A Slap of Reality

It’s been almost a month since I’ve been back at work. I’m coming in early, leaving late, chugging through long days. Overall, just really feeling the stresses of being a working girl again. And I have to admit, I love it. I don’t like waking up early (obviouslyyyy) but I like waking up with a day full of productivity and socialization in front of me. That was something in the past year I struggled with so much. I often laid in bed for long periods of time after waking up because I simply couldn’t reason with myself of why I needed to get up. So it feels incredible to be making my to-go coffee and heading out the door in the morning. Beyond work, I’ve been back to practicing yoga and going to the gym. Exercising feels awesome because I know it’s something good I’m doing for my body. With so many harsh toxins going into me every week, it feels only fair that I would give this body of mine something to feel good about. Another piece of really exciting news is I got a new car— WOOO HOOO!!!! I’ve only ever owned sh*t boxes (proud owners of them though since I saved my own money in both high school and college to be able to purchase them), but after rear ending some lovely lady that also works at TJX (another story, another time), I said goodbye to Carmen Elantra and got my dream car…a 2012 Hyundai Sante Fe- beep beep! New car, back to work, back to exercising, and back to eating and drinking! My pancreas has really done a 180 and I’ve been off pain meds for over a month and am eating practically a normal diet again! Mike and I even had nachos the other weekend and after over 6 months of not having them, we were in HEAVEN! I’ve also been able to have some drinks lately, which if you’ve read my blog in the past year or know me even slightly, you know that that’s a big deal. It makes me sound like a lush but so be it… I like to have drinks. I like drinking beers and watching the Pats. I like having a glass of red after a long day of work. I like having margaritas with my tacos or going to hotel bars with Michael and getting house snack mix and martinis. I like being Champagnes Moran. And Champagnes Moran I was two weekends ago. Mike and I had an awesome night just the two of us going out to dinner then heading over to a new bar for after dinner drinks…it just felt normal. And that feeling of normal gave me such a sense of pure happiness, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, I felt amazing. I felt like “Jessy” was finally back in action!

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HAAAAAAAULLTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s what it felt like. That’s what getting pancreatitis and being hospitalized for it for the fourth time a week ago felt like. A W-T-F moment. A “no! no! no!” moment. A “this can’t be happening” moment. It felt like a punch in the gut…literally. My life had just gotten back to my new normal. I was feeling like me again. Life was being good to me. And then I go in to have my stent removed on Friday and the stent gave the doctors trouble coming out. So much so that it broke in half while they were in there. So with that much struggle going on, my pancreas got “upset” and pancreatitis hit me again. I spent 28 hours in the emergency department before being transferred to a hospital room and another day asking when I could get transferred to 7D. We watched the Pats game on a 13 inch TV with no apps and no beers. (but with the company of some of my favorite people, Mike, my mom and Dr. Mandy!).
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I sat in a hospital bed trying to get as much work done as possible as I couldn’t bear thinking I was taking more time off after just coming back from being out for 11 months. I’m back on pain medicine and wearing my stupid heating pad day and night. I got released Tuesday night and was back to work by Thursday. It was such a hard week and I’m so glad it’s Saturday. Having a taste of my normal life again and having it taken away again is a lot to handle. I started crying really hard when I got home from work yesterday while I was talking to my mom… I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. It feels SO unfair this time. Everytime has felt unfair but this time just seems like too much. Having what I’ve wanted back this entire year— normalcy— and then having it taken away one more time is more painful than I can really put into words. Mike came home just as I was sitting there sobbing on the couch and for the millionth time this year, he gave me a hug, kissed my forehead and talked to me about it until I felt better. I had been trying to just “keep marching along” and pretend like this was something “I’ve done before, I can do it again” but it’s more than that this time. It’s frustration to a whole new level. But after crying and talking it out, I felt better. I’m already one week down. I’m already out of the hospital which is a lot better than the first three times. I’m back at work and have something to keep my mind off it. It’s likely that it won’t take as long to heal this time. And there’s no more stent in me which means no more endoscopies which hopefully means this truly is the last time I’ll deal with pancreatitis.
AND lastly, the Patriots are Super Bowl Champions. So really, life is still pretty good.
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Happy weekend everyone!
XOXO,
Jessy
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Time to Fix this Pancreas

Sitting here waiting to be brought in to the surgery room. No drugs in me yet so I’m still pretty anxious. They just got brought Mike back so he’s here with me now which is making me feel better.

I’m just so ready for this pancreatitis business to be behind me. It’s been a long 6 months dealing with it and it’s time to put it in the books. Hoping that I wake up and find out that the stent is out and there was no need to put another one in.

I’ll take those prayers today, they’re much appreciated.

