Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless
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Fearless Blog

07.17.2007 Posted 4:40 pm

July 17th – Update

Posted 5:00PM by David Linn
Hi Friends and Family!
Our star patient is recovering very well from surgery. Jen is in some pain and is very tired, but overall she is doing great. She’s been resting most of the day, but she did get up for 2 slow walks today with her IV.
Some of you asked about visitors. Yes, Jen is up for visitors although we all need to make sure she is getting enough rest. She is open to visitors this week at the hospital, but she is particulary interested in visitors next week when she’ll likely be at home with a bit more energy and mobility.
You can reach me by email or cell phone, or you may be able to reach Jen on her cell phone. Those are better options than the room phone since it doesn’t have caller ID, making it tough for me to screen your calls 🙂
Seriously, feel free to call either of us at any point, but I’ll try to keep adding updates to this …

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07.16.2007 Posted 9:55 pm

July 16th – We Need to Stop Meeting Like This

10:30PM Posted by David Linn
Today was another stressful, but happy day in our fight against cancer.
This morning, Jen blasted a bunch of Rocky music to get in the right frame of mind. There’s nothing like “Eye of the Tiger” to start the day off right! Then, as we walked out of our apartment, Jen saw that our neighbors had posted an inspirational sign on their door that said, “WE HATE TUMORS TOO!” Jen was now definitely ready for her surgery. Thanks, Nick and Erica. The sign was perfect.
As some of you know, the surgery is not an easy thing to go through. Jen wasn’t able to eat for almost 48 hours, and she had to wait at the hospital for about 6 hours before she was brought into the operating room.
However, I’m very happy to report that the surgery went well. The doctors removed the two tumors in her abdomen area. They did not see any other areas of concern.
Jen is very tired and in quite a bit of pain, …

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07.15.2007 Posted 9:32 am

July 15th – Three Times A Charm

Dave and I found out this past Thursday that I will be having my third surgery this coming Monday, July 16th. The surgery was always expected but I thought it would be later on (around September). The good news is that the chemo is working really well and the reason for the surgery being pushed up is because my surgeon is thinking that if we wait much longer, the tumors will be completely gone and he won’t be able to see and “study” anything.
I told my team of Doctors that I wanted to do the most aggressive thing possible…and that is surgery.
So, overall good news but the short notice was totally unexpected! I rushed back to the office Thursday afternoon to make the most of the 1 day I had to get things set. I will likely be out of work for at least 3 weeks. My Dr’s are confident that this surgery will be fairly straightforward (like the last one). I will most likely be at MSKCC for …

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07.7.2007 Posted 6:07 pm

July 7th – I am So Tired of Dealing with This!

The last few weeks I have been very sad. Although I try to put on a happy face most of the time, it would be unrealistic for me to be cheerful all of the time. Dave and I have made it our intention to not give in to cancer. We refuse to change our lives because of this horrible disease. We go to work, we socialize with friends and we get chemo once a week. It has just become part of our lives…something that we need to fit in to our busy schedules. Although we prioritize my health, the minute we begin to accommodate it too much, it means that the cancer has won…and we refuse to let that happen.
However, living our lives this way does not mean that there aren’t moments or days that we are very in touch with how much it SUCKS. How much I HATE the fact that every Friday afternoon I have to show up for chemo. How much I HATE that the drugs’ side …

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06.26.2007 Posted 7:38 pm

June 26th –Vain yet Honest

Cancer has made me confront many things…my fears, my insecurities, my perseverance and my strength. I find that throughout this experience, I am pretty happy with how I am dealing with it. However, I am learning certain things about myself that I really don’t like. For one, I am very vain.

