All posts by Frank

October 13, 2000

October 13, 2000|

Crazy stuff here…

I write this update as I lay here in my bed, working on my laptop supplied by Goldman Sachs. It has been a LONG week.

It first started on Sunday night when, after laying down to watch TV, I got up to go to bed and my back started to spasm. I have been through a lot of painful experiences in the past year, but these spasms are the most painful on record, worse than the radiation burns, the kidney stone, the stomach sore, etc. It is like a charlie horse in the back muscles, but times 20.

So Thursday morning at 3am I woke up with terrible spasms, so much so I couldn’t move an inch without a spasm occurring. “Conincendentally” my roommate Brian got from work about 3:15am (I-bankers, typical 20 hour day…). I yelled out for him, he called 911 and a few minutes (and a ton of pain) later I was in the back of an ambulance taking me to New York Presbyterian Hospital.

At Presbyterian Hospital, they got me some morphine (which helped very little) and also did an MRI to find the root of the back spasms. 10 hours later we got our answer; enlarged lymph nodes hitting some vertebrae (L1 and L2 to be exact) which was radiating the pain. The spasms ceased after awhile and I was released.

Unfortunately, and rather comically, I went to the ER wearing only a pair of shorts, a wife-beater undershirt, and a fleece jacket that they put in the ambulance. Leaving, I had to figure a way to go 17 blocks to get home. At the ER they gave me a pair of green cutoff socks to wear- so here I was, couldn’t find an open taxi anywhere, riding the bus home in nothing but green cut-off socks, khaki shorts and an orange fleece. People gave me looks like I was crazy. It was pretty funny looking back.

Today I woke up fine, but after checking e-mail, the spasms kicked in again and I was trapped. I couldn’t move out of the chair I was in. Luckily I had my laptop from work delivered yesterday and I was able to do work while I sat.

My parents arrived at 1pm this afternoon and have been a big help. I may end up at the ER again today, we’ll see, depends on the pain, I can’t move right now, all I can do is lay here in bed and type 🙂

In other news, I will be going to Memorial Sloan Kettering on Monday at 2pm to see Dr. Craig Moskowitz, a specialist in Hodgkin’s and stem cell transplants. He wants to get moving on treatments, and I will be staying at MSKCC most of next week as an in-patient.

Thanks for reading, stay in touch!


October 5, 2000

October 5, 2000|

Just a quick note

I am going to get my bone scan tomorrow at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Next week I will know better what we are up against and where I will be getting my treatments. After talking to my insurance case manager, it appears Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSKCC) is the Cadillac of treatment facilities. That also means that it cost a Cadillac- actually a couple Cadillacs. MSK isn’t in any network for PPOs, HMOs, etc, so anything beyond the reasonable cost is an out-of-pocket expense. From what my case manager said, everything there is beyond the reasonable cost, so I will be paying a ton out of pocket.

So where will I go? We’ll just have to see. US News and World Report has ranked the best hospitals for cancer, check out the link. Also check out the link to a very cool fundraiser that will help support research for finding a cure for Hodgkin’s and other forms of lymphomas.

October 3, 2000

October 3, 2000|

Itís been about a month since I last sent an email update out to my list-serve.† I was hoping to send one out this week, detailing my doctorís appointment in Philadelphia where I would be declared in remission.† It would have been a nice, short email.† Things donít always go like we plan them though and instead I am not remission and I am not going to write a short email, but rather the exact opposite- create a large and information filled website.†

So first things first.† Dr. Alavi, my chemotherapy doctor and I met last Friday.† Before the check up I received my first CT scan since May.† After viewing the CT scan, it was discovered that the lymph nodes in my chest and shoulder were smaller than in May, which translates into our favorite word- remission. Those areas were where I did the radiation- so the radiation did itís job. (Thankfully too, cause I never want to have to go through that again.)

But not all was rosy.† One lymph node in my right lung had doubled in size since May, and the lymph nodes in my abdomen area had also doubled in size (one has grown to 2 by 4 centimeters!).† That translates to some of our not so favorite words:† the cancer has returned and spread.† To further explain what happened, basically the first round of chemo didnít kill every cancer cell. And if you donít kill every cancer cell, it reproduces and makes more and more in a very short period of time.

