Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Ultimate Elixir: Family

I have another infusion today of the NDV. We've just returned from visiting my Polish family, it was the highlight of the trip! Dan finally met Anna, Zosha, Krzysztof, Marcin, and Kasian. I've been battling an infection, and it evolved into my lungs, so I hope I haven't been getting others sick. My brain is all over the place because of my cold, and my exhaustion, but like our overweight cat Bingie, I'm fat and happy. My family treated us like royalty. The food, the love, the laughter. It was so much fun!

Mushroom hunting with the family. It's grandma's favorite activity. 

Checking out the old town of Gdansk where my family lives with my cousins Marcin and Kasia. We walked something like 40 flights of stairs to the top of the church for the best view. My hamstrings are still killing me. I'm embarrassed by how out of shape I've become. For penance I've been doing sets of ten push-ups every few hours in the hotel, I squish it between coughing fits.

Kasia hard at work with the family tree. She and I will continue the family traditions, making sure the family stays in touch forever. It's really crazy, Dan noticed so many similarities between Kasia and I. It's in our mannerisms, we say the same thing at the same time, we laugh at the same stuff, she is my Polish sister. I feel exponentially blessed to know my Polish family. My cousin Marcin is brilliant and thoughtful. My Aunt Zosha is just like my mom, taking care of everyone all the time, even Uncle Krzysztof notices the similarities between my mom and aunt Zosha. It all happened because my dad took an address from an old envelope from family correspondence between elders, and he tracked down grandma Anna while he was in Poland 25-30 years ago for a hemp symposium. She is the matriarch of the family. Once he could prove our lineage (I mean, come on, who just shows up claiming to be family), we have been loved and included into the family ever since. They literally brought him into the home and brought more and more of the family to introduce the American family member that popped up. It was a miracle of kindness, and a blessing in our lives. To have family that cares for us, and we for them, and they literally live on the other side of the world. Thankfully there's iPhones and Facebook so we can text and talk and always be in contact. 

Each family member is perfect, and I just wish we lived closer. But thankfully, my treatment in Germany isn't too far away from my family. It's a gift that I will be going back to Duderstadt for the rest of my life for treatment. It will give me the excuse to see the family often, to grow with them, to stay close and connected. 

Okay, time for another infusion. It makes me tired, and I'm already sick, but I love these treatments because I know they heal my body. I have 100% confidence in this immunotherapy and of my doctor. 

Hope all is well back home. Sending lots, and lots of love! 

I may be sick right now, but my family is an elixir that fills my soul with happiness. Of course, I couldn't leave the family without a braid of their fresh garlic. I've been eating it ever since. Everyone knows garlic is the ultimate cure all. Visiting with my Polish fam was like being home. Not a lot of people get to say that, that they have two homes filled with love and they're halfway around the world. I am overwhelmed by the fortunate life I get to live. The amazing people in my life. 

Now it's time to get bundled up for a walk to the clinic for my infusion. Wish me luck. Hopefully my advancing sickness won't delay treatment.


  1. You light up the world Jess like a rocket ship of love and light, joy and enthusiasm. Thanks for sharing the storybook of your amazing life!

  2. This is beautiful Jess! I hope you feel better soon and I am so happy you are surrounded by so much love and healing!!
    Love, Maleka

  3. What a lovely family and loved hearing the story of reunion !!!! Your smile lights up the world !!!!


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