Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

It’s All About Perspective

There’s a quote from Ivy Baker Priest, a former U.S. Treasurer that I love: “The word is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.”

If you read my article in this coming month’s Whole Living Magazine, you know that I prescribe to the theory that day-by-day we find our way. We begin again. And it’s never too late to start. I believe that your perspective on a situation can greatly change how you “move through” the situation at hand.

Case in point: most people hate rain. They believe it’s dreary, depressing and inconvenient. However, my great-grandmother believed that rain signaled good fortune and great luck. I never met her – she passed away the week I was born. However, her philosophy was passed down to my brother and me. Whenever it rained outside, rather than get glum, we would be optimistic that something good was going to happen because “great grandmother always said rain was good luck!”

Over the years there were so many important days (graduations, birthday parties, surgeries) that were rainy and it never bothered me. It gave me hope. In fact, I think I am probably the only bride who was hoping that it would rain on our wedding day (well, to be completely honest, rain in the morning and be beautiful by the ceremony!).

To this day, every time it is rainy outside, I change my perspective from dreary to optimistic and hopeful. The way I bring myself to a situation changes the way I handle it.

Another “superstition” that my family believes in is Chinese Fortune Cookies. It might sound odd but my mother believes that the mass-produced message inside a fortune cookie provides an omen for what will come.

Although my mother is known to exaggerate a bit, she claims that a few days before I was born, she had a craving for Chinese food and the fortune cookie said, “A girl of great promise will enter your life.” She went into labor shortly afterwards and Jennifer Stacey Goodman was born. Hopefully I have lived up to the fortune!

Twenty-six years later my mom received the SAME fortune just a few days before my brother married Emily, my wonderful sister-in –law who joined our family after dating my brother for 12 years! She definitely lives up to the fortune.

My mom tends to stick more religiously to the fortune cookie messages when things get tough. This past fall when I fell very ill, she sent me a fortune cookie that said, “Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley”. At the time, the fortune provided great comfort to us because we were truly hoping that the Dr’s would find a new approach and I would be given another shot at life. As we all know, a miracle happened and the treatment that I am on seems to be working.

Dave and I celebrated “Jewish Christmas” this past week with our tradition of multiple movies and Chinese food. When I opened my fortune cookie it read, “Sing and rejoice; fortune is smiling on you!” I pray that this cookie’s message is legit and that I will continue to have luck and fortune as I battle this disease.

Yesterday, December 30th was my 6-year cancerversary. It’s hard to believe that I have been living with this disease for six years. I usually spend the day pampering myself and declaring it a bit of a celebration. This year Dave and I spent the day meeting with a variety of integrated oncologists in Chicago. When I get a bit stronger, I will make sure I get that day of pampering on the calendar.

It is New Year’s Eve and I am headed into cycle #4 of my chemotherapy regimen. The doctors and nurses were surprised that I wanted chemotherapy on New Year’s Eve but it feels right to me. I am not looking forward to chemotherapy today but I know that I am doing all that I can to rid myself of the disease. It signifies to me the end of a tough year and the beginning of a promising year when my health will be prioritized and handled.

Thank you to everyone for extending good thoughts and wishes to my friend Gregg. Unfortunately he lost his battle to cancer on Christmas Day. He was surrounded by family and died in peace. I will miss him terribly and ride for him at Cycle for Survival ( this year. Stories like this make me more committed than ever to find more options for those of us battling rare forms of the disease.

I wish you all a happy and HEALTHY 2011. May all that you wish for be the least that you get! Love, Jen