Struggles & Conflicts

I have been in a slight funk since returning from an amazing Labor Day weekend at the shore. That’s the main reason that I have been a little quiet this week. I have also been feeling like something was just a little off in the universe and I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on it. I knew something would eventually jolt my writing motivation, but I had no idea it would take the shape it did. I just received the below email from my buddy Ethan Zohn, who I was going to run the NYC Marathon with to support his charity Grassroot Soccer. Please read on. My response follows his email …

Dear GRS Marathon Team,

My cancer is back and wants to set up shop inside my body and destroy it.  Obviously this WILL NOT happen.  I WILL NOT let cancer win.  Emotionally, I’m just beyond the total shock and disbelief .  The reality of the situation is starting to set in and I have never been so scared in my life, for my life.  I will use every ounce of my mind, body, spirit and supernatural powers to stop this horrible situation.  But in order to do this I have to remain positive and endure a pretty intense path to perfect health.

I will be undergoing a clinical study titled:  Risk-adapted high dose chemoradiotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation for patients with relapsed and primary Hodgkins Lymphoma.

This is basically a triathlon or “marathon” of hardcore super strong treatment. If you could hit the “reset” button on your body, this would be it.  In stage one, I will have two sessions of in-patient chemotherapy.  Starting this week I will be admitted to the hospital for 4 days to get infused with a combination of drugs called ICE.  Three weeks rest, then repeated.  Following ICE, I receive injections that force my body to produce lots of stem cells that will be harvested.  Stem cells mature into the cells your body need to function.  The harvesting process is like giving blood 4 hours a day for 5 days.  My healthy stems cells are frozen and stored for later use.  In stage two, I will get blasted twice a day for 14 days with a high dose of radiation.  In the final and most difficult stage, I will be admitted to the hospital for 30 days (yes a whole f’ing month), to get my final chemotherapy session to start my stem cell transplant.  For all you Seinfeld fans, I’m officially the bubble boy.  My body gets infused with my healthy stem cells, which will travel into my bone marrow to produce cancer free blood cells. Then I’m cured. Easy as 1,2,3…4,5,6,7,8,9…1000…1,000,000.

Once again, I will need to hijack all your thoughts, prayers and well wishes for the next year.  I know you all care about me and that means so much, especially now. I gain strength knowing that we are all fighting this together.  So, please don’t take a day off…unless you are watching soccer or making babies. I listen to every single message, but I’m horrible at calling people back. I’m way better over e-mail and I will do my best to keep you updated via e-mail, facebook and twitter (Can’t believe I just wrote that).

Thanks again for your unflagging support. I love you all and run strong.


Dear Ethan and Team,

I am slowly processing all of this and in spite of this news which many would perceive as “bad”, I see two things that rise to the top of the message. And they are your underlying positive spirit and your sense of humor. Both are CRITICAL to anyone’s success no matter who their opponents are. Although I have always considered myself spiritual, it wasn’t until my leukemia diagnosis in 2006 that I really started to understand that people sometimes receive “gifts” like this for a reason.

E, you have already done amazing work with LLS, Livestrong, and other organizations and used your personal diagnosis as a way to raise funds and awareness so that others may benefit.  This battle will be no different and will only aid those efforts. You know how to do this … one treatment, one infusion, one appointment, one day, and one mile at a time…. The same way we all will attack 26.2 miles.

Your support system is vast. Check that, your support system is incomprehensibly immense. Your support system will help you get through this but in reality, YOU are strong enough to not only get through this, but to get through it authoritatively and decisively. You wrote the book on SURVIVORSHIP and everyone you know will continue to support and assist you.

Cancer is generally stupid. In your case, lymphoma just picked the wrong person to start a junk yard scrap with.

We’ve got your back.


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  1. susan
    Posted September 10, 2009 at | Permalink

    Thank you Steve for passing along Ethan’s message and know that all of us who are “flourishers” and working toward regaining our own health and wellness will be right there supporting Ethan as he moves through this challenge. Funny, I too have been feeling that something has been off in the world lately and I’m not quite sure exactly what that is, but in reading this it makes me even stronger in my belief that I am to be moving forward with my passion to be a light bearer for all those who continue to seek to be the best human beings they can while they are on this earth. We are all in this together and together we can support those that need it and be supported when we need it.

    Here’s to you Ethan for your continued strength, passion, faith and your sense of humor. Right here with you sending you good vibrations of health and total wellness.


  2. Deb
    Posted September 12, 2009 at | Permalink

    Ethan, I know of a man who underwent this same process at Mayo in Rochester. He is totally cured. How wonderful it is that a cure has been found for your type of cancer. Hopefully this type of cure will last and reocurrance will not happen. I have stage IV colon cancer and am still waiting for a miracle. Keep up the fight. Keep the Faith and stay stong! You can do this!


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