Living Life

January 24, 2001|

Living Life

Let’s just say it’s been a busy past few days since getting out of the hospital. “Taking it easy.” Sorry, not in Art’s vocabulary.

Friday, I busted out, finally. I was not content with just going home, so I convinced my mom and little brother Billy (who was up from Philly for the weekend) to see a movie. We joined the throngs of teenagers (and other adults I must surprisingly say) at “Save the Last Dance.” It actually was a quality movie with more than just slammin’ dance moves and a cute female lead. I recommend it.

Saturday, we had another awesome day with a lunch party at my apartment with friends from New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Mom cooked a huge lunch. That night, though, because of the snowy weather I stayed in and hung out. Sunday, all of us went to church together. It was one of the best services I have ever been to. Singing was amazing, sermon was out of this world (mom bough two tapes of it!), and for me it was good to be able to go to church after three weeks of Sundays cooped up.

Monday, it was off to see another movie, “Chocolat” (excellent!), this time at the giant AMC Cinema on Times Square. We then walked home, which was about a mile walk, stopping off at all of the music stores looking for the soundtrack to “Save the Last Dance.” Shakin’ the bootay.

More teenage girlsĂ–.

Lastly, yesterday morning, I went into the office to surprise all of theco-workers. Surprises are the best!

Then in the afternoon, after much planning and thought, I had to go see a taping of MTV’s “Total Request Live.” No, Carson Daly, wasn’t hosting, but O-Town (from “Making of the Band” fame, ABC Friday nights) hosted. I didn’t get into the studio, a little too late getting there, but I stood outside the entire time and got on TV as the camera pannedthe crowd.

Mom, she decided to pass on the whole experience and instead went to buy more sermon tapes (I told you it was good!) at the church offices. I ended making friends with Jamie, a senior advertising major from the U. of Georgia, up in NYC with a tour of UGA students checking out magazine and publishing companies. I didn’t feel so old after hanging with her. 🙂 It was actually quite a memorable experience and watching it on TV last night was pretty cool.

Even Jamie asked me if I should be out after all I have been through the past few weeks. No I am not crazy, yes I was given permission to go out (just not allowed right now to eat restaurant food). Yeah, I could have spent this past week in my apartment, plenty to do here. But instead I want to live. Making memories. If I can share anything with you from living in the hospital for three weeks, it’s just about getting out and living. Get out and make memories.

And The Dinner

The dinner. Now that was a memory, for me, and for the 1100 people whoshowed up, from what I understand. 1100 people!!! 1100 people!!!

The Story

Before Dr. Baird got into her accident, she wanted to put together a dinner benefit for me. The Connection was going to perform, simple donated spaghetti, and a Chinese auction. Little did anyone know what was in store. The story broke and it made the newspaper (see article). My old radio station got wind of it and they announced it on the air. Word spread. Last Saturday, from first count, 1100 people parked up to two miles away, waited in line for an hour for spaghetti and then tried their luck at the auction. I was able to give a little speech via cell phone. The TV news showed up to do a story and want to do another story. Here are some e-mail comments I received:

“I’m so glad to hear that you are feeling better, we are praying along with our daughter for you as well as your family. We’ll continue to pray keep smiling and keep that faith. We went to your dinner after standing in line for more than an hour we decided to take it home. I have never seen so many people in my life. You are definitely loved tell them next time to get Powers or Stambaugh (auditoriums holding 2,000).”

“I just wanted to tell you how emotionally moving and inspirational your benefit dinner was the other night. As I walked into this room and saw people of all ages and backgrounds getting so involved for your cause I was in shock. It was standing room only. It was like a reunion and seeing people I’ve known my whole life and being able to be there with them for your you was special.”

“I went to the dinner, and let me tell you, you are quite a popular fellow. Imagine this: People waiting in line to write to you on the notes and sit and eat, then walking to the food line, picking up a cell phone and saying where the ^%&%% are we gonna eat?!? with a smile. Everyone was glad they came to show their support for you and your family, not a gripe in the joint.”

“I was at the benefit dinner last night, and when you called it seemed to bring relief over the whole room. Your happy personality let everyone know that it’s gonna be okay. I wish you the best of luck and I want to thank you for giving everyone the opportunity to stay updated with what’s going on. No matter how far you go, Y-town will always be there and we’ll always be there for each other when the going gets tough and that was proven last night.”

