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Monday, May 14, 2018

It's All Right And Part Of Life To Feel Sad


I have many reasons for sharing my journey. Spiritually and emotionally, I receive so much strength, it touches my soul so deeply, from countless people in our community and around the world. I'm convinced that my challenging cancer journey is also a test and a blessing. One of the great things about sharing my journey publicly is, not only the loving and supportive feedback I receive from people who tell me that my writing has helped them through a difficult time or inspired them in some way, but also the kindness that I receive from people who were complete strangers one moment and have come into my life in any number of ways.
In my early childhood, I had the charming bedtime rituals of childhood fantasy. My mom had the patience of a saint and it felt like she allotted endless time making our bedtime rituals enchanting and memorable with books, stories, and songs. It must have been the late 70’s and early 80’s and my brother, Eli, my mom, and I cuddled up together every evening on the bottom bunk bed. First we read books and then we sang songs.
We had multiple rounds of hugs and kisses and the worst part, for me, was when it was time for my mom and dad to leave the room for the night. I dreaded the dark and worried about falling asleep. Even with the soft constant glow of a nightlight my fear of the darkness and night was always there until I was at least 10 or 11. The fear of night added something to our bedtime rituals; my mom or dad always put on a record for us to listen to as we drifted off to sleep.
We had quite a collection of vinyl back then and I had my favorites. Some nights we might have only listened to one side of the record, but most nights my mom or dad had to come and flip the record several times for me. My brother, Eli, had it easy and drifted of to sleep in minutes. I remember listening to my all time favorite, Free to Be… You and Me over and over and over again.

That LP with the pink jacket was a record album and illustrated book that came out before I was born. Back in 1972, celebrities of the era  including Alan Alda, Rosey Grier, Cicely Tyson, Carol Channing, Michael Jackson, Shirley Jones, Jack Cassidy, and Diana Ross sang the songs and narrated the stories.
You can listen to the entire album on Spotify.
The concept of the album was to encourage gender neutrality. The narrative of the record praised values like tolerance, uniqueness, and taking pride in individuality and your own identity. One of the main messages of the record was that boys and girls can do anything. That was how I grew up: free to be me. I always loved music and I usually have music playing in the background; sometimes only in my imagination – in my head. In every situation I star in imaginary music videos somewhere in the back of my brain. For a while, when I was feeling sad, "my Song" was: “It’s All Right to Cry,” performed by football hero Rosey Grier.

The science of tears is that, we need them to keep our eyes lubricated. Tears are universal.  My Google research proved to me that humans are the only species that cry for emotional reasons. The flow of tears have other purpose beyond the flow of salty water. When you cry, your heart rate increases, you sweat, your breathing slows and you sometimes get a lump in your throat. Red puffy eyes and salt water in tandem with the Fight Or Flight system known as the sympathetic nervous system take over your life for whatever amount of time is necessary.
Some researchers claim that suppressing tears is a physical health hazard. There’s a saying attributed to a British psychiatrist, Henry Maudsley, “The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep.”
Fear, helplessness, frustration, sadness, and anger have the potential to make us cry. Joy and relief can make us cry tears of relief or happiness too. 
Life is a cry-fest and it should be. If you care enough to cry then your life is meaningful. It’s alright.
If you can feel then you are alive. 
I still think that the artistic exploration of crying by song writer, Carol Hall and her conclusion expressed in her 1972 song is brilliant and timeless.
It's All Right To Cry by Carol Hall copyright - 1972
It’s all right to cry
Crying gets the sad out of you
It’s all right to cry
It might make you feel better
Raindrops from your eyes
Washing all the mad out of you
Raindrops from your eyes
It’s gonna make you feel better
It’s all right to feel things
Though the feelings may be strange
Feelings are such real things
And they change and change and change
Sad ‘n’ grumpy, down in the dumpy
Snuggly, hugly, mean ‘n’ ugly
Sloppy, slappy, hoppy, happy
Change and change and change
It’s all right to know
Feelings come and feelings go
It’s all right to cry
It might make you feel better
{Spoken}
It’s all right to cry, little boy
I know some big boys that cry too
I miss hearing that Free To Be You And Me Record crackling away as I drift off to sleep and I still sing it in my head quite often and I remember ALL of the words.
Please continue to pray for Ahava Emunah bat Chava Ehta

