Needless to say it’s been a whirlwind week in my life and if you’ve reached this blog you know that my wife Jennifer has been diagnosed with leukemia and is at Johns Hopkins Hospital giving cancer one helluva fight over the next month and beyond.
To say that we’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness, generosity and sheer humanity of all of the love bestowed upon us over the last three days would be a complete understatement. It was completely unexpected and we’ll never forget this crazy period in our lives.
You have inspired us and made us stronger and even more committed through your caring, thoughtful words and the offers we’ve received from every corner of our lives. The acts, words and gestures have left us feeling truly humbled.
A month ago we were in Brisbane, Australia seeing Bruce Springsteen and my wife woke up the next morning with an insect bite (we think it was a spider) on her right hand. Two days later it swelled and started to throb. By the time we got to Fiji for our final two days on the beach, she had her hand exclusively in a bucket of ice.
We flew for nearly 36 hours to get home and between the flight, jet lag and general fatigue, she began to feel bad a few days later. On March 12, she went to she her doctor with some deep pain under her right armpit. We were worried about breast cancer and all sorts of bad things.
The docs said it was a swollen lymph node and gave her an antibiotic to fight the infection. The next day she went through a battery of tests – mammogram, X rays and blood work to make sure it wasn’t more serious. On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 19 she reported back to the doctors who had long faces of concern when we arrived. They handed us a box of face masks and told us to go to the emergency room at Johns Hopkins right away because her white blood cell count was dangerously low. After five hours in the ER, she was admitted and spent the most of the overnight giving blood and getting tested.
At 8 a.m. the next morning, while filling in for Drew Forrester on fumes of sleep, I announced that was coming back onto the radio every day from 3 til 6 p.m. at WNST.net & AM 1570 with a new radio show called “The Happy Hours.” I also released Chapter 1 of The Peter Principles, a book I’ve been working on for almost five months.
The “comeback,” set for April 1st, was something we’ve been planning together for nearly six months.
Nine hours later, at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, a doctor entered her hospital room at Hopkins and dropped the biggest bombshell of our lives: “I’m really sorry to tell you that you’ve got leukemia and you’re not going to be leaving the hospital for a long time.”
Family, work, friends, goals and dreams – all of it would have to be addressed and put on hold or readjusted to a “new normal” for us. It broke her heart to know that she couldn’t be with our beloved cat, Kitty, for a month. (We’ve since begun Skyping her into chat with our furry companion every morning and night.)
The doctors have told us that if she didn’t get the spider bite, which was what sent her to the clinic to begin with, we might’ve been sitting on a time bomb with her deteriorated immune system. Had she contracted a common cold, it might’ve killed her because her body would’ve been weakened.
Instead, she checked into the hospital very vulnerable but also very healthy and strong, which they see as a great way for her to start her chemotherapy and aids her chances for recovery during this first