Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

February 16, 2007 – “If you just wanted us to raise more $, you should have said so!”

On February 16th, 19 days after we raised over $200,000 for cancer research, I found out my cancer had recurred. I had my routine quarterly CT scan and the results showed that two cancerous tumors have reappeared in the same general region as the first ones (the back of my stomach, near my pancreas).

To say we were shocked was an understatement. "What do you mean my cancer is back? I wrapped that up 13 months ago!" We all knew that 80% of sarcoma recurrences occur within the first 2-3 years, and that I wasn't out of the woods for at least 3 years. So, although stats might reveal that my recurrence was not surprising at all, I had moved on and was not ready for this! Cancer was a very big part of my life, and I knew it always would be, but cancer and I had finally made peace with each other. It no longer kept me up at night worrying. When I had a stomach ache, I no longer IMMEDIATELY thought my tumors were back. And my hair was FINALLY looking good. THIS ABSOLUTELY SUCKS!

I joked around with Dave that this was God's way of telling me I shouldn't have spent $50 on an expensive bottle of hair conditioner last week (I couldn't help it, I finally have hair again!)

I spent a week after I found out angry, pissed, sad etc. and then I got ready for yet another fight. The first time I had cancer, it felt a bit like a "novelty". Getting ready for another bout is a whole different story. It is hard to rise to the challenge yet again.

The good news is that the Dr's are not overly concerned just very frustrated. The tumors are in the same general area which is good news. They have not migrated to parts of my body that can not be operated on and in the 14 months since I finished chemotherapy, there are new drugs on the market that have proven to be very effective. Apparently they are fairly mild but just as effective and because they are not as toxic as the last ones I was given, they can keep me on them for a long time (not sure if that is good news or not!)

So, I began another chemo regimen on Friday March 2nd and surgery is expected sometime within the next 3-9 months. I will be an out-patient this time, spending 2 consecutive Fridays in the out-patient clinic at Memorial Sloan Kettering followed by 1 Friday off. This is so much better than having to "live" in the hospital 3 days every 3-4 weeks! I can sleep in my own bed and it no longer feels like cancer is consuming your is just a part of your life that you have to live with.

The Dr's feel that because I am young, strong etc., I should be able to tolerate these drugs really well. I should be able to work and "live" a normal life. I have been feeling great since my first treatment last Friday. In fact, they gave me some "energy" drugs and I ran 9 miles this past weekend so I guess you could say I am feeling really good!

Although I am an extremely positive person, I still can not help but see the irony in this situation. I become a role model for cancer...mentoring people who are struggling with the disease, raising money to assist with cancer research and what strikes again! This demonstrates what Dave and I have always felt...that cancer does not discriminate! It is a horrible disease that can happen to anyone, regardless of your health, socio-economic status or outlook on life. If I can serve as a living reminder to others that cancer must be cured, then I will feel that at least some good has come of this unfortunate news.

We will continue to keep you posted.