Saturday = Make Yourself Happy Day 

This summer, I have so enjoyed every day I’ve been blessed enough to spend outside, soaking up the beautiful sunshine and being near or on the rejuvenating water. I feel so connected to our world, the earth and my inner self when I’m on the water, listening to the waves crash, watching the sun set on top of the ripples, and hearing the animals live naturally in their homes. I feel instantly grateful for the moment and for the day and life I’ve been given.

   
 Since these warm summer days on the water are limited in New England and we are closing in on our final days of sun rays and waves, I’ve tried to get out and active as much as possible. Theres a lovely state park near work that I’m able to rent paddle boards and go out on the lake so I’ve been doing that frequently after work. I’ll tell you, it makes such a difference. No matter how stressful the day was or how hectic it felt, standing on top of the water and rowing myself further and further away from land pushes away the worries of the day and brings my mind back to what’s really important and where my focus should truly be. I love the alone time, getting to be with just me, my thoughts and the sweet sounds of birds chirping, fish swimming and water moving. It’s peaceful and it’s always makes me feel a true sense of peace and happiness. 

  
Today, however, I had my favorite partner next to me. My Michael. We spent our morning at outdoor yoga in front of the Mystic River here in Somerville, drank our coffees and read our books in the park, and then put on our bathing suits and rented some boards to paddle down the Charles River. The wind was strong but we were together and enjoying the beauty that Saturday’s in New England in August have to offer.

  

  

  
Saturday’s should be called, “make yourself happy day” because we work hard all week, maybe doing things that we really aren’t passionate about but the majority of us are lucky enough to get two days a week to focus on ourself. It’s the time to make ourselves happy, make our inner beings smile. Whatever that means for you, I hope that’s what this day brings to you. 

Lots of love & light, 

Jessy 

The Definition of Brave

People have often said to me in the past year, “You’re so brave.” And although I am always flattered, I also always think, “not really.” Because the reality is, I didn’t choose this, I didn’t have a choice of whether or not to get cancer and I certainly have no other option but to get treatment. It just happened. The only thing I can do is to keep my head held high and march on. But the amazing men and women of our armed forces cannot say that. They choose to put themselves in harms way to help others. They make a conscious effort to put their lives on the line in order to protect our country and our freedom. They make the ultimate sacrifice in honor of our country, when they give up their lives so that others’ lives can be better. It’s awe-inspiring. Almost unfathomable when you really sit and think about it. I truly can’t imagine. I can respect it to the greatest degree but I will never fully understand what that’s like. The men and women of our armed forces are truly the bravest people in the world. Modern-day heroes.

So as I enjoyed a beautiful few days, away from work and surrounded by friends, family, food and sunshine, I feel eternally grateful to these incredible men and women that have given everything so that I can enjoy things like doing yoga in the park, or reading a book about Buddhism, or writing about whatever pops into my little head on this blog.

Today I feel lucky to be alive, lucky to be given the life I’ve been given and even luckier to be an American.

Thank you to those men and women, a million times over.

Jessy

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a picture my mom took today at the Boston Commons. 37,000 American flags—one for each of the Massachusetts men and women who have died in the armed services, dating back to the Revolutionary War.

