Ethan Zohn -Survivor Africa winner
Posted 18 May 2009 - 08:33 AM
On April 30, Zohn was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin's disease. The diagnosis came after months of unexplained itching and night sweats, originally thought to be a skin condition. Doctors discovered a swollen lymph node under his left clavicle, and a CT scan revealed a mass on the left side of his chest. Then, just last week, Zohn learned he is suffering from a rare form the disease called CD20-positive Hodgkin's Lymphoma, for which he began chemotherapy last Friday.
"This is the ultimate game of Survivor," Zohn, 35, tells PEOPLE exclusively, "and there's really only one outcome, and that's to win. There's no other option."
Hodgkin's disease is a cancer of the body's lymphatic system with survival rates reaching as high as 90 percent. Zohn was told that the CD20 diagnosis, which affects around five percent of all Hodgkin's patients, has a similar cure rate, but is treated with an altered, more aggressive, three-month chemotherapy regimen. "They're going right after this," he says.
The chemo is expected to knock the always active and otherwise fit Zohn mostly out of commission for a few months, with nausea and weakness among its side effects. And he's expected to lose his famous mop of hair within two weeks.
Zohn's longtime girlfriend, Survivor: The Amazon winner Jenna Morasca, 27, is vowing to be at his side throughout the process. "I will fight with every fabric of my being to get him through this," Morasca tells PEOPLE.
Educating, Inspiring Others
Both Zohn and Morasca lost parents to cancer. Zohn's father died of colon cancer when Ethan was 14. Morasca's mother died in 2003, after a 12-year battle with breast cancer. "Our only point of reference with this situation is death," says Morasca.
Upon hearing the diagnosis, says Zohn, "My life flashed before my eyes." But in the roller coaster of emotions that followed, Zohn came to a conclusion: He wants to use his battle with cancer as way to educate and inspire others.
"This is happening for a reason," he tells PEOPLE. "You have to get spiritual about this [stuff]. I know I want to help people and inspire people. That's my purpose in life. So I need to use this as a platform."
Zohn, who has worked to raise money and awareness for AIDS relief in Africa through his Grassroot Soccer charity ever since winning Survivor's $1-million prize in 2002, had his first chemo treatment in Manhattan last Friday. Doctors inserted a small, octagonal port in his chest through which the chemo will be administered "like a fast-filling station" every two weeks. "It looks like I have a third nipple right now," says Zohn. "You can call me trip-nip!"
He'll face the loss of his hair with the same bravado. "My hair is my identity," he admits. But rather than find "long, disgusting Ethan Zohn hair all over my house," he's decided to shave it off in the next few days: "I'll get a mohawk or something fun that I've always wanted to do."
That's just fine with Morasca. "I so love the bad-boy look," she says. "I'd have him get a tattoo and a nose piercing, too, but he's not into it."
Bad-boy looks or not, Zohn says he feels well-prepared for the long fight ahead. "I've got good family and friends, and I'll roll with the punches as it comes to me. That's how I work in life. I'll take it on like a real game of Survivor," he says, adding: "I'm not getting voted out of this one."
Hope he is ok.. one of my favorite survivors
Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:26 AM
Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:28 AM
Money really isn't anything at all. The greatest win is a good bill of health.
Posted 18 May 2009 - 01:53 PM
Sad news.... for sure
Sounds like he's going to tackle this thing head on.... I wish him well
Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:14 PM
Posted 18 May 2009 - 03:25 PM
I thought there was a "In the media" thread, but I couldnt find it, so if you wish feel free to move it..
Nearly a decade after winning $1,000,000 on "Survivor: Africa," Ethan Zhon tells People magazine he is being treated for stage 2 Hodgkin's disease.
He began chemotherapy last Friday for the mass doctors discovered on the left side of his chest that turned out to be a rare form of cancer called CD20-positive Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"This is the ultimate game of 'Survivor'," Zohn, 35, says in the exclusive interview, "and there's really only one outcome, and that's to win. There's no other option."
Although survival rates for Hodgkin's disease are high at 90%, the chemotherapy regimen for this particular form of the illness is intense.
The soccer player will undergo three months of radiation treatment, according to the magazine.
His longtime girlfriend and "Survivor: The Amazon" winner Jenna Morasca, 27, tells People she plans to "fight with every fabric of [her] being" to help her boyfriend defeat the cancer.
Both Zohn and Morasca lost parents to cancer, leading the couple to associate the disease only with death, Morasca says.
But Zohn, who has campaigned for AIDS awareness and research in Africa through his charity, Grassroot Soccer, says he intends to use this experience to help others.
"This is happening for a reason," he says. "You have to get spiritual about this [stuff]. I know I want to help people and inspire people. That's my purpose in life. So I need to use this as a platform."
Zohn's outlook is positive, and he points out he's lucky enough to have good friends and family by his side and that he's ready to "roll with the punches.
"I'll take it on like a real game of 'Survivor'," he says. "I'm not getting voted out of this one."
Posted 18 May 2009 - 04:28 PM
Posted 18 May 2009 - 05:32 PM
Posted 18 May 2009 - 09:56 PM
Posted 14 September 2009 - 10:26 AM
Ethan Zohn: 'My Cancer Is Back'
Just last month, for the first time since being diagnosed with a rare form of Hodgkin's disease in April – followed by three months of intense chemotherapy – Ethan Zohn was finally feeling good.
"I was off chemo," he says. "I was running up to seven miles" in preparation for November's New York City Marathon. "I was happy, I was going out. I went up to Boston to see the family and was feeling great."
