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Monday, July 14, 2008

Support Group & Simchas

It is hard for me to choose.... So I try to do everything!!

I am always trying to "dance at two weddings" -- thought they are not always weddings!

Monday night, I had my support group meeting at 6:00, in Bayit Vegan (not far from Sha'are Zedek) and a Bar Mitzvah at 7:00, at Shulchan David, on Mount Zion, next to the Old City.

I missed the last meeting of my support group, because of my terrible ear infection (which still hurts, but is improving.... SLOWLY). So, I really did not want to miss it again.

Even though I was running late (surprise), I arrived with the intention of leaving after an hour.

The group was small, but good: L, MC, E, Y, C and Me.

The topic of this meeting was “control.”

Both L and C had gotten some bad news that day, so we also dealt with some of the more difficult aspects of not being in control of our lives.

L and her husband were about to go on a 10 day vacation together. That morning, her doctor told her to cancel her vacation because she needs a small surgery, due to a new problem in her kidneys.

C also just found out that morning that her chemo isn’t working and the cancer is growing, significantly.

Apparently, chemo has not been effective recently for both L & E, and they are also anxiously awaiting news about what treatment to start next.

Y seems to be in constant pain as well.

The meeting was a bit hard, content wise, but it was also important, content wise.

I have a hard time coping with my illness, and especially with the lack of control over my life.

I am, B”H (Thank God), still in the beginning of my battle. My drugs seem to be working. My cancer seems to be stable. We have had a few scares, but, hopefully, the drugs I’m taking will work for several years, and I can stave off the anguish for now.

The rollercoaster is hard. The lack of control is really hard.

The fact that things probably will not get easier with time, is also hard.

Both E and MC emphasized their belief that we need to focus on living in the moment and enjoying all the brachot (blessings) that we have now.

I think it’s important to allow ourselves the space to be depressed. My approach is to limit my depression to a day or two (though sometimes it sneaks past the deadline), then to gather up my strength and focus on the positive. What else can we do?

I do think it is important to give ourselves the permission to cry and feel sad. Because, let’s face it, cancer is hard! (and scary)

The women in my group are really strong. They are all determined to enjoy life and make the best of a difficult situation. Nonetheless, it is good to have a place where we do not need to be strong all the time.

I did not want to leave the discussion in the middle. So, I stayed almost until the end. Then I rushed off to the Bar Mitzvah.

I arrived, anxious and out of breath, hoping that I would not miss the speeches (Yes, I actually really look forward to them!). Imagine my relief when I walked in and realized that everyone was still in the reception! (I even got to eat some of the delicious reception food)

What a fun Bar Mitzvah!! My friend AK, the mother of the Bar Mitzvah, danced so much! After the meal, she grabbed me to come and dance more!!

I love dancing!! Of course, I am limited, and dance a little like an old lady. I can't jump, hop or twist my hips too much. But I do what I can!!

At one point, I realized we were not enough women to create a sustainable circle. So I went from table to table, announcing: "A wants to dance; we need more women; please come!" Within seconds, we reached "critical mass"! We danced with unbridled ruach (spirit)!

I sort of want to justify my boldness by pointing out that I knew most of the people at this simcha. But, let's be honest, even if I had not, I would have done it anway!

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

With love and optimism,


The Five + of Us said...

it is so admirable that you are accompanying one another... you are the only ones who can really understand anything close to what you all are going through, each in your own way. but that doesn't make it a given, to meet and to support one another... and yet you all choose to meet and share what strength you have.

it's really beautiful. more strength to all of you....


Anonymous said...

Love You,

Batya said...

very special post
read it after the later one

Anonymous said...

You can get through-even if at times it may seem that the deppresion will get you. I know this sounds easier said by a non-cancer patient but remember: If G-d gave you the challenge, he gave you the tools to succeed!

Good Luck & Much Love!

Anonymous said...

werent we at n's bat mitzva in beit shemesh on monday nt?

RivkA with a capital A said...

"If God gave you the challenge, he gave you the tools to succeed"

One day I will post about this idea.

I know it helps a lot of people deal with their particular life-challenges. Nevertheless, it is clearly not true. There are, unfortunately, people who do not have the tools to deal with the challenges that God gave them. There are people who are not able to cope, and some whoe are so incapable of coping that they terminate their lives. (and I'm not talking about cancer patients)


Faith/Emunah -- I also danced at "two weddings" on Monday night -- first the BAT mitzvah, then a cousin's wedding! (Sunday night was a BAR mitzvah)

B"H, I had a busy simcha season!! Keyn Yirbu!!

Anonymous said...

im not trying to be petty, but you did write monday nt
yehi ratzon sheyirbu smachot beyisrael and may you get to dance at alot of them