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 

Never Hurts to Try

On Tuesday night at around 9pm, my mom called. I was worried at first– why is she calling so late on a work night? So I picked up a little panicky. And then she sounded panicked.

She had a teacher workshop at her school on Friday that she was running and the health and wellness speaker that they had scheduled had just backed out.

And then she said, would you be able to do it?

At first, I felt like was she calling the wrong daughter. I’m not a motivational speaker and I have a lot of experiences but I don’t have any certifications in any sort of health and wellness fields. So I told her I’d think about it and let her know the next day.

And then I thought. I thought about the oratorical contest I had signed up for in middle school and won. I thought about a business presentation I had done in college to a start-up company and won. I thought about the speech I made at my alma mater two years ago in front of hundreds of students and the speech I made last year to a bunch of golfers that work for corporate Applebees discussing the importance of raising money for Dana-Farber. Then I thought about the interview I had done on NESN before the Red Sox game. And as I thought about each of those experiences, I remembered, I actually like public speaking and just maybe, I’m not that bad at it.

And then, I got excited. I thrive off these sort of things… pressure filled objectives. But I was still weighing it in my head because the reality is, I’m not a professional speaker. I’m not a therapist, or yoga teacher or medical professional by any means so would the teachers of this school think me preaching to them about life be a little ridiculous?

But as I was going back and forth, a little birdy flew into my head and said, “what does it hurt? what do you have to lose?”

So I called my mom and said I’d do it. I might be only 28 years old but I have gone through a lot and I am confident that I could teach someone in that room something. Even if it was just one person and one thing, I was sure I could teach something.

I then spent Wednesday and Thursday writing and editing a presentation that would touch upon my cancer diagnosis and the insights that I garnered from that two year life event. I talked about different tactics that have helped me in coping with stress and healing the pain and anxiety a diagnosis brings — or any sort of emotional uprising brings. So I wrote and then I edited and then I practiced to Phoebe. I give her a C+ for her audience abilities. She doesn’t do much listening, rather more playing but she’s so darn cute, if I could win her over, I could win anybody over.

So this morning, I did it. I went to that school and I spoke about my experiences and how I think what I’ve learned can be brought into the classroom and into those teachers lives on a daily basis — like yoga, meditation, mantras, deep breathing, taking care of yourself. And it was SO fun. My hope is that the small audience I spoke in front of enjoyed the hour presentation and were able to take a way at least one thing to brighten their own lives. But even if they don’t, I know I took a lot away from this experience.

I took a chance. I said yes to something that I didn’t think I was qualified for. And by doing that, I opened a new door of possibilities to myself and met a lot of kind, loving people while doing it.

So as you go into this weekend, remember to keep your heart open. Remember to keep your MIND open to new opportunities. Sometimes, the things that scare you the most are the best things that ever happen to you.

Lots of 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

I Worried. But it’s okay, cuz I’m Yonce Anyways 

 First  off, I can’t begin to express the feeling of overwhelming love and support I have felt this past week and especially in the past 24 hours. Without doubt, your prayers, radiating energy, good thoughts and positive vibes are what allows me to say that I HAVE AMAZING NEWS TO SHARE!!! My numbers have bounced back up so I am no longer neutropenic and I am able to get back on my treatment today! My bone marrow is cancelled until we need to do it during the final week, which is now currently scheduled for March 30th!!!!! We’re cutting one of my nightly chemotherapy pills in half the dosage so that the lower dosage will hopefully mean that we don’t have more issues like this. Obviously if I come in next week and the numbers have plunged again then we’ll have to reconvene but for now, I am able to go to work tomorrow and go to my retreat this weekend. Right now my heart feels so full, my body finally feels relaxed  and my mind is still buzzing but with all positive energy.

This was the Instagram video I put up right before coming in. My comment was that ” eff you leukemia, you can’t break my spirit.” And I was right, didn’t and won’t ever break my spirit!!!

My spirit has been able to stay strong because of all of you incredible souls who send me positive energy, prayers and well wishes. It’s what pushes me through weeks like last and helps keep a smile on my face.

So thank you, for the thousandth time, thank you! You are all amazing and I am forever grateful. 
Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

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! 🙂