Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm so Excited!

After a few months being insanely busy writing my blog into a book, I finally handed in the rough draft to a publisher!

I'm really excited, but so nervous. This is where all my hard work gets torn apart and nitpicked by a bunch of people who see it as business and not as a piece of my heart. I'm nervous but in a good way. I know it's going to be a long process to publish, but I can't wait to get this out.

I'm a little worried about what the reception will be with this as a book and not just some random blog. I hope readers will like it just like people seem to be enjoying my blog so far.

I'm a little afraid to put such a personal thing out there to the real public where my name will be displayed on bookshelves in Judaica stores and where random unknown people will be able to talk about my experiences and actions without even knowing who I am first.

I know I am likely to be judged and criticised, but I still think that my diary should be out there for the people who will grow and learn and get chizuk and even a good laugh out of it.

I don't even know why I'm posting now; things are so premature- the book probably won't be out until sukkos anyway. I guess I just need the support of my readers right now... :-)

Eventually I'm going to have to shut my previous posts- all the ones from 2003 and 2004 because no one would buy the book if its all online. I feel bad about doing that because the original purpose of this blog was to give chizuk to those who needed it and I feel stupid taking a profit from people who I could be helping for free, but thats they way things work in publishing.

Sorry for warbling, but like I said, I'm nervous!!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Blurt Poem

Okay, rushing out to work, but I just finished the poem I meant for my friend. Mind you, she hasn't seen it yet, so I'm hoping she can keep off my blog until tonight when I have a chance to deliver it!

When you’re feeling down and kinda sicky
And life seems like it’s very icky,
And you greet visitors halfhearted
And they say things that are retarded.

Just think of Blurt!

The game where people shout and scream
And don’t know what they really mean
And are busy yelling themselves blue,
Not bothering to listen to you!

It’s the game of Blurt!

When the nausea from chemo totally gets you
And it seems like normal people just forget you
And when the callers just invade your space
And you feel like yelling them into place

Just think of Blurt!

The game where players get ahead
As they switch places in the other’s stead
And try to figure out the definition’s word
And you wonder if the question was actually heard

It’s the game of Blurt!

When you feel like no one hears you
Because the people who come near you
Make you feel like a forgotten item on a shelf
Because they came thinking about themselves

Just think of Blurt!

The game where it’s about YOU winning
And where the thinking stops right at the beginning
Like when chesed people come to call
and dont know what they are doing at all!

Its the game of Blurt!

When people talk without using their brains
And Blurt! out things that sound insane
Just laugh and try to join the fun
And then you’ll end the game before everyone

Just think of Blurt!

Where players don’t know what cancer is like
And try to do good, though it don’t come out right
And I guess you’re doing a mitzvah just to let them
And then they finally leave and you can forget them!

It’s the game of Blurt!

I know that Blurtiing is not your speed,
But you need to think that they’re in need
They need to feel good about who they are,
And use you to do chessed and maybe get far

Just think of Blurt!

But in the end you come out the winner
(C’mon Chemo makes us sick kids so much thinner!!)
And the other players think they won too,
It’s really all up to you!

It’s the game of Blurt!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


The title says it all.

I grew up on the game blurt. I guess it's one of the games that are the making of English teachers.

The game is a deck of cards with dictionary definitions. One person reads the definitions and the other players need to blurt out the word the definitions are describing. The pressure and competition between the players are what make it so stressful to get the answers out.

I found this game today while shopping for Chanukah presents. It was at a great price and I was so thrilled to see my childhood favorite on sale for a third of the usual price that I grabbed a set for a friend and another for myself.

My husband wanted to know what I was going to do with the game and I said I was going to put it away until I had three daughters to play it with. He's still groaning.

The other set is for a friend who is going through chemo. She's having a very hard time dealing with those people who can't stop saying inconsiderate things to her about her illness. Being sick is hard on her and having to deal with the added stress of weird people doesn't help anything.

When I saw the game Blurt I had to think of her. It made me laugh that Blurt was her whole problem. It was the problem of people just blurting without thinking.

Like in the game, the players are just aiming to get what they have to say out in the open and they aren't listening to anyone else. Sometimes they try and blurt out the answer before they even finish hearing the question.

I feel like Blurt is the life of every cancer patient. People talking over you and not even listening to what you have to say before they start jabbering themselves.