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happiness And Personal Growth - Perspective


Everything is for the good and I repeat this sentence all the time because it’s true. I didn’t make it up. It comes from the wisdom of those much smarter and learned than I am. Of course, nasty painful things happen to every single person on earth, but that doesn't mean that they are bad. A simple example that everyone can relate to: medicine often has awful side effects but who would say that medicine is bad because it causes so much pain? Medicine also saves lives....

What about "good" versus "evil."?


The common argument is that if God is good than everything that happens in this world should look and feel good. The source of evil is never God. Originally, everything from God is good. However, by the time it actually takes place, it may, for some reason, result in a bad thing.  A loving and kind gesture might be delivered, but on the way the act gets misinterpreted and misconstrued by improper reporting or deliverance of the kindness. That's bad, but it's not God's fault. That's human error.
In the case of bitter medicine, some will ignore the need to relieve an illness or pain and therefore refuse to swallow it or receive the painful injection. Willingly or not, the painful moment has the potential to get rid of pain for a long time but if we refuse to try - we will continue to suffer - possibly endlessly.
There are two kinds of "evil": 
Is a temporary setback which soon proves to be a blessing in disguise, like medicine, evil?
What about life threatening threats like sickness or death which, seem to possess no good at all. It's necessary to have faith and trust to know that some things hold a purpose known only to The Almighty. This is probably the most difficult type of thing to accept even for people who have faith and even if you believe in One God, the One Creator, who created heaven and earth, light and darkness, and everything that exists. 
I believe that the Creator of the whole world is 100% pure good, and no evil can come from Him. The only one I can change is myself and it’s something that can be difficult to accept because it’s human nature to want to bend and convert those around us to our way of thinking and our way of doing things. It’s this born instinct that causes political unrest and wars. 
I have learned, along the way, that when I’m feeling sad or upset about someone or something - it always means that it’s time for me to make a change in me. Anger and sadness can be a God-send wake-up call. A gift and an opportunity to change Those changes can have a positive impact on one person and believe it or not... the whole world!

A well known story which took place during the first week of Creation tells a tale about all of the newly formed animals that were busy testing out their abilities; flipping and hopping around. There was this one imbalanced animal that wasn't enjoying his newly acquired abilities and limped and floundered around; envious and jealous of his animal friends because they could jump, walk, and fly while he couldn't.
The frustrated creature turned to God and cried and blamed the Great Creator, "God! Why did you make me into such a pathetic useless creature?!"
God tried to soothe and comfort the self-pittying animal. "My creature, I'm here to help you rise above all the other creatures."
Suddenly two heavy limbs appeared on both sides of the animal. At first the creature was overjoyed, but when he tried to walk or run, he felt the weight of two appendages and that made him feel even more awkward and unstable.
The animal returned to God and complained again, "These floppy things are making everything worse!" 
"Silly bird, those are wings. Use them to fly!" God replied.
It all depends on our perspective. The lesson learned from this famous story is that  sometimes our seemingly worst challenges and painful obstacles become our greatest sources of growth. 

Happiness can and should be a part of every journey - we choose it - it’s not a destination unattainable. I know I must sound a bit like a broken record because, I say these things all the time however it's the truth and I will continue to spread it. 


I continue to experience that joy and happiness are the products of faith, gratitude, and being thankful for every moment and for every single thing that I have. 

It truly changes my mindset and lifestyle to take pleasure in witnessing the happiness of others.  Being able to give a blessing to someone else is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity and will result in feelings of wonder and ecstasy inside... that's happiness.


Living this particular path actually guarantees many more blessed days. The concept of "Always being happy" is a derivative of making personal changes which, produces something magical and that byproduct is true happiness.


