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Monday, December 9, 2013

Ping Pong

I celebrated my 38th birthday on November 28. The day before my birthday, I had a routine check up at the Noga Clinic at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. This is a relatively new routine for me and while you might think it sounds like an unpleasant one, the set up of the Noga Clinic, run by, Dr. Pnina Mor, makes everything easier. The Noga Clinic was established to help monitor healthy women who carry a BRCA mutation and hopefully prevent cancer with early detection and close monitoring of breast and ovarian health. They organize all the appointments for you on one day whether it be with surgeons, MRI, mammogram, ultrasound, blood-work. They don't keep you waiting, they explain everything step by step, and hold your hand through the emotional and scary parts too. Dr. Mor is definitely one of the most caring and dedicated medical professionals I've met on my journey and I'm so lucky to have her on my team!

I've been monitored with regular check ups and CTs and in July, some minimal fluid showed up on the scan and it was still there in October but everything else pointed to good things and my medical team agreed to keep monitoring with regular CTs and check ups. My appointment at Noga was completely routine, scheduled back in May. When it came to doing the ultrasound of my abdomen, it became clear that there was more fluid and possibly a mass. That was the day before my birthday. Terrified but still optimistic, we scheduled a biopsy. In short, they use a giant needle, about a foot long... there was no pain medication or numbing - none. That test, which drained close to a half liter of fluid from my pelvis, was probably the most traumatic moment of my life! ...And then you wait. One day and another day. It was Chanukkah so we did Chanukkah things. We did crafts, we baked, we lit candles, we unwrapped gifts, we went to the beach, and we had fun with family. We had Thanksgiving with dear friends. We celebrated my parents' 42nd wedding anniversary, my dad's birthday, my brother's birthday, my birthday and David and my 13th wedding anniversary.  It was a wonderful holiday despite the anxiety and anticipation.

Finally, the day arrived. That's today. Finally, I know and I can relax... sort of. The waiting is one of the worst parts. I have a horrendous game of ping pong in my head. I'm fine. I'm not fine. I'm fine. I'm not fine. Waking up in the middle of the night with a heart pumping out of my chest, sweat drenched, and panicking. My beloved husband and I grabbing onto those final moments before finally getting news. I love my oncologist, Professor Cherny. He's more than a top physician and practitioner on the cutting edge; he's a man with a heart of gold who cares and makes me feel like I'm his #1 patient. Prof. Cherny is the one who held onto my hand after telling me that the biopsy came back positive for active cancer and looked into my blurry eyes and reassured me that there's still more treatment and I believe him. I believe I'm getting the best possible care and I just have to hang onto the hope that I can still be cured. I'm fine. I'm not fine. I'm fine. I'm not fine. I still have cancer. I'm not cured and I'm not fine with that. I have cancer. This is my life.

That's all we know. I need more treatment. More chemo. My medical team will come up with the best possible protocol. For now we wait.


  1. Oh, Erika.

    What a rollercoaster of a ride.

    I am holding you and your loved ones in my thoughts.

  2. Sending a virtual hand-hold... xx

  3. Thank you for sharing this heartrending blog, Erika. We pray for your health and admire your strength and fortitude. May you one day, בע"ה, be able to look at this harrowing time of trials and tribulations as a thing of the distant past. May you, your husband and children continue to be enveloped in the love of your family, friends and community.

    שלום and with love, The Kahn family in Meitar

  4. Sending loves and prayers <3

  5. Erika, I'm sending you virtual hugs, if I may, I will ask on my FB for prayers (Davens) for you.
    I'm sorry that you have another battle ahead. I'm glad that you are in good hands.