From the minute my family, friends and neighbors received news that I was in the hospital, diagnosed with cancer, and undergoing a complicated surgery, the equivalent of an all-stars sport team of kindness came together and steadily pounded pavement to assist my family in any way that they could offer. My mother moved into my house, my SIL (sister in law), B. came daily to organize and play with my kids, my husband, father and brothers kept a steady vigil at my bedside. Closest friends came to the hospital, bringing treats and food. One friend's daughter brought my DH (dear husband) a blanket and a pillow. Family and friends from Israel and around the world began to pray for me. Hundreds of people are pleading with G-d on my behalf right now. Mind boggling. Since arriving home from my stay at Shaare Zedek hospital, there has been a daily parade of healthy, fresh, delicious home made meals delivered to our door. Every. Single. Day. When you're reeling from the blow of a huge diagnosis that literally flew in from left field, the automatic response could be anger, sadness, fear. All very normal. Being held up and embraced by such a fierce outpouring of love and encouragement has brought out a soul altering reaction in me. I feel euphoric and high on energy…. and no, I haven't received any medical marijuana (yet). Maybe this experience is a turning point. Cancer is a hurdle, a test, that's going to push me to my limit and I'm going to train for it and then smash it like a gold medalist at the Olympics. I'll set my goals as high as they go and break every record….
My, life is good! It's a Beautiful Day! Cue music a-la U2,
"You love this town… cue record scratch! SCREECH!
Even if that doesn't ring true
You've been all over
And it's been all over you
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day"
Bang! Bang, bang on the door. It's 8:30 am. Shabbat (Saturday) morning. BANG! BANG! BANG! I'm upstairs in bed finally asleep after tossing and turning all night. B A N G! Someone opens the door and I hear the loud raspy voice of my next door neighbor. She's speaking in broken, heavily accented English. Raised agitated voice. I drag myself out of bed and get dressed but by the time I get downstairs, she's gone. I don't have such great history with A., the neighbor. She's a disheveled, bitter, divorced mother of three young adults living under her roof,who still shares ownership of her house with the ex husband who cheated on her and married his sweetheart. When I came home from the hospital, she sat in my living room for 2 hours telling me why certain personality types get cancer and how modern medical screening tests are a waste of time, and how half of her family died or is dying from cancer…. and I obviously need a lesson in how to politely screen my visitors but that's another story. Our history is current and it's loud and bothersome. Her eldest child, a 23 year old young man, keeps late disruptive hours in the form of loud, sometimes drunken, people filled parties and BBQ's until 2 or 3 in the morning out the front of their property - directly to the right of my bedroom window. Over the past 6 years living here, we've had our complaints. In turn, A., the neighbor takes opportunity to have her complaints too. Such was the case this lovely Shabbat morning with the bang bang bang on the door. Apparently, our white cat, Sarafina, likes to sunbathe on the neighbors balcony. According to her, our cat (who we've had for over 6 years and never had a problem with) pulled her favorite shirt off of the clothesline, sat on it and covered it in cat hairs, and then proceeded to scratch or bite the shirt to shreds. Very curious and unusual behavior for a cat. My persistent neighbor waited until 9:30 pm after Shabbat to call me on my cellphone and yell at me about this and demand my immediate action. I explained that cats are very difficult to prevent from climbing and going where they please but I will do my best to keep our cat off of their property. She yelled at me. I continued with, I'm recovering from major surgery right now and this conversation is upsetting me and I don't want to continue. She said, "Now that you have Cancer, you're going to use it every time you need to deal with something?! Don't play the cancer card with me! You have a healthy husband who can take care of that cat! Get rid of it!" My mouth went dry. My heart flipped. My adrenaline cranked me into fight or flight. I cleared my throat and said, "A., I will take care of the issue. I will hire someone to build a fence between our properties that no animal can scale." She didn't like that idea. "A., you are really upsetting and hurting me. I need to get off the phone now." I finally managed to end the conversation and as you can tell, I'm wasting a lot of positive energy rehashing and worrying about the petty next door neighbor. That's not good. Not good at all.
After hanging up the phone, my mouth completely dry, heart still hammering, I realized that I acted like a fool. Why did I let the disgruntled neighbor into my protective shield of love and joy?! I let my guard down and that is not going to fly! So. From this moment forward, I'm going to have to come up with a strategy. I'll need a plan, not just for silly neighbors, but any negative or harmful situation that can G-d forbid move me off my path of love, support, and determination to get that Gold Medal at the end of this Olympic sized event in my life. I want the cure! I don't want Silver or Bronze… give me the Gold!