Please continue to pray for me: Ahava Emunah bat Chava Ehta

Breaking In The Ninja!


We received a “Ninja” blender type of appliance as a work gift from my husband’s company for Pessach.

This morning, I finally decided to try it out and made some 
“Keto-juice”.

I’ll call it: Ninja Juice

I made a big batch to share:

Juice of 2 fresh lemons 🍋
Some homegrown basil 🌿
Some homegrown mint sprigs
Ice
Water

It packs a zing! Sour and refreshing!

NO sweeteners!


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

My Notes: Measuring Ketones For Cancer and More About Ketones


Ketonix breathalyzer kit from https://www.ketonix.com/


Ahava Emunah Lange: summary of notes. 

Measuring Ketones










Ketogenesis and measuring ketones 
When your body becomes a fat-burner vs a glucose-burner, you produce measurable ketones which, can be measured in 3 ways.
  1. Urine strips (dip-sticks such as Bayer brand)
  2. Blood strips (glucometer for ketones such as FreeStyle)
  3. Breathalyzer device (I use Ketonix)


Burning fat vs being in Ketosis
Fat adapted vs Ketosis

Why measure Ketones? 
Different people have different goals for using the Ketogenic Diet which, I prefer to call the Ketogenic Lifestyle. Ketogenic isn't a fad-diet. There's a growing community of people who mostly focus on a common goal of losing weight by eating Ketogenic. 

Measuring for disease management
The use of a Ketogenic Lifestyle for management of disease such as cancer, diabetes, depression, epilepsy etc changes the emphasis and requirements. When using Ketosis as a metabolic treatment, there's no option of "cheating" or going on-and-off of the Ketogenic Plan. When you experience therapeutic results from being in ketosis, there's really no other option than to follow the regiment. Measuring ketones at different times of the day and during different situations can be part of maintaining a healthy treatment plan.

Measuring For Dieting/Fat/Weight-loss
It's not necessary to constantly measure ketone bodies levels religiously. Ketone production are the RESULT and NOT THE CAUSE of fat burning so the ketone levels aren't predicative of weight or fat-loss. A scale and tape measurer are the best measurement tools for actual weight loss. According to "Keto Gains": Chase results -NOT ketones.

Experiencing and witnessing higher levels of ketones viewed via various testing methods can be emotionally encouraging to a person who is in the beginning of their journey. Usually the urine strips are the first choice for this type of measuring as they're readily available and inexpensive.

STOP THE KETONE SHAMING!
Unfortunately, there is an online phenomenon of self-proclaimed Ketogenic "experts" and enthusiasts using their knowledge to bully followers in online support groups and in online comments sections. My philosophy is if you're knowledgeable and can help others - just do it! No need to make someone's mistake into an opportunity to belittle or shame them online. YUCK.


Nutritional Ketosis Range
Jeff Volek PhD, RD and Stephen Phinney MD, PhD agree on a blood level nutritional ketosis range of:
BLOOD LEVEL (BOHB): 0.5 - 5.0 mmol/L

Ketone levels fluctuate throughout the day.
Urine ketones: highest in the morning
Blood ketones: highest later in the day

Quick fixes to increase ketone levels
  1. Eat a fat-rich meal
  2. Eat MCT or coconut oil
  3. Exercise
  4. Fasting
  5. Use of exogenic ketones (supplements) - these are usually expensive and I'm unsure of their long-term effects. There are also ketone salts and esters which, I personally don't know much about and haven't found scientific basis for using them.

Other methods to kickstart or boost ketones involve the use of fasting. This seems to be a controversial subject for some however for the use of ketogenesis for management of disease, especially cancer, CR (calorie restriction) is an approved and valid method. The hardcore weight-loss gurus will possibly knock you out for suggesting CR. I've experienced that online.

