Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014- You out-did yourself!

Dear 2014, 

Thank-you.  Thank-you for taking my breath away countless times, for the experiences I'll never forget, for taking me places I've never been and for bringing me back to places that I love.  Thank-you for my amazing family who I treasure with every ounce of my soul especially my two healthy, beautiful children, Ava and Liam.  Thank-you for friends that have been with me throughout the years and for the incredible new friends I made in 2014.  Thank-you for my health. I am completely humbled by the countless blessings I received in 2014 and am beyond excited and optimistic for an amazing 2015.  I have a very good feeling about what's to come!!

This is one of my favorite posts to write.  What an honor it is to sit back and reflect over the past year.   I vividly remember sitting on my sofa last New Years Eve as I wrote my reflection on 2013.  That was a tough year and I remember my thoughts and wonder as I wrote how despite the tough months that were behind me and the uncertainty of the future I was hopeful.    It almost brings me to tears as I reflect on 2014.  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a better year.

I know good fortune, God's grace, luck or whatever you want to call it is part of the reason for such an amazing year but I do take some credit.  Creating an open mind, positive intentions and willing to experience whatever life threw at me, to me, had a tremendous effect on my year.  I was a "yes man" (or yes woman)  I didn't waver on a decision, I went after new experiences, I put myself "out there" and I soaked in every day as if it were my last.

So what advise do I have for 2015.  Simply live in the present.  Never let fear impact your decisions or life.  Fear is fake.  Try many new things.  Challange yourself.  Don't take yourself or anyone too seriously.  Exercise.  Travel.  Dance.  Laugh.  Volunteer.  LOVE Big and LIVE Big.

Happy New Year  and CHEERS to 2015!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A major change up

I heard from Dr Bartlett's office today and the official word regarding my scan is no evidence of disease!!!!!  And they are recommending annual scans from now on with semiannual blood work! I don't know how I feel about that but I'm so relieved.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Today is 2 years since my entire world changed.  If someone were to tell me two years and one day ago where I'd be today, I'd tell them they were crazy!  A double cancer diagnosis, 3 surgeries, a divorce, two moves, new job and a whole lot of other stuff thrown in the mix..... Yes, I'd tell them they were absolutely crazy.
But, the craziest part is despite all that craziness, I am so  incredibly happy.  I've learned more about life in the past two years then most people do in a lifetime..   I know how abundantly blessed I am to have my health, my family and my friends.   I know tomorrow isn't guaranteed to anyone so I live  BIG each day, I take nothing for granted and I have so much hope and optimism for tomorrow.
I'm writing this from my iPhone, in JFK airport on my way back from Diem's funeral.  I'm exhausted, mostly emotionally but physically too.   But today is a big day and I will celebrate.
Thank you for all of your prayers throughout the past two years.  My next scan is on December 2nd.  Please pray for clear scans and bloodwork.  I'm  nervous but believe everything will be normal.

Lots of love.

Friday, November 14, 2014


My heart was broken today.   There isn't a word in my vocabulary for the amount of sorrow I feel.  Losing a friend is never easy.  Losing a friend at such a young age is absoulutely absurd. But losing a friend to cancer is enough to make my heart break into a million pieces.  It hits so close to home.  I have been trying to live through the minutes of today without a major breakdown but the moment I was alone in my home I lost it.  Diem, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry you were robbed of a long life.  It's so unfair.  I just don't understand why this had to happen.   I am so thankful that I knew you.  That I was touched by your sweet soul.   The footprint you left on this world is deep and unforgetable.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

where's that switch?

I've been in need of that switch.... you know, the one that shuts off your mind.   I'm still over a month away from my next scan but the anxiety is already here.  I am still pretty good at managing these annoying emotions.  It's amazing how far I've come.  However, I'm still human and I still struggle with dealing with my reality of being a cancer survivor and what all that really means.  Just today I thought about a conversation I had with one of my best friends right after I found out my diagnosis and within seconds of the thought, my eyes filled with tears. It's all still so fresh and raw and still BLOWS my mind.  I know that's why I have been feeling concern and worry and anxiety over the upcoming yet routine tests.  I know I'll be ok... that the scans and blood work will be normal......  I just have to get through them.

