Yesterday, I completed my final chemotherapy treatment. I don't know what I expected but it wasn't that. When chemo ends, it just ends. Well, that's how it goes in my case - a very lucky case, I know. I had a successful surgery back in July, and the chemotherapy was prescribed to knock out any cancer cells that dared to linger or have the chutzpah to rebuild cancerous empires in my body. There's this tiny invisible person inside of me saying, "Okay, so you finished 5 months of chemotherapy. You're done. What you you want?!! A prize?" Uh, yeah - damn straight I do! Where's my certificate of completion? My extended warranty? I want the laminated card that states my achievements and a declaration... I want the lifetime guarantee; signed, stamped, and sealed with a golden emblem. Where's. My. PRIZE?
The clock gets reset and we start something new; follow-up. A CT scan here and a check-up there. I actually flipped out. I cried. I shook with emotion. My questions and demands don't really have Human answers. Not the fair kind. I was forewarned by my oncologist that it would be a process and I should have listened to his gentle kind words. I left the oncology day ward feeling empty and lost and even a little bit doomed. There's no modern day miracle test to detect ovarian cancer or recurrence. No "ovarian-oscopy". No smears. No definitive blood tests. Like the primary disease itself, the main hope for early detection is slightly short of an act of divine intervention. Picking up on the slightest symptom and being able to identify it is the only hope second to being cured, of course. I've reached the point that I aimed for from Day One of the diagnosis; remission. Life goes on.
Speaking of prizes and life....
After a long and emotional day including chemo and some unrelated drama, I drifted off to sleep with my subtle worried thoughts finally taking a rest. At around nine thirty at night my phone sang loudly- a call from my SIL (Sister In Law). Her waters broke! ...How quickly can I meet them at the hospital for the birth? Within minutes I was dressed and out the door! I arrived at the hospital, in Jerusalem, parked the car and RAN to find my brother and SIL. I watched, in complete awe and amazement as my SIL gracefully and so naturally directed strength and faith into birthing her precious baby daughter. Just after 1:00 AM, I was blessed with one of Life's most exquisite moments as my brother and SIL shared their intimate birth with me. It was the first time I ever participated in a birth that didn't involve me becoming a mother. Seeing two people, who I love so much, bring their daughter into the world is the ultimate climactic vantage point of G-d's greatest gift. What a beautiful, miraculous gift Life is!
no prize and there are no promises. There are only gifts - every
moment, every single day. I completed chemotherapy. My own journey took me from wondering about my own life and its fragility, a successful surgery, through an up-and-down roller coaster ride beyond even the cliche's wildest imagination... to the perfect, miracle of my newborn baby niece being born into a room filled with love and hope. Love and hope for now... and G-d willing a wonderful future.