Light the Night

September 13, 2002|

NOTE: Make sure to watch “Good Morning America” on ABC on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 from 6-9AM. I’ll be in the audience along with others from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society promoting “Light the Night.” (

September 11, 2002

I didn’t plan on writing anything today. There is already information and media overexposure going on. Why contribute to the madness?

But the wind. The wind today is like nothing I’ve seen in my two years in New York City. It is omnipresent.

I walked on the patio this morning to a stiff breeze swirling the branches of the oaks overhead. While rollerblading later on in the park, I was pushed to my utmost limit as I skated straight into gust upon gust. There was no escape as it seemed to be blowing from every direction. Watching TV this afternoon, a dust-storm brewed in the pit where the World Trade Center once stood. The characteristically composed reporters at Ground Zero struggled to be heard as their microphones picked up nothing but the wind whistling by.

Is this wind, this draught, this squall really a coincidence? Is it there to remind us that there are matters, occurrences and events we will never understand? Is it a gentle reminder today to help us recall our purpose in life? Is it a reminder that something, Someone, is in charge? Is it a memorial- a heavenly memorial?

‘My heart is in anguish within me;

The terrors of death assail me.

Fear and trembling have beset me;

Horror has overwhelmed me.

I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest-

I would flee far away

And stay in the desert;

I would hurry to my place of shelter

Far from the tempest and the storm.’

-Psalm 55:4-8

‘I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.’

-Ecclesiastes 1:14

‘Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands?”

-Proverbs 30:4

‘They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him!’

-Mark 4:41

‘Can you see God? You ever seen him? I’ve never seen the wind, but I’ve seen the effects of the wind, there’s a mystery to it…’

– Billy Graham

September 9, 2002

Ante Up

Did you ever make a promise to do something and then completely forget about it? Did you then emphatically deny any such promise was made, only to have it subsequently shoved back in your face with a written document? Wasn’t it such a beat-down?

Back in February, in the middle of my transplant, I sent out a flurry of thank you notes to various individuals who contributed vast amounts of time, effort and resources. Included in that category was my brother Billy. He was the most important of the contributors- for obvious reasons. I must have been in some sort of chemotherapy drug-induced haze when I wrote his note because a month later Billy asked me (voice-cracking and all) ‘Where’s my steak dinner? You promised me a steak dinner!’

I retorted, ‘You’re smoking crack! I never promised you a steak dinner! Crack smoker!’

Billy deviously grinned. He sprinted to his room and returned with a piece of paper. ‘Thank for your saving my life. I owe you a steak dinner…Art.’ He gleefully read.

‘Dang!’ Caught red-handed.

My mom let out a loud whoop that the neighbors could hear.


On September 20, 2002, an assorted group of friends, family and myself will gather at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse to recommence the ‘Celebration’ Dinner. (You are certainly welcome to attend, just RSVP with me.) Billy will be leaving class early, making the trek from Philadelphia to Manhattan, in order to feast on a free filet. Maybe I’ll even pay for his fixins and creme brulee. At least he doesn’t have that in writing…I hope.

Speaking of Steak…

At my last doctor’s appointment, Dr. Perales, after giving me the great news, proceeded to scold me. And you wouldn’t believe why. Can you believe I was scolded for eating TOO healthy?

This summer I made a determined effort to eat healthy. No more sugar. No caffeine. Vegetables. Fresh fruit. Few carbohydrates. Lots of white meat. If any man were going to keep this cancer away with nutrition, it would be me.

At least that’s what I thought.

In the meanwhile I didn’t gain an ounce. I actually lost weight, falling to an all time Art-low. I was down to my junior high school weight. “You look like an anorexic Calvin Klein model.”

Once Dr. Perales uncovered the reasoning beyond my low weight- he gave it to me good. He abused me like a red-headed step child. None of the books, articles and reports I had read were scientifically true he said. All of the hype about blueberries, green tea and broccoli were just that- hype. Not an ounce of scientific proof verified that such foods are anti-cancer. And sugar- it has never been scientifically confirmed to increase cancer cells. He let me have it good. My parents sat by, nodding their heads in approval. ‘How could you believe such tomfoolery?’

‘But in Lance Armstrong’s book…and in that Nutritionist’s Guide to Cancer book…and in…’

So now I am on a new diet. It’s called the ‘Eat Anything Diet.’ I find foods I like and I eat them. Even better, it’s doctor recommended and approved.

I still generally stay away from caffeine and sugar, they make me even more jittery than normal. Otherwise, I am loading up on protein shakes, steak, chicken, grilled corn, grilled bananas (my Brazilian roommate’s favorite- don’t ask- it tastes like Elmer’s paste), pasta, ice cream, burgers, fries, pizza, burritos…I’m going to town.

Thanks to all for your wonderful words of encouragement. The road to recovery is long, arduous and filled with potholes. Thank you for fixing my flats, furnishing fuel and wiping my windshield. It’s been a blessing.



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