In March of 2013, Jessica Baltimore Proctor was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. After the initial shock and devastation Jessica decided this disease would not take her away from her six children and husband. Her large community of family and friends rallied behind her as she underwent surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, in February of 2016 her cancer had metastasized to the lung. This was the beginning of the fight of her life. I was contacted by a mutual friend who knew I specialized in Massage and Energy work for Cancer patients. I had not had contact with Jessica since middle school. We had a fast and close bond for two years and lost touch when my family moved away. After contacting Jessica to see if she was interested in Alternative Medicine, we arranged to meet the following day. During the next 14 months we quickly grew an incredible bond. We talked about everything you can imagine except for Cancer. Jessica in her not subtle way impressed upon me that I was destined to do greater things with my life and I was the only thing stopping me. This was a constant theme in her teasing but it was not until much later that I understood the large gift her encouragement and faith in me would prove to be. One of her dearest friends started a Facebook group called Jessilove to assist in grocery shopping, child pick up and communication with her vast network of friends to keep them updated on Jessica’s health. I was lucky enough to become friends with many of the Jessiloves and found it inspirational to see a Village of people rush in to help in anyway possible. Sadly, this is not the case for the majority of people suffering from a chronic or terminal illness.
Having worked for 15 years with chronically ill individuals and hospice patients, I had never encountered a person with the strength and determination to beat the odds and who simply refused to believe that she would not win her battle with cancer. She completely changed her diet, practiced yoga, and found solace in Buddhism. Jessica went through painfully difficult procedures and treatments while struggling to remain engaged in her children’s lives. This was exceedingly difficult because the prescribed opioids made her very sleepy, anxious, and depressed.
After the initial shock and devastation of her cancer recurrence 2016, Jessica was determined to fight with everything she had. Her large group of family and friends rallied around her as she endured surgery, Chemotherapy and radiation. She was prescribed a plethora of opioids and benzodiazepines to address her pain and anxiety. While relieving some of her pain and anxiety they also caused undesirable side effects and made her to sleep much of the day. Jessica was able to dramatically reduce the use of the prescribed medicine and replaced it with Cannabis. This change allowed her to be an active participant in her loved one’s lives until she passed April 14, 2017. Assisting in the care of Jessica and witnessing the improved quality of life Cannabis gave her profoundly affected and changed the professional focus of Jessilove founder, Anastsaia Palmisano.
As a young mother Jessica graduated from the University of Maryland and started a career at the Department of Agriculture. For many years she and her husband worked several jobs to buy their dream home in which to raise their children. Jessica married her high school sweetheart and to see the love they shared and his devotion to her was simply magical. Jessica and Augustin instilled the importance of education and hard work and accepted nothing less than honor roll from all their children. The children are loving, wise, and strong beyond their years. It is my promise to Jessica and her belief in me that Jessilove was formed in her honor. My sincerest wish is that every person who is battling a chronic illness have a village of friends and family all eager to help in any way possible including financial donations. It is my mission to see that the Proctor children fulfill both Jessica and Augustin’s and their individual dreams of a College or Trade School education. A Go fund me account has been set up in the name of “Proctor Children Education Fund.” It is my sincere wish that by hearing Jessica’s story you may feel compelled to donate to her children’s education fund. I believe this is the best way I can honor the memory of Jessica. Each time we would say goodbye after a visit she would give me a big hug and say “Love you, see you tomorrow”. On our last goodbye she did not say those precious words. Jessica passed a few days later on April 14, 2017.