The New Normal

For eleven months, all I’ve been dreaming of is getting my life back— in particular, going back to work and being able to have a drink. I’ve said it time and time again, and that time is finally here. And it’s really, really….weird. Going back to work last week was overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. I was so thrilled to be back in the “real” world (however I’d argue that my life has been pretty real this past year) but I had forgotten that the real world isn’t exactly what I had cracked it up to be. Back to cube land, back to meetings, back to traffic, back to getting up early and getting home late, back to work clothes and no pajamas. I had gotten very used to my life revolving around cancer, revolving around being as healthy as I could be, focusing solely on myself and getting better. My days were lonely and boring but in a way, I had grown accustomed to it. So getting back into the grind of working is proving to be more difficult than I had expected. Everything just feels different. Physically, the day tires me out much more than it ever has and since I’m still going through chemo, there’s things like achey-ness and headaches that I have to learn how to just push through. What’s more is that my mindset has shifted so much from where I was a year ago. I feel so lucky to be here, so grateful to be alive and able to go to work. However, this feeling like I’ve been given a second chance at life is a bit overwhelming. I want to make a difference in the world and help other people as so many people have helped me. Instead, I do social media for a company that makes billions of dollars a year, so in reality I’m just helping the rich get richer. I am so grateful to still have a job but I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around going back to a work life where nothing has changed while everything in my life has changed so drastically.
The beauty, however, of the working world is the pure bliss that the weekends give you. After one short week, I was quickly reminded of just how rewarding a Friday night on the couch with a glass of red wine feels. Wait, wine?!?! Yup! I am able to have some drinks again and it feels ahhhh-mazing! Saturday night we went to a bar for Mike’s birthday with a bunch of friends. As I was dancing around in the bathroom while I got ready, I realized how excited I was to go “out.” How just the act of doing my hair and makeup, something I’ve often complained about in the past, was making me so genuinely happy. I hadn’t gotten to go out like a normal 25 year old in almost a year and that night, I was getting to do that. It was SO fun to have fun.
The past week and a half has been a whirlwind of old experiences with a new attitude. And that attitude is gratitude. Gratitude that i’ve made it this far. Gratitude that I was able to go back to work, to have a drink with friends, to workout at the gym, to exercise at all, to eat normally again…that I’m able to have a life again. i’ve still got a long road ahead of me and a lot of work to do but I’ve come a long way. I’ve got myself a new normal and I’m just going to have to get used to it.
XOXO,
Jessy

Hard Times, Good Times

I started writing this blog post last week and never finished. I went back and read it this morning and realized in one short week how things have already changed. Here’s what I wrote…

“The past four months have probably been the worst four months of my life. Not the most uplifting way to start a blog post but it’s the truth. During these months, I’ve struggled to stay positive and truly feel happy. Partially because of the unexpectedness of the pancreatitis. It seems so unfair that I would get that on top of leukemia. Because other than that my chemo caused the pancreatitis, it has nothing to do with the cancer. It’s only delayed my treatment, caused me a lot of pain and laid me up in the hospital three too many times. …. even when I’m doing “fun” things, my mind races to that things aren’t normal. That I can’t have a drink. That I can’t have a french fry. That I have to be home early to hook up to a feeding tube. That I’ve simply been hooking up to a feeding tube for over two months now. That I’m not at work. The list goes on and on. 
 
I’m hoping that the end of this funk is coming near as sometime in January I’ll be FINALLY going back to work and I think that will help immensely. But I wanted to write this blog post so I remember how I felt at this moment. These days are long and tiring. Each day I feel different, whether it be emotional or physical. I have a hard time sleeping and my mind always seems to run back to “i have cancer.” I spend half the day sleeping and another portion watching TV. I can’t take that anymore. I want to do, I want to be productive. But sometimes it’s too hard, I’m too tired. Today I was tired. I got out of my pajamas at 4 o’clock to run to the grocery store to get things for Thanksgiving. I love being in pajamas but when that’s all you have everyday, getting dressed up becomes a privilege. Overall, things have just been really tough.”

Well it’s funny what a few days, family, friends and good food can do. I had the best four days I’ve had in a really long time. Thanksgiving was wonderful as I got to see my whole family and grandparents and snuggle with my love bug of a niece. Then Friday I got to see a bunch of my best friends from high school at a fabulous Friendsgiving party! Saturday, Mike and I got our Christmas tree and started decorating for Christmas (my ballerina reindeer are up which makes this girl VERY happy). Then we headed out to a housewarming/birthday party at one of our good friends house which was a blast. Sunday we just stayed around the house and decorated for Christmas, made some turkey chili and watched the Pats. It was a busy but perfect few days and it was just what I needed to help get me out of that funk. I felt so happy to see my friends and family and get to spend four days with Mike. Times like this weekend I’m reminded why I’m so blessed. It helped change my mindset and brought me a sense of happiness that I haven’t felt these past four months. There are still hard days ahead (most likely a lot of them) and I will have to keep working on feeling normal and feeling happy but I’m thankful for last weekend as it brought both those things back into my life.
XOXO,
Jessy
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Sick Day