“We witnessed a miracle on Sat Nite Spaghetti Dinner. It was awesome. None of us have ever seen such a response. Incredible. I am assured once again of God’s hand in all of this. He is awesome—and He is letting us see it. PRAISE GOD.”

I don’t know what I would have done if I were there. Amazing. For once in my life (and I mean once) I am left speechless. All I can say is thank you to all you who volunteered and who showed up. I am forever grateful.


I’ll be home to Youngstown late Thursday night. Lunch or dinners on me, the calendar is filling up, so e-mail with your free days. Also, I can’t come home and not have an open house to see everyone, so that’ll be happening too. Watch for the day on this website. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go live.

Art’s Speech for the Banquet – January 20, 2001

Art’s Speech for the Banquet – January 20, 2001

I remember the day I first heard about this banquet dinner thing. I was in a lot of back pain and generally was not having a good day. Late in the afternoon my good friend and webmaster Patrick sent me an e-mail trying to cheer me up talking about some benefit dinner they are conjuring up for me and how loved I am. I didn’t think much of it. Well, now I have and I do. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love that has gone into this dinner, all simply for me. It overwhelms me all the time. I can’t understand and fathom this all. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. I haven’t seen many of you in years. All I know is that I am one blessed guy.

A year ago at this time I never envisioned all of this. Heck six months I wouldn’t have envisioned all of this. I do know that what I prayed has come true.

It was a blustery day, January 9th. I was enjoying a huge cup of tea at the Barnes and Noble in Boardman reading my Bible when it hit me after reading about many of the Old and New Testament leaders that they all had a singular connection. They had all gone through hard times at some point to test their faith and make them become the strong leaders they were. It was then that I wrote in the margins in my Bible on the last page of Genesis, “..Keeping the faith in the hard times is difficult, but eventually God will reward us, all great biblical leaders went through hard times to strengthen their faith. I will too. I want to be God’s leader.”

A month later I was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s and the rest is all history (or at least documented on my website,

I don’t know what kind of leader I am going to be. Last year at this time I was content with getting PhD in management, finding a small little college and teaching the rest of my life. Now I realize I have been given a gift that I must use. Not many 22 year olds have been through what I have.

I want to use it for good, to help people, to give them hope, and to lead.

My aspiration in high school was to be President of the United States.

Somewhere along college I lost that idea. Well who knows now?

Through it all I have learned so many lessons, rekindled so many friendships, and have had major personality and life changes that will forever stick. All I can say is thank you for all of your support for my family and me. It has been amazing to see how a community can come together. I only wish someday I can repay you all for your emails, kind words, cards and prayers.

I continually will pray for you all, knowing that God is listening and answering. Thank you all so much. I will see you all soon. I love you all.



January 19, 2001|

I am outta here. Got the call yesterday, right now I am waiting to get my catheter taken out of my chest. Freedom, oh the freedom! No more 1132! No more late night temperature checks by nurses’ assistants! No more hospital food! WOOOHOOOO! I guess you can tell I am excited.

The whole Depends episode quickly left once I received the medicine I needed. The docs had to wait to give it to me to make sure I didn’t have a bug. That was a harsh two days, but the next day I felt golden. And if it weren’t for this catheter I would have been home yesterday. Anyway, I am eating somewhat normally, walking and dancing around like a goofball (My mom, “ART, quit dancin’ in the hallways, you’ll make the other patients sad!” In the meanwhile, the nurses are egging me on, clapping and hollering…)

So if everything keeps on going well, I see Dr. Moskowitz next Thursday and then as soon as he says that I look great we’ll be driving back to Ohio. Can’t wait. Gotta see everyone. With Dr. Baird sidelined, someone’s gotta help run the Connection (see Connection page).

All in all it wasn’t as bad it could have been. I had tough days; I had good days. The good definitely outnumbered the bad. It was rough; don’t get me wrong, but manageable. God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle. I finally caught up on email yesterday, only for today to get swamped again. I am NOT complaining. The e-mails are what kept me going, knowing I had to get to the computer and see the latest surprise. Thank you all so much. Now if you will excuse me, I got some nurses outside calling me for me to come out and shake my booty.

