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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Not There Yet

I'm not at a complete loss for words in fact I've got lots to say... mostly mundane and not-so-poignant these days (thankfully). Cancer survivors need a new birth date. Certainly I've been reborn... the question is when? Was it July 22nd, 2012, the day I was diagnosed? Or July 26th, 2012, the day of my life saving surgery? Perhaps the most suitable "new birth date" should be Jan. 13, 2013, the day I completed chemotherapy, set free to the new life of Remission. Maybe it's not the dates that matter, and maybe just remembering that I'm not the same Erika that I was then or then or then is enough.

I'm exactly 3 months off of chemotherapy and feeling like a different person. My hair is beyond sprouting, it's coming in thick and healthy and grey! My eyelashes and eyebrows came back and I've finally shaken the chemo-patient pallor that earned me many a pity-stare over the past several months. I have more energy. I still get exhausted much quicker than I used to and my short-term memory is nonexistent so I  rely on the calendar and alarms programed into my phone. In many ways, I quickly re-adapted and easily shed that cancer persona. BUT in the dark and early hours, I often toss and turn. Somehow late nights and early hours are the times when doubt and fear come to whisper and jeer. Those moments bring back physical pain and worries that are intense enough to convince me that the cancer is back to finish off what it started. So many events along the way have alerted me to the importance of listening to my inner voice - because when I feared the very worst,  my fears were true, and the many doctors who tried to persuade me that all was well were all wrong.

At some point you need to find a balance and I haven't yet. Is that a "normal" pain or is cancer rearing its ugly head again? If I can run 18 kilometers I must be healthy, right? And if all my blood work is "good" I should rest easy, no? Yet (not) funnily enough, my blood was healthy when I had a gut full of cancer... and I recall rooting for my dad as he ran a full marathon right before he was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. Beyond faith there is no cure for worry and fear and beyond countless (unnecessary) scans and tests there's no proof. Constant worry is unavoidable. I try to occupy my time with meaningful projects. I'll need to find the balance and start swinging with it. That's my goal but I'm not there yet.


  1. I have no words, Erika. You are so strong. In addition to a full refuah sheleimah, may Hashem also bless you with peace of mind.
    I hope one of these days when I return to Israel, we can go on a jog or a short marathon together. I was your first running buddy, no? :)

    1. Yes you were my first running buddy! I have very happy memories... We had matching running shoes! I think we were 14 :-)
      I hope to see you back in Israel very soon!