Thursday, October 2, 2014

Venom-ing All Over Town

Sorry I'm not posting much these days. I can't seem to get my thoughts together, which sucks because I have so many stories. It's times like this that I can't help but be afraid that the tumor is growing back. I can't remember even basic things, let alone important details. It's ridiculously scary. I realize that stress messes with the mind, and I've been doing a lot since Moab, in fact just a couple of days after I got back I flew to NYC for my most recent immunotherapy shot (it was so fun to see you Nate, Miriam, Sol & Larry!!) - but still, it feels different. But maybe it always does.

I talked to my dad the other morning (maybe it was even yesterday - it's all such a blur) and we started the process of scheduling my next MRI which, once approved, should fall on October 25th. I had a total and complete breakdown just scheduling the scan. I'm so scared. And I hate that I'm scared. So I did the only thing I thought to do, I reached out to my FD campers, knowing they would understand. And within moments I was surrounded by love and support. They get it. They know that fear intimately, an ominous cloud, the Grim Reaper hidden in its' dark folds, red eyes glowing.

My brain may be fuzzy, tired, not-connecting, sad, scared, out-of-wack, but I made a deal with my friend "Crush" (Katie) that I was going to make it to the gym every day, Monday through Friday, from now until the MRI. I only have to be there for five minutes (although so far I've blown that out of the water). It's a trick to get me moving, to distract me. A rule to get me out of the house, and out of my situation.

I used to just chill at home most of the time because of the venom, and its' applications (gotta refrigerate, have to find a spot to lay down, etc.), but when I was with First Descents, on our final long three pitch climb, our FD Instructor/Camp Facilitator/Friend "Honey Bucket" climbed up the mountain with my venom strapped to her back so that I didn't have to sit below in the car by myself. It was profound. It changed me. Somehow it had escaped me that I could stuff a cooler into a big pack and go. To get nuts and live; to live like a normal person, not a hermit. (Sorry hermits, I still love you.) So I've been off on park benches, on rocks, on anything that will sustain me, dropping chlorotoxin into my nose. I've grown thicker skin, ignoring the stares, the odd looks, the whispers.

Honey Bucket with venom in tow
Venom-ing at JFK by myself (super tricky photo op)
Venom-ing on top of Mt Si
Venom-ing on a walk with Dan

So, again, I'm sorry that I'm finding it hard to think straight, that it's hard for me to formulate blog posts, but I'm sure you understand, and I appreciate the compassion. For my sanity, I must get out of the house and move my body, or it feels like I will evaporate, or disintegrate, or spontaneously combust, leaving only fingernails and hair in my wake. (I don't know why the hair and nails would remain, it's just a hunch.) Off to bed. With love, Jess


  1. Venom-ing will be the new planking

  2. Does Chlorotoxin have to be taken while lying on your back with the head tilted backward?

    1. Yes it does, the nasal application anyway.

  3. We've missed hearing your voice, but there's no need to apologize, Jess...ever...


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