What does this mean?† Well we canít do any more radiation (woohhooo!) because radiation can not reach or be effective in these areas.† So that means more chemotherapyÖand more chemotherapy.† This time though it will be a lot more intense and will require some hospital stays.

Hereís the tentative schedule of treatment:

1.Friday: Bone scan to determine if the cancer has spread to my bone marrow. I will be taking a day off work and traveling down to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to get the all day test.

2.ESCHAP: This chemotherapy treatment requires a port to be put into my chest (like having a reverse udder) and a five day hospital stay for the chemo to fully drip in.† After that I can go home for two to three weeks.† This will then be repeated 3 or 4 times.

3.Stem Cell Transplant: This next treatment is the funnest of all.† First the doctors will take stem cells out of my bone marrow in a surgical procedure.† They will then scan them and kill any cancer cells that have been taken out of my body. Next they will freeze the stem cells (kinda like in Austin Powers). Then I will receive massively high doses of chemotherapy which will effectively kill just about every cell in my body.† After they have killed everything, they will reinsert my stem cells and in turn the stem cells will reproduce the white blood cells, red blood cells and placelets that my body needs.† We should have by then killed every cancer cell, and I will be given a clean bill of health.

Next week I will decide which hospital I will be doing the treatments at. Most likely it will be Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center here in New York City, and 20 blocks from my apartment.† Memorial is the best cancer center in the country according to US News and World Report.† Check out for more info.

As for work, I asked my chemo nurse, ìdo most people work during this?î She replied, ìMost people- no. You- youíll be fine.î† My co-workers here at Goldman Sachs have just been incredibly supportive.† The main concern for them is that I get better and they will pick up any slack.† I intend to stay active and do work from home and from the hospital.† There is totally no pressure from them to work, I want to though, for my psyche and to keep me out of trouble.† I enjoy my job tremendously and I look forward to helping out any which way I can.†

So thatís the latest update.† If I might I will borrow I quote from an old pastor of mine, Dr. James Boice, who recently passed away after a battle with cancer in June.† In his call to worship on May 7, he told the congregation of his condition and remarked,

ìIf God 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?î† (for more of his inspiring announcement go to

I firmly believe that, down to the core of my soul.† God doesnít make mistakes.† I look forward to seeing the great things that will come out of this next chapter of my life.

So keep checking in on this site. I hopefully will have links to informational site, pictures, and much much more. I owe a giant thanks to my dear friend Patrick Altman, who is helping me in the development of this page.

Thank you all for your support, care and prayers.† It means the world to me.

September 6, 2000

September 6, 2000|

Hi everyone!

Well, it’s almost been a month since my last “epistle”, so I felt the urge to write a very brief update.

I was able to successfully start my job at Goldman on the 14th. To say the first few weeks went well is an understatement. All of my fears of not being healthy enough and having too much to do never came true. My co-workers and boss were incredibly supportive of my condition and wanted me to start slowly and get used to life on “the street”. So I spent the first few days just getting used to the culture, the firm, and the group. The hours were manageable, and my throat held up spectacularly.

It was an exciting first weeks though. With my co-workers, the firm sponsored a dinner at a karaoke bar (of course, my legend preceded me (via the Penn interns in our group) and I was made to sing first, and of course it was the backstreet boys:) ). The next night I went to see Kiss Me Kate on broadway, and then the next week I went to a Yankees game, a dinner-dance cruise around Manhattan, and then a phenom dinner to celebrate the end of the training programs we put together. It was a tiring, but incredibly fun run.

Healthwise, the throat and eating has gotten much much better. I have been able to eat with minimal pain and virtually no pain. I haven’t gained any weight, but that is fine, as I would rather be healthy and skinny. I’ll gain weight once I start working out anyway. My skin and hair are healing too, but rather slowly. That’s not as big a deal, it just looks like I have bad haircut in the back of my head. If that’s the least I have to put up with from this ordeal, than so be it.

