going into work or public until you’re back here next Wednesday but we’re most likely going to want to do a bone marrow biopsy to “make sure things are okay.” For the first time in a very long time, Dr. D had a very serious demeanor, he mentioned that he “just could not explain” why my counts would be doing something like this. We go over a few complicated possibilities but all my mind was registering is this is no good– this is not what I want to hear– this is exactly the  opposite of what i want to hear. Just moments before, i had been thoroughly concerned about my end date being pushed back another week, now i’m a terrified that something has come back. That the leukemia may be showing signs of recurring. As I say these things to Mike and other close family and friends, I am often shooshed and told “we can’t talk like that” but the reality is, that’s a possibility, as small as it may be, that could happen. I am trying so hard to stay positive. I have been burning essential oils day and night, trying to breathe in only good toxins, deep breathing, taking ativans when I get too worked up, looking up at the sky a lot more to remind myself how big this place is and how small I am, I feel like I’ve tried everything but the fact of the matter is is that this shit is absolutely horrifying. I cannot begin to go down the path that my mind takes when I think about the doctors telling me something I don’t want to hear, so I won’t go there… but I know, it’s a place I really really don’t want to be. I’m just so close.

Two years ago when that picture with my niece was taken, I told little Leni that in two years, Auntie was going to be all better– that’d I’d be able to play with her all the time, with no masks and no gloves. I want to make good on that promise.

If you have a free moment tonight or tomorrow, I would so appreciate if you kept me in your thoughts and prayers. If you just sent me good energy to harness to endure whatever is to come. May it be the expected path I’ve been on, or one that takes a turn. I am a warrior princess and I’ll be ready… just need some of my angels behind me to cheer me on. I know I ask of you all a lot so I hope it’s not “too much”– I just so believe in your positive energy and thoughts being the ones to heal me.

All my love and light,

Jessy

 

p.s. here is Leni last week breakin hearts for Valentine’s Day. Does it get any cuter?

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Breathe Easy

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I don’t know if it’s the steriods I’m on that’s making me feel like this, but I can’t stop thinking about all I have to do. Life, in general right now, is busy. Work’s picking up, I have personal obligations that I need to complete, I’m trying to take my first online class on Coursera, there are trips I need to research and schedule (which is fun but takes a lot of time!), I want to read this, write that, schedule this, plan that, prepare for this or that. All of a sudden there seems like a pile of tasks to check off the list. So today, this motivational Monday is just as much as it is for me as it is for all of you. I need to remember to breathe. The tasks will slowly come off the list– and if some have to get postponed, that’s okay. Today, I need to remember to BREATHE. To inhale all the good that’s in my life, take a big beautiful breath of positive energy, close my eyes and see the light and exhale any negative thoughts or feelings that don’t serve me well.

There are so many benefits to deep breathing — beyond just helping to calm your mind, but physical benefits that can truly make a difference in your daily health.

Make sure you’re doing it correctly, however, to gain the best benefits. First inhale through your nose, expanding your belly and filling your chest. Count to 5. Hold and count to 3– feel all your cells filled with golden, healing, balancing Sun light & energy. Exhale fully from a slightly parted mouth and feel all your cells releasing waste and emptying old energy.

So trust in the fact that you’re where you need to be today, everything that is meant to happen is happening. Breath the certainty in and any worry out that you may have. Today is a good day.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

For more information on the benefits of taking time to do some deep breathing, here’s a list of 18 physical benefits from the One Powerful Blog:

1. Breathing Detoxifies and Releases Toxins
Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not properly ridding your body of its toxins i.e. other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness. When you exhale air from your body you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism.

2. Breathing Releases Tension
Think how your body feels when you are tense, angry, scared or stressed. It constricts. Your muscles get tight and your breathing becomes shallow. When your breathing is shallow you are not getting the amount of oxygen that your body needs.

3. Breathing Relaxes the Mind/Body and Brings Clarity
Oxygenation of the brain reducing excessive anxiety levels. Paying attention to your breathing. Breathe slowly, deeply and purposefully into your body. Notice any places that are tight and breathe into them. As you relax your body, you may find that the breathing brings clarity and insights to you as well.

