Friday, March 28, 2008

The Pictures

This is the most exciting thing that happened this Purim. My JB became a Mommy and helped me cook for Shabbos :-)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Too Excited for Words!

Okay, I owe it to whomever is still coming back to check my blog....

You might have noticed (and if you didn't, I'll tell you now) that all posts up until and including the one where I got married to BK are gone. Don't worry, I didn't delete them, I just put them in storage.

Reason being; I signed contract on the book.

I'm very excited about it and a little nervous too. This was and still is my dream, to publish something of my own. To see my work on the shelves in the bookstores and say, "Hey, that's MINE!!" It would be soo cool to pick one up in front of my students and say, "Look! I don't make you write for nothing! I write too! I'm a writer!!!"

It's also a dream of mine to help spread the awareness of what it is like to be sick. So many people are doing tremendous chessed in our communities and lots more would love to join, but they don't know much about what they are getting into. I hope my book can help.

This is my dream, and I am taking my fragile hopes and putting them into the hands of the readers. I am putting everything I have into this book and everything I have into you! I am hoping that my dreams catch on and that others find them as inspiring (or at least enjoyable)as I do.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to spill all my secrets, but I'm guessing it's a form of advertising so my publisher can't get too mad at me.

The book is tentatively titled "Riding Backward" and will be around 220 pages.

It's a better read than the blog because it was tweaked a million times by me, ten million times by my mother, mother in law, my sister in law and my nieces, another couple of times by my friends and then some more by my students (who by the way are gaining so much from going through an actual writing, editing and publishing process).

It also has lots more in it than the blog does- some more details, a new character, some actual names (instead of just annoying initials) and some other secrets.

I'm working on getting my Doctor to write a foreword and my friend, a fellow survivor said she's writing one too. I'm so excited.

I came very close to not doing the book at all though. I had a lot of hashkafic issues to begin with and didn't feel like it was worth bothering to fix them just to publish for such a small market.

I worked with an editor friend who told me to take another opinion by ArtScroll and see what they found wrong with the book, and then decide. Well, ArtScroll decided for me, and that's where you'll be seeing my book IY"H.

I'm not going to spill the publishing date now because it's not final, but I'll let you know when it gets closer.

I'll thank everyone that needs to be thanked when I get to writing my acknowledgments for the book, but for now I'd like to thank my blog readers who pushed my site counter up high enough to convince me that maybe I had something worth putting into hardcover.

Funny, for being too Excited for Words, I sure said an awful lot...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Yes! I'm Sick!

This was written by a friend of mine who is SICK of being sick! Well, she isn't sick anymore- She's getting her port out this week B"H! But this is what she wrote about how she feels about the last few months.

Yes, I am sick of…your “concern”
Yes, I am sick of…your selfishness
Yes, I am sick of…your nosiness
Yes, I am sick of…your stupidity
Yes, I am sick of…your tactless and constant phone calls
Yes, I am sick of…your visits
Yes, I am sick of…your wants-how about mine?
Yes, I am sick of…your chessed and mitzvos
Yes, I am sick of…you talking about me
Yes, I am sick of…your pity
Yes, I am sick of…the pity in your eyes
Yes, I am sick of…your mouth
Yes, I am sick of…the attention
Yes, I am sick of…your fishing expeditions
Yes, I am sick of…your interrogations
Yes, I am sick of…your harassment
Yes, I am sick of…your lies
Yes, I am sick of…my new best friends
Yes, I am sick of…your presents and letters
Yes, I am sick of…your fakeness
Yes, I am sick of…your “friendship”
Yes, I am sick of…the tension
Yes, I am sick of…being told what to do
Yes, I am sick of…being stared at
Yes, I am sick of…being examined
Yes, I am sick of…being self conscious
Yes, I am sick of…the do’s and don’ts

Yes, I am sick of…my tears
Yes, I am sick of…my sleepless nights

Yes, I am sick of…waking up early
Yes, I am sick of…wearing a wig
Yes, I am sick of…taking pills
Yes, I am sick of… being pricked
Yes, I am sick of…chemo and radiation
Yes, I am sick of…doctors and nurses

Yes, I am sick of…Memorial Sloan Kettering
Yes, I am sick of…being part of the Chessed organizations- of them
Coming over to me, talking to me, of their pushiness to do that they want me to do!

Yes, I am sick, I don't need you to tell me all this,
I only want your help in getting better.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Part of the Club

Fine Chossid- You got me out of hibernation.

I went to a wedding last month of a good friend who is part of "the club". This friend is someone I talk to (or text/email) at least a couple of times every day. We have both been through cancer, both have had our scares and experiences with this, but they never come up in our conversations.

We are both normal people today. Absolutely fine and functioning and happy people. We both teach, and we both kvetch about our school days together, and we complain about piles of laundry, cooking suppers, and prices of shoes. We laugh at stuff together too. We laugh at how she got locked in the bathroom for an hour until someone heard her yelling and came to save her, and at the silly things my son does, and at how much we kvetch.

We met through our common denominator- the "club", but stayed friends because we have so much else in common.

At her wedding, I met another club member who actually was the one to first introduce me to the "club" when I first got sick. She was two years younger than I was but had already finished her treatment and was growing her hair nice and curly when she introduced me to some other kids in the group.

We were really excited to see each other again, and after catching up, she introduced me to some of the Kallah's friends that I didn't know. Most of them were fellow club members. I was shocked at how many of us there were.

She then brought me over to another friend of hers and I asked "Oh, is she in the club too?" And my curly haired friend laughed and said she belonged to another club.

So now, shmoozing with the not-so-new kallah, and talking about her wedding and all the club members I met there, she told me that our curly haired friend had said that I asked about her other friend in that "other" club.

She had said it as a joke. There is no other club...But really, I think there is.

For a long time I forgot what it was to think outside the box. I thought that cancer was all there was. And now, the closer I get to remission and the further I get from treatment, I am in a way, growing up.

I will never forget my bout with cancer- but suddenly, I hear things that I realize are much worse. Some of my friends are having hard pregnancies, one of my friends is going through a divorce, another has a sick child. We're all young kids, and so many are going through so much. How did I ever think I had the monopoly on the keys to the club?

I talked it over with my friend and she said that no matter what, cancer still gets a much bigger reaction from people than say, a divorce. I must admit she is right. Even I, who have been there and done that, get a lot more stressed about a person with an illness over a person with another kind of struggle.

But I'm not right. There is no such thing as a single club- I think in some way everybody belongs to some size shape or form of the "club".

Not only that, I feel that my time as a member of the club is slowly fading. Even though I strongly identify with everyone there, I know that I see myself as an alumni of the club- an honorary member. I feel that even my own club is not really mine anymore.

I love being there for people who want and need it, but sometimes I feel so guilty. Who gave me the permission to do that? Who gave me permission to name myself part of this club?

I think I realized that today I'm part of another club. I'm part of the club that has been there and is still there for others, but glad to be out of there herself. It's like the club was a hole and now I'm on the top of it, helping people out. I feel guilty sometimes - as if I'm only shouting inspiring things into the abyss but not really there with them, but today I realized that I don't need to be. Others need me to be in my NEW club- at the top, ready and waiting to lend a hand to someone needing to be pulled out of the dark.

So I'm proud to start my new club. And all my friends who were in my old one are more than welcome to join! There's no president or anything, we're all the same- here to celebrate being here and there to get as many people from that club into this one!

And a special mazal tov to my latest out of the last club member- mazal tov on finishing radiation and on IY"H getting that Port out! You're almost there!