I’m welcoming Jessie Dupre to the #BeBoldGirl series. Sometimes, Bold looks a lot like Brave. Thank you, Jessie, for encouraging us with your story.
This past summer, while all of my female friends were practicing saying “I do,” I was practicing my Professor Quirrel impression—with Voldemort drawn on the back of my newly bald head.
I will never forget the first time I ran my fingertips through my hair and experienced a clump of my long, straight hair effortlessly departing from my scalp; almost as effortless as the tears that followed.
I had no control.
As a 5th grade teacher, I look forward to seeing my students every September. There is nothing better than setting up your classroom for the school year, getting excited about new lessons, and getting those first day of school jitters. (Yes, teachers get them too.) However, this year was different. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to see my students…
I had no control.
As I was sitting on the crinkly paper in the doctor’s examination room, I was listening to the doctor talk about how I was going to start my chemotherapy right then and there because the tumor was growing so rapidly.
To my surprise, I wasn’t upset.
The doctor was listing off a number of drugs, more drugs, and side effects that were going to be my new life for the next few months. You know, just the casual destruction of my insides. But, I wasn’t upset.
It wasn’t until the doctor told me that I would have to be at home and miss a best friend’s wedding, THAT is when I absolutely lost it. “You don’t understand! I’m a bridesmaid. One of two! This is Erin’s wedding.”
I think I made the doctor feel super uncomfortable with my ugly crying because she left the room until I calmed down.
My immune system was too susceptible to disease and infection. That is why the doctor told me I couldn’t step foot into the petri dish that is known as “the airport.” I knew the doctor was right, but I had been planning on this for a year!
I couldn’t talk about it for days. Erin’s parents came to visit me while I was in the hospital, and we started to brainstorm some ideas. Phone calls were made between my dad and Erin’s dad, and iJessie was born. (Well not born, but rented.)
Using a Double Telepresence Robot (basically Skype, an iPad, and the technology of a Segway), I was able to be a part of every second of the wedding in Chicago. From Boston, I was able to control the robot. I was able to mingle during cocktail hour, dance, and even roll down the aisle with my bouquet attached.
I am not in control, but thankfully, God is.
I was blessed with a gorgeous wig that was known as my “Disney Princess Wig.” I literally had a perfect hair day throughout the entire summer; humidity had nothing on me!
Thankfully, God is in control.
After every round of chemotherapy, my body recovered quickly. My blood counts were restored usually three days before my next round of chemotherapy. Because my treatments always started on a Monday, it just so happened that on the Friday before, I was able to go and see my students for the day. My students were the light at the end of the tunnel every round of chemo.
Thankfully, I could be brave because God is in control.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Jessie Dupre is a 25 year old Elementary School Teacher and Graduate Student. Last summer, Jessie was diagnosed with Stage III Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Through love, humor, and God’s grace, she is now in remission after six rounds of chemotherapy. Jessie is continuing her schooling and hopes to become an Elementary School Principal.