4. Breathing Relieves Emotional Problems
Breathing will help clear uneasy feelings out of your body.

5. Breathing Relieves Pain.
You may not realize its connection to how you think, feel and experience life. For example, what happens to your breathing when you anticipate pain? You probably hold your breath. Yet studies show that breathing into your pain helps to ease it.

6. Breathing Massages Your Organs
The movements of the diaphragm during the deep breathing exercise massages the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. When you inhale air your diaphragm descends and your abdomen will expand. By this action you, massage vital organs and improves circulation in them. Controlled breathing also strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles.

7. Breathing Increases Muscle
Breathing is the oxygenation process to all of the cells in your body. With the supply of oxygen to the brain this increases the muscles in your body.

8. Breathing Strengthens the Immune System
Oxygen travels through your bloodstream by attaching to haemoglobin in your red blood cells. This in turn then enriches your body to metabolise nutrients and vitamins.

9. Breathing Improves Posture
Good breathing techniques over a sustained period of time will encourage good posture. Bad body posture will result of incorrect breathing so this is such an important process by getting your posture right from early on you will see great benefits.

10. Breathing Improves Quality of the Blood
Deep breathing removes all the carbon-dioxide and increases oxygen in the blood and thus increases blood quality.

11. Breathing Increases Digestion and Assimilation of food
The digestive organs such as the stomach receive more oxygen, and hence operates more efficiently. The digestion is further enhanced by the fact that the food is oxygenated more.

12. Breathing Improves the Nervous System
The brain, spinal cord and nerves receive increased oxygenation and are more nourished. This improves the health of the whole body, since the nervous system communicates to all parts of the body.

13. Breathing Strengthen the Lungs
As you breathe deeply the lung become healthy and powerful, a good insurance against respiratory problems.

14. Proper Breathing makes the Heart Stronger.
Breathing exercises reduce the workload on the heart in two ways. Firstly, deep breathing leads to more efficient lungs, which means more oxygen, is brought into contact with blood sent to the lungs by the heart. So, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver oxygen to the tissues. Secondly, deep breathing leads to a greater pressure differential in the lungs, which leads to an increase in the circulation, thus resting the heart a little.

15. Proper Breathing assists in Weight Control.

If you are overweight, the extra oxygen burns up the excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen feeds the starving tissues and glands.
16. Breathing Boosts Energy levels and Improves Stamina

17. Breathing Improves Cellular Regeneration

18. Breathing Elevates Moods
Breathing increase pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain – See more at: http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html#sthash.yKZxzcMv.dpuf

New Year, Same Me

  
You hear a lot of “new year, new you” chatter around this time. And although I like the sentiment of making resolutions to improve your life and update something in your world that could use extra time and energy, I like to think that it’s not a new me doing these things, it’s the same me with an improved mindset. 

This year, my resolution is to take at least 5 minutes to myself every day. To lay down on my yoga mat, stress relief oil burner on, feet up in the air, left hand on my heart, right hand on my stomach and really feel grateful for the moment and the day that I just had. Even when I don’t have time to do an entire yoga practice, I’ve found that taking a few minutes to do some deep breathing, stretching out the kinks, and thinking about of the things I’m thankful for can significantly help my mindset and can make me feel better even during a hard day. But often times I don’t make “time” for it, when the reality is I always have 5 minutes. Always. 

And as the quote says, I firmly believe that a positive mind moves to positive vibes and makes a positive life.

So whatever your resolution is for 2016, I hope you stick with it and make it a positive change in your life. But do you, you’re beautiful just the way you are! 
Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Own Your Story 

  
I didn’t do a motivational Monday post last week because I couldn’t find anything fitting. Lately I’ve been feeling anxious. Feeling overwhelmed knowing that the end is FINALLY in sight. How if it’s not all I have dreamed it would be? How if it’s not really the end of my road with leukemia? I had spent the previous Wednesday, in a private infusion room because I needed to be alone. Because I couldn’t stop randomly crying. I hadn’t been able to sleep the night before thinking about all those what ifs. Those thoughts then lingered in my head throughout the morning and shoved me into a downward spiral to negative thoughts and depressing feelings.

 It took me three full days to get out of the slump. I took a lot of licks from Phoebe and hugs from Mike. Words of encouragement from my family. And advice/love from my incredible team of nurses. I needed everyone’s support. This time, I couldn’t do it by myself. 

