Sunday, September 17, 2017

Happiness Guaranteed: The Recipe


All soft mattresses have long been stowed away. The most perilous event is in action.

The arms are below - braced to catch me - in perfect form but nothing is promised. There are no promises in Life and more mysteries are in medicine.

In slow motion with sound siphoned into a motionless vacuum, for this millisecond I'm frozen in time.
I am a woman suspended midair.
Perfectly aligned.
Heartbeat: regular.
Blood pressure: low.
Secured in place with hope, love, and faith.

An invigorated monster calculates my trajectory and prepares for my landing. 

A beast in my liver is aggressive and growing with vengeance. The treatments prove to be working lest that beast outruns me to my prepared landing.

That beast is the darkness that remains - the most vicious one I've ever been faced with.
Plan Be.
Radiation.
Immediately!

I look into the arms that I pray will catch me with ease. 
I see so much "cancer".
Each with your own pittance or portion. 

I know what the answer is: it's not to fight and slay "cancer". Happiness awaits each and every one of us through sickness and health, through crisis and tragedy.
Meaning.
Meaningfulness.
Virtue, kindness, righteousness, generosity and love is the recipe for happiness. The guarantee of true happiness is always protected by fortitude, morality, and excellence.
Stop pursuing happiness - pursue meaning.
Meaningfulness will unavoidably shower you with fulfillment and joy.

This millisecond will continue for as long as it will.... 
I attempt to stay upright in the sky - in the air - hoping and believing that those arms below will catch me again.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Shinning Beyond The Darkness


I wonder how many people on earth emotionally and physically define their existence by experiencing their lives as a constant state of chasing and appreciating miracles. 

Right now is a miracle.

It's become routine; receiving devastating results with disastrous potentialities, I fall, I get up. 

I get snagged for some beats; long beats, short beats. 
The longer beats are like a record stylus skipping over rows of grooves. The needle snags in a groove and bounces backwards - repeating the same offensive 2 seconds of track incessantly: 
Game over! 
Game over! 
Game over! 
Game over!
Until somehow God, Himself, comes and lifts the needle from that skipping and recurrence of that 2 seconds of track: Game over! 

Recurrence. Tumors. Cancer.

It's been 5 years and 2 months since my personal miracle sustainer was put on trial. My miracle chasing obsession intensified and here I am today. 
I'm hoping that God will lift that needle. 
I pray He will muffle those 2 seconds of track.

Do you understand why this life is different? 
I delight in one miracle while containing tragic devastation, and simultaneously reaching out to catch the next miracle. 
There's always a thick path of darkness before the shinning can even be detected.
My next miracle wafts directly in my path beyond a thick fog.  
It has a delicate amount of shine beyond the darkness. 

Presumably, we all live from miracle to miracle; a part of quintessential life. I'm not saying that living an ordinary life means taking miracles for granted. 

Not at all. 

Acknowledging and delighting in each incident or phenomenon with full enthusiasm and ferocity would deplete emotional capacity very quickly. Concentrating all senses on complete gratitude for this moment - this breath - this individual heartbeat....
It's inconceivable.

All of this journey I've had to travel, the detours, just everything that's happened... right now I'm just existing by chasing after miracles. It is a full time passion and I guess I'm simply destined to the obligation. It's my motherly responsibility to keep pursuing mercy and magic; unicorns and rainbows - which I know are manifestations of The Almighty and All-knowing.

I'm numb.

It's like the torment diminished my abilities to indulge or savor anything like I used to. Constant faith, ecstasy, and hypnosis all jumbled together are fundamental just to equalize the immeasurable intensity of living with a nonstop memento of wild fear and threats

How?
Why?
When?

Those aren't legitimate questions. The answers are indecipherable. Those puzzles are unsolvable, incomprehensible, and padlocked. That chapter isn't yet written or my merciless 2 second track is about to play relentlessly.
Somebody pull the plug.



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

My Journey is Still Relevant


I often mention, in my posts, that earth is only part of The Journey.
Life is short - isn't a cliche
I believe we're each here for a reason....

Every word that I write comes from my soul. I mean every word.

This summer, I embarked on a new leg of my Journey. I'd hit the wall. I'd endured two courses of treatment that did nothing beneficial for me. I arrived at The-end-of-the-road. I'd exhausted all of the advanced ovarian cancer treatment protocols and it was basically game-over.

As deeply as I understand that I'm not going to survive Life and we're all going to die, I just don't think I've fulfilled all of my responsibilities on this earth yet. I began searching the world for other, newer treatments for my disease, months before my health insurance company called quits and put me on the "financially undeserving" list. I embarked on my Plan Be even months before my final wasted treatment.

