Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

Observing Rather than Absorbing

I am getting a blood transfusion right now in the day hospital at MSKCC. I am feeling really good these past few days (knock on wood) but my energy levels (hemoglobin) were a bit low so I decided to get a transfusion so I can feel extra strong. I have a big week coming up…in addition to getting a CT Scan and heart tests to confirm that the chemo continues to be effective, Dave and I are hoping to take my nephew Ben to Duke this coming weekend for the Duke/UVA game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. So, I must rest up! Thanks to everyone who enjoyed my dance video! My nephew Shaun who doesn’t mince words said, “I liked the video Jen but I don’t think you would make it on Dancing with the Stars!” I’ll show him! Apparently I have been dancing too much and not eating enough (hard to believe as I ate pizza and brownies last night). I am officially the 98 lb weakling. I couldn’t believe it when I got on the scale at the Dr’s office the other day! It reminded me of those old Charles Atlas cartoons you used to see where the “strong guy” beats up the weakling on the beach and steals his girlfriend. Then, the weakling takes some magic shake and comes back all buff and gets his girl back. I have basically lost a lot of muscle mass through the last few months. I am trying to start to build them up again by doing basic arm and leg exercises for 1-3 minutes at a time (think geriatric aerobics). You know you’ve lost a lot of strength when you used to be able to lift 12 lb weights and now 5 lbs are tough. But, I am trying to be patient (definitely not an asset of mine) and do a bit more each day. Walking up stairs is slowly getting a bit easier and I seem to be able to walk more and more each day. Watch out for my comeback! I don’t really like New Year’s Resolutions because I feel like you should make commitments to yourself on any day of the year. In the spirit, of “every day is a new beginning”, I don’t understand why people need the turn of the year to reinvigorate a promise to themselves. So, let’s just say that I recently decided with the turning of the year to commit to “observing rather than absorbing”. What exactly does this mean? Well, although I am not proud of it, I tend to be a pretty critical person (of others and definitely, of myself). I want things to be done “just right” and if they are not, I tend to get involved to try to make them “just right”. Here’s a funny example for you. During the holidays Dave and I had to determine the proper amount to tip all of our building employees. I really don’t like giving everyone the same amount of money…I believe it should be based on performance. Well, there is a package man who is just horrible at his job. He never reminds us we have packages, he never sends them to our apartment etc. So, I insisted we give him a very small tip. Fine. However, I also decided to sit down with him and give him an impromptu performance review with suggestions for how I believe he could do his job better! I am sure this is the first time that this man received such a review and he was probably a bit shocked although he seemed very appreciative. Now, it’s OK that I wanted to help him out but the issue is that for weeks prior to this I was “absorbing” the fact that he was so bad at his job. I would be frustrated, complain to Dave and spend a lot of useless energy talking about the situation. I have learned with my disease that it is very important to keep a healthy, low-stress environment within my body. I believe that when I absorb stress, it goes right to the tumors and helps them rather than hurts them. So, I am working hard to continue to be the passionate person I am but also to know when it’s appropriate to take a step back and let someone else handle the dirty work. When I disagree with my friends or family members, I don’t have to absorb the drama of the situation…I can handle it skillfully but not internalize it as much as I typically do. As I said, this is easier said than done. I encourage you to try to “observe rather than absorb” as well. Hopefully it will lead to a more “zen” state of mind. Fingers crossed that this week goes well. Please send good wishes that the chemo continues to shrink the tumors and that my heart continues to be strong. I will keep you all posted. And please continue to do all you can to spread the word and fundaise for Cycle for Survival (  We have already raised $1.4MM with a month to go which is amazing.  Thanks to all of you who are participating or have donated your time or money to the cause.  It's not too late to get involved!