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 

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You Win Some You Lose Some

Today I won a little and I lost a little. 

Good news is that I’m off house arrest. My counts have risen enough that I can go out in public again. 

Bad news is that my counts didn’t come up as much as they needed to begin treatment again so we’re paused until we try again next week. So, I won’t hit the March 16th date. I had so wanted to keep that date and not be pushed back but I also realize that in the grand scheme of things, looking back at the two years, one or two weeks extra really isn’t going to make a difference.

So although today was not what I had hoped for I still had a pretty good day.

It started with feeling a little silly in my mask  but then realizing I’m exactlyyyyy where I shouldn’t feel silly at all. 

  
After getting my blood drawn I headed over to my favorite floor at the Brigham to bring them a boatload of Smile Cards. I have received nearly 200 from various students in NH & MA over the past few weeks which is so amazing. One of my all-time favorite nurses was there and I haven’t seen her in monthsssss so we got to catch up which made me smile.

  
Then I went and had some QT time with my Dr. D’Angelo aka Dan the man with a plan. We looked at my results from a recent CT scan which was really fascinating and things are looking good! 

Then since I wasn’t getting chemo, I had to go over to infused to have my port de-accessed and my three favorite nurses were ALL there at the same time. MY DREAM! Plus one of them it was the first time I’ve seen her from coming back on her maternity so it was fabulous to give her a hug and see pics of her little princess. Then we just got to spend some time the four of us chatting and laughing. These girls are the best and I literally consider becoming a nurse just so I can hang out with them everyday.  

 
Then I packed up and went down to the chapel as I typically do, but today since its Ash Wednesday I was able to get the ash cross put on my forehead which was nice.

I got home and decided it has been a week since I had gotten to be in public so I packed Phoebe up and we drove over to a local walkway along the Mystic River. It was cold but we were bundled and the princess was happy to be out and about. And we saw the beautiful Swans! 

   
 
Then we sat on a little pier and took a momma puppy selfie.  

    
 
We ended our night doing a very important first for a mother daughter duo: WE WENT SHOPPING!!! And oh boy does Phoebs love the shopping. Her harness has gotten too small so we had to get her a new one so she picked it out along with a hair brush and new ducky toy…obviously she needed another toy she said.  #chevronforever

 
When this shopping pair came home, dinner was on the table courtesy of Mike Stevens. ❤️❤️❤️

So what could’ve been a crummy day turned into one that had a lot of smiles and a lot of warmth from lots of different people. Thank you to everyone who has sent me words of encouragement, love, prayers, good vibes, positive energy– or just thought of me. I truly believe it’s all so important and I appreciate every bit from the bottom of my heart.

So next week, we just try again. 

Lots of love & light, 

Jessy 

Breathe Easy

take a deep breath

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

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

Body Thoughts

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I’ve been trying to work out a lot lately, eat healthy. do yoga, take the stairs. And as much as I’d love to say it’s all for my overall health, a lot of the motivation has to do with my body and how it looks. Knowing I’m going to be in a bikini next week stresses me out. I’ve been thinking about it all the time. Every time I go to get in the shower, I look at myself in the mirror and think “ugh.” Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “oh shut up Jess, you’re a small girl.” I hear it all the time and I get it. But I also know how I feel. I also am allowed and entitled to feel unhappy with my body if that’s the way I honestly view myself. It’s always really irked me when someone scolds me for complaining about how I look because they think I’m being ridiculous. I’m a petite person, I know this, but I also have flaws that I don’t like and I struggle with feeling good about myself. The reason for this blog post, however, is not to rip on people that “shoooosh” me or tell me to be quiet when I talk about my weight. But instead, it’s to vent about why I even feel this way in the first place. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and it really makes no sense. Why do I care that I have a roll when I bend over? Or that the lower portion of my belly sticks out a little bit? Those factors really don’t affect my actual life yet it affects my mental life. My body has done incredible things this year. My body has rid itself of a horrible disease called leukemia. My body has overcome pancreatitis, on multiple occasions. My body has taken round after round after round of toxins to help the leukemia never come back. Yet, somehow, when I think of my body, I think it’s not enough? If I’m being honest, that’s seriously effed up.