Interpreting Ketone Measurements: supplies information on the effects of:
1.Diet
2. Sleep
3. Stress levels
4. Exercise
5. Learning how to interpret personal level fluctuations

Urine Levels of Ketones
Ketones found in the urine are being excreted - NOT being used as fuel in the body. Over time, ketones may not show up as readily in urine. This is possibly a sign that the body is utilizing ketones more efficiently and therefore not being excreted as much into the urine.

Blood Levels of Ketones
A person whose body is better adapted to USE ketones for energy won't excrete as much ketone into the blood. This situation can be compared to that of a well-trained athlete who utilizes ketones efficiently - uses them and therefore doesn't excrete them as much.

Ketones and Fatty Acids - Body Fuel
The body is capable and runs on 3 types of fuel for energy:
  1. Blood glucose (measurable)
  2. Ketones (measurable)
  3. Fatty acids (not measurable)

Astrocytes are cells that break up fats into ketones. These cells export ketones to be used by neurons. There is evidence that the brain participates in ketone production.

Coconut oil contains fatty acid and lauric acid which, appear to be good substrates for that process and is likely to be helpful against neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer's.
Ketones = incomplete oxidation (burning) of fats.

How and why we produce ketones
Fat adaption vs ketosis

The KREBS CYCLE
Definition: the sequence of reactions by which most living cells generate energy during the process of aerobic respiration. It takes place in the mitochondria, consuming oxygen, producing carbon dioxide and water as waste products, and converting ADP to energy-rich ATP.

Pyruvate converts to Acetyl CoA from pyruvate or fatty acids/fats. The product of this cycle can go one of two ways:

1. Acetoacetate CoA to acetocetate AcAc which produces Acetone which, is a breath ketone and Beta-hydroxybutrate which, is a blood ketone.

2. Succinate enters the cycle from 2 directions: Citrate to isocitrate to beta-ketoglutarate from succinyl CoA originating from succinate OR succinate to fumerate to malate to the byproduct: OAA oxyaloacetate.

Amino acids can be used as substrates for pyruvate synthesis or OAA synthesis. If amino acids are converted into glucose via glyconeogenesis - they can become pyruvate again.

It's necessary to keep carbohydrates LOW ENOUGH to force the body to turn to a different fuel source = FAT

Keep insulin LOW ENOUGH for the body to turn to fat for fuel.

Insulin inhibits lipolysis
Most people don't go out of ketosis from eating too much protein. The body will still burn fat even without generating high levels of ketones.

Ketosis lifestyle vs metabolic treatment
When using the ketogenic lifestyle for disease management 
keep ketones high! When treating a disease, ketosis levels need to be more extreme and patients must be more vigilant.
Using ketosis for weight-loss involves a completely different goal, diet, and lifestyle when compared with use of ketosis for metabolic treatment of disease. Using ketosis for good health and weight-loss is beneficial to health no matter what but is NOT a fad-diet.

Benefits of ketosis:
  1. Weight-loss
  2. Blood sugar balance and insulin sensitivity
  3. Increased satisfaction -- decrease in unhealthy food cravings

Fast well - Feel well
Here is the is the " secret to the magic" of ketones:
Deplete glucose -- produce ketones
True ketosis occurs when ketones are naturally released as a byproduct of training the body to be a 

FAT BURNER!!!

As a result: the body receives high energy from consuming fat.

Artificially driving up ketones can lead to failure. Nutrient dense food will nourish mitochondria and reduce unhealthy cravings and seeking carbohydrates.

The best exogenous ketone supplement:
FEASTING and FASTING

DISCLAIMER:


All information provided here is a culmination of my personal research, reading, listening, and watching videos and podcasts. I am NOT a nutritionist nor a medical doctor. I do not provide medical services or treatment plans. This post is intended as an update of my own interest in the Ketogenic Lifestyle. Always consult with your medical team about your treatment.