Life-  oh life has been so great.  I am so happy. So fulfilled.  I feel abundantly blessed and am in awe of how much my life has changed and how so much has fallen into place.  My family and friends are amazing, loving and loyal.  My children are my world.  They are so sweet and fun and they are absolutely the best part of my life.  My new job is awesome.  It's fun and every day is different.  I love my product, my team, my manager and the company.  My new home is coming along.   I have traveled and have some other trips planned.  There are literally moments when I am almost brought to tears (yes, that happens often) because I am so happy.  And it's not just those amazing "big" moments that bring me to tears, but sometimes it's the simplest pink sunset or gorgeous, breezy day.  I just love living and feeling life.  That is the gift cancer can give and I cherish that I get to live the rest of my life truly LIVING,

November 19th will be 2 years.  2 YEARS!!!    It feels like it's been longer yet I can't believe it's been two years already.  I am going to do something amazing that day.  Anyone have any ideas?  If so please share!

That's it for now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

a quick hello

This year is going by ridiculously fast.  I can't believe it's almost October.  I vividly remember New Years day and really feel like it was yesterday.  So much has happened since my last post so I'll try to catch up a bit.

August was a busy month.  Ava and Liam wrapped up summer camp and Ava started first grade and Liam started his preschool class.  They both love school so much.  I had a big trip to San Fransisco and Napa/Sonoma planned for Hannah's bachelorette weekend and I came down with a horrible head cold the day before I left.  I rallied through the 6 day event and had a blast.  Northern California is amazing and I will go back any chance I can.  Over the last year I have rented an amazing home is South Tampa. I love that house so much buy knew I couldn't stay there forever.  I had been casually looking all year for a home to buy but every time I found one there was an offer on it already or it wasn't what I was looking for.  My Pilates instructor and friend found this adorable 1926 bungalow in the perfect location and all stars aligned and I closed on my new home earlier this month.  It's been stressful but the kids love it and I feel so blessed to have a home for Ava and Liam.  But the stress has gotten to me as I'm sick AGAIN!  This time it's in my chest and I feel awful but I can't really slow down because work is busy and Hannah's wedding is next weekend.  I'm resting as much as possible.  I'm not sure why but I have been sick so often this year.  I had the seasonal flu in early February, a bad case of strep throat in March, the Stomach bug in July, and this makes the 3rd cold.... it worries me that my immune system isn't keeping up but I do work in the health care environment and I have been on the go this year.   I've been thinking a lot about my upcoming scan in November.  It's odd to live in 6 month increments.  Life is good though.   Every day I am thankful for "today".   I count all of my blessing twice and can say I am enjoying life to the fullest.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Elsa nailed it

Yes, I'm talking about Elsa from Frozen.  Obviously, unless someone has been living under a rock, everyone has heard the song "Let It Go".  I personally have heard it 100s of times because Ava and Liam request it every time we are in the car and the more I listen to it the more I feel like high fiving Elsa and telling her "you go girl" because she absolutely nailed it.  Just let it go.  Whatever it is...... LET IT GO!   We hold on to things that happen in our life and we carry these burdens along for years.  We build up quite a collection of emotional baggage that sits heavy in our soul.  If only we all learned the lesson of letting go.  How freeing would that be? Imagine living every day with nothing in your heart that brought you memories of hurt, saddness, resentment, jealousy, regret..... any emotion really.   Imagine how cool it would be to really just enjoy life.

Absolutely one of the biggest lessons I've learned in the past 20 months is the art of letting go.  It's not easy.  In fact, sometimes you don't even know you need to let go of something and it isn't until you truly look within yourself (or find a great therapist) that you identify the things inside that weigh you down. I have been working on myself everyday since I was diagnosed.  I'm talking about multiple therapist (each who specialize in different types of therapy), many amazing books, self reflecting, big changes and keeping an open mind to continuing on this journey called life and learning something everyday.

Seriously, check out these lyrics!!

"Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!

I don't care
What they're going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all!

It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I'm free!

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You'll never see me cry!"

Have a beautiful weekend.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

no news still

I STILLLLLLLLL haven't heard from Dr. Bartlett regarding my scan but that's because they stil haven't received it.  The disc I overnighted to them was blank (SOOOOO annoying) and the disc the imaging center sent never arrived so I need to go pick up another disc and resend.

I did get some blood work back. I had to get one retested because it came back elevated.  I am supposed to omit a bunch of food out of my diet prior to the test, which I didn't and we are hoping that is why it was elevated.  I hope to get the new results back soon.  I am saving freaking out until those results come in elevated.

Another tumor marker came back normal, but the four times I've had it drawn the levels have been .6, 1.1, 2 and now 2.4.  normal is 0-6.  I am very concerned that it is going up every time.  I hope to hear Dr. Bartlett's take on that soon.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

5 months down

Tomorrow is June 1st.  I can't believe we are already 5 months into 2014, but then again, so much has happened this year!!!

