Lemons Into Lemonade

Lemons into LemonadeEveryone knows I love me some Bey. I tend to get a little crazy with it and I know this but the reality is, her music got me through some really tough patches and so I feel connected to her, as crazy diva as she may be. 
Her new album Lemonade came about about a month ago and I was lucky enough to hear it all live at her concert in Foxborough last Friday night. 
The more I listen the more I relate. No, I’ve never been in a romantic relationship that someone’s hurt me so badly- I’ve never dealt with infidelity but I know what it feels to be cheated on. 
When I was first diagnosed with leukemia, I felt like my body cheated on me. It let me down, it betrayed me. I had loved it and taken good care of it for 24 years and that’s how it repaid me? Her album talks about all the emotions that she felt during her struggle with her husband- how she felt angry, sad, overwhelmed, then went through grieving and forgiveness and the important process of feeling free again. 

My favorite verse from the album goes like this…

“They say true love’s the greatest weapon

To end the war caused by pain

But every diamond has imperfections 

But my love’s too pure to watch it chip away

Boy nothing real can be threatened

True love breathes salvation back into me

With every tear came redemption

And my torturer became my remedy”

And that couldn’t be more true. To me, it’s saying- SHITTTT that was hard. But you know what? I’m strong and the love that I have for myself (or in her case, him) is much stronger than any pain I could ever feel. It was my body that “tortured” me but it is me treating it with love and respect and understanding that has been my remedy. I honor it. 

I think the story of infidelity and betrayal is one that any human can relate to. We’ve all experienced it on some level or another. Betrayal, whether it be with a lover, family member, friend, workplace, or in my case, my body can be infuriating and beyond upsetting. Betrayed, in any form, hurts the soul. But if you can come to terms with it and choose to move past the negativity, it can make you a stronger person because of it. 

Now this is not my way of getting you to go listen to Lemonade but instead I hope that it’s just a good reminder of an important lesson in life… When you’re served lemons, always always make Lemonade. 🍋🍋🍋

Lots of love, light and SLAY BEY SLAY BEY,

Jessy


p.s. If you are looking for a pump-me-up song, you NEED ‘Freedom’ in your life. I literally March as if I’m in a step crew every time I hear it. 💃🏻💃🏻 sue me. 🙌🏼

P.p.s the video is her ending the show with Halo- the song that I sung to myself over and over and over during hard procedures or times during the past two years. Seeing her sing it live, with fireworks going off in the background was a moment that felt very surreal and one that I’ll never gorget. Very grateful. 

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Happy Monday

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When I was younger, I used to love to dance in the rain. In fact, when it would rain, I’d ask my parents if I could get my bathing suit on and go stroll down the street with my umbrella and dance for the cars that would pass by, as we lived on a busy street. It sounds crazy, but that’s just me. I still love dancing and I still love the rain. I may not get in my bathing suit and do a show for the passing cars in Somerville but even as an adult, I love being outside in the summer rain– it’s rejuvenating and makes me feel refreshed and one with the world.

However, whenever I see rain on the forecast, my nose still crinkles and I think to myself, “boo i want sunshine.” Even though there’s great benefits to rain, it still feels like a disappointment when you don’t get to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine during these short summer months. But sometimes it’s important to remember that not every day can be sunshine, and nor should it. If everyday was perfect, the beautiful rainbows that pop out of the clouds when you least expect it wouldn’t be so magical.

This week, don’t let the rain showers in your life bog you down– embrace them, dance in them and whip your hair wildly in them! Have hope that the sunshine will come out again and there will be a colorful rainbow just beyond the bend to brighten your day.

Lots of love and light,

Jessy

Fleeting Moments

It’s been a rough few days, Mike’s mother unexpectedly passed away this weekend.

When I first met Michael, he was living with his mom. I remember when he told me why, how taken aback I was. Here’s a successful 29 year old, putting his life on hold to be there for his mom in more ways than I could imagine. To make her dinners, and keep her company. To get up in the morning and do aerobics with her to keep her active. To watch football games with her and just chat. It amazed me how selfless he was. But Michael wasn’t alone in this effort, never for a second. His brother and sister were right there with her every step of the way. Giving every part of themselves to help their mom. Giving everything they had to help her live a better life — those three, together, are a true inspiration.