All they want is to get ahead in the game, they just don't realize how idiotic they all sound shouting and jumping to find the right answer.

In Blurt the answers are regular words. In Cancer, I think the answer is Blurt!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's not just the Outsiders

Sorry I haven't been writing lately, but things are insanely busy as usual.

Anyhoo, I know that this blog has been a little (okay a lot) negative about how outsiders who don't necessarily understand how cancer patients feel, are sometimes tactless when it comes to making comments and in some of their actions.

I tried not to come down too hard, but there are some people who just beg to be mentioned for their idiocy and lack of common sense.

For example, I have a recently married friend who was just diagnosed with a tumor. It was a scary time for all who know her because it was a long waiting period to hear whether the tumor was cancerous and if she'd need chemo or not.

It was also very sad because only a few months earlier she had been a joyful kallah at her wedding and now her new life was disrupted for something so sinister. There were rumors spreading that her husband was going to leave her and all sorts of horrible things that of course weren't true and were just hurtful to my friend and her family and of course, her new family.

She came home from her surgery erev Shabbos and was feeling so ill, that her mother in law didn't let her go home, and took her in for the weekend. (She still has a bunch of little siblings at her parents house so going there wasn't ideal for resting up.)

The tumor was officially a secret until it was discovered to be benign and that she would not need chemo, but that Shabbos no one really knew what was going on except for her close friends and family. Alas, people talk, and of course, rumors spread, no matter how hard you try to keep it under wraps.

Early Shabbos morning, while my friend was still asleep, one of her friends knocked on her mother in law's door to ask how my friend was doing. She wasn't a particularly close friend and she wasn't someone my friend would have liked sharing intimate details of her life with. She asked the mother in law if there was anything she could do and the mother in law declined. The friend hung around, making no move to leave until she finally asked, "So, she had a miscarriage, right? Everyone is talking about how she was rushed into the hospital because she lost a baby."

You can imagine my friend's reaction when she heard the kind of things being discussed about her and that there were people out there who didn't even think that it was not appropriate to knock on the patients door to ask personal questions.

I should really add that to my list of DON'Ts - no personal questions!

Okay to stop bashing the ones out there and focus on the wrongs of people that are part of "My" crowd. ;)

I was stopped randomly by someone who heard from someone else who read my blog that I had been sick. This woman had a son who had just been declared in remission and all she wanted to do was tell me about every single doctor's visit her son had ever had. She was telling me things that I'm sure her eighteen year old son would die if he knew she told me about, and she was keeping me while I was on the way to an important appointment.

I know she needed to talk to someone who understood, and I did understand, but I didn't know why it had to be outside in the rain when it was freezing and I was rushing somewhere without a coat.

I have no idea why she thought that I needed to hear everything about her son's body and why she felt so much better after asking me some really personal questions too.

She asked my opinion on all her son's chemo and his radiation and if I knew his doctor and if I knew the doctor why didn't I go there too. I had defend my choices to her and then assure her that her choices were right too. Mind you this is already AFTER her son was declared in remission this summer.

I am glad to be so open about my illness and more than happy to help anyone, but there's a limit to how much of my privacy I'm willing to give up.

Some cancer people feel like this is something they want to overcome and forget and then there are others who need to go through all the weeny details over and over again.

Personally, I am very open about my illness, and its hard for me to forget because it was at a very important time in my life- it marked the split from being a teen in school to getting married. I had no time to readjust to real life again, it was from one episode to another.

But as open as I am, I have another life too. Now that I have been busy redoing my blog so that I can publish it as a real live book, I've been finding it so hard to relive all those experiences. I don't regret that I wrote them down, but its so hard to go through them even on my own, and when I am stopped by strangers who demand my life story, I have a very hard time coping.

I want to be able to help everybody, but I think people need to help themselves first by deeply considering other people and their feelings. I don't say this as a negative, I say this because I think everyone needs to work on this. Cancer related or not. Being in touch with the feelings of others is something seriously lacking in this day and age where people are doing things mostly to get ahead.

I would even say that 80% of the girls who volunteer for Chai Lifeline only do it to get into Camp Simcha. I know this because I get calls from people I don't even know asking me if I can write them a recommendation to be accepted. They beg me to tell Chai Lifeline how amazing they were to me when I was sick and yadda yadda. Sad thing is that I'm not the only cancer patient getting these "do me this huge favor" calls.

