Smile! You’re on Cancer Candid Camera

21640_822431818231_1148720251_n

Was diagnosed with cancer (note my swollen belly above. That’s me sucking in. Full of a big tumor and 3 liters of fluid)

481750_824948350081_2122524232_n526718_1744642010899_1315102695_n

So my friends and I said “eff it” and had my 25th birthday early and threw a rager. Here are the tamer shots.

scarsbeforesurgery

I went under the knife on December 4, 2012 for the first of several surgeries. I had a total abdominal hysterectomy. Luckily I had my big brother by my side with my parents before the surgery. In the months following I was cut open a few more times to insert an intraperitenial port and a central line. I learned to embrace the beauty of scars.

ngtube ngtubeout

Scars are nothing in comparison to the torture that is the NG tube. WORST EVER.

chemo2yale dadchemo nurse1

A few weeks after surgery the chemo started at Yale.

haircut blonde wig shopping

In preparation for the impending doom of losing my hair, my mom and I headed to the salon and had some fun trying on wigs and trimming my long locks into something more manageable. I also learned that blondes do not have more fun. Yikes.

photo-20 photo-19dasbald

I was reminded by many wonderful friends that “bald is beautiful”

1233327_983694157187_267610236_n 941731_880804588731_207496560_n

But that didn’t stop my family and I from having some fun with a few novelty “cranial prosthesis”

kellywig michellewig caitlinwig

It also didn’t stop me from making my friends try on my wigs for my amusement (p.s. they are all red heads/blondes)

port photo-24

I rocked a lot of hats after I lost my hair. I grappled with my perceived stigmatization of “cancer patient” without my hair.

js3 20130717-122300.jpg photo

But eventually I put it out into the world.

advice2 advice photo-33

Sometimes in the midst of physical and emotional pain and the uncertainty of my condition I got scared. Luckily I had the support of many to keep me afloat. I’m smart to have kept some evidence.

truefortune

Sometimes the advice came from the universe.

parents parents 2

Nothing compares to the wisdom of your parents.

598633_854438940701_500409342_n-1 535416_854440357861_928337347_n

Even on Valentines Day in the hospital I got by with a little help from my friends. Stack was the BEST valentines date…

733982_878321744371_1356731642_n

…and chemo date…

stpatricksshake

…and St. Patricks date.

facetimewithfoof

When my immune system was compromised, even my tiniest of friends found a way to cheer me up!

Regardless of chemo, surgeries, and general unpleasantness my friends, family and I were determined to have fun…

stacey me portsmouth muppet capechatham 969171_984118451925_2129342589_n 539182_10100896214176670_1635714600_n photo-48 IMG_2068 photo-39 photo-36 photo-32 1454638_10153416710525304_425204258_n 1463454_966564889401_2065764011_nphoto-31 funny

And with the fun came some rewarding hard work further fueling me to still pursue my dream of finishing a half-marathon. For now, a messy 5k will do…

workingout CPVD13_03_02057_L CPVD13_10_01776_L

Thank goodness I worked so hard to gain my weight and strength back because I had some weddings to boogie at!

katiebride mollybride solari carlson Carlson 2 67046_962264537341_477628031_n 521734_962253299861_1528091582_n

1146653_927050441671_1195196776_n

I also didn’t have any time for cancer because I needed to go on vacation to California to see my brother…

photo-45 photo-47 photo-44 shadowbrook

I also had to jet set to Wisconsin for an Australia 2009 reunion!

1266857_10151824123204886_1773233836_o

Where I learned how to drive a jet ski and was showered with paper cranes 🙂

1270796_10151824020664886_146178518_o 1017583_10200154912696883_350056840_n

Cancer had to go on the back burner because I also had to casually hang out with New Politics and The Mowgli’s…

newpolitics IMG_0479.JPG photo-50 mowglissilly

The most important “rockstar” I met all year was hands down Eff Leukemia’s own Tony Lanza. He kicked Leukemia this year and after many months of being “cancer pen pals” we finally met! Best day.

tony

But nothing was better than my biggest accomplishment of the year:

mexican restaurant fuckcancer IMG_2037nails mexicangirls cheers boysmexican

Finding out that I was cancer free and announcing it to the world (despite Chris showing up late and ruining everything hehe)

terminalcancer

And as the result of such good care from my parents, brother, oncologists, surgeons, nurses, PA’s, family, friends, colleagues,  and strangers I am here today. Clearly not many of my darker times were documented. It wasn’t all sunshine but I am really lucky to have captured so many moments that were wonderful. My heart is very full right now.

THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to everyone that ever cared, worried, sent love and support. It’s been a hell of a year.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Smile! You’re on Cancer Candid Camera

  1. Jess, we briefly shared a treatment room at Women and Infants Cancer Center, back in April. I think you were on your second-to-last day of chemo. You made a huge impression on me then, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to read this post. I’m sitting here grinning at my computer, all teary eyed. You go!

      • I’m doing great. My condition isn’t curable, but it is manageable, and we have found the right balance of treatment. No more blood-letting — I’m on meds, and only have to see the doc once a month. Best of all, for the first time since April, I’m back to running. Life is good.
        Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s