I scoured the planet for a cancer center, clinical trial, or new therapy that could possibly offer me an alternative choice to accepting I'd reached the last chapter; the part where every option for extending life is expired.

I found it.
I'm here and I'm getting treatment.
My medical insurance denies me repeatedly for coverage of these new treatments that I'm receiving on another continent. The good news is that the Ministry Of Health disagrees with them... so there's that.

I have hope because while it could be an effect of recovering from chemotherapy - I feel better than I have in a very long time. I have hope yet it's an agonizing existence living away from my husband and young children. No amount of FaceTime and technology can replace the connection of a cuddle or an embrace. No amount of hope can completely rectify my absence from my children's lives so that I may extend mine.

We don't have guarantees that this treatment will work - so there's always a risk that I'm absent AND not even extending our time together.

One revelation is that my children are not only surviving but thriving without me - so far away; on another continent. Of course my joy and comfort is seeing my babies smiling and living even while lacking my presence. I feel I've helped get them to their steady places. I know that they're special kids who have taken our challenges and lassoed their pain to energize and live with positivity and luster even in a household with some cancer.

I can't help pondering and obsessing with the question: why this and why now? If I've been embraced by miracles so many times, why is this huge detour my chosen path? Why have I been so blessed to survive these 5 years only to be sent so far away from my life and my husband and my children? Maybe this is the answer? To prove to me that when the time comes. I can relax and let go because my children are thriving.....

I don't know why.

This Journey is still happening. I'm alive and confused. I'm scared and I'm hopeful.

Apparently, my adventurous Journey is still relevant and we're ON!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hitting The Wall

Along my journey, I've learned that my fear is sometimes far worse than reality. Over the past 5 years, I've had to deal with frequent assault, threat, and uncertainty about my health and survival. If life is a journey, I've had my share of forks in the road. I've had to choose between different paths and I've hit roadblocks and even walls. It seems that life itself is so unpredictable that sometimes the only thing to be done is to harness the fear and marvel at it as yet another human sensation. 
I seem to be better at creating imagery and making revelations than taking and internalizing reality. In turning my fear into a sensation and normalizing this almost constant struggle between true threat on my life and true happiness; danger versus euphoria, I've come to yet another revelation also involving imagery.  Life is like a marathon. Runners will relate and I can tell you how excruciating and disappointing it feels to Hit The Wall.
A popular modern phenomenon is the vogue of training for and completing marathons in face of adversity. A way of facing catastrophe and survival of disasters is committing to training for and completing a full marathon. Somehow facing 42 kilometers or 26 miles; jumping into training with both feet, is symbolic for conquering fear and disaster. 
Everyone who trains for a marathon will Hit The Wall. So many factors contribute to the experience, and some are within your control and some are completely out of your command. Just like cancer - it can be genetic or environmental, and sometimes we just don't know. Treatments lead to healing but sometimes even the best treatments can fail. It's not completely in our control and a marathon runner never stops training for their next race day.
In the runner's world, hitting the wall means depleting your stored energy source resulting in physical fatigue and extreme emotional negativity goes along with it. A form of carbohydrate called glycogen is stored in our muscles and liver for energy and when those stores run out... you hit the wall. When the body's most available fuel source burns out, even your brain wants to shut down in order to preserve energy, which leads to the negative emotions that accompany hitting the wall.
I've been through so much pain and faced so many tribulations and who hasn't? Over the past 5 years, I've shared my journey with all the bumps, forks, crossroads, and junctions. Let me tell you... this time: I finally Hit The Wall. I smashed into that wall so hard, the bricks and mortar came crashing down and buried me deep under a pile so heavy I'm amazed I was able to climb out for air. I'm still on my hands and knees. I'm still climbing out and perhaps being pulled out is a more honest description.
Not every single day in life can or should be "race day". Why fear Hitting The Wall every single day? I like to say that I run with cancer and not from it. I aspire to live life as a journey; not something to be feared, fought, or conquered (unless it's race day, of course). 
Living a meaningful and productive life is more than just logging the miles. Living is a comprehensive process of body, mind, and spirit. At the end of it you should aspire to go through a complete metamorphosis into a runner that is warmed up, prepared and ready to be able to deal with all of the requirements of the marathon. Between stored energy, boosts of energy from resources around you (family, friends and community) and accessible faith, we actually do have the ability to run many, many miles.
I'm praying for the strength and miracles to stay in the race and keep on running....

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Talking About Making My Soul Juicy

I write about it and I talk about it.
I believe that our purpose on earth is to develop our souls. I call it: making my soul juicy.

We may be born with a tiny raisin and it's our choice what we do with it. 