Unfortunately, though, things aren’t all well. It seems that a month ago I contracted a sore back from not sleeping on a proper bed while visiting my brother. Since then it has gotten worse. The back pain is equal if not worse than the pain from radiation. For the past two weeks I wake up at 2am everynight with an incredible back ache that only goes away when I take a few advil, put a heatpad on and let everything kick in 2 hours later. It makes going to work extremely difficult. I know that my body is going to take more time than usual to heal, being as weak as it still is. I just ask for your prayers for this (hopefully) last ordeal. I know the prayers worked for the eating thing, so I know that they will work for this too.

So that’s my status so far, waiting for that day that I look forward to so much- being normal, healthy, and 100% again. Somedays it seems so far away, truthfully. But I also have come to the realization that if I have to live the rest of life in pain, as long as I walkin’ with the Lord, than so be it.

May God bless you for your care and support, and please keep in touch!


August 13, 2000

August 13, 2000|

Hi everyone!

Well, the day has finally arrived, and tomorrow I finally become an official breadwinner. Yes, I start work tomorrow.

Briefly, though, I’ve been in New York City for three weeks. In that time I have

  • rested up,
  • read like a thousand books,
  • learned how inept New York utilities people are,
  • drank about a million protien shakes, e
  • xplored almost the whole island of manhattan on foot, subway and bus (the latter I am most proud of learning),
  • driven to DC for my fourth friend wedding of the summer ( got one more this year, one next year, my medium brother! its like the flu, everyone’s getting married! :))
  • discovered how expensive this city is ( 1 lbs. of turkey breast = $8.56 (on sale! I didnt buy it, yeah tuna!)
  • paid 3 bucks a day to check my email at a cybercafe down the street because our phone is out of service and verizon/bell atlantic is on strike
  • found a GIANT picture of myself and my high school performing group singing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 1995 hanging at the visitor center at the Macy’s on 34th and 7th ( I am at least a foot and half tall)
  • saw alan calder (the voice guy) from the letterman show walking out of a coffee shop


  • saw NSync leaving their hotel the day after their big HBO concert ( I didn’t mean to be there, it was all a conincidence, I swear! It was just me and a thousand screaming high school girls, but it was all a coincidence, I swear! And that NSync shirt, I dunno how it got on me…)

But on the more serious note, healthwise, everyday I feel a little better. It’s like waking up, like I did today, and I could swallow without feeling the ball of pain go down. So every morning is a new day of healing, which makes waking up exciting. I am not 100%, it still takes me like an hour to eat a normal meal, my wind is not even close to where I want it to be, and my hair still hasn’t grown back in the back of my head and on my neck. But no complaints here. Doesn’t a morsal of food go into my mouth without thanking God for having the ability to eat painlessly.

Being that I am not 100%, and as Monday grew closer, I have become more concerned that I will not be able to handle this new jump, especially not having the full facility to eat. I know this is the best time to start, as the hours the next few weeks are not going to be too bad and the workload has been reduced since its peak in July. So I just ask that, if you can, send a prayer up on Monday for me; that I would have the energy and strength to work and that I would be 100% healed soon. Hey, it’s worked before, it should work now. So thanks in advance, I’ll keep you informed on how it goes.

I still have two more doctor appointments this fall to determine my status. After all I’ve been through, if any cancer cells made it, I’ll give them a pizza party. Those buggers would have to be like supermen cells. Break out the kryptonite 🙂

Anyway, I’ll send another epistle/update/microsoftart 5.6, later on when I have more info on the appointments and how work goes. Have a great day, and stay away from hoards of screaming high school girls, and especially the lone single white twenty-two year old in the middle of them ( it was a coincidence, I swear!).


July 21, 2000

July 21, 2000|

Greetings everyone!

well, with a big sigh of relief, I am happy to say that today was my last radiation treatment. I thought I would never really see the day, but Dr. Kinsella said those magic words “you are done.” It is still hard to swallow (literally because of the esophogitis:)), and figutively because I never thought I would see the day when I would be able to move to nyc. The light at the end of the tunnel went out a couple times, after hearing, a couple times, “you need more treatments, you need more treatments.” I am just priviliged to have a incredible employer who supports me and is allowing me to come to work when I am ready. That is true testament to the great company Goldman Sachs is. (Buy their stock, it is doing well 🙂 ) Right now it is still hard for me to imagine that in three days I will be moved in to my new place, with my new bed, with my new TV and DVD, with my new towels, with my…

the last couple weeks have been the hardest of my life, I can easily say. the pain from the sore throat got much much worse, as a sore developed in my stomach which would then radiated through my entire chest, causing major pain whenever I eat or drink anything. I ended up, so far, losing 20 lbs. My diet now consists of Ensure and Boost supplements, 4 times a day. It still is not enough calories, but I have managed this week to keep my weight steady.