I've been to Vegas, LA, Boise, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Boston, all over Michigan, Toledo, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Savannah, Jacksonville, Orlando and I'm headed back to Ft. Lauderdale this week, then Savannah and Jacksonville next week, then I'm off to Boston again, then Vegas again, then Puerto Rico, Sarasota, San Fransisco and Napa Valley, Boston again, Houston again and possibly finishing the year with Colorado and Mexico!!!!  I absolutely love traveling.  I love submerging myself into someone else's every day normal environment.  To me, I'm in a completely different place and to them, it's just another day.

I'm about 6 weeks into my new job.  I LOVE IT.  I am working in the pulmonary endoscopy division with Boston Scientific and I feel beyond blessed.  I have met so many wonderful people and I am a part of a great team.  I am excited to go to work every day.   This job is an answer to prayer and I am so very thankful to have this opportunity.

Ava is 5 days away from finishing kindergarten.  My baby girl is growing so fast.  7 years ago the idea of being a mother was slowly sinking in as the morning sickness was setting in.  And now my sweet girl is 6 years old, she's losing her baby teeth, she tells me all about life, fashion and the world from her sweet, innocent perspective.  And my baby boy isn't a baby anymore.  Mr. Liam, which is what he calls himself, is a super hero, loving little boy.  He is cuddly and squeaky.  I am holding on to any last bit of "baby" that I can.   I still rock him and sing to him and it never fails that half way through "twinkle twinkle" we both start cracking up because of how silly it is that I am rocking this big, almost 4 year old boy in my arms.  We laugh so hard that I almost cry.  It's such a silly moment and so, so special.  The best part is that I can tell that he aboslutey loves when I sing to him.  Before the laughter sets in, he stares into my eyes and the comfort and joy it must bring him literally seeps out of his tiny voice through little sighs and "hmmms".  It's sort of hard to explain but despite it turning into a silly moment, there's a few minutes of absolute bliss between us.

Lastly, I have a scan coming up.  I have been feeling the anxiety creeping in.  I know there's no reason to be worried, but it is nerve racking.  I meet with my oncologist this coming Thursday and I'm hoping to fit my scan in Friday.  Once the scan is complete, I'll pick up the discs, overnight them to Dr. Bartlett and PRAY that there is still No Evidence of Disease.  I'll also do the normal tumor marker blood tests and some other random cancer urine and blood tests.  I will be so relieved to have this round behind me.  Please pray that I am still cancer free.

I suppose that's it for now. I will definitely update once the scan results are in.

As we enter the 6th month of 2014 let's not take a day for granted.  Enjoy the simple things in life.  Acknowledge all of the beauty in our world.  Do one thing a day that makes YOU happy.  Do many things for other's happiness.  And be thankful for where you are today.

Me and Ava at the pool Memorial Day weekend. She loves doing "selfies"

Liam was so tired he passed out holding onto me. What a sweet angel. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Birthday and other Big Things :)

THIS IS THE 100th POST! Holy cow!!

Hi Everyone,

It's been a little while but things with Me have been really great.  Life has been busy!!  I have been in the phase of "things settling down" for the past 8 weeks or so.  The last 17 months have been CRAZY.  Obviously my world was turned upside down with the diagnosis in November of 2012.  Then the next many months I was trying to balance my health, family and career.  Then Sean and I decided to get a divorce. Then I began my life as a single parent which included a move.  Nevertheless, I've been busy!  But, I can humbly say I am more blessed than I desrve and I am happy.

The past 8 weeks or so have been a little difficult.  I was on a high in December after finding out I am officially cancer free and the newness of living alone again (when I don't have the kids) "settled"down a bit too.....another new phase began, I felt a bit lonely.  Don't get me wrong, I am not actually lonely.  I stay busy with Ava and Liam (when they are with me), work, I exercise a lot and I try to see friends as often as I can.  I think it has just been the reality of this new life settling in.  One great lesson cancer taught me is how to quickly become comfortable with things I can not control.  I still feel normal emotions...... I can just process through them much faster than I ever had in the past.  I'm enjoying my life now that it has slowed to a "normal" pace.

I started the 100happyday challange. You can follow my 100 days on Instagram if you'd like.  My username is Jenesak and #Jwhappydance should bring up all of the photos so far.  It is such a good way to find at least one thing a day to be happy about.   I have no trouble at all doing this and often find it difficult to just choose one a day.

Also, Monday was my 33rd birthday:-) I had an amazing day and feel so grateful for all of the birthday celebrations and birthday wishes.

Lastly, I am beyond excited and feel extremely blessed to announce that after over 9 years with Merck I have accepted a position with another company. I am no longer going to be in the pharmaceutical sales field and will be transitioning over to medical device wtih an incredible company.  I am so thankful for this opportunity and can not wait to begin this new journey.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The most thankful...... ever!!!!

