All quiet on the Western front

I apologize for not writing for a bit – I was in a chemo fog until tonight.

On Tuesday, Jodi joined me for the full day of my infusion. Linnea unfortunately couldn’t make it (schedule glitch) but I got to meet Tom! He was on California time and his appointment wasn’t until the afternoon, but he kindly came early to meet me while I was still conscious.

Tons of good things that came from Tom’s presence, not just for me but from others who got to talk with him in the waiting room. He’s really smart and knowledgeable about the pipeline of drugs. He is optimistic and easy to talk with. It was like he was making everyone feel better.

Tom and me Oct 2014

And – he agreed to stay while I got my CT results. As you might imagine, if the doctor gives you news that stuns you, you still have to function and ask the doctor relevant questions before he moves onto the next patient. Sometimes, there is a decision to be made in that moment. I wasn’t too worried about the scan, but I have been surprised before. Tom agreed to go to my appointment with Jodi and me so that, if necessary, Jodi could help me deal with my stunned state (I get the feeling that Jodi can handle just about any emotional situation) while Tom asked questions and gathered data.

But, all good – the scan showed stable results! Tom moved onto his next thing and Jodi stayed with me for the rest of the day (no small feat – involves seeing me in a state I don’t share with the general public) and drove me home.

I’m so grateful for that they were both there in person and that you were with me through the wait. Thank you thank you!!!!


Six degrees of separation. Or fewer.

Thank you for your prayers for my CT scan last Thursday. All went smoothly, and I get the results on Tuesday.

Rather than feeling anxious, I’m so excited about Tuesday. Yes, I get the scan results AND it is chemo day, but that is overshadowed by the richness of relationship promising to infuse that day.

Jodi is driving me to my appointment and staying with me – always wonderful to spend time with her. And then…Tom and Linnea will drop by.

I met Tom via my blog, back when he was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer. I met Linnea via her blog. Linnea is living with lung cancer, thanks to a drug that Tom helped discover. Isn’t that just so cool? I absolutely love that we are all connected. Both of them inspire me and enrich my life, and it thrills me to learn that they are connected to each other, too.

None of us have met in person. But on Tuesday, Tom will be at Dana Farber for a meeting (with my doctor!), Linnea is able to stop by, and I have an appointment there. So we will all get to meet together at the same time, live and in person, the old-fashioned way. I’m kind of giddy.

I am often conscious that my life is different because of my diagnosis. But then I consider events like this, where I might never have experienced these kinds of connections, and I feel so blessed.


P.S. I also feel good that, out of all the doctors in the country, Tom selected my oncologist to get a second opinion. Tom is really smart and on top of all this, and I kind of bumble through it, so it is like finding out I am holding a golden nugget.

The power of belief. And heart.

Seven years ago, our older son was four years old and almost two months into his new “big” school. This school holds an annual country fair – a big, fun, Fall fundraising event. That year, we attended his school fair for the first time.

At that time, I had been diagnosed with a cancerous polyp but not yet had the surgery that would show that the cancer had spread.

About four years and countless surgeries later, I attended that same school fair. Standing at the hot dog station, trying to talk my son out of getting yet another hot dog, the woman manning the grill turned around, putting me face-to-face with my amazing surgeon. Her presence also implied that she was a fellow parent at the school! (I was so stunned that, when my son took that moment to ask again for another hot dog, I could only nod yes.)

Today, my younger son and I attended that same school fair. I was thrilled to run into my surgeon again and joyfully hugged her because I AM STILL HERE. Of the myriad doctors I have seen, she is not only technically gifted but also the most optimistic and encouraging by far. Her goal, she once said, was to continue to see me, healthy, at the fair for at least 20 years to come. I needed to hear that from a medical professional, to know that someone on my medical team was on my side to live a long time and be able to do fun things.

I am here because of the power of that kind of belief. I lived my whole life convinced that my mind and thoughts were the most powerful tools in my life. I am only beginning to see the power of the heart and the power of belief itself. You helped to open my eyes and my heart simply by doing that yourself and sharing it with me. You built on the power of the words of my surgeon, and you keep that belief, and me, going.

Thank you for sharing your heart and your positive thoughts and beliefs. It lifts me emotionally and I know it has a physical impact. I am always grateful to you and to God that I am still here. Seven years later. Wow.

Much love,


Thank you for all your good feelings and good wishes last week. It helped so much. By Monday afternoon, I was on my way to feeling much better.

I was also on my way to see John of God, who was scheduled to be at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. I recovered enough to drive there and, honestly, I believe I was carried there safely by spiritual entities. I am so grateful that I made it, especially because I knew that was where I needed to be at that time.

In the past, each time I saw John of God in Brazil, I experienced lots of fun coincidences. More than that, I walked away changed to my core and receiving at least one big message. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Omega.

The fun coincidences showed up. For example, my friend Kate told me to look for her friend Gillian. In a sea of 1600 people, all of whom were wearing white and doing introspective soul work, what are the odds? But the next day, standing in line, I turned to the woman behind me and said, “You wouldn’t happen to be Kate’s friend, Gillian?” Bingo!

Happily, I can say that I do feel changed as a result of this experience. In fact, I feel wonderful in so many ways. The simplest way to describe it is to say that I feel great peace and health.

Finally, I received a message this time as well: Forgiveness. This word came from many directions and in many forms. The topic came up in random conversations with strangers. People would spontaneously begin discussing ho`oponopono (a Hawaiian forgiveness prayer) with me. I heard that voice in my head that told me that now is time for forgiveness. When we said the Lord’s Prayer, the words “as we forgive those who trespass against us” sounded louder than the rest.

I don’t feel like I harbor any grudges or walk around bearing ill will. I assumed this meant day-to-day forgiveness, like toward people who are inadvertently rude to me or annoying. I got excited – I was up for that! I could be a light of forgiveness, with bad things just bouncing off and away. This would be awesome!

Then I randomly met Donna at lunch. We soon discovered that we not only had mutual interests but a mutual friend. Later, I ran into her again, and she made a comment that went straight to my core and illuminated grudges that I harbor that are so old and so much a part of me that I don’t even realize I am carrying them. These are the kind of grudges that drive my daily behavior, that define who I am. Dropping these grudges would be like cutting out a part of me.

Forgiveness suddenly did not feel so easy or fun.

I know that when I get these messages, I need to listen and act. Not knowing where to start, I began with trust. I asked for help and promised to do the work that is in front of me, even if only one step at a time. Here goes.

With love, gratitude, and, hopefully, the beginning of humble forgiveness,