Still Almost

January 17, 2001|

Still Almost

The hardest days are here and I never would have thought. After sailing through the past week, it hit me. Mad bowel issues. Let’s just say I was the only 22-year-old Wall Streeter who wore Depends for any extended time. It was (as still is) horrible running to the bathroom every half hour. This was all expected the docs said, caused by all the antibiotics catching up to my system. All I wanted these past few days was for someone to hold me and reassure me. That’s why mom’s here. I dunno what I would do without her. It has been extremely difficult, and the light at the end has gotten farther away it seems. I am just being transparent like I always try to be, not sugar coating this experience. I can BS everyone, tell’em I’m fine and pull out some inspirational words. Its too tough now. I don’t have the energy to respond to email. I can’t take phone calls. Its rough, man. This is a battle and a true test of wills and perseverance. I only pray I can finish this race.


The prayers have been working and God has really helped me out. I just ask you to pray for healing this time. Healing for March. Praying that the Holy Spirit would knock out every single cancer cell. It’s hard sometimes to believe that this will work, despite the incredible odds in my favor. Pray that I can believe

The Banquet

Here’s is the latest report from chairpersons Boss Ross and Penny Wells:

At any rate I’m glad you got the article. I attached it to an email on Thursday when it came out. I hope you liked it. I sent it to Vince Guerrieri as well and I mused that I certainly wished he had written it. While it was great – full of good news – I believe that the writer Diane Murphy didn’t catch your passion – a key element. Oh well – I know it is there.

Just to let you know that your ears had to be ringing (must be what caused you fever to go so high) on Sunday, Father Madden (at the local very extremely popular monastery) spoke about you to EVERY “attendee” over the weekend and they will surely support the dinner. He passed out about 1,000 copies of the flyer I wrote so all will certainly pray. I am only sorry that you won’t be at the dinner – it will be so much fun – sorry you are missing Connection every 1/2 hr and just about every one you ever knew or maybe wanted to know – we will all be there – (French teacher) Mrs. McNamara is doing cakes, 100 to be exact – collecting, baking, getting kids to help serve them – bake selling the leftovers – (Guidance Counselors) Mr. Keenan and Mr. Papa are dishwashing – imagine that – (English Teacher) Sue Conner is in charge of gambling – better known as 50/50 – (Guidance Counselor) Kathy Murdock is bringing the entire Key Club to bus tables – (family friend and Italian hoops legend and Art “Adversary”) Chuck Guerrieri is spending the day and doing whatever mundane task that Penny and I ask of him – rumor has it that he will auction the right to shave his head at 7:00pm – I only wish for one thing – that you could be there – all kinds of people signed up for shifts to do every conceivable job. Penny Wells and I have just about covered everything. Marthella Allen and Mrs. Lorenzi are handling the food end – thank God it’s not me on that front – Schwebel’s donated 10 loaves of bread. IGA donated 8 sheet cakes – lots of people are selling tickets galore – donations are coming in large and small from people you know well and from people whom you have never met. Tons of people have gone to your web site just to admire your courage. Have i spoken enough?? Loudly??? Art, you are truly an example of someone who can move them there mountains – bring out the best in people. God bless.

I wish I could be there to see Chuck get his head shaved! (to persuade him, e-mail Ground Chuck at, he’ll be glad to hear from you :).

I also just got word, which is why I am getting so many e-mails, that my friends at my old radio station in Youngstown (Hot 101) have been making announcements about it.

Almost Done

January 14, 2001|

Almost Done

We can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. Things are going extremely well here in terms of counts healing. My counts have shot up recently, and evenly doubled last night. Dr. Moskowitz mentioned that it looks like I could be out of here by Thursday. Three weeks! Ha! I knew we could do it, getting out of here earlier than the average stay (3 and a half weeks).

The Irony

I am healing too quickly! Because my counts have shot up, it is causing these fevers, which are rocking my world. These fevers are making it tough to keep food down, are making it tough to sleep at night, and making life generally uncomfortable. This is not uncommon, though, with patients who have rapidly increasing counts, and is treated with steroids.

The Article and the Benefit

Webmaster Patrick is going to put up the article from my hometown newspaper “The Vindicator” about this website, my story, and the benefit banquet that some of my dear friends are holding for me on January 20th in Youngstown, Ohio. You can check it out –CLICK HERE. Needless to say the website traffic and my e-mails have significantly gone up. Give me a few days to respond to any e-mail. I appreciate all of them, especially now.