In addition, the radiation burned my armpits to a charcoal black and caused my neck to have a massive sunburn, in effect toasting all of my neck hair on the back and front of my neck. On the bright side I won’t have to shave for awhile:) My fatigue has lessened considerably from last week and I no longer need 3 hour naps to sustain me. So the healing process is underway, and even more important I AM IN REMISSION!! CANCERFREE! WOOHOOO!

It has been extremely painful though. THe pain killers I received dont work too well, and on top of that, if mixed incorrectly cause them to come back up. not even banana popsicles can remedy that problem. But in the last couple days I have learned the power of the mind, how it can control the body to not make me yak, and make me deal with the pain. It’s interesting how big a part the mind can play in these kinds of situations. “No, I beat my body and make it my slave… 1 Cor 9:27”

Eating, though, was and still is the tough part. I can’t help but think back to watching earlier in the year the movie “The Rock”(with Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage). At the end of the movie Cage is battling some guy and ends up killing him by stuffing a toxic ball into his mouth, thereby exposing Cage to the toxin. Within a minute Cage will die, unless he takes the anitode, which is in a GIANT needle that he has to heave into his chest. I remember watching that and saying I could NEVER in a million years do that, too painful, I wouldn’t have the guts. I would end up dying, no doubt. Well, I discovered THAT is my current situation. I have to eat, despite the massive pain, or I will not get better. It feels like taking the giant needle and stabbing it into my chest, when I eat, so I guess I have done what I feared doing most. That is a victory I would never thought I could have conquered.

IT has been an interesting summer. I have learned a great deal from this radiation deal. First, never believe anyone who says “radiation- ahh- you’ll get a minor sore throat and lose your chest hair (all three of them).”:) It is a “tad” more difficult than that. Radiation is no picnic. I saw my demeanor and attitude change tremendously. I guess pain does that to you. Smiles were few and far between. The only thing that really kept me going, this is funny, was a series of books I was reading, called “Left Behind,” about the last days on earth. I am NOT into fiction at all, but I got sucked in and ended up buying all 7 in the series. Having this imaginary story line to put myself into, though, got my mind off the pain and and off myself. Thats a good thing. I highly highly recommend reading the series.

I also realized that this was a major disease and that I need to take my time to recover. I wanted to rush back and start work immediately when I got to the city, not matter how I felt. But my mind was changed as I watched the All-Star game last week and saw Andres Galarraga get his standing ovation. He too battled cancer, a very similar type to the one I have ( I mean had, wooohhhhoooo!). He did chemo and the radiation and had his good and bad days. In the end though, he took a year off from baseball and has come back this year to lead his team and be an inspiration to millions of baseball fans. Watching that teared me up a bit (“a lil dust got in my eye”), as I realized this guy was a hero to me, and that it took him time to recover. And if it takes him time to recover, I need to take my time and recover for my team at Goldman.

So, I am moving to nyc this weekend, getting settled, and spending the next couple weeks recovering to 100%. I dunno when I will start work, but I know I will take the advice of everyone who has told me to wait (and the inspiration of Galarraga) and get better first. No need to be a hero and rush in, just get better. So from now on I will be in NYC, I’ll throw my address and phone number in again below. If you ever come to NYC, make sure to come and visit.

It’s time now to enjoy my health again, relishing it everyday, thanking God for the even the smallest things (like being able to eat without pain and having armpits that aren’t black and sore).

I can’t wait to be able to go the Ruth’s Chris Steak house (two blocks away!), and get the phattest steak on the menu and eat it, with out having to wince in pain. I feel some dust getting in my eye again…:)

Alright, this one was long. sorry. I promise last long update. Hope I could keep you all informed and I will keep you all in my prayers. Thanks, and please stay in touch.

June 28, 2000

June 28, 2000|

Hi everybody!