I just gave a report card comment to a girl that I wanted her to be more aware of the feelings of the girls around her. It wasn't meant as a bad comment at all. I just wanted her to be aware that some of the things she was doing were not going over well with her classmates.

Well her parents came to PTA this morning LIVID. They claimed I hated their daughter and totally washed the floor with me.

To be honest. I do hate their kid now that I met the parents. I understand where her attitude comes from and I know that whatever I will say won't make any difference because her parents think I'm a liar and that I am an incompetent teacher.

I laughed in their faces (yeah, I guess that does make me incompetent) but I was so hurt inside. Not for me. I know not to take those people personally. I hurt for all those people just like me out there who are faced with insensitive talk and gestures just because others are too stuck up to listen for what we are asking.

It doesn't hurt to think of others feelings once in a while. It doesn't take much to realize where common sense is needed, and it doesn't take that much to take a little bit of advice sometimes, even if it is a little bitter.

I look at this girl and her parents and think that one day there might be a cancer patient who is going to cry because of a comment my student might make. All because she refuses to think that she can do any wrong.

We all do wrong. I'm still working on that list of dos and dont's - really! its just taking forever because things like this keep happening.

I think that before we even do a cancer list- we should do a checklist- a personal one. We all need to think, "Who might I be hurting when I say or do this or that?" I need to think before writing a comment on a student's record card that might be interpreted wrongly, and parents need to think about how to talk to a teacher who works hard to help their child, and others need to think of how their well meaning actions might be taken the wrong way by someone like a patient, or to be honest; anyone else.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

But do You Want ME?

I've been trying to get around to posting a response to those commenters who wanted to know what they SHOULD be doing with cancer patients.

I have given it a lot of thought but I don't feel that I want to put up a post just yet because I know I'm going to get a lot of flack for it.

There is no way I can outline an exact list of rules that will satisfy everyone. Lots of sick kids I know agree with the way I felt about stuff, but there are plenty others who will say that my opinions mean nothing to them.

I will post my feelings, but not just yet. I want to think a bit more about how to put it all down- don't go expecting a great post, I need time to think about what I want to say and how.

In the meantime, I got an email from the anonymous mother of an anonymous blog reader who sent me something she wrote in her daughter's voice. I asked if it was okay to put her email up here and she said she didn't mind if it helped people understand her daughter's feelings better.

Here it is:

Dear JAP,

As I grew older, I learned the difference between first grade and the higher grades. In the younger classes we were taught the parsha primarily in story form, at a more superficial level. In high school, we were able to delve into the Chumash and learn incredible lessons from what were once only stories to us.

This progression was what helped make adults out of what were once children. The problem is, this chain of learning didn't expand into all fields of our lives. This growth must also be taught to students in the pursuit of mitzvos.

When we were very young and one of our classmates were not in school, we were all directed to call and see how she was doing. This was our introduction to the mitzvah of bikur cholim. However, as we grew older, we were never taught about the deeper level of the mitzvah.

The deeper level of understanding would be thinking before calling a classmate who isn't well. As teenagers we develop different friendships and calling every classmate who is out is not as simple as it was when we were in elementary school.

We are not talking about a teen out with a two day virus or a week long flu. No one even bothers to call those girls if they aren't part of one's immediate clique. It's the teen with the terminal illness that reminds everyone else about the simplistic introduction they have all received in Bikur Cholim.

Most people don't realize that a patient isn't always up to fielding phone calls from classmates or grade mates or even acquaintances she doesn't particularly call her friends. Those calls just tire her out while invading her privacy. Even if those girls are directed to call by their teachers, the teachers should really be thinking twice before giving instruction like that.

My question is why people feel the need to call a sick person even if during the regular course of life they would never stop to say hello to them in the street?

Being mekayim the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim is said to take away 1/60th of the person's illness. However, if the choleh is being caused aggravation by the visit or call, the mitvah is far from being fulfilled.

What I think is that the teachers and mechanchos in our schools need to start teaching Bikur Cholim on the kind of deeper level that we learn parsha and halacha and all those other important subjects we study.

Students should be taught to think into what they do, just as they are taught to think into every medrash on the posuk in Chumash. We need to start being honest with ourselves. Mitzvos bein adam LeMakom are wonderful, but in Mitzvos bein adam LaChaveiro there is the aspect of the other person involved. There is a need to focus on the recipient of the mitzvah and not on ourselves.

