Jennifer Goodman Linn is the founder of Cycle for Survival, a successful fund-raising event. She is an award-winning motivational speaker and marketing strategy consultant. For the past 6 years, she has slogged through eight courses of chemotherapy to shrink the tumors and six grueling surgeries to remove them. “Five relapses later, I continue to beat the odds by not giving in to the disease -- by living a fearless life.” With permission, we are sharing a recent post on her blog, You Fearless.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written about some of the amazing people I’ve met along this crazy, cancer journey. Well, today I couldn’t resist because I have a truly beautiful story to share.
Dean Baer is an extremely talented artist who combines Abstract and Impressionism styles and describes his artwork as “Expressionist”. Although I think his artwork is truly beautiful, I had no idea who Dean was until about 6 months ago.
A friend of mine who was opening an art gallery in Seattle shared my story with Dean and he said he was inspired to create a painting for me. In the meantime, he introduced himself to me on Facebook and we began to be friends, gaining inspiration from each other.
The other day, I received The Red Door, an amazingly, beautiful, meaningful painting that was created with me in mind. It’s amazing how Dean intuitively knew my favorite colors and how this painting would fit perfectly on a certain wall and complement our home’s décor so well. I absolutely love this painting.
What I see is a woman who is standing in front of two doors -- one is open and one is closed. She is choosing with door to enter/which path to take in the next leg of her journey. To me, it symbolizes the fact that we always have a choice in how we move through our lives. There are “doors” that present themselves to us all of the time and WE choose whether we see that door as open or as closed, as an obstacle or as an opportunity. I find the painting so empowering. It symbolizes that your life is what you make of it. No one else has the ability to choose your path but you.
I immediately hung the painting on my wall and look at it every day. It is also a reminder to me that there are “angels” in all of our lives. People like Dean who come into your world and change it for the better. I am so fortunate to have met Dean and benefit from his talent and his huge heart. Thank you Dean for such a wonderful gift. I have no doubt that this painting will continue to provide strength for me as I handle the “doors” that present themselves in my life.
Luckily this week has been a better one for me. How’s this for irony? I went to bed early on Sunday night and woke up and said to Dave, “The chemo is working…I feel better. I have no doubt we are on the right path”. The next morning we woke up to find out that Osama Bin Laden had been killed at precisely the same time that I made that statement. Two terrorists going down together!
I had no fevers this week and my abdomen seems to be stabilizing (it hasn’t grown this week, in fact it has slightly shrunk in size) and I feel better. The transfusion gave me the energy I needed so I was able to do a lot of things I wanted to this week. However, for some reason, my liver function is abnormally high again and my platelets are dangerously low. We have a feeling it’s the combination of the 4 drugs I am taking so my oncologist removed one this week and I will go in for blood work on Tuesday and hope that my levels are more balanced.
I was very concerned to remove one of the drugs from the equation (even for just a few days). My mind kept on saying, “But what if that’s the one that’s working?!?”. But, as we know, we need to put our trust in the experts and I believe my Dr. is going to solve this equation. For now, I am just hoping I continue to feel well. I also lost 4.5 of the 6.5 lbs I gained last week so swelling seems to be under control. Thank you for all for your “swell-free” wishes. I believe they really worked!
I spoke as part of Labaton Sucharow’s Women’s Initiative about living fearlessly and spoke at NYU’s Heyman Center about the success of Cycle for Survival. You can see my speech at the law firm by visiting the media section of my website although I warn you, that it is 40 minutes long! (direct link is http://www.youfearless.com/video/jen-provides-fearless-tips-labaton-sucharow-part-their-womens-initiative-1).
Also, make sure you always visit the “Fearless News” section of my website on the bottom right corner of the homepage. That’s where I update you on all of the exciting “doors” that are presenting themselves in my life!