My Notes: The Ketogenic Lifestyle

Image from The Truth About Cancer


What is ketosis as a metabolic treatment of cancer? Ketosis was a beneficial process the human body developed as an adaptation to times when food was unavailable. Cancer cells rely on glucose for energy and they cannot function without it. By its nature, the ketogenic diet is very low in carbohydrates (typically 20 to 50 grams/day). This provides minimal energy to cancer cells. Cancer cells cannot use the ketones produced when the body breaks down fat for energy.


Ketosis Goal: 
30-50g / day carb.s
>70g / day protein

Starve Cancer  glucose feeds cancer (food pyramid)
2-5% carbs
20% proteins
75% fats

Kickstart Ketosis
  1. 3-day water fast
  2. Intermittent fasting to hold ketosis
  3. Blood glucose = 70 mg/dl
  4. Blood ketones = minimum 3.6
  5. Exercise

Extra Helpers
  1. MCT oil - allows more carb intake while remaining in ketosis
  2. Berberine - assists glucose metabolism
  3. ALA - facilitates ketosis and enhances insulin sensitivity
  4. Fenugreek - enhances insulin sensitivity and helps control blood glucose

AVOID ALL CARB.S & SUGAR!!!
Take away cancer's fuel source! Stay away from ALL sugar, agave, gluten, grains, root vegetables, and most fruit, wheat, oats, rice, quinoa, bread, pasta, beans, legumes, milk and reduced fat dairy, processed meat

Avoid these Oils

cotton seed, sunflower, safflower, soy, canola

Avoid ALL Alcohol

BAD Sweeteners 
(I avoid ALL artificial sweeteners including "diet" drinks)

1. Aspertame
2. Sucralose - Splenda is a toxin
3. Saccharine
4. Agave
5. Glucose - dextrose
6. Galactose - milk
7. Fructose - fruit
8. Honey - 50% fructose
9. Rapadura


Sweeteners:

Liquid stevia
Erythritol

Xylitol
According to the ketogenic diet, it's okay to use liquid 100% organic stevia and xylitol though I choose not to.

Ketogenic Fats - 60-70% caloric intake
Fats and Oil

Avocado
Butter
Mayonnaise
Coconut oil
Flaxseed oil
Olive oil
Sesame oil
MCT oil / powder
Walnut oil

Nuts and Seeds (in moderation)

Almonds
Cashews
Shredded Coconut
Macadamia
Hazelnuts
Peanuts
Peanut butter
Tahini 
Walnuts

Dairy:

Full fat dairy and cheeses
Fermented dairy
Cottage cheese - full fat
Sour cream
Heavy cream

Proteins:

High quality meat
Eggs
Fish
Organ meats
NO cured meats

Carbohydrates:

Get your carb.s from leafy green vegetables that grow above ground NO ROOT VEGETABLES
Leafy greens
Nuts
Seeds
Berries
Alfalfa sprouts
Artichoke
Arugula
Bok Choy
Celery
Cucumber
Endive
Onion
Peppers
Spinach
Tomato
Fennel
Mushrooms
Jicama
Mung bean sprouts
Olives
Lettuce
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Leeks
Hearts of Palm
Beet greens
Asparagus
Eggplant

Fruit: (fructose is as bad or worse than glucose - avoid most fruits)

Avocado
Blackberries
Blueberries
Cherries
Cranberries
Currants
Gooseberries
Logan berries
Cantaloupe melon
Honeydew melon 
Raspberries 
Strawberries

Ketogenic Drinks:

Broth
Club soda
Coffee
Lemon juice
Unsweetened almond milk

Organic Acids and Enzymes:


Unsweetened fermented drinks
Dried herbs without added sugar
lemon/lime juice
Apple cider vinegar

Spices: 
Some companies add sugar and other things to spice-mixes

Basil
Oregano
Parsley
Rosemary
Thyme
Chili powder
Cumin
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Lemon/lime juice
Salt/pepper

Otto Heinrich Warburg 
German physiologist/biochemist: - 1931 - won Nobel Prize for his discovery: Cancer as a Metabolic Disease
Wasteful Metabolism: cancer cells prefer anaerobic process of fermentation = conversion of sugar into acids, gases, and alcohol.