In other words, are you here to visit, or are you here for ME?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Be Right With You!

I'm so sorry for keeping my readers waiting, but Boruch Hashem we're busy busy busy on this side of the world.

We've had some simchas and lots of nachas from JB (he learned to flush the toilet himself!!) and lots of pressure and work and everyday life taking up most of my time.

I have at least three posts waiting to go up and in the drafting stage but I'm kinda still too busy to really get them posted.

I want to thank the readers who emailed and contributed to the posts I plan on putting up soon and if anyone else would like for me to write about something specific- please let me know!

Just forgive me for being so slow. I have a life (or try to) outside of this blog!

Be right with you!

Monday, October 15, 2007

An Ocean Away

I have a friend who was just recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's, just like what I had. We were talking and she was venting as I was reminiscing and we ended up talking about our friends and how they reacted to our illness.

Both myself and my friend are into chessed and we totally appreciate those people who want to be there for others and do all they can to help out. The problem is that most people don't know how to help out.

The desire is there, but the methods are completely wrong.

To go into what people would need to do to shape up is pretty much a repeat of what I've been posting my entire blog-

-Don't pretend you're best friends with the person if you didn't know her name before last week

-Don't come over uninvited or push offers on the people you never had anything to do with before

-Don't call and leave a zillion messages for the choleh- chances are she heard the first one and will either call you back when she feels like it or never...

-Don't become best friends with their sisters just to say that you have a CLOSE relationship to the family...

There are so many Don'ts running through my head right now but the more I write the more ridiculous they all sound. But the problem is that these Don'ts happen all the time.

Why is it that my friend is so glad that her friends are all married and live in Lakewood or Israel or really far away, and that they can't come over and bug her even if they wanted to?

My friend knows that these girls who call 100 times a night only want to do chessed, but yet, the way they go about it is enough to make her glad that some of them are an ocean away.

We both feel that it's so sad.

There are people out there who really do want to do good- they just don't know how.

My friend was saying that she would love to tell them how, but some people just don't want to listen. I think that's worse than anything.

Being mevaker choleh is to do what's good for the patient. If she's trying to tell you what's good for her, but you decide you know better, what good is that?

I hated to tell her that she'd probably come out of this illness thinking very differently about some people she'd never had an opinion about before. Instead of leaving well enough alone, I find that some people insist on putting themselves out there and making things so annoying and bothersome for the patient.

A simple card would say so much without all the bother.

I'm not trying to be negative. Not at all. I have friends and students who are always telling me that they want to volunteer for chessed programs and things, and I think that is so beautiful. I just wish more people would know what it's like from the other point of view, from the side receiving the chessed.

I have to commend the people I've met who really took the time to understand and listen to what the patent's needs really were, they were able to read between the lines and weren't the girls that my mother had to lie to and say that I was sleeping, or on the other line, or overnight in the hospital, or that I was in Florida for the month... in order for them to stop calling.

It's really hard for one to know the rules of the game and where to toe the line, but I think that with a little more sensitivity and a little less excitement to do what THEY feel is the RIGHT thing, we'd all be much better off.

And for the girl that I was supposed to "break up the night with" -This post is for you!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Why Bother?

I have a friend who was sick at about the same time that I was. She reads this blog every so often and said she didn't mind if I put her incident up on here.

Towards the end of her treatments, the doctors found another small tumor that they weren't sure what to do with. My friend and her family were scared stiff until she finally heard that all she would need was a small minimally invasive surgery to get it all out and never hear about it again.

Her only side effect would be some minor discomfort- which we have already established, means severe pain for three or four days. It was no big deal after all she'd been through over the past year, but like anyone, she and her family were nervous, scared, and worried before the big day.

A day before her surgery, she met the mother of a fellow patient in a shop and as things go between cancer patients/affiliates, they began talking about how she was doing and how this lady's daughter was.

The woman asked how things were and my friend told her that things were so/so and that all she could do was daven and have emunah and trust that everything would be okay.

The lady asked my friend why she bothered.

My friend was shocked. Obviously, so am I, which is why this is going up on my blog.


