[Vanessa wrote this post by speaking these thoughts aloud and I (Jessica) just typed. :)]
Hello friends and family! :)
It’s been quite a while since you’ve heard from me, so I think it’s a good time to tell you! ;)
In general, it’s going great. All of you are helping me a lot, and I really enjoy it.
I still have the motto of living sincerely, and living each day to its fullest, which actually is rather easy. So I hope you all are willing to do this. It’s my main goal for you to have a good life!
What do you think would make your life better? I’d be willing to help you with it, if you need it. :)
Right now, I don’t have any new medical difficulties. But I still have the ones I had before. So I tend to usually ignore the bad parts (like the medicines and the pain and the details and the stages).
So far I’ve had lots of help from all of you, with meals and gift cards and visits. Jess is working on setting up an online schedule for times more people can visit, so it’ll be coming soon!
Right now, I’m still stage 4 and in hospice, who visit me every week to make sure I have my medicine and to flush my port when it needs it.
Right now I think about death sometimes. I know it will happen and it’s really hard because I fear my family will bear the worst of it. So when it does happen, please help them.
I don’t really understand where I will go when I die. I guess where you go you stay there forever, but I don’t get what it’ll look like. Are we humans in a different place? Do we still talk? What is heaven and what do we do there? Do we dance around and sing? I have these questions, but I also don’t feel very religious. I hope I will be able to communicate with you all still living. That would be exciting because I could participate and know what is happening still. I know it’ll happen so I’ll just have to deal with it the best way I can.
The little boys I am thinking about, Jess’ kids, might not understand what happened and where I will be, so I asked Jess to try to explain it to them. Being so young and not real mature they will need a different explanation.
So in general, everyone is in my thoughts. Especially Billy. I can’t even imagine how he is dealing with it and being ok. So far he’s been my biggest supporter. So please remember him when I am gone, and help him out. I hope he can continue life and maybe even find another relationship when the time is right. I’m glad we’ve been together so far and really love each other. Billy likes to talk about me to his friends (Bosom Buddies shout out!), so I hope he’ll be ok.
Mom and Dad have been great too. But for them it might be even harder to accept and move on. I want Mom to simply talk to others and get through it and learn how to handle it. Dad doesn’t like to talk about it, but just gives me great hugs (he’s the best hugger in the world). I hope he can connect with Mom about this and talk to his buddies.
I can tell you what happened 10 years ago, but not yesterday because my memory is pretty much gone. So I might need some reminders. This will make it all real, and when I remember, it makes me feel better. :)
I’m not having much pain. Sometimes I get headaches, but most days I am great. I can go up the steps just fine.
Lately I have thought about wanting to help some babies, kids or animals. I always wave at kids everywhere I go. Me and Billy and Reuben went to the pet store for our dog, and they watched me pet the little kittens. They were really cute! :) Since we can’t have children, I would like to help ones that need it.
I know I am important to you, but lots of people need help. So just remember if you can do that, it will be good for them.
[~Here I (Jess) prompted her to end each sentence I started:]
~I am sad about: not being able to have my own children.
~I am happy about: your support so far. And I know it will continue, so thank you very much.
~I am worried about: I don’t want my family to get in a twist and feel real sad.
~I am excited about: Living sincerely, helping people, spreading the word.
Thanks for reading and learning about me.
Love you, V…always…and I am very thankful you will be communicating with us after you do die. I will miss you and am tremendously thankful for every moment you pound into my thick skull to live sincerely <3
much love continued to be sent your way. I am moving soon and will be leaving my “live sincerely” sign on my bathroom mirror hanging. I will explain to the new owner what it means and the importance. then i will make a new one for the new house! thanks for being so awesome and i hope you continue to stay so positive. tis sweet of you to worry and think about others. know that where you are going is going to be amazing. i’m sure you’ve already read it, but if not, “heaven is for real” will help. xoxo
Vanessa, you are truly amazing! It is wonderful how you care and reach out to others and how you find gratitude in everything. It was wonderful sitting next to you and Billy at the Karen Wellington Foundation. You are beating the odds like people in my book and I pray that you can stay around for as long as possible so we can enjoy your wonderful self! I hope you enjoy the facial you won! I tell everyone to take the Live Sincerely pledge. You are making such a difference in the world. Love you!
V, you are remarkable! You are such a strong voice of encourgagement, strength and peace.
ALWAYS in my thoughts and prayers.
Love Aunt Debbie Estes:)
You do not know me, I found your post on FB. My husband was just recently diagnosed with leukemia/CLL. He will be going into a test study soon. No symptoms yet, but high risk.
But my real reason in writing to you is about where you will go. I feel you will always be here and in the universe. Meaning your “essence” will go on and on. One can call it a “soul” a “holy ghost”…whatever, but you are already a life force energy, even tho your body may be losing energy, you are just beginning to gain a whole new energy, a new life.
I now know you, so I will carry and hold you. And I will continue to carry you no matter what. Your essence, your family will carry it too.
Social Media has carried us so far, very far, we are so much more connected than ever. that is how you and I have met.
Big hugs to you and your family. and know that I am holding space. Much love.
Great to hear from you Vanessa! You’re a huge inspiration for so many people, thank you for everything!