Fast growing cancer cells take the "cheaper" easier path of fermentation.
  1. Cells became cancerous by damaged cellular respiration. Mitochondria burn oxygen and glucose = ATP. 
  2. Cells deprived of oxygen revert to energy production known as fermentation (anaerobic - no oxygen needed).
   3.  Fermentation of glucose produces lactic acid causes cancer cells to          be very hungry.

Somatic Mutation Theory - Cancer as a genetic disease became mainstream and the Metabolic Theory faded out in 1970 until it's revival via Prof. Thomas Seyfried.

Geneticist Prof. Thomas Seyfried: 
Cancer as a Metabolic Disease examined mitochondrial DNA = no mutations found.

Cancer cells ferment glucose and glutamine to produce energy = food for cancer

All Cancer: defect in Cardiolipin = lipid fat which, composes the membrane of mitochondria that directly controls oxidative phosphorylation

Conclusion: cellular DNA becomes cancerous due to need of cells to ferment.
*Oncogenes drive fermentation
*Damaged respiration = free radicals + lactic acid which create mutations

Therapies: TAKE AWAY CANCER'S FUEL SOURCE = GLUCOSE

CR: Caloric restriction effect. 
Lower blood glucose - raise ketones = kill cancer cells
Biomarkers for CR Caloric Restriction:
  1. LOWER blood glucose
  2. Elevate blood ketone bodies

Nutritional Ketosis:
Ketosis drives blood sugar way down
Autophagy - cells "house cleaning" breaks down and recycles defective mitochondria. Autophagy is triggered by nutritional ketosis.

Anti Tumor Effects of CR: calorie restriction
  1. Anti-angiogenic
  2. Anti-inflammatory
  3. Pro-apoptotic = death of cancer cells

Anti-glycotic drugs: reduce glycolysis (fermentation)
CR - drugs lower glucose levels
KD-R with glycolysis inhibitor 2-DG for managing CT - 2A astrocytoma
Vitamin-D

DISCLAIMER:

All information provided here is a culmination of my personal research, reading, listening, and watching videos and podcasts. I am NOT a nutritionist nor a medical doctor. I do not provide medical services or treatment plans. This post is intended as an update of my own interest in the Ketogenic Lifestyle. Always consult with your medical team about your treatment.

Please Continue To Pray For Ahava Emunah bat Chava Ehta

Bruised and banged up - my new normal due to imbalance and falling regularly

Throughout my journey with cancer, I've been blessed with a devoted and professional team of oncologists, doctors, and nurses. My care has always been well thought out and I've been given opportunities to participate in up-to-date testing and treatments as they became available.

Treatment of BRCA cancer has evolved and new research data and developments jump out at every corner.  At different junctions of my cancer journey, I've gone through countless procedures and been almost constantly in some form of treatment. Many of the treatments were covered by my insurance though some have come at a huge expense and needed to be paid for privately. The cancer industry is a booming and wealthy, successful business.

I try not to dwell on the politics of drug companies - as long as they're being helpful to me and not harming my care. I've experienced the kinder side of pharmaceutical companies; two who actually supplied me with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medications. Obviously my personal data is now owned by them for their research which, I'm more than happy to participate in especially if it helps other patients.

Currently, I'm receiving oral chemotherapy. I'm getting the full dose which, is very high and isn't without harsh side effects. I'm very grateful that the oral chemotherapy is administered at home and doesn't require as many hospital visits. Unfortunately, I suffer from mouth sores and digestive issues which, seem to be making it impossible for me to reach a healthy body weight. I still cannot complain! I am finally at a point where I can maintain a weight compatible with life - though underweight, I'm blessed to have a working digestive system that can absorb enough calories to keep me alive and with a bit of energy too on some days.

I NEED your prayers! Lately, I've experienced difficulty with balance and severe dehydration. Yesterday, I fell while walking slowly. I did not trip. I simply lost my balance and it appears I may have either fractured or bruised several ribs on my right side as well as receiving a nasty bruise on my left knee. I appreciate every prayer which are worth more to me than diamonds and gold!!!