It has been long awhile since I last wrote so I felt it necessary to write a QUICK letter about my current condition. Last time I was quite surprise how many people read all the way down the last letter. wow! I didn’t have enough prizes to mail out, so I had to forgo the whole prize deal. Impressive people, impressive people. 🙂

Anyway, I am back home in Youngstown, OH and have been here for the past month. The chemotherapy finished up a month ago during graduation and I was nonetheless happy to be done with it. The last week leading up to graduation was my roughest yet, as the drugs really took their toll physically. I spent most of senior week hanging out in the dorm playing guitar and writing my independent study. My last treatment was very very nice, though. I received from nurse Gerri a pair of HUP scrubs and freezy spray (in case I ever need to have an IV, I could bring it with me to the hospital). It was a great gift, and I wear my scrubs all the time.

Graduation went well, it ended up drizzling most of the weekend, but that did not dampen the occasion. The whole weekend was a blur, it went so fast. It ended up the award I won was the Albert E. Berg Scholarship, given to the Wharton students deemed academically deserving having been nominated by a faculty member. My advisor/professor I have been working with for the past year nominated me, so that was really nice treat. I also have basically finished up my independent study, all that remains is a clean up job on the paper and some more analysis for my own educational benefit. Some of the results were surprising, and if you want a final copy I will be happy to send you one when I finish. I have a feeling though I will be working on it for the next couple years looking for new and interesting findings to help in my education and preparing me for graduate school.

Healthwise, Dr. Alavi recommended I do four weeks of radiation on my chest to make sure that the cancer is totally cleared up. So, being back home, I have been going up to Cleveland to UniversityHospitals everyday for those treatments. The doctor at UH is amazing, I have just received first class care for my illness. He gave me a rundown on everything from day 1 of my disease with all the ct scans and everything. You could see how well the chemo worked, seeing the cancer “vanish” in the scans.

Radiation: Basically they stick me under this giant xray machine, and for thirty seconds on my back and front, zap me with radiation. I can’t feel it or anything, I just hear the whirring of the machine. The radiation therapists are nice, but not like HUP. I dont get much of a chance to talk trash to them like I did to gerri. I will work on getting a pair of scrubs from them though. That is my one goal before I get out.

It is about an hour and half drive to get up there for literally a minute of work, but they gotta do it. The drives have been nice though, as I have gotten some books on tape to listen to. WIth gas prices though, I had to sell one of my kidneys to pay for the trip:) just joking.

The radiation, I have found, though, is quite difficult, moreso than the chemo. Heck, chemo was a picnic in the park comparably speaking.:) With the radiation I lose my appetite quite frequently and have even ralphed a few times. doh! To further complicate the matter, because the radiation hits my esophogus, I get tremendously sore throats, not allowing me to typically eat anything solid. My diet consists of yogurt, protien shakes, friut and banana popsicles. mmmmm…banana popsicles, they are the best.:) To futher make matters worse, it really tires me out, so i am in the habit of taking naps after I get back from cleveland, like 3 hour naps. I am just that tired- it is crazy. Any exercising I used to has been eliminated as my body just can’t do it. Yes, I miss chemo.:)

Boy, do I have a new found respect for those cancer patients who I have met who do it for six months or for years. I am awestruck by their endurance and stamina. This really is a battle. I am glad to be doing it now though when I am young and strong. It is hard to sometimes see it as a blessing, especially hanging over the porcelain throne tasting that banana popsicle for the second time:) It is though. How many twenty-two year olds are allowed to build up their emotional, spiritual, and physically strength like I have? Some kids get to go to Europe when they graduate, others travel cross country, others get married. Me, I get a life lesson handed from God to teach me a whole lotta lessons about life- and I am only 22. I can’t wait to write my books and talk about this in my leadership seminars when I grow up. 🙂

So that is my story, two and a half more weeks left and then I am done. woohooo! I move to new york city july 15th and start my job the 24th. work will be a welcome relief. After an incredibly hard week after graduation, me and my two roommates from school found a place. The New York real estate market is beyond belief. We did find a nice place in a great safe neighborhood, close to everything we need (grocery store, subway, gym, J Crew, etc). I will send a later email with my new contact info.

