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)

JessieHeadshotJessie 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.

Linking up with Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart, and Jaime Wiebel at #SittingAmongFriends

  • Jessie, just so you know – you ROCK! I love this post! I love what you shared and the spirit in how you shared it. I love your love for your students and your brave outlook on life. You are so beautiful. We all should look so good with short hair. You are rocking that Halle Berry, girlfriend! And I think you’re so blessed to be surrounded with friends and family that helped “ijessie” to come to life. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • This is beautiful, Jessie. I get the new teacher thing. I was a teacher for several years and love te new beginnings of a new year. What joy it must have been for you in the midst of your trials. Kids will do that for a heart. Thank you so much for being bold and brave and sharing your heart with us here. Many blessings to you and your future. #BeBoldGirl

  • Love, love, love this, Jessie! My husband is a 13-year survivor of stage IV non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with central nervous system involvement (I joke that his cancer went to his head). He was an elementary school teacher when he was diagnosed at 34, and now he’s the principal of a k-12 school for Native Americans. May God be with you on your journey of healing and return to good health (and I LOVE your creative solution to not being able to attend the wedding in person). You rock!

  • Love, love, love this and the best line is… “To my surprise, I wasn’t upset.” Until it gets too close, the pain, the intrusion on our comfort and desires. Way to see past it, Jesse and see God’s plan for you instead. Thanks Rachel for bringing us Jesse’s story!

  • Praising the Lord for how He has healed you and brought you through! Glad for His plans for you and you sharing about how He makes you brave and bold. Thanks for the encouragement today!

  • He is in control and he is the Healer, choosing to think about someone else is a great way to take your mind off illness, and let that healing love flow. Wonderful story, I pray you are blessed with a complete recovery.

  • Brave and Bold, Jesse! What an inspiration to place all our fears and concerns in the One who controls the universe! Thank you for your words! Blessings, liz

  • Thanks, Rachel, for sharing your space with Jessie. I so appreciated this inspiring story that puts skin on the truth of Jeremiah 29:11.

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