Thursday, July 3, 2014

When Is Enough... Enough?

How do we know when we have truly done enough? Tried enough? Studied enough? Spent enough time.... enough attention? Prayed enough? Given enough? Thanked enough? Cared enough?

Coming to the end of a very difficult week, in Israel, it's very hard to separate the emotions in my personal life from the feelings we're experiencing as a Nation. The soil is beginning to settle atop three freshly covered graves of 3 teenaged boys. As I type away, from the safety of my air-conditioned quiet home, my phone blasts Color Red alarms as missiles, from Gaza, rain down on the South of Israel. While three families and an entire country are in mourning, for the murders of three teens, there are so many questions and not enough answers. I admit, my own personal struggles with cancer and chemotherapy, as trying as they are, feel less important and urgent.

When is enough enough? There's a very thin line between not doing enough and doing too much... doing harm. The lines are covered. We can't see them. Is it possible to hope enough or hope too much? So many people are waking up to that reality right now, in front of my eyes. For some, the pain is too much. The anger is too much. For others, the pain is not enough. The love is not enough. It's hard sometimes to not judge. It's very difficult to be silent. With the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and instant media... it feels like enough is enough. It's all too much!

Last week, I reached my breaking point. I had had enough! My physical level of suffering, from the effects of chemotherapy, had reached the point of enough and I knew it was the end. I only told one person, my beloved husband, David. That same day, I received a call from my oncologist. He informed me that enough was enough. My body has reached its limit. The balance between killing cancer and killing me is blurry. In order to avoid causing permanent damage to my bone marrow and possibly killing me, the time has come to take a break from chemotherapy.  The tumors shrunk. Some of them are no longer visible. The chemo did a lot of good and now, maybe it's enough.

When the cancer came back, it reappeared in unusual places, deep inside my liver, next to my heart and vital arteries, and peppered throughout my abdomen. Stage 4. The cancer was fast and aggressive and progressed quickly. Thankfully, it also responded to chemotherapy quickly. We have no way of knowing if this was enough chemo. It's very unlikely that all of the cancer cells are dead. It's very unlikely that this is end of my cancer journey and therefore it's time to find another treatment that will hopefully keep me in clinical remission for as long as possible. It's time to try promising yet experimental treatment. Clinical drug trials offer treatments that haven't yet been approved and are therefore unavailable on the open market. The only way to receive treatment is to become part of a scientific study which also comes with the risk of NOT receiving any treatment at all - placebo which are made of sugar or some other harmless, inactive component.

Today, I received chemotherapy treatment; hopefully my last. Hopefully it was enough. It's time to rebuild my inner physical strength and recover from the physical effects of the chemicals that helped to save my life. As I try to internalize and heal the pain and horror all around us, here, in the Holyland, I draw a line directly to the heart of my own personal struggles. When is enough enough? If there's ONE thing I've learned on my journey... it's to love and have faith and there's never too much of those. Love and faith. Love and faith. Enough pain. Enough violence. Enough war. Enough anger, hatred, and mistakes....! We always have enough of those.


11 comments :

  1. Have read this. No comment. Just love and faith.

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  2. I am sure that you have discussed this with your oncologist, but wouldn't you be eligible for a PARP inhibitor trial?

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    1. Yes it seems like PARPs are the future in BRCA cancer treatment! These trials are randomized and many participants receive placebos. That's the downside.

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    2. Gosh, I completely forgot about that aspect of it. That is a big downside.

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  3. thank you, this was very moving and very well written

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    1. Thank you Ryan! I love your writing..... I look forward to reading more!

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  4. Ahava Emuna,,,,I have followed your blog for a while (I don't know you personally but have many friends in common). Your writing is so honest, inspiring and meaningful. Of all the emotional peices written this week, this really was refreshing- words from a slightly different angle. Let your words of love and faith disseminate throughout the entire world because right now we all need an abundance of love and faith, Wishing you a continued Refuah shelemah and a shabbat shalom! Sophie Vardi-
    Modiin

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  5. Ahava Emuna .... you write very eloquently. I feel I understand exactly what you mean. We have such terrible manmade tragedies around us. I think the only long term solution is to have Women only members of Government for a few generations and then let the men have another crack at it (with female guidance of course). I'll vote for you Ahava Emuna!! Very best wishes to you, your children and your wonderful husband David. STAY STRONG!

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  6. Love and light and blessings and good energy and hope and faith to you. Always.

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  7. DEAR AHAVA....I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING CLOSELY THE HORRORS OF THE PALESTINIANS,,,MY HEART HURT....I SHARED THE U-TUBES WITH MY FRIENDS....AS I HAVE AS A CHRISTIAN, HAVE STOOD AND DO STAND WITH ISRAEL....I DO NOT BELIEVE IN RETALIATION AND YET I ALMOST UNDERSTAND IT?....I, AS YOU, BELIEVE IF AS A PEOPLE UNDER G-D WE JUST LOVED.(AM I IN UTOPIA NOW? OR "OZ") WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO LIVE TOGETHER EVEN WITH DIFFERENCES. I ADMIRE YOUR STRENGTH...ON THE FLIP SIDE I WORRY ABOUT YOUR CONTINUED STRUGGLE OF CANCER AND YOUR SADNESS OF YOUR HOMELAND STRUGGLES...IT GETS TO MY HEART THAT YOU ARE IN BOTH PAINS.....I PRAY FOR YOUR FAMILY AS YOU ALL ARE IN THE FIGHT FOR YOU....I SOMETIMES THINK I CAN HEAR YOUR VOICE...I WISH I COULD....YET YOUR WORDS REMAIN EVER PRESENT....PLEASE HI TO DAVID....MOM AND DAD....AND A KISS TO YOUR CHILDREN!

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  8. Thank you for this post, Ahava, and for sharing your struggle so we can all grow from it. May you be Guided to the right decisions, for a full, healthy life.
    Shabbat Shalom.

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