That’s all here. Thanks for your calls, emails and prayers. I still need them, as I am learning. I think the worst is here now, but will be over soon- I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My hair is growing back, I can taste mountain dew again, and i can feel my fingers. The end is near, and a new chapter in art’s life is about to begin. So thanks for enduring another “quick” email. Don’t forget to say “I love you” to those love ones (like I always forget to do), keep up your spirits despite rough days, remember your Creator, and have your daily banana popsicle. 🙂



May 9, 2000

May 9, 2000|

Hi y’all!

It’s been awhile since I have done an update of my condition and myself, and since I JUST FINISHED MY LAST UNDERGRADUATE EXAM (woohoo!) I thought I would very quickly give an art update to celebrate! 🙂


Schoolwise, I am just about done. My last paper and last exam were today. yay! I have one more task left before graduation, though- the massive independent study/senior thesis. In a nutshell, it was a social psychology study I did last semester with my wonderful professor/advisor Anne Cummings on how personality, goal-setting, and conflict effect performance within a team. The study went decently well and all I have to finish now is the final data analyses and the final paper summerizing the results. There still is a lot of hard work to do, the kind of work that makes your head hurt like after eating ice cream too fast, but I am excited to finish it and can’t wait to see the results. If it goes REALLY well, it may be project I repeat on a grandeur scale for my dissertation when I go on to get my PhD in couple years.


Healthwise, things have gone very well. The lymph nodes are down almost completely in my chest and neck according to my doc. the x-rays have shown great progress. Two more weeks of treatment are left, with three sessions to go. This week I have double session with a drip, meaning that I have to go in two days in a row for an hour long IV drip of chemo. usually it takes about 5 minutes to actually administer the drugs, so this is the long one. After that I get a CT Scan, upon which, if all looks good, I am cleared and healed. From there I get CT Scans every two months for a year to make sure all is clear.

My fear of needles has gone down substansially, but I still require a styrofoam cup to chew on when Nurse Gerri is putting it in. I have actually saved all of my cups and look forward to bronzing them 🙂 I can say that my fear has gone because of an incident two weeks ago. I usually have the same nurse (Gerri, who puts up with me and my jabs amazingly well and dishes it back to me even worse) adminster the chemo, but two weeks ago Gerri left work early. Instead I had another nurse, who shall remain nameless. Well, she stuck the IV in my hand after freezing the viens with freezy spray (which no one who goes to Penn chemo gets except for me, yeah, I am a wimp), but it wasn’t connected well, so blood was gushing like a geyser from the IV. Had it been 8 weeks ago when I started I would have freaked out, but instead I was calm and chill as blood sprayed all over her pants and the floor. In the meanwhile, the nurse just kinda looked at it for like three minutes and was like, “wow, that’s weird! these IVs connectors don’t work like they used to…” In the meanwhile blood was everywhere and i was close to passing out. All was fixed though and I learned how much I missed nurse Gerri.


In terms of side effects, they have become more prominent, but they also have become a part of me, so that I many times just forget about what they are because I am so used to them. When people ask, it usually takes me awhile to think about what they are. But I do have them. My fingertips (and more recently) my hands have become numb. I can still use them fine, but it is just a weird feeling to have 24-7. My hair also has become amazingly thin, so I shaved it down to 3/8ths of an inch. Let me just say that it gets cold up there really quick, so I wear a hat a lot. The wind is just wicked up there! In addition, I get pretty nasty stomache aches and nausea- but I have good drugs and I eat a lot (gained 10 pounds so far! none of my jeans fit anymore, i can only wear khakis!) to combat those two. I sometimes lose my sense of taste, or it makes my food taste chemically. I can’t wait to taste the sweet-succulant taste of mountain dew again.:) Probably the toughest part is fatigue. I get tired pretty quickly and exhaustion sets in, and then, almost literally my body crashes. It’s weird though, because even though I am so tired, it doesn’t put me to sleep.

The really cool thing, that my doc is baffled at, is my placet and red blood count. They are at the SAME level as when I first started chemo- that shouldn’t happen! They have yet to drop! Why? My guess is prayers from good people like yourself. There is no other explanation that I could, or Dr. Alavi, could come up with.