Over the years, it's become clear to me that most oncologists and medical physicians do not rely on or believe that changes in diet and nutrition can affect, slow or impact cancer or survival rates.

As long as I'm following the conventional expertise of my medical team, I feel empowered by taking responsibility for making healthy nutritional decisions and lifestyle changes. I have done a lot of research and invested a lot of time in learning more about restricting glucose (sugar) intake and maintaining a low-carb diet.

Over the years I've been more and less vigilant about my eating however I've mostly remained low-carb and of recent times, due to the increased stamina and destruction of the cancer wreaking havoc on my body -  I've become more strict in maintaining a ketogenic metabolic type of diet.

Many strangers and friends have asked me about the metabolic "treatment" lifestyle that I've adopted and I'm happy to share what I've researched and what I know.

In the next 2 posts, I will share the notes I've taken on the subject of the Ketogenic Lifestyle. No pressure... anyone who is interested is welcome to comment or make suggestions or completely ignore these posts - of course.

Please pray for Ahava Emunah bat Chava Ehta


THANK YOU!

Monday, April 30, 2018

It's A Journey Not A Destination

For an entire half year, my beloved extended family embraced me and cared for me in every way. I'm forever thankful and definitely blessed to have such infinite unconditional love. Every 3 weeks, I traveled 3-4 hours each way to UCSD Medical Center to receive expensive and somewhat experimental yet very promising oncology care. I was never alone - my family constantly supporting me and accompanying me in every way possible. My UCSD team provided hope that I was just short of a promised improvement and possible cure. 

That didn't happen quite as we had all hoped.

I'm still here.


November 1st, 2017, I boarded a plane from San Diego, California, and began my long journey home; back to Israel. I didn't have any confirmation of what would happen next. Would I return in 3 weeks to receive more immunotherapy (Keytruda) to treat the tumors growing in my liver? All other plans pointed to yes yet in my heart of hearts; deep below in my own thoughts, I think I knew that my body was breaking down and I was nearing some sort of disaster and I needed to be in Israel where my medical insurance and doctors would be able to treat the many expensive and emergent issues that I was about to go through. 

Luckily - we pray and continue to hope - SBRT treatment with Prof. Andrew Sharabi of UCSD may have caused a reaction with delayed results but we can't know. The body is a mysterious place where secrets do lurk. It's all faith... thats what there is to grasp and hold onto for dear life. My air and my life is pure faith in believing that not only am I trusting G-d's Will on my journey - that I'm also making sure to stay informed about new treatments as well as listening and working together with my wonderful conventional oncology team.

My main focus was getting back to my husband and children. I hadn't been home for nearly a half year! I'd put my children on a plane, back across the oceans, months ago to begin school. I was an emotional mess - held together by some kind of invisible glue like a Kintsugi (the Japanese art of repairing broken vessels with gold paint/glue).
Kintsugi is a Japanese art form in which breaks and repairs are treated as part of the object's history. Broken ceramics are carefully mended by artisans with a lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. The repairs are visible — yet somehow beautiful. Kintsugi means "golden joinery" in Japanese.


Prayers and learning of Torah in my honor continue to uplift my being. The unconditional love that surrounds me by family, friends, and strangers keeps me alive!

Shortly after I arrived home, in Israel, it seemed that I was falling apart limb by limb. First we received news from the PET CT results that my liver was in a catastrophic state. All tumors had picked up super-speed in their growth and were beginning to affect my liver function. My blood tests were all wrong! I began another treatment which, seemed to have side effects that could kill me, the least of which being that it turned every hair on my body snow white, not to mention induced chronic vomiting which, led to a weight-loss almost incompatible with life. 

My last post from November 22, 2017 alludes at both my optimism and my fear of the worst. As far as I could feel, I was dying. Death seemed to loom over my sickbed; over the special electric air mattress that soothed my growing bedsores and my bone-to-mattress contact from being so emaciated. I could no longer walk. 

