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Thursday, June 25, 2015

I Thought You Should Know - I Still Have Cancer

Pastoral right?

I still have cancer and I thought you would want to know.
I know how much you care about me and I feel your love and support from near and far.
I don't look sick. I don't act sick - mostly - but I have cancer.

There's this magnificent thing called remission. I've been blessed with two remissions and each time I had hope and faith that maybe the cancer wouldn't come back.  I think that many of us have irrational expectations of what remission is. I did. I thought being in remission meant that I was cancer-free.

Here's the truth... I was never cancer-free after my surgery in 2012. Not in 2013 when I finished chemotherapy for the first time, and not in July 2014 when I finished chemo for the second time. The cancer was always STILL there. It was quiet, resting, hiding; just small enough to evade the PET CT scans and the blood tests.

According to the dictionary, remission is defined as: a period of time during a serious illness when the patient's health improves. Nobody lied to me or gave me false hope. I have a very serious illness and I've been lucky to experience 6-10 month periods of undetectable disease.. Surgery and chemotherapy smashed the cancer to microscopic proportions.

Physically, I seem pretty awesome. I can run a 10K in under an hour. Nobody can see my cancer from the outside. I'm running with it... not from it.

I just received the final results today and the cancer is definitely active and back to being an unpredictable bastard (that's the nicest word I could think of). I've had that inner feeling that something was stirring for a couple of months, and then my cancer markers started to creep up, and then they tripled. Next came the suspicious findings on the PET CT which, were confirmed with cytology results. Today.

I STILL have cancer.

I have no idea what's going to happen next. I hope to celebrate my 40th birthday this year.

Today I'm sad. Devastated. Horrified. I'm allowed to sulk and weep... maybe for a few hours or days... I haven't decided yet.

I just wanted to let you know.

I get knocked down but I get up again.

Every single day is full of miracles and my faith is intact. Please don't tell me that I'm a fighter. Don't promise me that I'll beat this.  I'm not a warrior or a soldier. I'm a lover and a lifer. I'm not a killer and I'm not on a warpath.

I don't know yet. I wish I had answers. I just don't know.

I have to keep at least one step ahead of the cancer for as long as possible.... keep on keeping on.

My favorite quote of the moment is from Albert Einstein who said: There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Here's to many more miracles.....


  1. Ahava Emunah Bas Chava Eta we continue to daven.

  2. Ahava and Emunah, I wish you tons and tons of both.. Just be what is good for you to be, you don't have to be anything for anybody else. Sending you my ahava and deep hugs.

  3. You don't know me but I know you through my niece Randi Lipkin.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Sandra Miaskoff

  4. To more miracles.
    Enjoy every single day!
    refuah shleimah (does no harm)

  5. Amen to many more miracles! There's a lot of love and strength out here in the universe - all on your side.

  6. Beautiful, Erika. You are an inspiration. Refuah Shleymah, Until 120.

  7. I won't tell you that you are a fighter, but I will tell you that you are are a wonderful role model! Ane you are courageous for sharing your deepest feelings. Thank you.

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  10. Thank you for sharing. Although I don't believe we have ever met, you are in my tefillot every day. I am sending you light and love.

  11. First - we do want to know and so I thank you for sharing something that could not have been easy to write. Second...forget the labels like fighter and strong and whatever...your emotions are your own and you don't have to explain them or justify them or even label them. But in all that you wrote, the single line that stayed with me most was this one, "I get knocked down but I get up again" - that's all a person can do...and that's more than most people can do. You have renamed yourself perfectly - you are love and you are faith and we are all so proud of you for all you do, all you dare (yeah, I just saw that hang gliding thing) but most of all, we love you because of that one simple admit when you get knocked down...and then you get right back up! Sending hugs and prayers and love.

  12. You give me so much insight and strength...suddenly my load feels very light...Blessed love! Blessed emunah!