"I think it's a journey and I'm still going through the journey," JPMorgan Chase chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon said today at a New York City real estate conference, discussing his throat cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Dimon completed his treatment, which included eight weeks of radiology and chemotherapy, in September. Since then, he's slowly returned to a fuller schedule, including his first trip two weeks ago, when he attended an international finance conference in Washington, D.C..
This conference, hosted by the Urban Land Institute, was just a short way from JPMorgan's midtown Manhattan headquarters (and across the street from where JPMorgan is reportedly seeking to build a massive new headquarters).
The Wall Street chief disclosed on July 1 that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer, and said Tuesday that the prognosis was good. He has spoken publicly about his diagnosis and treatment a few times, saying in July on a call with reporters that he was "feeling great." At Tuesday's conference, a slimmer-looking Dimon provided more details about his time at work during his treatment, saying that the diagnosis was "terrifying to hear" that, "in some ways, it's very solitary to go through, you're just sitting in those radiation rooms."
"On the other hand, you got the village, your family who's going through the same God-damned thing...you feel like you've subjected them to it."
He still would go into work, he said, except on days entirely occupied by hospital visits, but Dimon said he wouldn't do very much. "Physically it knocks the hell out of you," he said, "I didn't do anything, I didn't see anyone, I would literally sleep three or four times on the couch." He came in those days, he said, because "my alternative was sitting home and watching TV, like the news, like ISIS."
"You just want to start and deal with it, one step ahead of the other," he said, "and you feel worse and worse and worse emotionally and physically."
Dimon said that the management team even had an offsite without him, and made decisions that they would later brief him on. "I would do things in 30 minutes that I would normally spend three hours on."
While the 58-year old Dimon gave no indication he would leave JPMorgan soon — and is reportedly planning to stay for at least five years — he did give an indication of what he would want to do next. "It hasn't changed what I want to do with my life, yet. Could it? It could. I still have to do something. I still want to make it a better world."
Dimon said that he didn't want to, say, join a charitable board just to raise money, "But there might be a charity that needs my help that needs someone like me to help them become better and fix it." He also said he would like to teach.
"We'll see. You still wake up every day with that reminder that you have cancer, or had," he said. "It's quite a thing, maybe in some ways it's a blessing."
Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
Contact Matthew Zeitlin at email@example.com.
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