Sunday, January 31, 2010

Two Years

A bunch of you probably got this in email form so feel free to skip. For all my loving lurkers and other internetz budz, you are part of my gratitude:

Friends and Family:

I’ve been struggling to compose this email, but today is the 2 year anniversary of my Leukemia diagnosis and it’s unreal to think that I’m sitting in my house in Berkeley, a graduate student, exhausted from 90 minutes of power yoga and worried only about balancing school work and beer drinking. Not only has this experience opened new doors (Berkeley! Yoga!) but there were so many times when I just couldn’t imagine getting to this place. I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m very… content.

As of Wednesday, January 13th, I am completely done with two years of chemotherapy! With clear scans and bone marrow that is “clean as a whistle” I am officially in remission. What a joy.

I just want to say again how grateful for all of you, my supportive community. Thank you so much for all the love and kindness you have sent out to me, my parents, and my sister. It is overwhelming. I hope that in the next few months I have a chance to thank those of you who made a particular impact. Of everyone though, I’d like to thank my mom who has been a source absolute and ceaseless support. When I was angry or despondent or completely manic on Prednisone, she would take my phone calls and just listen. I’d also like to thank my Seattle roommates (dinner club and Mansioneers) who provided the kind of day-to-day logistical and emotional support that made it possible for me to be a Strong Woman and look like I was handling things with grace and independence.

Finding closure for this part of my life is still a bit elusive. It has not been an unqualified bad experience: I have met so many amazing people and learned appreciation for the many, many blessings in my life. Saying goodbye to my care team at Swedish Cancer Center seems next to impossible—these are some of the most important people to have touched my life. Additionally, I dare say I am a much happier and relaxed person than I was before diagnosis.

Luck is a two-way street. While I celebrate my own health and remission it feels terrifyingly random and at times cruel that I have been given so many gifts while many suffer with disease that cannot be cured, truly difficult decisions, reduced access to care, and health insurance woes. Or for goodness sake, I could be living in Haiti so there is a certain amount of discomfort I’m experiencing with much of the rhetoric around Survivorship.

While I parse that out, just know that I’m Living Strong, and wishing you all the best.

Happy 2010,

Jessie

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

i'm astonished by how brilliant, beautiful and amazing you are. i wish i had an ounce of your resolve and fight. i don't give a shit what you write about, it is always uplifting and also, frankly, entertaining (funny, absurd, incisive, etc.). when you are in the weeds, you flesh it out so exquisitely. when you are walking on sunshine, your glory is ours. when you rant about policy, you wax substantive. you vibrate. and i'm delighted that you are squeaky clean (marrow-wise). thank you beautiful.

Lauren/Lo/Sassy said...

Jessie,

I didn't know you had leukemia, but I have to say way to fight it! Hope all is going well at Berkeley. Such an awesome place (when I've visited for conferences or friends who live there).

best,
Lauren

Rosa said...
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