It's been quite a while since my last original post for Mama Bla Blah. A few months back, I joined a new blog called, Hevria. I have been writing new posts every second Wednesday for Hevria and sometimes linking to my posts here.
With 2014 a mere 2 weeks behind us, and 2015 just beginning to unfurl it's soft and hopeful petals, I am eager and enthusiastic. I reap strength from staring down the many cancers that we continue to live with whether it be the beast we call, terrorism, the loud evil voices of racism, or the sharp destructive blades of baseless hatred, we must search for the light at the end of the tunnel. That light is eternal and we must focus, stretch out our arms, and reach for it.
As long as I live and breathe, I will remind myself of the four most important things I can do to bring light to our earth:
1. Keep my heart brimming with love.
2. Have faith in myself and in God.
3. Maintain hope for the present and the future.
4. Continue living life to the fullest.
Something I struggle with sometimes is self worth. What is my contribution right now to my family, my community, my country, and my world? I've always had a plan. There was always a reason, many reasons, to be where I was and to do what I was doing. Then I got sick. Cancer can be a full time occupation and rightly so, but now I'm sooooooo over it. I'm not done with cancer, I know. I don't ever want cancer to be an excuse. Cancer is not my scapegoat, however cancer got in the way of My Plan. I almost reached the stage of My Plan where I would magically return to my profession as a physical therapist or another branch of my profession; helping people. Healing people. I know what people like to say about plans; man plans, God laughs. God is not laughing at us - He is laughing with us.
When plans get messed up, we need to write a new plan.
I'm still writing.
I don't know where this new plan is going to lead. I'm hopeful and I'm also realistic and very aware. I'm living like a pro - like a professional lifer. I'm so hopeful that I'll continue to regain strength and hold onto remission. Recurrent, metastatic, stage 4 cancer stabbed me in my remission's back just a little over a year ago. My remission world came crashing down. I literally stared death in it's shadowy intimidating face. I think back to one year ago and I can't even believe that I made it through that period of time! I want to celebrate being where I am today. What a miracle! What a blessing!
My last chemotherapy treatment was on July 3, 2014. That was the treatment that pushed my physical body over the edge. We had planned for 6 rounds but my body caved at four. Four is my magic number.
Less than 4 weeks later, I was hospitalized with neutropenic fever and platelet counts so low I was in immediate danger of bleeding to death. The war raged on and missiles landed all around us from Gaza. I was in the middle of my own personal war, a week in the hospital, praying and hoping to get my blood counts stable enough to secure me a place in a possibly life saving clinical trial.
It's six months later and here I am.
Where am I?
I've been in the clinical trial for almost a half year already and while I have absolutely no way of knowing whether I'm getting PARPs or powdered sugar, I'm alive and mostly well. I'm trying to accomplish my current plan of living a life full of love, faith, and hope. I'm also trying to do more for my family, my community, my country, and my world. It's what I can handle right now.
I enjoy volunteering for Chibuk Rishon (First Hug), an organization that aims to provide hospitalized abandoned babies with the emotional needs that are so crucial to their healthy physical and emotional development, and recovery. As a volunteer, I visit babies and try to fill the void created by the absence of parents by giving the babies human touch, hugs and cuddles, warmth, and the love they need and want so much. We also care for lonely babies, who do not receive sufficient parental attention for various reasons. We hug babies from all communities of Israel, Jewish, Christian, Muslim; every baby deserves love and care and we are happy and honored to provide it. Chibuk Rishon makes sure that each baby is cared for by a small group of volunteers that accompany the baby throughout their hospitalization period to make sure that each precious baby is not exposed to too many people. It's extremely humbling and heartwarming work. I'm so grateful to be involved with First Hug and highly recommend joining us or making a donation to the organization.
Another source of meaning to me, is being able to participate in raising money for an organization that I'm proud of, Life's Door-Tishkofet. Two years ago, after completing my first line of chemotherapy, I ran as team captain in the Jerusalem Marathon 10K to raise money for Tishkofet. The following year I returned as team captain but was uable to run due to feeling too weak and ill during second line chemotherapy. I'm not physically running the Jerusalem Marathon, however I'm proud to be reclaiming my role as team captain. By raising money for the organization, I feel myself running towards a better life for people with a life threatening illness. The primary goal of Life's Door-Tishkofet is to transform the experience of facing life-threatening illness from one of anguish, confusion and denial to one that encourages collaboration, growth and hope in the lives of patients, families and professionals. I hope my friends and supporters will consider making a donation, big or small, to this wonderful organization that I hold so dear.
I leave you with my latest post on Hevria, which sums up my resolutions for the years to come.