So last Sunday night when I went to find a motivational Monday post, I just couldn’t do it. I felt like too much of a fraud to try to be motivating when I had been unable to motivate myself in the days prior. So today’s post is about being true to yourself, being true to your story. We all have our moments of strength which are great to embrace but we also all have moments of weakness, whatever that may be. And that’s okay. We can’t always be strong. We can’t always have a smile on our face. We’re allowed to have a bad day. Or two, or three. Or however many it takes to get your mind right. 

So while I certainly don’t wish bad days upon any of you, I also understand the realities of life and that it’s bound to happen. So my hope is that you can embrace those days or moments and allow yourself to try to really feel your feelings. Allow yourself moments of weakness and love yourself anyways.

This was my story last week and I know I will continue to struggle with this far past March 26th but I’m going to try to learn to embrace it a little more and love myself through the moments of weakness.
Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

P.S. Belated Merry Christmas to all my readers. I had a wonderful few days with Mike’s family, my family and then a day at home in our pjs with our little family! I hope your day was wonderful! I’m going to post pics later this week! 🙂

May My Heart Be Kind

  
I was so grumpy after the Pats game last night. Two losses in a row? How terrible! I was letting it make my mood on a Sunday night be spoiled. And then The President came on and spoke about Isis. And then my pissy mood regarding the game of football quickly switched to a genuine feeling of sadness thinking of the hatred that’s out in this world. I can’t fathom wanting to bring such harm to any living thing, never mind an entire subset of the human race.

I wish there was something I could do to help, to make a difference, to make this craziness stop. But there isn’t. I can’t change the evil in someone’s heart, I can’t rid the world of their monster-like actions. But what I can do is go out in the world that I do live in and bring light and positive energy to it. I can be a kind person who respects others and cares for others. I can bring others happiness. Just like their hatred can spread and infect those around them, let us infect each other with positivity and compassion and love. Your small action of kindness can bring someone else joy and in turn can make them a kinder person and so forth. Remember that as you start this week– your actions spread. So make your actions positive ones!

We may never know a world with only peace and love, but we can hope and pray for one. So that’s what I’ll continue to do and that’s what I hope to motivate you to do. Love always wins. 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Motivational Monday

  
This quote makes me smile. It’s simple and kind of silly but SO true. At the heart of it, it means do what makes you happy. Lord knows I listened to it this weekend… I ate plenty of desserts and drank all the O’Doules my little heart desired. As we go into the new week, let’s try to remember to live in the moment because we never know what tomorrow will bring.

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend!

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

One Day at a Time

I was walking to Starbucks this afternoon in this blistering cold weather that has fast come upon on us. Bundled up but enjoying a few minutes outside with the sun shining on my face. All of a sudden, I felt overwhelmingly nauseous. As I’ve learned quite well, it helps to just slow down my breathing and take a moment to calm down. Many times, that can subside the feeling and I can move on. Today however, while I was going through this somewhat common routine, I got a shot of annoyance run through my body. I’m sick of being sick, I thought. I’ve come so far from where I’ve been so when I really think about it, I am so blessed. But sometimes in the heat of the moment, I just want to feel fully healthy. My treatment dosage has been getting continuously upped the past few months as we work to get my counts to the lowest possible that I can handle. The point being is that the more chemo my body can handle, the more they want to give to increase my chances. TOTALLY get it. But TOTALLY sucks at the same time. Everytime I’m feeling relatively good, it means that my “counts” are normalizing which means we can increase the amount given which essentially knocks me down. Last week, they said they think we’re finally at a low enough level that they’re happy with. But I’ve definitely felt the difference. I’m more lethargic and achey than I have been in the recent months and the waves of nausea hit me whenever they please. And I’m just over feeling achey, or tired or nauseous or having a headache. I’m so anxious to feel “normal” again.

I don’t know what I wanted out of this blog post other than to get my frustrations out. It’s been 20+ months of treatment and not feeling well and I’d be lying to say I wasn’t more than ready to feel like a healthy individual again. Lucky for me, I know that day will come. Hopefully in 4 months and 1 day. (Yes, I have a countdown app. #SueMe)


As always, thanks for listening. Thanks for caring. Thanks for being there for me as I continue to walk down this road to regaining my strength and health. It means the world to have you all beside me.
Lots of love & light,

Jessy