Overdue Thank You's
My voice is officially gone and I suddenly have so much to say. My lifelong friend, Adina (literally since 2nd grade and BFF’s since 7th) went with me to my appointments at Dana Farber on Tuesday. We had several hours to catch up, laugh at pictures of her hilariously large baby (her cute 5 month old weighs 20lbs and WILL play for the NFL someday) and chat. On the last leg of our appointments, I was getting a bag of fluids (NO MORE CHEMO!) and I started telling her about the deeper transformations that I was going through. The ones I haven’t shared in this blog and really only talk about with few people. Cancer has given me these new x ray eyes that “see through the shallow bullshit and cut straight to meaning”. By the look on her face, I realized that in the past 2 months, I had skyrocketed into this other hemisphere and left behind the people who know me on a day to day, year to year, lifetime to lifetime basis. And some of it is out there and straight cray; but it’s all the truth and it’s my story. I already have enough in my think tank to fill a book, but I’ll start with the blog and go entry by entry. There are no coincidences. None. I believe every decision I’ve made, every action I’ve taken, every dream that I’ve dreamt is all part of a plan that is greater than me. I believe the greatness is God. And I don’t believe you have to define God in a Christian sense or in a religious context. Define God, Higher Power, Universe, Sun or whatever other term you want to give “IT” however the fuck you want to; it’s your life, it’s your soul, it’s your Authentic Path. What’s right for you doesn’t have to be “what’s right” for someone else. And if I’ve lost some of you, so be it. I don’t plan on preaching, and no, I didn’t find Jesus because I have cancer (sorry Mom, Dad and Gina), but like I said before, I have A LOT to say. Since cancer punched me in the face in September there have been 2 people who have become “my agents” in all of this: Gretchen #kriskardashian (one of my best friends whom I only met 3 years ago through yoga teacher training) and Scottie (one of my best friends for 10 years and my co manager at Cala’s). These two have separately had to answer “How’s Jaime?” a bajillion times because even my friend and car mechanic, Dave knows NOT to ask me the world’s most selfish and obnoxious question. The 2 of them have been the “middle men” for pretty much every function/fundraiser/idea/support that has been given, nevermind their own entrepreneurs in “charities” for me. Last Summer Gretchen decided to “get her shit together,” and quit drinking (for clarity, not for alcoholism!), focus on her growing business, Saltwater Massage Studio and weed out the people in her life that weren’t really serving her. In short, she decided to live a more authentic, purposeful existence. And since that decision (long before cancer), we’ve had SO many talks about what that means to both of us… what we believe, what our souls long for, who we are, etc. A few weeks ago, we were driving back from a Dana Farber appointment and she broke down in tears and said, “The reason I went through that change was because I had this nagging sense that SOMETHING was about to go down. That I was one step away from a train wreck waiting to happen and I needed to pull it together so I could be ready… (and then a teary chuckle) I just thought my Dad was going to have a heart attack or something.” But it was me. Tears, tears and more tears. Both of us were crying and neither of us were freaked out because we both knew it was our truth. And Thank God. Without her becoming a deeper, bigger, better version of herself, I would have no one to hold my hand so closely and intimately while I go through this deeperest, biggerest, betterest version of my 3rd self. (I say three because there was the me before my divorce, the me after my divorce and now the me with cancer. 3. I plan on that number going up.) Scottie too went through his own transformation about 2 years ago. If you knew him “before” as “Scottie the Hottie” bartender, his Scott Blatchford “after” is way more attractive. Why I even bring this up is because I do believe things happen, if not for a reason (there are still things that I can’t justify to let myself say it wholeheartedly), then for a bigger purpose. And sometimes that purpose isn’t obvious or fair, but it’s part of a plan. It’s bigger than us. My friendships with Gretchen and Scottie were part of a bigger plan. They had to be higher versions of themselves in order to support me and hold me through this really really shitty time. I have a million thank you’s to say to people who know (or don’t know us and have only heard our story) me and Mike. It’s not that my mother didn’t raise me to send thank you cards- she did. But honestly, having a newborn baby is exhausting and time consuming and having cancer is exhausting, time consuming, mentally and emotionally stressful and I’m physically sick. I’ve tried my best to text and messenger as many thank you’s as possible but I’m sure I’ve left people out. I know I started this post with “I have a lot to say,” but I don’t know the “right” words to say with this thank you message. Everything I start to type sounds lame and “not enough”. This. Community. Is. Amazing. I left Maine when I went to college at Gordon, and since 1997 the Northshore has been my home. I’ve left for a few life pit stops here and there but this place is more home than anywhere else. Before we decided to have a baby, Mike and I discussed moving to San Diego. Could you imagine if we had left