I can only believe that this woman's daughter was very ill and she felt so lost and had no direction and felt too hopeless to give her hopes to a greater power. I feel sorry if that is the case.

But why bother?!

Tefilla has been our connection to Hashem all through the ages! Even if not text-book davening, but just a short phrase of "Thank you", a bracha, an "oh please G-d, don't do this to me!" We pray all the time.

I remember a sixth grade teacher once opened her Chumash to the right page without trying. She just held the book loosely in her hands and it fell open to the posuk we were learning that day.

She looked up and said clearly, "Thank you Hashem!"

We were all laughing at her until she explained to us that if we can beg Hashem for good things, why can't we thank him? Even for the little things. It was a chessed to her that her page was the right one and that she didn't have to flip around until she found it.

That really hit home. Since then Hashem has always seemed approachable. Like I was allowed to talk to him and say please and thank you and it didn't have to be from the siddur. It could be from me.

When I was sick, I didn't have the strength to daven each day, but I always felt like I could ask for whatever I needed and say thank you too. Hashem was with me always. Even when I had my hard times in the beginning of that year, I still felt that He was there.

When I was sick, I appreciated so much the people who had me in mind during their tefillos. It meant to world to know that my name was being said and given over to a higher power. My recovery wasn't up to ME , it was up to HIM.

It was a nice feeling to leave someone else in charge. I worried- of course I did. But I also knew that I could ask and that He would listen.

My friend was shocked at this lady's response. Why bother???

Why bother?? Because Hashem WANTS you to bother! He wants to hear from you! He might not give you everything you want, but he wants you to bother otherwise he'd make life so good, you'd never need to bother.

And if you don't bother davening, what is it that you rely on? Who can you lean on when you cant' stand alone? It must be such a lonely feeling to think that there is no one out there who will listen when you call. And such a bad feeling to think that when you do call it wont be heard. So why bother?

You know what? Who knows? Who knows what His cheshbonos are? I don't. But I do know that when I bother, it gives me something to lean on and strength to go on.

It's like that poem I wrote in an earlier post- He's holding my Hand. That's exactly why I bother. Because I might not know where He's taking me, but I know that when I bother to hold his hand and believe that he'll lead me right- like a father to a child, life becomes so much more worth living.

That's why we bother.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chocolate for Breakfast

I don't know why, but this kind of thing happens to me a lot.

Ever since chemo I never really regained my weight and so today I'm a petite, thin person. I wouldn't say I look emaciated, or even skinny, I like the term thin. I hardly think I'm TOO thin, but then again, there are some strange people out there.

I'll give you the most recent occurence:

I was dropping JB off at the babysitter's on the way to work and on the way out, bumped into a little old bubby walking down the block. She called out for me to stop and I waited with ants in my pants until she finally got to where I was standing. I was in a huge rush, with four other teachers waiting for me to drive them to school, and this bubby was taking her time...and mine.

She came over to me and asked me "Bubbale, did you eat breakfast this morning?

I thought I was going to lose my eyebrows in my hairline.

Bubby asked me how it was possible to stay so thin. She wanted to know if I ate.

I told her I had a chocolate bar for breakfast and was in the middle of eating a melting ice cream bar in the car. It was true. I was late and my ice cream was melting. I was getting nervous.

I could tell she wasnt' convinced my metabolism was that good, so she asked me again how I was so skinny.

I hate telling people who ask innocent (albeit nosy) questions that I had cancer, but some random stranger asking me about breakfast sort of asked for it. So I told her.

As if I weren't late enough, the lady started to give me brachos. Wishing me a helthy life and for me to gain weight and for all to be good.

At least some of the brachos worked, the healthy life part was where I got to work a minute late and no one said anything! She must have been really special because her second bracha cause me to gained four pounds over Rosh Hashana. Now lets hope all will be well. :)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lotsa Hair, No Brains

Over Shabbos I had the privelege of meeting some really stupid and insensitive people.

I was at a kiddush in shul where I met up with quite a few women who were lugging babies like I was.

I never believe it when someone tells me that JB is cute. He's cute by my standards but that doesn't mean that everyone finds him adorable and that doesn't mean that anyone has to go out of their way to say something they don't really believe.

I have seen many ugly babies and have had to say my share of tactful comments, but if I'm not asked, I don't comment on kids I don't find cute.

I thought my theory was something most people understood for themselves and generally, people try to avoid saying things to protective mothers that will get them in trouble.

