What do they say about the best-laid plans?
“The Lord has a plan and for some reason I wasn’t supposed to get to Cape Cod this summer,’’ Dave Gettleman said Friday after the Giants finished up a stormy practice.
No, Gettleman did not get to spend any time on the beach. He was diagnosed five weeks ago with lymphoma and has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments ever since. Recently, his doctor, Andre Goy at Hackensack University Medical Center, told him his cancer is in complete remission.
“I really didn’t understand it,’’ Gettleman, the Giants’ general manager, said in his first public comments since the diagnosis. “All of a sudden, within a five-week period I’m told I’ve got an aggressive lymphoma and in five weeks he says, ‘Everything’s going to be OK.’ That’s a quick turnaround.’’
Gettleman has completed four of his seven rounds of chemo, which are administered in the hospital during five-day stays. Although he admits “chemo ain’t fun now, there’s been a few days now, it rocks your world,’’ he said his energy is strong and he feels good. During his off-weeks from chemo, he gets into the team facility between 10:30 and 11 a.m. and stays until 7 or 7:30 p.m. He has been told to exercise, so he rides a stationary bicycle.
“Prayer does work and being in the right place, spiritually and mentally, has been a big help for me,’’ he said.
Yes, he has lost all the hair on his head.
“Being bald is different,’’ Gettleman said. “It’s weird now, getting up in the morning with that head of hair, looking at that face … I’m surprised my wife hasn’t left, because I want to. Right now I can shave with a tongue depressor.’’
Wednesday, during his first team meeting of camp, coach Pat Shurmur asked Gettleman to speak to the team. Gettleman was frustrated he could not “hug and kiss and do all that stuff” because of his compromised immune system, but he was able to hammer home two distinct messages.
Gettleman told the Giants he has been blessed to be with seven teams that made it to the Super Bowl and all were teams in the truest sense. He used a line Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said recently about individuals winning games and teams winning championships. Gettleman also told the players they earned the right to be at camp with the Giants, now they have to earn the right to make the final roster.
Shurmur, Gettleman said, is everything he thought he would be, and more.
“He’s got a great way about him,’’ said Gettleman, repeatedly describing his head coach as “pragmatic’’ and adding, “I’m in heaven’’ with the job Shurmur is doing.
While he has been in treatment, Gettleman was able to sign linebacker Connor Barwin to help the pass rush. Gettleman took a look at the depth chart on defense and noticed, “I just felt we needed one more veteran presence.’’
All is good with Gettleman. He cannot spend time in the sun and lamented he watched practice Friday “eight million yards away — I was in Peru watching a practice in Hackensack.’’ He is frustrated he cannot accompany the team on the preseason trip to Detroit, as a flight in his weakened condition is not advised.
“Here you are sitting on a plane sucking recycled air and everybody’s cooties,’’ he said.
Gettleman is not pleased he cannot walk through the locker room — that immune system again — and has to eat meals at his desk, upstairs in his office, rather than downstairs, schmoozing in the team cafeteria. Still, he knows he is fortunate to be feeling so strong and blessed with such an optimistic prognosis.
“Listen, here’s what I’d say to everybody,’’ he said. “None of us, laying on our death bed, are gonna say, ‘We wish we worked more … gosh, I wish I emptied that email inbox.’ None of us are gonna do that, OK?
“I firmly believe it’s faith, family and football. Our legacy is our children. That’s our legacy. And I sound like an old man but I’m not. You just think about things.’’
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