First, I had emergency surgery for yet another incarcerated surgical incisional hernia. Next an ambulance was summoned  when I couldn't stand or walk due to a tumor mechanically interfering with my left hip joint. I was rushed to have radiation therapy to irradiate and shrink it.

Miracles. Miracles. Miracles.


I spent day after day, week after week in and out of the hospital; in a state of unconsciousness and consciousness....my medical team trying to help relieve my pain while worried about my zombie-state. At one point everyone around me thought I was sneaking medical cannabis because I was so incoherent and unintelligible. I wasn't touching anything. That was my natural state: incoherent and detached from reality.

My body began to produce liters of malignant fluid known in the medical world as, ascites. My belly swelled up to inconceivable proportions and required draining - at first up to 3 liters daily through a tube inserted into my belly.

I'm still alive... I was still living but everything had changed and seemingly for the worse. I lied down in my bed almost 24/7 for months - only rising for minimal necessary moments. I could no longer walk further than our front gate to the car which my husband and I took many rides to the emergency room and hospital in. This went on for months and I know that I missed many milestones in my children's lives and will never get those moments back. It's gone yet I remember very little from that period of time that surely brought so much pain and suffering to my family.

Right now, life is not the same life that it was. It's as if I've crossed over into another dimension for many reasons. Many of the experiences and things I have in my soul are too delicate to put into words. I would sound infirm and possibly crazy. 

Full tilt ahead. 


I can walk to our front gate now. The Almighty King Above makes the rules. Like I've said many times, I'm just a broken vessel; dust, clay and broken. The arms are below - braced to catch me - in perfect form but nothing is promised. There are no promises in Life and more mysteries in medicine. 

So I take each day as it comes - literally. 
One. Day. At. A. Time. 

Each and every single day is a gift. In recent days, here, in Israel, we experienced the miraculous all-powerful destruction that something like unexpected weather can have on an entire nation. When flash floods hit the South of Israel, taking the young, healthy and innocent lives of Israel's finest young students. It happened in a matter of minutes. 
10 young souls - victims of the Southern Israel flooding tragedy
The land was dry and then the water, like the floods during the Biblical time of Noah and the Ark, swept their healthy young 18 year old bodies away! These promising young women and young man had their entire lives ahead of them! No person dreamt, in their worst nightmares, that they would live out their last days in April 2018. No one predicted that.

I cannot help but see all human life - our arms intertwined - hopefully our souls interlaced; embracing each other as we all hang on and we too dangle from a high dry cliff not knowing when that flood may come - or not. We must not stay still awaiting the floods! We must move and change and seek purpose. Every individual has their own reason for blessing this Earth with their presence to build and be.

Our lives and our journeys may be different but our vulnerability as people with a Human Condition are the same.

In the new dimension in which I live, there is even less fear and uncertainty. My faith has risen like the very deadly waters that may rise. Whether by illness, accident, disaster, or natural means, we are all vulnerable beings. This is not a fear; it is a reality. Life is short and we can only do with it what we decide for ourselves. Each of us on our own private journeys. Some journeys may appear more dangerous, more challenging, or difficult to bear. I assure you that we all carry pain in our hearts. Every soul is in need of a hug, some love, unconditional kindness.

These realizations have taken away my abilities to have anger. I may never know what the anonymous person across from me is thinking or dealing with yet I know it is something. 

I smile. I say hello. I try to be kind.

Acknowledge that we are all intertwined - soul to soul.


Remember: your happiness is a part of your journey and NOT your destination. Nobody knows your final stop. Nobody but the King Of The Universe.

Amen. Thank you G-d for each breath that you give me! Bless You G-d for this moment.


I am forever grateful for the gift of each and every day of life Almighty L-rd.

Thank you to my dear friends and family - near and far - for your continued prayers and support.

PLEASE continue to pray for me: Ahava Emunah bat Chava Ehta