But this Shabbos I met someone who took the cake. She didn't go out of her way to say my kid was the CUTEST thing since peanut butter and jelly; instead, she made sure to tell me how uattractive she found his fuzzy-almost-bald head.

This was a mother who really had a gorgeous baby. Her kid was the perfect Gerber baby with blue eyes and blonde hair and the sailor outfit with the matching socks and booties and hat and Bugaboo carriage.

She was running around the place asking everyone if her baby wasn't the sweetest thing around.

When I spoke to her she took a look at my baby and said she just couldn't help but stare because she thought his bald head was so odd looking.

I thought she was insane and told her so. Most of the babies in my family are born baldish and to me a baby with a ton of hair is soooo weird.

She said she never saw such a thing and wanted to know if my husband or I had ever been bald. I told her that I had been bald up until I got married.

As soon as she realized I meant my stint with cancer, she told me that despite his bald head JB was MUCH cuter and way more advanced than her child.

I should have JB wear a sticker that says "Be nice to me, my mom had cancer!"

Is it just me or are people really that stupid when it comes to their kids?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Wouldn't Marry Him Anyway

This isn't something that happened recently. This was a while back when I was still applying for teaching jobs.

It was a phone conversation with a very well known figure in the community's school system. This woman is in charge of most of the interviewing and hiring that happens with teachers here.

It's easiest to put it down the way it took place- as a dialogue, so here goes.

JACP: "Hey, I was given your number by _______, and was told you were the one to talk to regarding a teaching job for the coming September?"

HER: "Have you been to seminary?"

JACP: "Uh, no."

HER: "Well we only take girls who have been to seminary."

JACP: "But I got married right out of school so I didn't have the chance to even go to sem!"

HER: "What school did you graduate from?"

JACP: "______"

HER: "Oh, so did you have my friend _______ in 12th grade?"

JACP: "I didn't actually go to 12th grade. I graduated school at 16."

HER: "What? Why?"

JACP: "Because I was sick and I completed the whole high school curriculum while I was out being treated."

HER: "What were you sick with?"

JACP: "Hodgkin's."

HER: "What's that?"

JACP: "A type of cancer."

HER: "Don't say that word!! Poo poo poo!"

JACP: "Excuse me?"

HER: "That word is an ayin hara! Don't say it out loud!"

JACP: "I'm sorry; that word is a part of my life. I feel that by calling it Poo poo poo or spitting on the floor, you are putting down what I went through."

HER: "That word causes terrible things."

JACP: "In my opinion fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself."

HER: "That's YOUR opinion. The Rabbanim have said not to say that word."

JACP: "I'd like to have a talk with those rabbanim."

HER: "How old are you anyway?"

JACP: "Just seventeen"

HER: "And you expect me to give you a teaching job? What grades do you think a 17 year old can teach?"

JACP: "I'd like to teach any grade from 5th through 8th."

HER: "It's not going to happen. What makes you think you're qualified?"

JACP: "I have life experience. I'm married. I'm young and can identify with them. I graduated with top marks...What else do I need?"

HER: "Wait a minute. You were sick."

JACP: "So I said."

HER: "But you're married!"

JACP: "Uh yeah."

HER: "What's wrong with your husband? Is he divorced? Was he also sick? Why did he marry you?"

(It was a good thing this was a phone conversation. I would have strangled the woman in person.)

JACP: "My husband married me because it was bashert. Hashem put us together and that's the way it was meant to be."

HER: "But what's wrong with him?"

JACP: "What do you mean? Why does anything have to be wrong with him?"

HER: "Because a normal boy with a good background and from a good home doesn't just go and marry a girl who was sick with some life threatening disease."

JACP: "There's nothing wrong with my husband. He had struggles in his life as I've had mine and that made us stronger and better people and when the time came for us to meet it didn't matter what each of us had in our pasts, what mattered was where we were standing at that point in time, and as it happened, Hashem planned for us to be at the same place in life at the same time. What more can you possibly expect?"

HER: "But I would never let my son marry a girl who was sick!"

JACP: "But would you have a guarantee that your daughter in law won't ever get sick after her wedding? What? Do you think I was born with a stamp on my head that said 'I am going to have cancer--"


JACP: "-at age 16'? You think people know these things in advance?"

