Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

Jen:4 Cancer:0 -Gearing up for Another Battle

I am going to keep this journal entry short because I am drained and frankly, don’t really feel like talking about my situation. I went into the hospital on Friday, December 12th because I had excruciating stomach pains. Dave and I thought that I had eaten something bad and that I was suffering from a bad case of food poisoning. When the cramps and fever didn’t disappear after 24 hours, we decided to visit the urgent care center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
The irony is that we actually had the conversation around “Why are we going to MSKCC, I no longer have cancer?” as we got into the taxicab. The truth is, it has become our safe place and we knew that they would take good care of us. The next 5 days in the hospital are a bit of a blur. When the pain didn’t subside, the doctors ordered 1 test which led to another test to another….and unfortunately the cancer is back for the 4th time. Dave and I have learned through this process to try and find the good in any news we have. Well, the good news is that there is some “good: about my current situation:
    • The tumor is in roughly the same place as my last tumors were (left side of the pelvic area this time versus the right) -- close enough to signal that the cancer has not spread.
  • Because the tumor is not in exactly the same place as before, there is no scar tissue in that area of my stomach so it should be a bit easier to operate when the time comes (the more scar tissue remains in an area, the harder it is to engage in surgery).
I will be starting chemo a week from Friday (1/2) and will be getting my medi-port reinserted in my chest on 12/31 (HAPPY NEW YEAR!). Although the doctors are very optimistic, they encouraged me to start chemo within the next few weeks. I told them that I needed 1 week to cry and scream “This is not fair!” And then, I need a 2nd week to start playing Rocky music in the house and gear up for this battle. I don’t really understand why this cancer is so stubborn…doesn’t it know who it is messing with?!?
So, the plan is most likely chemotherapy followed by surgery at some point in the next few months. The doctors are tossing around radiation therapy for the first time but we are not sure if this is an option. We will know more mid-late January when I meet with the head radiologist at MSKCC. I have a lot of funny stories to share about my hospital stay and I will make sure to write them on my blog as soon as I move on to a different mental state. Right now, I am just sad and prefer to be by myself. I find that I am super-sensitive and talking to people makes me feel drained. So feel free to call and send supportive emails and I hope you’ll understand if it takes me a while to get back to you. Many of you have asked how you can help and Dave and I truly appreciate that. The answer is quite simply to get involved in some way with Cycle for Survival (, the charity that Dave and I created 3 years ago to raise money for rare, underfunded cancers. You can donate, participate and spread the word. Although I do love the pajamas, candles, flowers and goodies that people send me, the gift that means the most to me is for you to support I am a "glass half-full" type of person so I don't choose to dwell on the following harsh realities of my situation:
  • I have a rare type of cancer with no known cure. 50% of people die from this cancer
  • I have already relapsed 3x and without funding to research new alternatives, my options are becoming more scarce
  • I am not alone. "Orphan" cancers affect millions of people a year, but don't get the attention and funding they desperately require
I know the economy makes it hard to be generous this year however 100% of the money raised will be directed to cutting-edge trials and research at the world's leading institution for cancer care - Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. If you make one donation this year, this money will make the most difference. Please spread the word to anyone you know and visit the website ( to learn how you can get involved. I sleep better at night knowing that Dave and I are doing all that we can to raise money for more treatment options. Your donations help me, and countless others, live with more hope. I will write again soon. In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful Holiday and a Healthy and Happy 2009!