Words of Encouragement

I thank you all for your words of encouragement. I have my good days. I have my bad days. It’s great to be able to check my e-mails and see SO many people supporting me. It’s overwhelming to hear from everyone I have ever known out there praying and thinking good thoughts for me. When this all blew up in September, I never thought it would get this big. It just amazes me to see how so many people can come together to support one person. Thank you.

“Not only so but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, character, hope…”

Romans 5:1-4

God doesn’t make any mistakes. And certainly this is all here for some amazing good, in my life and hopefully in yours too.

January 9, 2001

January 9, 2001|

Much has happened since I last wrote. I will try to detail all of the important things without boring you.

Mr. Anti-Climactic Day

Thursday was the day. The day I get my stem cells back. It’s the name of the whole procedure, so you would think it would be quite eventful. Actually, the opposite held very much true. Around noon, three nice ladies pushed a cart into my room with a bunch of ice buckets and frozen containers of blood. Supposedly, I would be overwhelmed by the smell, so I would need to keep lemons by my face at all times. I would also feel “weird” when they were injecting the cells into my catheter. I may even become nauseated and bring up the nasty.

I am proud to say none of the like occurred. I sat up in my hospital bed, grabbed a handful of cut lemons (just in case), stuffed them in my nose, read “The New York Times” and let the nurse practitioner pump me full of the cells. There were seven rounds of this. The first two I actually felt a little tingle in my throat, but that was it for side effects. The rest of the afternoon was spent having a “Nutty Professor Film Festival” (highly recommendable).

Let the chemo side effects begin

Friday the side effects of the massive chemo I had ended a few days earlier began, along with the side effects from the radiation from a week earlier. It was all on schedule. The radiation, because it was done on my lower back and abdomen area, now was causing me major cramps. The chemo was starting to really lower my blood counts, causing fevers. Holding food down became a luxury, as my stomach was just too weak to hold anything.

And continue…

Keep in mind that this all going on as predicted. The doctors here have done these transplants so many times that they know exactly what day I will have this side effect, what day I will yak, what day I will have a bad hair day, what day I will start feeling better. It’s almost not fair. But it’s the means, not the ends!

Sunday started the sore throat. The sore throat so painful it hurts to talk. (Sorry if I don’t return your calls). In addition, I am under doctor’s orders not to eat (as that would cause more problems with my digestive tract). So I am living off IV fluids. The amount of saliva I produce now rivals any spring water-bottling factory. Watching TV is painful too. All those food commercials, OH! The only thing I am allowed to eat is ice chips. I can tell you what though. I have never tasted water as good as I have tasted in my life in the past few days.


So I wait. Can’t wait for Saturday or Sunday to come! Those are the days predicted when my immune system will make its return. The days when I could swallow, eat, drink and not have mad cramps. Can’t wait. Please keep up the prayers. I need them so. It’s hard sometimes to see that I will make it to this weekend. Your prayers will get me there.

So far, so good

January 3, 2001|

So far, so good…

Well, I am on day six here in Art’s sabbatical, and so far so good. I have had only one really bad day. Otherwise, I feel fine. I have been really blessed so far. I am telling you, the prayers are really working, I can literally feel them keeping me up and going. I really haven’t slept in the past few days and eating happens kinda of sporadically, but I can’t complain. The side effects have been absolutely minimal. I can’t attest the good results to any other source. So far, so good.

The Big Concert

Next Tuesday is the big day. Let me regress. Last night, Molly and Michelle, two Goldman co-workers, were visiting when a musical therapist dropped by my room to offer a song up. She was a pretty hip 20 something who volunteers once a week playing her harp to patients. “Pretty cool,” we thought, so we invited her in, and she rocked up some ol’ traditional Irish tunes. Jokingly, I asked if she knew the Backstreet Boys. Ha! We all shared a laugh and then she mentioned that she did have some sheet music for some 60s songs. Hmmm…we peered over her binder and found the tune we wanted to sing along with, Molly and Michelle being karaoke queens.