Massachusetts and cancer got me out there where we had no roots, no family, no support? Authentic Path. Could you imagine if I had decided to not follow my heart into the restaurant and yoga worlds and work in the corporate world because that’s what adults are supposed to do? I would have never met SO many PEOPLE and I wouldn’t have amazing bosses who continue to carry me on their health insurance while I “work” from home. That just doesn’t happen! I’ll start there- thank you Mark and Jeff- it’s a big one… and thank you for the weekly cleaners too! Thank you Cala’s employees (my friends) for running the ship without me and donating your tips to me on the fundraiser night. Thank you Cala’s “customers” (Scott and I have always wanted the restaurant to feel like you were in a living room of a friends home so I use the term “customers” loosely) and the town of Manchester who went to the fundraiser to tip my friends so they could give me their money. Thank you to everyone who has put money down on that bar for me whether it just be in an envelope or on a squares sheet where the only winner would be me… even my beloved Jack found it in his cold heart to help me out… probably because like he has said before, “I know you don’t have a pot to piss in.” Thank you for all of the monetary donations through the mealtrain website. Thank you for all of the meals that have been made and dropped off every night at our house since October. Thank you to everyone who has donated big or small and shared our gofundme site. I am in awe. I sit here HUMBLED beyond words. Thank you for every Sam gift that has made its way into our home, for every can of formula and for every box of diapers. Thank you for the homemade (talented people!) and store bought gifts that have been given to ME. Thank you for the countless gift certificates. Thank you for every hand written card, text, email, fb post, fb messenger that has included our names on it. Thank you Katy (my old business partner- more authentic path shit) for organizing a MEANINGFUL yoga fundraiser where 150/200 people showed up with love and money to support ME. Thank you to everyone who WENT to that fundraiser, to the businesses and individuals who donated to the fundraiser, and anyone who bid on silent auction items. Thank you to the amazing teachers (my friends) who taught. Thank you Essex Fire Department, Gloucester Fire Department and Wenham Fire Department for your donations. Thank you to the Manchester Police Department and Andrea and Chris for organizing an amazing raffle. And Essex cops, we loved seeing your hairy faces around town. Thank you Essex Fire Department and the town of Essex for your donations through the spaghetti dinner. Thank you Pat for organizing a raffle of your own and thank you to your friends who donated their sick tickets as the prize. Thank you Susan and Emily for both selling “Fuck Cancer” shirts. Thank you for every service you’ve given us where there hasn’t been a charge. Thank you for all donations and offers from several of our friends who own businesses. Thank you Kerri for taking amazing pictures that have helped raise so much money (who knew that would be their purpose?). Thank you Amanda for putting the natural blonde back into my naturally blonde hair. Thank you to our neighbors and everyone who has offered rides, laundry, cooking, babysitting, support, etc. Thank you Jerry, Maryanne and Rebecca for donating your healing talents and time to me. Thank you to every yoga student who has dedicated their practice to me. Thank you to everyone who prays for me at 1:20 or prays for me from 1:40pm- 1:19pm. Thank you to my maternity nurses, specifically Jen who saw me pre cancer and saw me post cancer. I think of you so often. You are right where you should be. Thank you Dr Veitch, my OBGYN for hooking me up with an ENT Dr within a day and for LISTENING to me when other practitioners couldn’t QUITE HEAR what I was saying when I said, “it feels like something is in my throat.” (Dig.) Thank you to my ENT, Dr. Turner for taking a big chunk of cancer in that biopsy, for being the person in my life who had to say the “you have cancer” words and for laughing with me when I said I wish you had broken us the news while we were drinking margaritas in Costa Rica instead of in the Beverly Maternity ward. Speaking of Beverly, thank you to the kind nurses and doctors who took care of me in my recent stay. I’ll thank the Dana Farber team when my cancer is gone. Just Kidding. But I will thank them separately in a later post no matter where cancer is or isn’t present. Again, thank you to my close friends for carrying on with the normal me, just now with cancer and x ray vision. Thank you to our families… specifically our moms. Sam is so lucky to have a Grammy and a Mimi who love him to pieces. And to my Mike, I have a feeling that when we get married next January on the beach, the words “in sickness and in health” will cause some tears, including our own. I don’t know why I was the one chosen to get cancer and go through a tough treatment process. But I do know that I am right where I’m supposed to be. That it’s all part of a greater plan and truly (I’m not just saying a bunch of shit) my Authentic Path. The key players in my life have been lined up to create a strong as fuck army and the village that surrounds me brings #ittakesavillage to a new level. I am so so lucky. Thank you reader, for being part of my story. I’m nowhere near done this cancer process and I’m nowhere near done learning lessons in self forgiveness and love. And I’ve JUST found my voice in writing.