'No restrictions' as Farrell gears up for work
With cancer in remission, Red Sox manager headed to Arizona for club evaluations
BOSTON -- His cancer now in remission, Red Sox manager John Farrell is ready to get back to work with "no restrictions."
In fact, Farrell will board a plane for Arizona on Saturday morning for five days of meetings with president of baseball of operations Dave Dombrowski and several other evaluators from the club to start plotting the course for the offseason.
Farrell is grateful and relieved that he can take full part after a trying few weeks in which he recovered from Stage 1 lymphoma.
"I am really excited about getting back to work and not having to lay in an infusion bed, which was needed for a couple of months," said Farrell, sounding upbeat and energetic in a Friday conference call with reporters. "Basically there was six months of chemo given in roughly an eight-week period. That was just to combat the aggressive nature of the lymphoma. So it was very intense, and shortened down or concentrated regimen. So it beat me up a little bit physically, but honestly right now I'm feeling pretty darn good."
Farrell announced he had Stage 1 lymphoma on Aug. 14, four days after doctors in Detroit discovered it during what was supposed to be a routine hernia surgery.
After finishing his chemo at the beginning of this month, Farrell spent the last three weeks recovering. And on Thursday, he got the news he had been hoping for from the doctors.
"I feel like the news of yesterday and getting a clean bill of health has been a huge relief, there's no doubt about it," Farrell said. "I think anyone who knows someone who has maybe gone through a PET scan and you wait for the results to come back, there's probably 24 hours of uneasiness and anxiety. But when the news was delivered that it's all clean, it's certainly a huge relief."
Without question, Farrell gained new perspective during his ordeal.
"Shortly after the announcement on the 14th of August, I got a letter from a person whose dad had watched the press conference, and because of the pain that that person felt in their groin area, they went and got checked -- and lo and behold, came away with Burkitt's lymphoma. I know there's a message in here and an awareness that can be further heightened," said Farrell.
Though Farrell put on a brave front when he announced his diagnosis, he can now admit what a trying time it was.
"Things were happening way too fast, because I really didn't feel any symptoms. And then from a hernia surgery on a Monday and three days later, you're having a consultation with an oncologist who is telling you what the cancer treatment is going to do to your body," said Farrell. "I asked him in the middle of that, I said, 'Hey, Doc, just timeout for a second. I need to take a deep breath, because I can't believe what I'm processing here.' There's a lot of quiet moments, a lot of reflection on the fact that a lot of the simple things in life begin to gain a greater appreciation and we live in a pretty fast-paced world.
"I think, really, what it causes you to do is kind of slow down and take a personal inventory, to see what is important around you. And this is in many ways has been a life-changing event. There's no doubt about it."
Farrell's strong and sturdy body can only serve him well in his recovery.
"I'm walking two to three miles probably four to five times a week right now, just trying to build that back," Farrell said. "Appetite is great. There's no restrictions. The restrictions are going to be to listen to my body and what am I capable of, and that's where my workout routine is ramping up relatively quick. Nutrition has not been a problem through this.
"Either you know someone or you've heard of people going through chemo treatment, it can be harsh on the body. Fortunately I never vomited one time. I didn't lose weight, unfortunately, I would have hoped to have had, but I haven't. No, I'm confident my strength will continue to ramp up here in a pretty good amount of time."
Farrell thanked the many people who reached out to him, especially former Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
"I talked with Tito every single day. Every single day, I will tell you, that we shared a text," Farrell said. "I can't thank him enough for the support he showed. But we can go on and on. Letters from diehard Yankees fans who were very clear to say how much they didn't like the Red Sox, but in the letter they wished you well in getting back from the treatment and beating cancer and seeing you back on the field."
Though Farrell was out for the final 48 games of the season, he was in his office at Fenway Park nearly every day and didn't miss a road game on television.
"There was a sense of energy that you felt, even watching on TV, that anyone who is a fan of the team or follows close presents a lot of excitement going into the offseason," said Farrell. "It's an exciting group, and the way they played was outstanding."