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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pour Some Honey On Me!

I had a nickname when I was a young and new immigrant to Israel and a soldier in the IDF, "Jerrycan". My fellow soldiers in the Givati Marines Brigade lovingly called me, Jerrycan, because no matter what, in the dirt, dust, mud, and "jifa" - I was always smiling.

 I do get worried and upset about important issues. There are even some pretty small things that can make me mad for a few moments and I vent, I express, and then I move on. If there's one thing I'm extremely large and generous with, it's forgiveness. I'm almost incapable of holding a grudge.

You want to know the secret to happiness? I'll tell you. It's about accepting what you have and enjoying every drop you can squeeze out of it and not looking left or right at anything else. Forgiveness is happiness when you forgive yourself and others. LOVE is the ultimate happiness. When you love yourself, your family,  your friends, and genuinely love everything that G-d put on His beautiful earth, I promise you, you will be happy. Love means acceptance of every flaw and imperfection in every single moment and place in my life. With acceptance, forgiveness, and love filling my life to the brim, I just don't have room for all the other noise that is anger, sadness, envy, and regret.

Why am I writing about this now? Just moments ago I had somewhat of an emotional "flip out" over a group status update on Facebook. To sum it up, an Ovarian Cancer Awareness "page" updated their status with something about how ovarian cancer can be treated if it's detected early and went on to send that directive home with, some 22,000+ women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the USA and some 15,000+ women will die of ovarian cancer in the year 2012 so that's why every woman needs to be aware of the following bla bla blah symptoms. This came up in my Facebook newsfeed and I flipped out at the injustice and insensitivity of such blunt rude statistics being thrown in my face by a "page" I "liked" for moral support. I was knocked off guard by the (probably true) statistics because I know I have cancer and yet there's a red line that you just don't need to cross when you talk to cancer survivors even if you are a "cancer awareness group"on Facebook. I know thousands of women die of this disease every year, probably every minute of the day. I know. I just don't need anybody to tell me about it. Why do people think that a person WITH CANCER wants to hear that their so-in-so (insert friend, family member, neighbor, acquaintance or dog) died of the very disease that they have???

Nothing about my diagnosis has made me as mad.... as the absolute insensitivity of a "support group" informing me of my grim mortality. Bug off, I don't allow you into my life. I choose to live. I choose to be a survivor. Don't approach me with the sorry-head-tilt and the death statistics. I will surprise you with my reaction - pfew! Poof. You are so out of here. Gone. Not in my life.

I got mad. I articulated a strong response and the group removed the offending post and sent me a very sorry apology. I accepted the apology. I let off some steam and I'm over it. I'm just about ready to go out with my family to dance and sing at our local music festival. If you see me, I will be smiling and enjoying. I'm not sick and sad. I am HAPPY and I am HEALTHY and I accept CANCER as part of my journey which was given to me along with MANY beautiful blessings.

I accept CANCER as part of my life journey... and I will continue to be happy and smile and laugh every step of the way and now that I'm a SURVIVOR I also realize that I don't have room in my life for anything else besides what gives me strength.

Definition of survivor


  • a person who survives, especially a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died: he was the sole survivor of the massacre
  • the remainder of a group of people or things: a survivor from last year’s team
  • a person who copes well with difficulties in their life: she is a born survivor
    Sounds good to me.


  1. Thanks for writing this, Erika.

    Something similar happened to my mom last week. She has a friend and neighbor and they go walking together for mutual support. My mom is trying to cope with my dad's rapid slide into dementia on top of a host of other serious physical ailments and her friend's husband has slowly but steadily progressing Alzheimer's.

    At an Alzheimer's support group, the friend reported, they were told that they should try to take care of themselves because the mortality rate for Alzheimer's and dementia CARETAKERS was very high.

    My mom was furious! When she told me about this on the phone she sounded just like you. "Is this information we need to hear?" "Is this information something that supports us?"

    The thing about statistics, however useful a scientific tool they may be in certain arenas - when applied to real human beings they are nearly always diminishing. A person is not a statistic. There is not living breathing person who is that "average" reached by adding up everyone and then dividing them into precisely equal parts. Hashem doesn't do average - Hashem made us unique... I'm sure because it kept him from getting bored!

    Let's get out there and keep things interesting, in good times, easy times, and tough and difficult ones...

    1. Amen Judith! Thank you for posting! Very empowering and true words!!!

  2. Great post, Erika, great chinuch. Thanks. Hugs to you!

  3. It reminds me of the days I was in law school and used to play chess instead of studying. One evening I was playing against a dude and a janitor stopped by to watch for a few minutes. My opponent had a big advantage but I kept playing. When the janitor came back 20 minutes later I had turned things around and I was winning the game. He was so excited to see what had happened -- he said "You a scrapper!!" a few times before going back to work.

    So that's what I have to say to you: You a scrapper!!