The past few days I have been extra thankful for my life.  Oddly, this past week was pretty stressful with normal life stuff but instead of letting thoses stresses bring me down or even stress me out, I was able to embrace all that is so perfect in my life.  It's such a great feeling to appreciate everything that life has to offer.  I'm so humbled that I can do this because I see so many people take so much for granted.  Lets all slow down and enjoy the little, tiny blessings we all have in our life!!!  (Like right now... I'm watching Liam and Ava eat their homemade blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes... Ava is dancing and singing the Frozen soundtrack and Liam is playing with his new favorite toy, Batman.  They are just the sweetest EVER!!)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

having the flu is for the birds

I have been plagued by the seasonal flu.  Such a bummer.  This is the first year I didn't get the flu vaccine and I got the flu.  Sigh!!!!!  That frustrates me so much.  Tuesday afternoon I started coughing and really felt a cold coming on directly into my chest.  Wednesday the cough was worse and I felt a lot worse and this morning I woke up with a 102 degree fever and felt really terrible. By 1130 my fever was 103 and I was absolutely miserable.  A little motrin and Tamiflu and I'm actually feeling a little better.

I am praying the kids don't get it!!!!  They have started on Tamiflu also so fingers crossed.

I'll be feeling 100% in no time.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


What a way to start 2014.  Jonna, one of my closest friends and roommate from FSU and I decided to travel across the country to cheer on The Florida State Seminoles Football team in the BCS National Championship game. I had never been to a BCS bowl game.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity and perfect timing.

She and I met in Las Vegas on Thursday night.  Getting there was such an ordeal.  With the storms in the the NorthEast and MidWest many flights were canceled, including MINE!!!! So I bought another one way ticket on a different airline, which also got delayed and I had to be switched to a different flight.  BUT, I made it.  Even though we were only in Vegas for 36 hours, we had a blast!!!  Here are a few photos from Sin City!!!!!!

At Hakkasan at the MGM Grand

We left VERY early Saturday morning for LA.  We stayed at a fabulous hotel off Sunset Ave and had a well needed brunch when we arrived.  We even had a quick work out before we headed off to Rodeo Dr. all decked out in our GARNET and GOLD!!!! We had lunch at BLVD at the Beverly Hills Wilshire Hotel and walked around Rodeo Drive high fiving fellow FSU fans and teasing Auburn fans as we passed them.  It was just so much fun!  

Many hotels, bars and restaurants had FSU events throughout the weekend.  We seemed to make it to many of them :)  Our first stop was at the SLS Hotel.  We had so much fun running into people we hadn't seen in years. I even got to see my cousin who I hadn't seen in years.  Such fun!!!

Sunday started off with an AMAZING hike at Runyon Canyon. If you go to LA you must do this hike.  It's about 3 miles long and it's reasonably challanging.  I absolutely loved it. It was so peaceful and beautiful.  I really, really enjoyed it. 

After we finished the hike we walked to an organic/vegan cafe and had lunch. You know I was on cloud 9!!  After that we got dressed for the night and went to FOUR different FSU events. 

This was at PEARL.  Definitely recommend this restaurant.  So cool and yummy. 

Next up was GAME DAY. We had a party bus scheduled but 4 minutes in the driver hit a curb and blew the tire!!!!!  Jonna, myself and 3 others jumped in an Uber SUV and headed to the Rose Bowl.  We made it!!!  Jonna and I went to the FSU booster tailgate and wondered around for a bit.  

When we got to our seats we were so shocked!!!  How amazing are these seats!!!  Thank you Newlin Family!!!!! 

The game was unbelievable.  We were so close we could barely see when the ball was on the other side of the field so we spent a lot of time looking at the jumbotron.  Speaking of the jumbotron, apparently we were on it a bunch.   Probably because we were having the time of our life and a mini party in the FSU endzone section.  The end of the game was absolutely one of the most exciting things I've ever seen LIVE!!!!!!!  After the game was over, many of the players ran over and we were in the front row at that point.  It was amazing!!!!!!

This photo taken by Getty Images has been published in many online articles. 

    Perhaps the only thing more present in the air at the Rose Bowl than confetti after the thrilling conclusion to BCS National Championship Game was the palpable joy of Florida State players, coaches and fans. There were hugs, smiles, shouts, leaps into the crowd and even a few tears as the Seminoles…

And a few others including the LA TImes,  a video on ESPN and this video on you tube.  Who are those two goofballs at 1:10 in the video?  hahahahahahaha

I feel so blessed to have experienced all of this.  I took none of it for granted and feel like it was food for my soul.  Thank you Jonna for a great trip.  I love you!!!

GOOOOOOOO NOLESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!