I want to make my soul like a humongous watermelon full of juice!

I also offer my perspective about relating to cancer patients in the community.

I was honored to speak for Life's Door back in 2015. They recorded my talk and I've edited it. I took an hour of me blabbering on and whittled it down to about half...

For anyone who's interested... here it is:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sponge, Mirrors, and #Happylanche

There are days when I feel the physical burden of constant torture - too many people suffering, too much pain.

I still believe that it's all for the good. 
I still believe that everything happens for a reason. 
I just don't know what the reasons are. 

In my world, I experience so much kindness, love, and support from family, friends, community, and strangers. 

Being on the other side of suffering; seeing my friends suffering whether it be from illness, the illness of a loved one, divorce, financial crisis, depression.... or any number of reasons - is perhaps even worse. I'm a mirror - reflecting pain. What's especially tortuous, is marinating in and soaking up the anguish, fear, and agony like an emotional sponge.

I imagine that many people feel this way in reaction to the pain of others. We hurt from within - even if it's for strangers on a different continent. 

I know the helplessness of literally not being able to "take away" the pain of someone you care about.

Life is painful. It doesn't take away from the joy and the gratitude and the love. The pain strengthens my faith - doesn't diminish it. My faith is solid yet it doesn't ease the pain I feel for others.

Lately, more and more reasons to ache arise: terror attacks around the world, baseless hatred towards different groups of people, the challenges that people in my inner circle must suffer (for reasons unknown). 

It all became too much recently and I exploded.

I experienced an explosion of my physical body; an actual manifestation of human emotions that could no longer coexist with seeking my #Happylanche s.... and positivity. My soul simply couldn't coexist with my body and I fell to the ground in a pile of physical affliction and disassociation.

First my face, hands, and feet became numb. Later, I felt like my limbs were dismembering from my body. I became a floating skull - the only proof that my body was still here were the hugs and hands of my dear friend, who came rushing to my side, and my husband. What a hopeless picture... how helpless my explosion must have made my husband feel as I screamed, cried, and writhed around on the floor.

I was somehow lifted or perhaps I flew, floated, or swam to my bedroom. I somehow arrived at my bed, where I collapsed.

Later I found myself in the emergency room with excruciating abdominal pain and some medical irregularities. I was home by midnight, thanks to another dear friend who accompanied me to the hospital.

No need for too many details.

I reached a new crossroad. Chemotherapy-resistant metastatic persistent disease. I've known this for quite a long time. This is when grasping at straws ensues and the insurance companies start questioning each and every test - as if to say, "You're still alive?" or, "We don't need to waste anymore money on you, honey, you're on your way out...". 

HOLD ON a moment there! Not so fast!

The time has come to think completely outside of the box of protocols. I've used them all up.

For anyone following my journey from close or afar... this is why I recently spent a week in San Diego, California, meeting with oncologists at UCSD Medical Center. That's where I'll restart my treatment - or continue my treatment with new and experimental regimens that may save my life (God willing).

There is so much suffering.
There is so much pain.
I have so much hope!

Please, if you feel helpless and you want to do something.... you can help me! Please, in my honor, reach out to someone who is lonely and shine some light into their life. Smile at strangers regardless if they smile back. Seek ways to do random acts of kindness from small to large. Please do this for me and for the people you love who may be suffering for any given reason.

Cancer doesn't care - people do. Be that person for someone.

#Happylanche

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Two Roads Diverged On My Cancer Journey


I'm 4 treatments into my current round of chemotherapy + Avastin and yet I have new tumors in my liver and most of the tumors (stomach, lung, lymph nodes etc) have grown stronger.

The news from my PET CT doesn't surprise me. It confirms that I'm truly in touch with my body. I can feel from within that the treatment is only making me sick, tired, and bald. 

I'm living outside of my body as if I'm floating. I've finally reached that crossroads that can either be crossbones or something miraculous. As I walk across the lava and the razorblades, I know I will be surrounded by love and support. This might be my last chance.



  Chemotherapy isn't working for a second time in under a year. This is where I stand and peer down two completely different roads. Which one shall I take? 



I choose road: Plan Be. There is a treatment that I plan to try far far away from my home in Israel. I am teetering on a very narrow bridges of hot lava and razorblades. The "unknown" is agony. I'm blessed and hopeful yet terrified.

God, please help me live on with Plan Be. Please let this road, be the fairest of them all, and lead me to the right places. It may be new and not yet mainstream yet just maybe Plan Be will have the better claim - Because it is grassy and needs wear to clear the doubts.

Plan Be seems like an adventure worth taking and it is my greatest hope!

Please keep Ahava Emunah bat Chava Ehta in your prayers.
Thank you.