HER: "But still..."

JACP: "As a matter of fact, I am actually healthier than your son. I go to the doctor every few months and get scanned and have thorough checkups that your son will probably never get in his life. Every six months I get a clean bill of health. Can you son even say that he goes to the doctor every six months? Does he even know what's going on in his own body?"

HER: "So you can't control what happens later, but if I had the choice of having him marry a clean girl or a sick girl, I would never pick you!"

JACP: "That's just fine Mrs. ___________. Your son wouldn't be good enough for me anyway. See, I went through so much already that my neshama is cleaner, a little more elevated. My husband and I see the world a lot differently than most people do, and we are more than happy to be this way. Your son would never see eye to eye with me and I would never want to have to stoop to his level to see life the way he does. I'm so over that. I would never marry your son anyway"

(Besides for which, I'd never want her as a mom in law!)

The rest of the conversation was about getting the job I no longer wanted, so it's not important.

Just thought I'd share some stupidity.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Know it Looks Like Dirt but it Isn't!

I went shopping for school stuff last week at a store in my neighborhood. Its the kind of variety store that sells anything from notebooks to Tshirts to pots and soap. I went for the notebooks.

I was standing in line waiting to pay with JB in one hand (He refused to sit in his carriage) and 4 notebooks in the other hand.

Don't ask why I need 4 notebooks. I don't. I just have this thing for notebooks. I love having a bunch of cool journals lying around with a sheaf of neat lined empty paper just waiting for me to doodle on.

I used to use notebooks to write my poems in when I was younger but ever since I got a laptop my handwriting is sort of extinct. But I still like notebooks and I have about 40 lying around my closet and every September time I buy some more.

Well to get back to what happened on line at the cashier:

There was this lady in front of me who was deciding if the Tshirts she was going to buy were tzniyus enough. She was debating the neckline on each and every one of them and I was wondering if she was ever going to pay and if I was ever going to make it home before JB had another tooth.

Finally, the lady noticed that I was wearing a Tshirt very similar to the one she was about to buy. She came over to inspect my neckline.

She walked around me a few times and finally told me that I had dirt on my neck. She LICKED her finger and was about to wipe it off when I told her I knew I had a dark line on my neck. It was a scar from that biopsy I had when I was ill.

She looked at it again and then asked me if the neckline of the particular Tshirt she was contemplating was okay. I told her that I knew that the necks were a bit too open because my sisters owned the same shirts and they had trouble with them.

She asked me why they fit me so perfectly.

So I told her that I had Hodgkin's a few years back and that my neck was slightly swollen and the Tshirt fit me perfectly.

I have no idea if my neck is swollen. It just seemed like a good thing to say at the time. The shirt probably shrunk in the wash for all I know.

The lady gave me a horrified look and took all her stuff and went over to the next cashier.

Maybe she thought I was contagious.

In any case, I got home right on time. JB cut his second tooth last night!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Blog Isn't Over!!!

Since my last post a few hours ago, I've gotten about 25 emails from people begging me not to stop my blog.

I never planned on it.

Let me clarify: The story of my struggle with the actual disease is pretty much over; that's true. But the reason I originally started my blog was so that I could vent about life after cancer- what it means to live with the disease always on your tail.

I had to put my story on here first, as background. It just took me over a year to get it all here. Now it's finally all on this blog and now I hopefully can continue writing about what I originally wanted to.

I found that when I was sick I got all the chizuk and help I needed. There were organizations prepared just for that. But then I found that after the illness is gone, there is a certain emotional strength one needs to carry on in life that isn't readily there.

I get the weirdest stories and comments all the time about my past, and really that's another reason this blog is here.

I know that there are so many people out there wanting to do chessed. It is amazing how good people are, and how much time and effort they are willing to give of themselves for others. I want to help too.

I want my blog to be an eye opener to people out there about how we, the other side feels. About the comments we get, the reactions we face, and the lives we live. I want to help you do your part, by telling you what it means to be a cancer survivor.

Up until now, my story was here for you to get to know me.

Now that you do, I want to take my blog further. I want to stop backdating my posts, and start posting in real time. Today. Cancer is 4 years in my past yet it is here with me always lurking in the background.

I want you to know what that's like.

Please continue to come back here as I fully plan to continue posting. Hodgkin's may be over, but my story sure isn't!