My Story : Part II

It has been a desire of mine to make this website for two years now, but I have put it off, put it off, put it off…. then finally it took a lot of inspiration and a little disease to break out of the procrastination cycle.

You may have come here because I hounded you to visit my site ( in my best radio voice, “…check out for all the latest info…”), or because a friend told you to see the site, or because you did a search for Hodgkin’s disease and this came up, or you did a search for hot single Wharton graduates and…you get my point.

First, to give a little background information, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma on February 16, 2000. I then did 12 weeks of Stanford V chemotherapy at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), timing it exactly so that I graduated the same weekend I received my last treatment. On June 13, 2000, I started radiation treatment on my chest and neck at University Hospital (UH) in Cleveland. That treatment took about five weeks. After a three-week recovery period, I started work in New York City at Goldman, Sachs and Co. as an analyst in the firm wide training and development group.

A little less than two months later I had my first check-up at HUP, where it was discovered that the cancer had returned. I have a few more tests to take at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) here in New York City and from there the doctors will have a better idea of treatment for this next battle in the war. Most likely it will be more chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.

A lot of my friends and family have had a tough time digesting this next round of treatment. I thought, just as everybody else, that I would be done. The chemotherapy was very intense the first time, the radiation was incredibly hard, and if anything survived, we would be amazed. But some cancer cells survived and have since spread. I have received a lot of calls and e-mails lamenting the fairness of this all, why would God put me through this again and just some general feeling of injustice.

I have a couple answers for all of this, and they are not easy to want to believe. (This not only applies to my current situation, but it applies to every situation that you and I are in.)

First, I believe in God. Not just any God, but the One who came down to earth, lived the perfect life, died the perfect death despite, beat death and rules completely up in heaven. Believing this, understanding that God died for me and for the sins of the earth, I am assured of meeting Him someday in the most glorious of places. You can totally not believe this. It is up to you and you alone, and only you will be able to know if you really believe and live it. You can totally not believe this. For me, though, I would rather have this Guy on my side, then not have Him on my side. I would love to put an atheist in my place for a day and see how long he or she survives on his or her own.

Second, I don’t believe that God makes mistakes, or absentmindedly forgets about certain people on earth like the argument presented in the popular book When bad things happen to good people by Rabbi Kushner. If God has the power to create everything and is omnipotent, I don’t think anything will escape his sight. Instead I think that all that happens in life happens for reason. Many times it is easy to see the short term hurt, suffering, heartache and pain in the world without looking at the long term good. I could give plenty of examples, but I’ll let you explore the Web site to find’em in my own life and in the other’s lives. I love the quote I had up here before from Dr. James Montgomery Boice,

“If does something in your life, would you change it? If you’d change it, you’d make it worse. It wouldn’t be as good. So that’s the way we want to accept it and move forward, and who knows what God will do?”.

Third, we have a choice.

1. We can sit here and look at the short-term situation, complaining about having to go through these hard times again, brooding around and being depressed.


2. We can take what God gives us and live it, finding the hope and joy that comes out of these situations.
Trust me, the easiest thing to do is to go straight to number 1. I have, I’ll admit it. Nothing devastated me more than hearing on July 4th that I would have to do 5 extra sessions of radiation, and in effect would miss my first day of work. I didn’t speak the entire day I was so upset. I realized now how wasteful that day was and how it further brought down my psyche.

Fourth, is life fair? My goodness no. A lot of folks have said, “Art, it is so unfair! You got a great job, you are by yourself in New York….why did this have to happen to you again?” Life certainly isn’t fair. But the reason I see it not being fair is because I actually get to do this again! I know you are probably saying, “Uh, Art, are your painkillers clouding your thinking? Have you been smoking that Advil? How is it not fair in your advantage?”

It totally is not fair, here’s why. Why should I get this experience? Why should I get this opportunity to fully understand and know who I am? Why did I get this chance to grow and mature faster than any 22-year-old? Why did I get this chance to see the awesomeness of my support system of friends and family? Why did I get this chance to see how important people really are, especially compared to work and studying?

I got a chance to read over my journal from the beginning of the year and found on January 9th this passage that I had written:

“…while reading the story of Joseph (in Genesis), I realize that many of God’s leaders go through an intense period of difficulty and uncertainty, only to eventually come out on top. Have I gone through that? I feel like I have somewhat. But in the same token I want to go through that, so that I can be that kind of man of God…Lord if I need more to increase my faith- bring it on!”

I got what I wanted, not exactly how or what I expected, but I got it. I am just excited to see what’s going to happen in the future. I feel like I am being prepared for something bigger, and this, well, this is a first step on an amazing journey.

And that’s how you can view your life too. You may have cancer too. You may have just gotten kicked out of college. You may have just broken up with your girlfriend/boyfriend. You may have a family member going through tough times. You may have lost your job…

Whatever the case, you can take the easy road and resort to 1. OR you can take the hard road and resort to 2. If you choose 2., believe that it truly can be the first step on an amazing journey.

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