Hi Vanessa…I enjoy reading about your interesting thought process. I am going to take the pledge for I just heard you speak on Sunday at the Karen Wellington Foundation luncheon. I am a stage 3 ovarian cancer survivor, I carry the BRCA 1 mutant gene (for breast/ovarian link) & just going into 5 th year of being survivor, I was recently diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia which has brought me much disappointment. Having this now, I am futhermore strengthened by your words of wisdom & wish much LIFE ahead for we have 3 young sons, ages 10, 7 & 5. My determination is VERY STRONG & I thank you for your INSPIRATION. Take care, Share
Thank you for your bravery and continuing to share honestly. Thinking of you and sending love, strength and warmth your way. Lots of love and gratitude~ Jorie
V, love you even more girl! Truly inspirational. I try everyday to follow your graceful lead and Live Sincerely!
It is an honor to know you and be a part of your life Vanessa, although indirectly. I try to live sincerely every day, thanks for being such and inspiration and role model for the Live Sincerely promise. I think of you often.
Love reading about your journey! Love reading about the love your family has for you! Your page and story have brought a lot to my life and I will never forget it! ❤❤❤
Vanessa it is an absolute blessing to have met you and to know you through your blogs. You are an amazing inspiration to me to live sincerely and I will continue to spread the word!!!!
Just happened to come across this post, and could totally relate to what you posted, questions about afterlife, what one does after they leave, do they still know about things happening on earth. The family who’ll bear the hurt and pain for life losing their loved ones.
I sincerely hope that no matter how tough things get, your family will be able to get through it. And for you to stay as long as possible without compromising your quality of life. Do take care and hope to read more posts from you. :)
Just heard about you tonight and did some reading about you. Just wanted to say you are an AMAZING INSPIRATION I’m sure you have already done so much for so many Blessings to you and your family
Much love to you Vanessa! I don’t know if you’ll remember me, but I was one of the volunteer photographers that took photos at the Cincinnati exhibit of the Scar Project. I am friends with Joules Evens and Shelly Emrick. I posted a blog of that evening I was there, there are beautiful photos of you and your sister as she sang that night. Here is the link if you’d like to have a look
As I read your update here, I was touched deeply by your search for the Truth about where we spend eternity… This is the most important question of our lives Vanessa and I am here to tell you the greatest of ‘Good News’ :) I hope you will follow this link as well. When you do, you will have your answer Vanessa, you will find your ‘Rest’.
I want you to know how very, very brave you are. I want you to know that you are loved very deeply by sooo many. I want you to know how your fight has encouraged soo many who are also in this battle. But most importantly, I want you to know… you are loved with an everlasting love… that you can find rest and peace… that you can know with assurance where you will spend your eternity :)
Blessings to you sweet Vanessa :) xoxo, Donna
Thanks Vanessa (and Jessica) for sharing your thoughts with us. You are asking the questions and wondering about the same things we all need answers to but in most cases we have had the luxury of putting off thinking about it. I continue to be inspired deeply by your strength and courage.
You are AMAZING V!
I am constantly struck by what an inspiring and loving person you are! Keep smiling! :) :) :)
I love you, V. You inspire me in so many ways. I am on a yoga trip in Maui right now, and I have shared your story and the live sincerely project with the women I’ve met here. They all want to take the pledge! I will try to take a live sincerely photo for you while I’m here. Know I’m thinking of you now, and always.
Sending love,hugs and comfort to my fellow SCAR sister. Thank you for being such a positive inspiration and reminding me to LIVE SINCERELY! XOXO
Vanessa My daughter passed Decemeber last year suddenly at 34, we never got to say good bye. I have felt her spirit, light and love every day since she died. I know it is not my imagination as the day after Christmas with a full moon, cold night and stars I heard her tell me “Mom I am on the moon and it is awesome….” we always took time to see the full moon. my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, enjoy each other, tell each other how much you love each other every day. May the Holy Spirit wrap her arms around all of you.
Deeply humbled. Thank you for continuing to share. Love you Lady V!
Vanessa and Family,
Mom made us all read the book To Heaven and Back. I highly recommend it, for the whole family. It gave her and all of us peace, comfort and introspection. I am praying for the whole family. I know that sentiment of wanting to NOT cause pain to your loved ones. You’d take away the cancer for their sake, not your own. I kept my Mom informed about your project- she was always so proud and awed at your positivity and energy. You helped her, Thank you!
After Mom died, I got my mammogram (finally) everything was clear. Working on the will and medical power of attorney. Thank you for all your help, now and over the years. Let us know what WE can DO for YOU! If you want a visit from a little guy, Brandon and I have just the cutie pie for you. I think children handle death differently than we do. Elijah knows his grandma is in Heaven with Jesus, and he isn’t sad. Maybe children are more attuned to things than we are. So while your nephews might miss you when you are gone, they will understand. They are strong, like their Aunt!
Take care, till we see each other…
I am a 36 year old mother of two girls, ages 16 and 13. I was a hospice nurse. My life changed the day I walked through the door of a patient just a few years older than me who had twins about the age of my youngest daughter, and a preteen daughter. I cried for hours the day she finally lost her battle with breast cancer, after having survived the fight twice for a total of 8 years. Seeing this site that you have created brings back her memory so fondly. You learn to appreciate so much more, the life you are given, when you see it being slowly stripped from others. I am so honored to be allowed into your journey, to see you continue to live your life with love for others, dignity, grace, and beauty, and proud to “know” a woman who will not let the messiness of life defeat her spirit. You are my hero!
I remember reading this like yesterday! Vanessa and all of you have deeply affected my life I treasure the few little Live Sincerely reminders I have!