Despite all the side effects, life goes on and I have been active (but I do get rest, 8 hours of sleep a night, I promise!) and able to maintain a pretty normal life. I was even able to play in an intramural softball team with my kids (my residents in my hall, being their RA and all…) and play second base, while ending the season batting 1.000. The highlight of our season was beating a team comprised of neurology PhD students 15-4. I still have kept up with RA duties and my kids have been great about helping me out, and they still come to me with their issues. I am really going to miss being an RA. I did my last TV show on Sunday, culminating with a highlight show of my four years hosting the call-in talk show. It was a cool way to go out. And, after two years of work with the university chaplain, we finally secured a building on campus for religious life groups to meet next year, kind of like a religious life hub. It was cool to see that work out to before I left.


Because I kinda retired unofficially from my other jobs and activities I have had a chance, for the first time in my college career, to really hang out and focus on friendships and people- and it has been so rewarding. I remember telling my interviewers at my future employer, Goldman Sachs, that my weakness was that I focus too much on production and work and less on the people I am working with/or managing. Well, this semester I have had a great chance to work on that and see how amazing and rewarding it is to invest my life in people and have them invest their’s in mine. Just having the free time to be able to hang out till 3am talking is a freedom I haven’t always had. Really, I couldn’t end off my college career on a better lesson or on a better note. It has been an amazing four years, and an even more amazing semester. wow! what a way to end off a college career. it’s been tough this past semester, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

So thanks for your email, cards, prayers and support. My wall is still full of cards and I still get great emails everyday. If all goes well, I’ll be done with chemo on May 19th, and I’ll be graduating (yeah, and I just got an email that I won some mystery senior Wharton undergraduate award- they won’t tell me till graduation what it is so…anyways thats cool too, I thought I would share) on the 21st and 22nd. After that back to Ohio to rest and recover for a month and then from there on to New York City and Goldman Sachs in July. So thanks again, I appreciate all you have done and look forward to talking to all of you soon!



ps if you read all the way down to here, you win a prize! call me to claim it 🙂

April 5, 2000

April 5, 2000|

Hi everyone!

I don’t have much of an update since I last wrote two weeks ago. Not much has changed on my front. Slowly but surely the hair is falling out (I think next week will be the week to go with the “stone cold” look) and my arms are getting sore from the IVs, but other than that everything is doing well. Last week I went in for my chemo and got the usual blood work. The docs said my red and white counts were unusually high, especially for going through chemo. Personally, I think all of those prayers are working. But that’s just my opinion 😉 On the other front, I got a chance to give my story to large audience on Tuesday afternoon outside. I have attached these web articles from our school newspaper to give you a little different perspective:

But basically, last year I was a chair for JesusWeek here at Penn, this year I was a “senior consultant”, basically helping the younger folks out with strategic and bigger picture issues. It so fun to tell people what to do- and not actually have to do the work! 🙂 That’s what I wanna be when I grow up!

But anyway, there was a huge marketing event, called “i agree with kris” and basically what it was was everyone saying they agree with the message this footplayer Kris Ryan had to say. And his message was the Gospel. There were signs everywhere on campus only saying “I agree with Kris”, the whole campus was thrown into confusion. Finally two hundred some odd students on Monday wore shirts that said ‘i agree with kris’ on the front and “do you?” on the back. then signs went up that said go to college green on tuesday at 4:30pm to find out.

So Kris, another girl, and myself all were invited to talk. It sprinkled, yet that did not damped the spirits of the estimated 225 folks who came out. I thought there were more, personally, but the crowd was a diverse mix of white, black, asian, hispanic, heterosexuals, homosexuals, jews, christians, everything! it was amazing!

So I talked last about my battle with cancer and how God has proved it to me how he existed, and that he could do the same for you if you just ask him. And not only that he is what gives me my strenght, optimism and joy despite this disease. Then I concluded talking about Pascal’s God-shaped vacuum theory (how there is a God created God-shaped vacuum in every heart that only he could fill) and how in my life I have been incredibly good at filling that void with everything else (girls, friends, partying, family, success, etc) but God, but now that I have filled that vacuum I finally get life.