Today I’m taking a sick day. Mike is playing in a golf tournament and is gone all day and I have no plans. I haven’t had more than an hour or so by myself since September 3rd, the day I got pancreatitis #2. Combo of being in the hospital, so never having a second to yourself because a nurse, doctor or specialist is coming in to talk to you and now at home my mom comes every day and typically stays till when Mike gets home. (don’t worry mom, that doesn’t mean I don’t love having you, because I LOVE having you!) But sometimes it’s good to have some time with just yourself.
It’s hard not to feel like everyday is a sick day for me lately. I’m home, my mom’s taking care of me, I don’t feel good, I’m taking a bunch of medicine. Sounds pretty similar to a sick day from growing up. There’s always something a little enjoyable about staying home from work or school even when you’re not feeling well. You feel lousy but you love getting to stay in jammies all day and watch the Price Is Right. But when your sick day is going on 9 months, it loses its enjoyability. Today, however, I’m choosing to stay in my pajamas and watch trashy TV with just ME all day. Cancer or chemo didn’t make me stay in, I decided to stay in and that’s why it feels different, that’s why it feels fun! So before I exert too much energy, I’m heading back to lounging!
XOXO,
Jessy
p.s. look at these ridiculously amazing slipper socks I got at TJMaxx! I shall be in them all day.
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What a Week Can Do

One week ago today, I was running on about an hour of sleep, crushing a 101+ fever, puking up anything I tried to consume, sitting in a hospital bed, and thoroughly pissed off. 

Today, I’m getting things down around the house, sipping on green tea, watching birds enjoy my bird bath (so chute), enjoying being in my house, listening to Sam Smith and feeling thankful for having just had such a wonderful weekend. What a difference a week can make. 

I got out of the hospital on Friday and it weirdly took me the whole night to mentally “feel better.” I couldn’t really kick the anxiety I felt from being locked up in the hospital for five days. For some reason, this stay really kicked my ass and even Regina’s pizza couldn’t get me out of my funk. But Saturday was a new day, a better day and the start of the weekend hit the “reset” button. Mike and I walked around Harvard’s “Arnold Arboretum” on Saturday which was perfect. In the city, but I felt so far away from the hustle and bustle of Boston. There were gorgeous flowers, endless walking trails, and my best friend holding my hand– couldn’t ask for much more. I even removed my baseball cap for a bit (which felt amazing) and we walked around as the beautiful bald-headed couple we are right now. 

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After walking around for two hours, we headed to my old stomping grounds in Brookline to enjoy an early dinner on the outside patio at Barcelona, the same restaurant we went on our first date in Connecticut. Meat & cheese, soft shell crab, grilled cheeses with “jamon,” salad, and mussels… we rolled out of there.  

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Sunday, Mike went golfing went with his brother and a few friends as I contently cleaned up around the house and did some errands (one week of getting nothing done makes cleaning such a fun thing!). I then headed to Mansfield to spend the afternoon with Mike’s sister-in-law and nieces. Elle, who’s almost three, loves princesses, reenacting Disney movie scenes and is the sassiest little thing around. I’m obsessed. There’s nothing quite like playing in a “castle” tent, pretending everyone else are monsters and chatting about earrings, pink dresses and dolls. So lucky am I to have that little nugget in my life. Doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad day to a 3 year old, she’ll make it better. 

I hope you too had a wonderful weekend and got to do things that made you smile. Happy Monday! 

XOXO,

Jessy 

Easter Sunday Thanks

On this beautiful Easter Sunday I’m thankful for a lot but here are three things that come to mind today:
1. I’m thankful that I was not in the hospital this weekend and was able to enjoy going to a friends wedding as well as enjoy Easter with Mikes family and adorable nieces.

2. I’m thankful for Nick at Nite playing Friends every night lately. I’ve had a hard time falling asleep and “calming down” at night so reruns of my favorite show have been seriously helpful and enjoyable! There’s just something about Joey, Phoebe, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Chandler that really make bedtime that much better.

3. I’m thankful for strawberry Strudels. Yes, the flakey delicious breakfast pastries that we all dined on as 7 year olds. Well, I’ve brought them back into my life as a dessert and it couldn’t be a more delicious treat. Highly recommend. 👌

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter and we’re able to enjoy it with those you love most.

XOXO,
Jessy

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