I remember when I was first diagnosed 2.5 years ago, I told my Doctor, “OK, the drugs you put me on can make me fat OR bald but not both!” Sure enough, my first round of chemo, I lost a lot of weight and had great wigs so I embraced being bald. This time around I was warned that the chemo drugs might make me swollen or bloated. I reminded Dr. Maki “fat or bald…not both!” Well, slowly but surely, the drugs started to do their thing…and I noticed that my shoes were tight and my clothes were snug. I was so upset!
When I visited the Dr. last week for my treatment he looked down at my ankles and couldn’t …

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06.10.2007 Posted 6:58 pm

June 10th – Celebrating Life Beyond Cancer

Survivorship has been a movement that has gained great momentum over the past few years. The Lance Armstrong Foundation donated over $1million to MSKCC two years ago to kick-start efforts to start examining “survivors” – how they adapt back to life – physically and emotionally. Just the fact that survivorship is now something to focus on shows how far cancer research has progressed. It used to be that most people died of cancer so there was no reason to spend resources thinking about life beyond cancer. Thanks to advances in medicine, this is no longer the case. More and more energy is being put towards understanding how to “track” the health and well-being of survivors 5, 10, 20+ years beyond cancer. What side effects or health issues tend to linger? What are the psychological side effects that cancer introduces to a patient over time? The hope is that this effort will allow oncologists to not only treat a diagnosis but also treat a patient over their lifetime.

Last year, I was …

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05.31.2007 Posted 8:53 pm

May 31st – Who Wants to Have Surgery over the Summer Anyway?

I had my 3rd CT scan since I started this round of chemo and the great news is that the chemo continues to work. My tumors continue to shrink and I am showing “excellent response” compared to most patients. Of course, this is a huge relief.
I sometimes find that I have to catch myself from saying to the Doctors, “But I showed excellent response last time and you told me I was in the top 5% of responses from all patients and my cancer still came back!” Of course, this type of attitude is not productive. I just need to accept that every exam with an absence of bad news is, in fact, a step in the right direction. According to the Doctors, it doesn’t matter what chemo cocktail I respond to, as long as I respond to one. So, let’s hope the cocktail I am getting every Friday works for good.
I find that the more I learn about cancer, the more I realize how ongoing treatment is a science …

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05.13.2007 Posted 4:08 pm

May 13th – Looking for a Happy Medium

I just finished my 4th round of chemotherapy on Friday. I am sitting home dealing with the unfortunate side effects that accompany the first few days after my “big dose” treatment. The steroids I used to take would make me jittery and keep me up all night…however, they also prevented nausea. Since I did not like them, my doctor agreed to lower my dosage. However, now, I am up all night feeling nauseous! It’s a trade-off between insomnia and nausea and I chose nausea. At least this only lasts for a few days.
I have been very aware of the fact that I have been acting schizophrenic lately. Don’t worry, all of the treatments have not contributed to giving me a mental disorder. However, I feel like I am often giving mixed signals to people regarding how I want to be treated during this process. Most of the time, I want to be treated “normal” and I don’t want people to dwell on my disease. However, sometimes, …

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04.28.2007 Posted 3:45 pm

April 26th – “Who Knows Where the Path Leads?”

Since my cancer relapsed in mid-February, there is one question that has repeatedly been asked of Dave and me….and it the question that really drives me crazy. The question is asked in a number of different ways but it comes down to asking how much longer I will need to go through treatment:

“So, how many more rounds of chemo will you have?”
“How much longer until you think you’ll have surgery?”
“When do the doctors think you’ll be done?”

And my answer is always the same: “I DON’T KNOW AND STOP ASKING ME THAT QUESTION!” It reminds me of an episode of The Smurfs (remember them?) when Papa Smurf was taking one of the baby smurfs somewhere and every 2 seconds the baby asked “how much father Papa Smurf?” By the 10th time, Papa Smurf exploded and said “We’ll get there when we get there!” Well, that is how I feel.
I don’t mean to get so angry. It is a completely rational and appropriate question to ask. Like Dave and me, …

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04.13.2007 Posted 10:50 pm

April 13th – “So far so Good”

I had my first CT Scan this week and the results are very encouraging. Dr. Maki reported that one of my tumors is already considerably smaller and the other one has “shown signs” of reacting to the chemotherapy. Originally, the Dr. thought that the second tumor was attached to my pancreas which might make for a more difficult surgery down the road. However, the second tumor has moved a bit within my abdominal area which is a sign that it may not be attached to an organ which is good news for both my surgeon (easier surgery) and me (easier recovery).
Apparently, only about 50% of the time, Dr’s can see a response to chemotherapy after just six weeks of treatment so this “activity” is very good.
And my prize for responding so well to the chemo…another 6 weeks of chemo! The Dr. told us to be prepared for 3-12 months of chemo so this is not surprising. Although I was hoping he would say I am done!
I left the …

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