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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Clock

During my discussion with my oncologist, I mentioned a recent conversation that disturbed me.

A good friend is going through a particularly difficult period in her life (nothing to do with health) and admitted that, at times, she is jealous of me. In particular, she is jealous of the warm, loving and supportive environment that I have at home.

(Don't be fooled, if you pass outside our door, you are just as likely to hear yelling as laughter. We are a real family, with real issues. It's easy to paint an idyllic picture, but that would just be another fantasy...)

Anyway, when my friend told me this, I felt compelled to deliver a "reality check."

It's true; she is going through a really tough time right now. But she will get past it. And then, God willing, she will live a long and happy life.

I, on the other hand, have cancer. I won't "get past it." Hopefully I'll live with it. But, if we are brutally honest, I probably won't live as long as someone without cancer.

"So," I proclaimed to my oncologist, "nobody should ever be jealous of me."

"I'm not so sure," said my doctor, thoughtfully.

"Let's be real," I repeated, "there is no reason to be jealous of me."

"Only if you are looking at the clock," responded my doctor. "If you focus on the clock," he continued, "you are correct. But there are other factors to consider."

I paused.

Since then, I've been thinking.

For the past few weeks, I have been very focused on "the clock."

Maybe if I stop looking at the clock, I will stop being jealous of everyone else.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


mother in israel said...

Watch your babies, not the clock!

RivkA with a capital A said...

I blinked, and suddenly discovered that they are not babies anymore.

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

I think this is one of the more profound things I've read. Very deep!

But don't be jealous of anybody. If you really understood other people's burdens you wouldn't want to exchange.

Not long after I got divorced I visited good friends who have a highly-limited special needs child as well as other "normal" children (whatever normal means). I was looking at them saying, "Thank G-d that's not me" while they were looking at me saying, "At least we have each other."

Try to see the good in others, and in yourself, and in your situation.

Love you RivkA

Batya said...

Excellent and important post.
I remember hearing someone who had "lost" her husband and thanked G-d that she had been privileged to have been married to him and have such a great marriage, even if shorter than desired.

Baila said...

It's all perspective, isn't it? When I was diagnosed, I was told countless times that I got the "good" cancer. When my daughter was diagnosed, I called my doctor (who did not treat her) and he said (maybe I told you this it's a story I repeat often), "that's wonderful. A diagnosis like that is much better than a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes".


And they'll always be your babies, no matter how old they (and you, beezrat Hashem) get.

Anonymous said...

beautiful posting.... smart doctor. (even keeping in mind that maybe it's easy for him to say... it's not his clock).

a in a

Renee said...

Oh my God RivkA all I can say is oh my God.

This is so true for me too. How I look at that clock and am jealous but I love what your doctor said. I may have to quote this some day.

RivkA thank you for this timely gift.

Love Renee xoxoxo

rickismom said...

Suddenly I noticed this post, on your sideboard. This is a terrific point and post.
You have mentioned earlier that the "statistics" gives only 20% of 4th stage cancer patients survival past 5 years. I hope that you will be one of them. HOWEVER, I do feel that whatever happens, the most important thing is to center on living whatever time you have left (whether it is 5 or 25 years). In actuality, we ALL have no idea of how long we have left, but for you that realization is so much more clear.

RivkA with a capital A said...

Ye'hey Sh'mey -- My mother always says "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know," meaning: given the choice: we would all choose our own tzarot, rather than taking on someone else's.

Batya -- loss is never easy; a part of our soul is torn out when we lose someone we love.

Baila -- hmmmm.

A in A -- "easy for him to say... it's not his clock" LOL!!
ps. who are you?? (I know I should be getting it, but I'm not....)

Renee -- so glad I could provide you with the words you needed to hear at the time!

Ricki's mom -- better late than never! Learning to really focus on all my blessings is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned from this ordeal.