The reactions were incredible. Claimed atheists (who two days before started a student group called SAD (students against dogma) to counterattack jesusweek (making signs that say ‘i disagree with kris’)) were amazed and talked to me and the other Christians. Christians who were not doing well were really encouraged. Students who i never thought would come to the talk were touched and amazed by my energy, strength and outlook and are taking another look at their life. They even laughed at my jokes. 🙂 It was great to stay after and hear all of the reactions.

It went so well, and all I can say is that I am humbled to be able to tell my story and be an instrument of God. It’s a pretty cool feeling to say the least. Day to day is an adventure. I never know who I am going to talk to and who I am going to make an impact on. It is just so cool.

So KNOW that you all are making an impact too. By your prayers and thoughts for me, I have been so encouraged and blessed, then in turn I have been able to tell people about the hope I have. You are a bigger part than you ever know.

Thanks for all the card, emails and calls. Everyday is a surprise, and I can’t express my thanks to y’all. Know that you are making an impact.


March 21, 2000

I am massively opposed to mass emails, but I felt a real need to send a quick word of note on how I am doing and just give you all you a huge thanks and letter of appreciation. SO many times I have failed and still fail to do that, so I just wanted to give you all that thanks and praise y’all deserve for being there for me.

First, conditionwise, I am going into week 4 of the chemo, with 8 more weeks left. The treatments are very painless, except for the IV (I hate needles! 🙂 ) My mom and the nurses usually chastize me for being such a big wuss and having to bite me other hand as they put the needle in to distract me. Today, as the nurse was putting the needle in I bit my other hand so hard I left a mark that is still here at 3 in the morning. I think by the end I will be over my fear of needles, or at least I hope…

I still have the side effects to deal with, and they are more annoying than painful. The hardest part is falling asleep, which usually takes me an hour or so to do, just laying in bed till I doze off. That is a result of a steriod I am taking to build up my immune system to ward off infections. The steriod acts like a super caffiene pill, so I am usually pretty wired, more than normal 🙂 Scary huh?

Other than that I also get tired really easy when doing strenous activity (like over spring break with two of my best friends chucking along at DisneyLand and powershopping in San Diego) Other than that I have been so blessed to be able to not have very much else. The hair is still in, long and highlited blond and hopefully it will stay that way. Really really praying for that. Otherwise, the other side effects like nausea and constipation and such are really dealable.

ON the mental, emotional and physical side, I am doing absolutely amazing, and like I told the folks at Goldman Sachs and everyone here at school- ain’t no cancer going to hold me down! I am still kickin’ my schedule and staying involved with schoolwork and activities. There is so much work to do and so many people to see before I graduate! Cancer is not going to stop me from doing that, by no means.

Getting this cancer was a major, major blessing that I can only thank God for. I have learned so much, and have seen so many cool things happen in the past month, many of which I can’t put in a single email.

I have learned how loved Iam from family, friends and from God- and it is priceless. the supportand prayers i have received has been amazing, I have like 20some odd church in like 20 some states praying for me!! It is crazy! My grandma keeps telling me she has 400,010 praying for me through her connections, so funny, but I believe her and I am seeing the effects of it 🙂 That’s why I think the symptoms have been so minor and dealable so far and why my attitude is so good, the positive effects of tons o’ prayer. 🙂

On top of that, I just have been so blessed by you all. everynight I get at least 2 phone calls from someone out of state, and at least 1 card a day ( i will show you the picture of the wall of cards that we have put up in my dorm room), and hang out with tons of folks here at school. It is just been so cool to to hear from classmates, family members, future co-workers, old co-workers, ex-girlfriends, etc, I haven’t heard from in years.

SO that’s my story, and if anyone asks about me, don’t be afraid to tell’em or even have them email or call me. I hope that I can be an inspiration and light to you all, just like you have been to me, and if you ever need cheered up, give me a call, OK?

I am so excited to get back to Youngstown and see all the folks at home in Ohio. And I even more excited to start my job in July at Goldman Sachs & Co. and become a part of the “real world” 🙂 You are all DEFINITELY welcome to come anytime to NYC and hang out once I get there in July.

So keep in touch, talk to you soon! thanks for all your support! It truly means more to me than I can EVER EVER say or write in an email.