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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Welcome to Erika's Party

I finished chemotherapy a month ago. Over a week ago, Thursday, I had a CT scan and thank G-d it was normal. I believe I can officially say that I'm in remission. Party time, right?  To quote the respectable website,, "Cancer isn’t always a one-time event. It can be a chronic (ongoing) illness, much like diabetes or heart disease. Cancer can be closely watched and treated, but sometimes it never completely goes away. This is often the case with certain cancer types, such as ovarian cancer, chronic leukemias, and some lymphomas. Sometimes cancers that have spread or have come back in other parts of the body, like metastatic breast or prostate cancer, also become chronic cancers."  Not to be a party pooper or anything but I'm NOT taking this morsel of information lightly. I'm going to live like I'm cured from cancer and yet be on guard for the rest of my life. There are no reliable screening tests for ovarian cancer. Some oncologists rely on repeat CT scans and blood tests for the cancer marker, CA-125.  Based on studies like this one, apparently there isn't any benefit to treating ovarian cancer recurrence BEFORE symptoms occur which has some oncologists opting not to order CT scans and CA-125 marker testing. This is the boat I'm in. It's scary to be told that your future monitoring and treatment is based on your reporting (or lack of)  symptoms. If I feel symptoms, my doctors will order scans and blood tests... otherwise I'm free to go.

In most ways I feel like celebrating. I want to publicly thank G-d for the many miracles He gave me. I want to thank my husband, David, for never leaving my side, and my mother for practically moving in with us and caring for me and our children, and my dad, brothers and SILs for dropping everything in their lives to be here for me.  I want to thank my dear friend, Elana G., for her constant friendship and love and organizing our many friends and neighbors generous outpouring of meals throughout my surgery and chemotherapy. I'm thankful for my family in Israel and abroad for their constant love and support and prayers. I have such a warm and embracing community here, in Bet Shemesh, and scattered throughout the Holyland and all over the world! I've never once felt alone! I thank Gaby for bringing me onto the Moon and my Pink Moon Lovelies for welcoming me onto the Moon! I'm thankful for every single person in my "real" and "virtual" life who have taken it upon themselves to pray for me daily. Some of "those on-line strangers" have become my new best friends! I thank my surgeon, Professor B, for saving my life! I thank my oncologist, Professor C, for his constant care and patience that goes above and beyond my expectations. I thank G-d for giving me all of these gifts - the love and kindness that flows without end... and for the biggest gifts in my life, my five children, who I hope and pray I live to see grow up into their own independent people.

I feel like this journey is only beginning... Some people see cancer as a scary monstrosity that destroys and kills everything in its path. Not me. Like all things in life, cancer too is G-d's creation. Why was it sent my way? I don't know but at the very least, cancer is the biggest wake-up call to come into my life. I pray that I live "until 120" though I'm just as content to have THIS day, right now, and hopefully many returns of the day, and I'll leave it at that - for today....


  1. I'm one of those following you virtually and praying from afar (okay, not too far...just the other side of Jerusalem). I'm always happily amazed by people who manage to find the blessings in what would be considered something bad. It's easy to find the blessings in the good - but to recognize and appreciate the blessings in "the bad" is a very special gift. May you go from strength to strength - always with the love of your husband, your family and children. I can only imagine how difficult the last period has been but yes, all things are for a reason and hopefully this day, this moment, and so so many others will come to you in joy and in health. I'm so happy to read this post - thanks for sharing it with so many who have virtually prayed for you each step of the way!

    1. Thank you and amen! Please keep me in your prayers!