I really don’t know if there’s anything that can be done about this but it’s something that makes my mind move. It interests me that the brain works like this. That I logically know that having a “pooch” is really unimportant, but emotionally, I can’t seem to shake the fact that I absolutely hate it and want a flat stomach. Emotionally, I’m jealous of the tall (long haired) girls with lean legs and a flat stomach rather than maybe someone who’s short and stalky but brilliant and a doctor. When I really stop and think about it, I’m jealous of that doctor. I truly wish I could be a nurse or doctor but I spend more time fantasizing about having Candace Swanepoel’s body. I spend more time idealizing someone for having a nice stomach rather than someone who’s saving lives. That’s a sad fact.
I think we’re all guilty of this, however. Even the Candace Swanepoel of the world. And I don’t think it makes us bad people, it’s just who we are as humans. It’s the old “you always want what you can’t have” and having a better body always seems to be on the list. But I’ll tell you something, as much as I say I want it, I don’t know how much I truly do. Because, unlike the Candace’s of the world, I like my burgers. I love nachos. And beers. And pasta. And cheeeeeeeeeeeese. Good food makes life good. It’s an activity. It’s a part of life and one that I would never give it up just so I could attain that 6 pack abs look. Because “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is IN-FRICKEN-ACCURATE. Buffalo chicken pizza tastes WAY better than a flat stomach would feel.
Till the next random rant.
XOXO,
Jessy
p.s. I hope this didn’t come off as “woe is me” or a back-handed way to get compliments, because that’s not what I’m looking for. I just wanted to openly talk about how I feel about my body image and body thoughts in general.

Strength from Within

Sometimes I dread working out. I’m not in the mood. I’m tired. I’d rather do something else…like shopping for example (“shopping is my cardio,” anyone?) but once I make myself do it, I’m always happy I did. My whole life I’ve been “an exerciser” but it means more to me now. It’s one of the few times I feel in control. So much of my life right now is out of my control; work, getting a dog, being able to drink (or smoke hookah apparently– just got that put on the banned list recently), and my diagnosis and treatment in general (soooo out of my control). I don’t have control over what’s getting pumped into my body each week. I don’t have control over how I feel afterwards. I should, but I often times lost control over my emotions. My emotions about how my life has changed, how work is going, or “what I’m doing with my life.” My emotions are all over the place lately.

So to feel that sense of control that I’m missing in so many other aspects of my life is empowering. What’s more is that I feel strong when I workout. Not as strong or conditioned as I once was but I’m getting there. Just a few short months ago, I was in the hospital going through physical therapy to regain the strength to walk again. Thinking of that makes me think, damn I’ve come a long way. Exercising also helps clear my mind, I get to listen to music and get out my frustrations from the day. It helps put the worries of my world on hold, even if just for a little bit.

I debated putting up the picture below because my hair has thinned so badly and you can really see it in this shot which I feel embarrassed about but at the same time, I’m doing a yoga pose, called Crow. I’ve been working on and struggling to be able to do Crow. Long before my diagnosis, I couldn’t do it. You can barely see, but my feet are elevated off the floor and I’m balancing solely on my hands. It takes a lot of balance and even more upper body strength. I still need to work on being able to stay there for an extended period of time, but I felt such gratification this weekend when I was able to get into the position a few times. It shows, once again, that if you truly put your mind to something, you can achieve it.

That’s all I have for my lecture today on the benefits of exercising. Sorry if it was preachy but I’m just feeling so grateful to be strong enough again to have this piece of my life back.

Plus, let me not fool myself… bikini season is fast approaching and I’m all about being ready.

XOXO,
Jessy

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Dancing Yoga

Sometime’s when you just can’t decide between dancing around your living room or doing yoga, you should mix the two together for a workout that’s fun but still makes you sweat!

So that’s what I did. Turned up my Beyonce Live CD, rolled out the yoga mat and grabbed my 5 pound weights. Mix the three together and my worries were long gone, smiling as I shook my rump, and peaceful as I got my namaste on. What a perfect combo!

Happy Saturday everyone!

XOXO,
Jessy