As I investigated the sheet music, I discovered that the chords were really, really easy and that I could strum along on my guitar (which my dad brought earlier in the day to help pass the time). So we tuned up the harp with the guitar and jammed to the Peter, Paul and Mary classic “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” It was a moment that I probably will never forget. It was the first time I had played my guitar with anyone singing, let alone with another instrument. It was such a blast that we all decided to do it again next Tuesday. With a week’s practice under our belt, I can only imagine the show we will put on. So if you are in New York City next Tuesday at 7pm or so, we are going to have a harp and guitar concert. Be prepared to sing along.


I have read how smiling does some kind of psychological or hormonal deal that perks you up. So I tried it yesterday when I was feeling really crummy, and let me tell you, it really works! Try it today! If you are feeling stressed, down, blue – just smile. Something lightening occurs when your lips curl up – and the world seems so much better. This probably sounds cheesy, but try it. It really works. That has been one of the many little lessons I have been blessed to learn while here in my bubble.

Up Next

Tomorrow is the actual stem cell transplant. From what I understand, it is anti-climatic and smelly (which is why for the procedure I have to suck on lemons). All they do is take a giant needle and push the stem cells through my catheter for like 30 minutes.

The next (and last) hurdle is the sore throat. The chemo is killing all of the rapidly multiplying cells in my body, including in my throat and mouth. Since I will have no immune system to stop the killing, the throat takes a beating for a few days until my white cells recover. Once that is over, it is all recovery and staying away from sick people. I expect to bounce back quickly, if everything goes the way it has gone so far. Please pray for my next 10 days or so, that I can deal with the pain and that I won’t be tired or sick or nauseated from not eating.

Thank you for the prayers so far, they have worked beyond what I could have imagined. Now I have some practicing to get back to… “I’m leavin’ on a jet plane, don’t know…”

January 1, 2001

January 1, 2001|

Happy New Year’s y’all! I just wanted to give a quick update of my current situation. My energy level is just toast, so getting on the computer is miracle in itself. I appreciate all of your encouraging emails and cards. Someday in a month or so I will be able to respond fully. So I apologize for not writing back sooner. It literally takes all my energy to write something like this.

I am being pumped full of tons of chemo and various anti-nausea liquids. I end up urinating about every 45 minutes on the dot. I have gotten used to it, especially since I have to save it for the nurses who keep a running tab to make sure everything is flushing through. These are some powerful drugs, and they really wipe me (Mr.Energy) out. Usually by 6pm I am out. Not necessarily tired, but unable to do anything like watch TV or read – almost like a zombie. It’s incredibly difficult for someone like me who can’t stand just lying around without doing anything.

The other tough part is eating. From now on, it gets difficult as the nausea usually brings it back up. After tomorrow when the chemo is done, I will be finished with nausea (thank God!) but mouth sores causes by the chemo killing all rapidly reproducing cells will make eating impossible for the next 10 days. Art = twig boy, for sure. After that everything rapidly heals and gets back to normal. It is just the next 13 days to get through. I don’t ask for much from y’all, but I will now. Please pray super hard for me for the next 13 days. Like as hard as you ever had. Pray that I can deal with the nausea. Pray that the days pass quickly. Pray that I can sleep. Pray that I can “fast” (Like y’all) for 10 days straight without it decimating me. Honestly, I am so scared. This is the toughtest test I have ever encountered, and there is no studying or preparing that can help, it’s all game time. After this is all over, I will look back and wonder at how I survived. The only answer will be the prayers of the righteous asking Christ to give me the peace that passes all understanding.

As I look back over this past year, a time of reflection, I realize despite the suffering, uncertainity, hardships that I would never change it for the world. Sure, there are times when I wish I could snap my fingers, and wish I could go back to last February and have the doctors discovered mono instead of cancer, but all in all, I wouldn’t trade it. All that I have learned, all that I have grown, from a boy to man. From a being “religious” to actually knowing, feeling and understanding God. I can see a Mastercard commericial coming out of this …priceless.

And probably one of the most rewarding things of this year is seeing how you all have stepped up to bat for me. Always. I sit here with my quilt and see all the hands of friends, family and co-workers from all over the country on there, rooting me on. The e-mail encouragements, the calls. I feel like I need to repay y’all, but I know I will never have enough time on this earth to do so. Love, I think I know what it is now too. 🙂 Never really knew before this all. Anyway, I hope you all have been blessed as much as I have during this adventure. It’s almost over, almost have reached the peak. Just pray that I get up there. Thank you.