Time to be a warrior princess….
XOXO,
Jessy

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Three Months Hungry

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My first pancreatitis attack happened on August 13th. It’s now November 14th. That’s three hospital stays in the books, about 100 pounds in fluctuated weight, an incredible amount of pain medication down, a stent placed into my pancreas, two months behind on my chemo regimen and three months in the past of simply not eating or not eating the foods I want to eat. In fact, right now, I’m unable to eat anything but “clears” for the next two weeks (clears = broth, apple juice, jello, water). It sounds unenjoyable but not the end of the world, right? I would have guessed that too but not being able to eat is more than that. I’m having such a hard time with it because it’s something that I enjoy doing so much. I enjoy cooking it, I enjoy snacking on it, I enjoy going out to restaurants with my boyfriend and friends, and I enjoy eating it! Food was one of the last things that not much had changed since my diagnosis. And I so revelled in that. So the fact that it got taken away from me just seems unfair. Now, instead of eating, I have a feeding tube that I attach to every night for 14 hours. Not exactly a pasta dinner.

In general, these past few months have left me really down. I’ve been in the hospital 45 days of the three months which is nothing short of miserable. Being in the hospital is a mind game. It’s draining and sad. You become like a hamster. For the majority of the time you’re kept in your little cage where people are constantly coming in and out to either visit, poke you with something or give you medication to take. The latter is my favorite as it hopefully will make me sleepy and I can dose off to kill an hour or two. If I’m being honest, sleeping has become one of my favorite things to do in these past few months because it takes me away from everything. I know that doesn’t sound very inspirational but it’s the truth. Trying to stay positive and keep my spirits up has proven to be harder recently than it had been in the past. I think it’s a combination of this big bump in the road I’ve had (aka pancreatitis) and also the sense that I’ve been at this for almost 9 months now and I still have so much further to go. Today, however, my mom and I are staying in our pajamas all day since it might snow and making Christmas crafts for the holidays. It should be fun and I’m grateful to be out of the hospital and doing something I enjoy… crafts! Now, if I can just get to eating by Thanksgiving, I’ll be making positivity strides all over the place.
Much love for listening to me vent… I had to get this one out.
XOXO,
Jessy

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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Twists & Turns

At 25 I never expected to know what it’s like to have a catheter put in, but I do now. That’s what happens when you gain 45 pounds in 2 days and physically can’t get out of bed.

Last Wednesday, I had a long day planned for the hospital. I was to go in, get my bone marrow biopsy and then another round of the chemo cocktail. But I was happy because that night, there was a pizza party planned at our little palace as one of my best friends was in from Chicago and staying with Mike and I. Unlucky for me, the pizza party never happened. I had known it would be a long day, 8 hours maybe, but little did I know hours would turn into days/weeks before going home. My mom held my hand as the biopsy was conducted and when it was all done, we went to the “infusion” area to get set up for chemo. Quickly I started getting bad stomach pains that grew into horrific, stabbing pains all over my abdomen. So with that, my mom, my nurse and my doctor rushed over to the ER where we discovered that I had acute pancreatitis. Unlike an appendix that you can just remove, you need your pancreas to live. So the only “cure” is to get on massive pain killers, stop drinking and eating and get absolutely drowned with fluids. I’m talking pumped with so much fluids that I went from 114 pounds Wednesday morning to 160 by Friday. (“Buzz’s girlfriend…WOOF!) As laughable as it is that I gained that much weight, it unfortunately is extremely painful and made me unable to move, stand or walk by myself. Saturday I stood for the first time with lots of help. Sunday I stood for longer and Monday I got a walker to begin to walk again. It’s unbelievable how your body can change so dramatically, so quickly but it can. The good news is that over a week later, I’m recovering nicely and the doctors are proud of how far I’ve come in a short amount of time.

The most frustrating part about this is that the cancer didn’t cause this. This wasn’t one of the shit weeks I’d planned for. This happened unexpected and is a rare side effect that can happen as a result to one of the main forms of chemo that I have been receiving and was planned to continue on for for the next few months. Now, however, I won’t be able to get that kind of chemo because the risks are just too great of this happening again and the outcome being more dramatic than a 45 pound weight gain.

I like to think that I’ve gotten good at taking what life throws at me but this is a hard one to shake. I mean, not to be a baby, but isn’t leukemia enough? Why’d I have to also get pancreatitis? Do I not already have enough restrictions in my life that it was necessary to now add extreme dietary ones? Have I not been poked and prodded enough or did I really need to have more things stuck into me? It just seems so unfair. I feel like I got struck by lightening and then a cat came and pissed right on me. Just so unnecessary.

But unnecessary as it seems to me right now, that’s life and I’ve gotta roll with the punches. My new goal is getting out of this hospital (although I was lucky enough to get back on the best floor in town and have the best nurses in the entire world. Kristen if you’re reading this, THANK YOU AGAIN, you an angel!) and get back to my bed and my life.

I’m off to have some chicken broth for breakfast. Thanks for letting me vent and I’ll end on a GREAT note: in the midst of everything going on this weekend, my doctor came in with the results from my bone marrow biopsy on Wednesday and my marrow was completely clear of any leukemia cells!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU GOD!!!!

Xoxox,
Jess

PS here’s a highlight of the week
when my niece came to visit after not seeing her in over a month!! (She was being a world traveler instead of hanging in Manch, NBD)

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