Rosemary lived a hard life. She struggled severely from mental disabilities, some that were inaccurately diagnosed which led to additional issues. I only knew her for three years but I felt for her, as so many of her issues she was unable to control. She was hard to understand at times but there’s a few things I knew about her for sure — she loved shrimp cocktail and italian cookies, she loved watching football and she loved her adorable granddaughters. One last thing I know is true is that she raised three amazing children. Three people that are strong, smart, beautiful, funny and caring. The three of them stick together through thick and thin and are always there for each other, no matter what. She raised a true family.

Life is but a fleeting moment. Moments strung together in the memory of your mind. Moments that define you, moments that shape you. What makes those moments magical are the people in the memories. The laughter, the silliness, the joy, the tears, the hugs & kisses, the smiles. With every moment in life, we are tested, some times much harder than others, but always tested. And with every test, we should grow, we should learn and we should become better people. When you lose someone important to you, who’s made an impact in your life, it can be difficult to remember that life is good, as you feel the pain that surmounts atop you and pushes down on your chest. You’re reminded how short life is, how nothing should be taken for granted and that tomorrow is never promised. With such a harsh reality, sometimes it’s hard to stay positive. But those moments strung together, those life-altering memories, are what can help pull you for air, just when you need it most. So remember the moments, cherish the memories. Because after all, memories are one of life’s biggest gifts.

To the woman that gave me the love of my life, thank you. I am forever grateful.

XOXO,
Jessy

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Back at it Again

On Thursday I found out that my pancreas had suffered a leak in it during the first two pancreatitis attacks. So my doctors quickly scheduled an endoscopy procedure for the next day to place a stent where the hole is. I was so nervous about it as I hate being put under and I’m anxious about a foreign object being in my body. But I trust my doctors so I knew it was what I had to do. Friday morning came quickly and with Mike by my side, I had a stent placed in my pancreas. Everything went smoothly and the doctor was really pleased with how the procedure went. I was even able to go home that night in time to pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters!! (Huge deal to me cause I had been really looking forward to that so I would’ve been really sad if that got taken away from me). Anyways, Saturday morning I woke up with intense pain in my stomach, I was rolling around and just could not get into a comfortable position. So I took pain meds that typically help and waited an hour. No such luck. After a call to my oncologist, Mike and I were on our way to the emergency room (which was filled with drunk halloween goers. Woof). My hope was that I would be able to go in, get some IV pain meds and head home but that wasn’t the case. After being in the emergency room for 6 hours, I got admitted, again, to the Brigham 7D. I am so frustrated because I had been doing so well. I was eating, my nausea was starting to go away, and I was overall just feeling good. So being back in the hospital bed hooked up to 100 different machines and unable to drink or eat…I feel more than discouraged.

On the bright side, it’s freezing out (I saw snow flakes out my window-ahhhhh!!!) and I’m inside all day. My amazing doctor made me two “pancreatitis” playlists to listen to (how sweet is that?!) My family and Mike have been by my side the whole time. And I got onto my favorite floor which makes things so much more enjoyable and comfortable. Definitely not an ideal situation but I’m trying to positive because things could definitely be worse.

(Here’s a pic of me and my TPN feeding tube at home! Fun, fun, fun!)

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XOXO,
Jessy

PS this is not a pic for the faint. So if you don’t like bodily functions, I’d X out now. But below is a pic of my pancreas before with the hole (on the left) and it now with the stent in it (right side). I thought it was pretty cool so wanted to share with you guys!

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Can’t Sleep

I do some of my best writing at 4:30 in the morning…on steriods. And that’s what’s going on right now. It’s exactly 4:37am and my mind is racing and I can’t sleep. So instead of laying here in bed with my eyes open, I thought I’d write down how I’m feeling and what’s new.

It’s been a little while since I’ve written a post, the frequency of the posts have slowed down in the past month and I know it. It’s not because I’m getting bored with my blog or anything of that sort but rather because I’m bored with my life right now. The past 3 weeks have consisted of not eating or making bland, “soft” meals, throwing up, napping, being curled up in pain, going to the doctors, watching tv, sleeping. Repeat. I’ve felt anything but inspirational. I’ve felt bad for myself quite honestly and that’s really it. I felt bad for myself that Mike and I had to cancel a trip to Newport this weekend that we had looked forward to nearly all summer due to my condition. I felt down for myself that I’ve felt so sad lately, it doesn’t feel like me. But as I sit here in bed in the wee morning of hours, I am thinking about everything good that has still happened over the past three weeks.
– I got to see two of my best friends, one from high school and one from college, that live in California and Florida and I very rarely get to see. It’s always rejuvenating to visit with friends, especially those you haven’t seen in quite some time.
– I got to spend time with my family and Mikes family. Both by the pool. Both with our little nuggets. And I’ve said if before but I’ll say it again, there’s no better cure than hanging out with children you love. They put a smile on your face no matter how crummy you may feel.
– I got to slow dance with Mike to Frank Sinatra.
– I got to dance crazily to “Shake It Out” by my girl T Swift with Mike (yes, there’s a lot of dancing in this house). Works for a good belly laugh every time.
– I have been reminded how strong I really am. I have learned how much my body can be put through and how I will bounce back and come out on top, even if it takes a while.
– I got to start back up on the chemo cocktail yesterday. Now this may not be traditional “fun” but being paused is a stressful feeling as you know it’s just pushing back the end goal. So I was thrilled to continue back on the march.
– I’ve learned that the guy sleeping quietly next to me (thank god, it’s a snore a lot of the time!) is the best thing that ever happened to me. That even at my lowest and grumpiest, he loves me unconditionally.