Then, on Aug. 26, his doctor called with post-chemo test results – and they were not good. "My cancer is back," Zohn, 35, tells PEOPLE. "I have never been so scared in my life, for my life."
"It was a complete punch in the face," says the Survivor: Africa winner, who had been making regular video diaries for PEOPLE.com. (Stay tuned for the latest chapter.) When the bad news hit, Zohn decided to wait until doctors started him on a new course of treatment before sharing the news with family, friends and now the rest of the world.
"My mom was obviously upset," Zohn says. "My brothers – everyone's upset. They can't believe it's what's happening. But on the flip side, everyone's positive and supportive."
He adds, "You have to think positive. And you have to find the strength, which I will. And you have to rely on other people, which I will."
The chemotherapy Zohn had endured since May left him hairless and plagued by nausea. But it did have some positive effect: The mango-sized tumor in his chest shrunk significantly. "The original mass is pretty well contained," Zohn says.
That's the good news. The bad news showed up on PET and CAT scans: "There was re-growth," Zohn explains. "Two little nodules in a different location … It's quite rare that not only is there re-growth, but that there's re-growth so quickly. I was obviously resistant to the first form of chemotherapy."
Now, doctors have ordered a stem cell transplant aimed, as he puts it, at "hitting the reset button" on his body.
The new treatment – officially called risk-adapted high dose chemoradiotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation for patients with relapsed and primary Hodgkin's lymphoma – will take place in three stages.
The once-shaggy-haired soccer player just emerged from the first part of stage one: He spent three days in a hospital last week, where he received a combination of chemotherapy drugs referred to as ICE. Since Zohn's immune system was in such a fragile state, his girlfriend, Survivor: The Amazon winner Jenna Morasca, slept in a chair at his bedside each night dressed in a hospital gown, protective mask and rubber gloves.
After three weeks of rest, he'll return to the hospital for a second in-patient ICE treatment that will last four days. Doctors will then harvest healthy stem cells from Zohn's body and freeze them for later use.
"In stage two I will get blasted twice a day for 14 days with a high dose of radiation," Zohn told friends via e-mail last week. "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."
Zohn says that both his red and white blood cell count will be brought down to zero during the month-long hospital stay – most likely in December – at which time his frozen, healthy stem cells will be reintroduced with the aim of replenishing his body entirely with non-cancerous cells.
"Then I'm cured," he said in his e-mail to friends, showing his usual air of hope and humor. "Easy as 1, 2, 3 … 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 … 1000 … 1,000,000."
As he has since beginning his battle, Zohn is vowing to remain positive. "Whatever things are thrown at you, you've got to battle through with a smile on your face," he says, "and the important people in your life around you."
Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:19 PM
Posted 14 September 2009 - 12:36 PM
Posted 14 September 2009 - 01:29 PM
Posted 14 September 2009 - 02:10 PM
Posted 14 September 2009 - 04:08 PM
Posted 17 September 2009 - 05:26 PM
Posted 17 December 2009 - 01:37 PM
"Survivor: Africa" winner Ethan Zohn got some incredible news recently in his battle against a rare from of Hodgkin’s disease. Following 20 hits of radiation his doctors, via a full body scan called a PET scan, found that he had no active cancer cells in his body, “I’m not cured of cancer,” he told me via phone today. ‘There is only a 15% chance that I’d be cured if I stop right now.”
So beginning Tuesday, Ethan will spend 30 days in isolation as he undergoes a stem cell transplant which gives him a 50 to 80 percent chance of being cured of cancer, “I know that my body is receptive to something. It can heal itself. So that’s pretty exciting. Just to be able to go into the stem cell thing PET negative is huge.”
For at least 10 of the 30 days Ethan will not be allowed to have any contact with anyone other than his doctors, “I literally will have no immune system, like zero” he explains. “But on either side of that getting down to the zero point, friends and family can come in as long as they have had a flu shot, H1N1, they clean up and they are wearing a mask, gowns, hat, gloves… that whole thing. I’m like the ‘bubble boy’ if you watch 'Seinfeld,'" he joked.
To help pass the time friends and family have been showering him with gifts. “I have like 50 DVDs,” Ethan revealed. Amongst the list of DVDs he plans to watch - “Freaks and Geeks and “The Wire.”
“Everyone has sent stuff. DVDs, coloring books, I have a little mini basketball hoop, stress balls. I have everything you could possibly want to keep me occupied in the hospital.”
The one thing he plans to bring in on his own is his stationary bike. “They want you to try and get up and be as mobile as possible within reason. A goal of mine is to put up a map and try to see if I can bike, on a map mileage wise, from New York to Boston.”
Though he will still be in the hospital he does hope to ring in the New Year in some special way, “Pop a big bottle of Imodium or something,” he jokes. The New Year, however, will bring special meaning to him, “I think it’s a new chapter. You get spiritual on this stuff and my sign is Scorpio. It’s also the sign of the Phoenix. Rise from the ashes and be a bigger and better and more complete person. I look at it that way.”
The one thing he won’t be too sorry to miss out on though is the planned ten-year “Survivor” reunion in LA on January 9. “I wont be able to go, unfortunately,” he explains. “It’s gonna be awesome. Well, it’s gonna be freaking chaos actually! I can’t imagine 300 of us in one room just all jockeying for face time! They are just a bunch of bulls----ers in one place… all Type A personalities typing to grasp for that last 10 minutes of fame.”
Of course, if he hadn’t done his time trapped in Africa on the show, his 30 days in isolation during his stem cell transplant might have seemed a little more daunting. “I’m sure I’ll be OK,” he concluded. “I’ve spent time in worse places for 30 days!”
link to article
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users