About 20 days ago I posted a letter to myself in the form of ‘Dear Former Self’. It was an emotionally charged tribute to success in light of illness caught at a moment when I actually felt like I had my shit together. I meant every word of it and I am glad that ’20 days ago’ Jessica wrote it because ‘today Jessica’ really needed a reminder.
Today marks exactly three years since the diagnosis that re-charted my future. I can and do frame this anniversary as a celebration of life and thriving in spite of adversity. Honestly though, ‘today Jessica’ and ‘yesterday Jessica’, and ‘day before that Jessica’ are feeling pretty run down. Exacerbated by another week of chemo and an antibiotic in my system, I feel weak and worn out. My body aches, I’m exhausted, and my stomach is torn to shreds. Moreover, strong emotions float to the surface of my mind.
I left work a little early, curled up with my favorite blankets and watched a mind-numbing amount of Netflix. It turns out this was the best decision I could have made to honor myself today.
(My friend Kerri emailed this to me at work today and it couldn’t have been more well timed)
If I try to pull myself up by my bootstraps any harder I’m going to put my entire foot through the sole. So today, I take the advice of my parents, Cory, my friends, co-workers (and all of the other highly perceptive people that have nudged me to be kinder to myself).
On this third anniversary I do three things:
1.) Re-read ‘Dear former self’ and pat myself on the back for making it this far in spite of crummy circumstances.
2.) Allow myself to be sad (for now). This disease has a thousand silver linings but actually replaying delivery of diagnosis in my mind is incredibly painful and can be difficult to ignore. If only I could use ‘chemo brain’ to selectively forget that moment.
3.) I rest. I shut off my work email, silence my phone, and just allow my body to be still and comfortable. It is working on overdrive to fight the disease and super-overdrive to keep up with the unfair demands I put on it constantly.
On a final note, I cannot thank everyone enough that has stood by me over a long three year period of highs and lows. Through the fear, successes, disappointment, and hopeful moments I have never once felt truly alone. I thank you for every pep talk, prayer, or kind “how are you holding up?” check in.
From the bottom of my heart,
Be good to yourself, Jess – you deserve it. My heart is with you.
I’m so glad you listened to your body and gave it what it needed….you are a very special person ❤️
We’re still here Jesse ~ still waiting and watching and praying in the wings! Non of us has it together all of the time and it could easily be any one of us who has heard the words and wanted to run, but … you have stayed, face it full on and there does need to be rest for your weary heart, soul, spirit and mind… all of which have been numbed. Be kind to you ~ take all the breaks you want and can to regroup. Fight on brave warrior .. our prayers continue!! xoxo
Embrace your situation – Embrace the Day – (we only have today) – Embrace yourself as if you are your very own sweet friend. Jess – you inspire us all – knowing you through family and chronicles – an inspiration of reality. You are the very sweet and loving friend! We love you and yes, we are with you — with warmth and in prayer for you on this journey. Good decisions along the way – Yes, be kind to you! With love —
Thinking of you as always. You deserve to be kind to yourself and get a little down at times. You are going through a rough ride. Keep on plugging.
Beautiful, remarkable human being. I’m so grateful to know you and for all the light you shine on everyone all the time. You need to rest and restore that glow sometimes.
Rest is a good thing. My prayer is that when you reflect back from your year four anniversary it will be from a point of full remission. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Jess.