So for a crappy few weeks, there’s still a lot of good that has come out of it. And that’s important to remember, even at my lowest lows. Sometimes, I just have to write it out. I hope you all are having a wonderful and blessed week!

XOXOX,
Jessy

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Hard Day Down, One Step Closer

Disclaimer: This is not a sunny post. I need to get out how I’m feeling right now and right now, I’m a little cloudy… cloudy with no chance of North End meatballs.

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Yesterday I received extremely positive news— I’m officially in remission! REMISSION!!! Meaning that when they pulled my bone marrow on Wednesday, it came back clear of any cancer cells. Hallelujah! However, factually, they know that if we do not continue to fight the cancer cells they will absolutely come back. So continue to fight we will.
But I found myself unable to truly feel the excitement that should have accompanied this amazing news. News that my body is kicking some serious ass. News that I am going to live. L-I-V-E. This is huge news, obviously, but I felt so little relief. I had become overwhelmed with emotional and physical pain yesterday. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were, to say it simply…a lot. I had prepared myself for Wednesday but not Thursday and Friday. I hadn’t understood that I would be back in the hospital so quickly and was feeling so frustrated about it. I also hadn’t been able to prep myself for how I would physically feel… which was terrible. My whole body ached. Every joint hurt when I moved, or laughed. My head felt like a tractor trailer was sitting on top of it— and the only thing that brought any relief was to sit in the dark (and lets face it, I’m all about that light!) And then the nausea started and I couldn’t keep anything down. And throwing up sucks. No better way to put it.

So after blood being drawn, an ultra sound of my stomach and back, a check-in with my doctor and six hours of being in one out-patient room to get a few rounds of chemo, I finally was being transported by wheel chair to the overnight room I’ll be in for the next few days. With a splitting headache and my mom holding my hand, I began to get extremely nauseous and became “that person” getting wheeled by a stranger while puking their brains out into a plastic bucket. Crying. It was one of those moments. A moment I don’t think I’ll ever forget because I’m not sure I’ve ever felt lower or more beaten in my life. Not because of the pain but because of the way it made me feel about myself. It was embarrassing and down right demoralizing. I wanted nothing more than to grab Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak and hide. Better yet, I wanted to wake up from what I feel like is a horrible nightmare. But I can’t. Because it’s not a nightmare, it’s my life right now. And as much as that sucks, it’s life. It’s my life and it’s still a good one. In fact, it’s a great one. And I’m lucky to be here. Even in low moments like that one.

Around midnight I was able to get on medication for what was causing all my symptoms and it’s helped a lot. At 3am I got hooked up to a type of chemo that runs into my veins for 24 hours straight… so I’ll be here at the Brigham for a while but feeling much better today am going to try to do some things I enjoy. Like blog. and paint. and sleep— hopefully!

So all-in-all, not my favorite few day but those days are now in the past and that means I’m one step closer to winning this game. I thought I’d leave you with a fab quote that my dad said yesterday as he sat by my side all day, 9am to 10pm. As the true sports announcer he is, he compared my remission news into a perfect Boston sports analogy… “When the C’s were murdering the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals, they didn’t stop playing hard at the half when they were ahead by over 20. They kept fighting and kept playing their asses off until the buzzer hit 00:00 because they knew that’s what they had to do to win the game.” And win they did… by a NBA Finals’ record of 39 points. And that’s what I’m going to do too— keep on kicking ass and keep on playing as hard as I can. Because I’m a competitor and I’m gonna win this game.

Thanks for listening. I’m jumping back on my positive party in just a few minutes.

XOXO,
Jessy