Welcoming The New Year

This past year, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. My team of doctors prescribed chemotherapy and a dizzying array of tests and surgeries. As of this writing, my last surgery occurred a little over four months ago. There are moments when I think about what I’ve just been through and am stunned by the intensity of this last year and the fact that I am still here.

Though being sick is terrifying and at many times, infantilizing, cancer is a profound teacher. I’ve learned a great deal this past year, especially, that in addition to having a physical immune system, I also have a spiritual one. My spiritual care evolved in many ways. My brother and cousin flew out here to be with me and one of our rabbinic interns came to my apartment to sound the shofar as I wasn’t able to attend the High Holiday services last year, acts of kindness which I will never, ever forget. Many amazing friends from my synagogue community and from other parts of my life reached out and helped me with meals and with taking me to treatment appointments and holding my hand during chemo. Sharsheret was a huge part of strengthening my spiritual immune system. From pairing me with a peer supporter, connecting me to their staff genetic counselor who patiently explained complicated issues relevant to my being a BRCA carrier, to sending me a pillow so that I could rest more comfortably after surgery, the people at Sharsheret understood what I was going through.

As I continue my journey of transitioning from being a cancer patient to being a cancer survivor, it has become more and more important for me to pay it forward and help the next person who is diagnosed with this disease to navigate the world of coping with a life threatening disease. May we all continue to go from strength to strength.

Thank you!

Thank you for responding to Judy. This truly captures the spirit of Sharsheret’s Peer Support Network: Women supporting women. Women exchanging words of wisdom. Women validating each other’s experiences. You are here for each other and Sharsheret is here for you, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. May all of you have a happy and sweet New Year.

Thank you!

Thank you for responding to Judy. This truly captures the spirit of Sharsheret's Peer Support Network. Women supporting women. Women exchanging words of wisdom. Women validating each other's experiences. You are here for each other and Sharsheret is here for you, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. May all of you have a happy and sweet New Year. 

Thank you!

Thank you for responding to Judy. This truly captures the spirit of Sharsheret’s Peer Support Network: Women supporting women. Women exchanging words of wisdom. Women validating each other’s experiences. You are here for each other and Sharsheret is here for you, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. May all of you have a happy and sweet New Year.

Spiritual immune system

Judy,
Wishing you well as you transition into cancer survivorship! Your post was both touching and meaningful to read -- and the concept of spiritual immunity is so important as we come into the High Holiday period. In the face of life-threatening illness it's easy to get caught up in all the medical details of day-to-day treatment and planning for the next surgery/therapy/doctor's appointment. It is also critical, as you so eloquently described, to tend to one's spiritual immunity and healing. The physical and the spiritual are inextricably bound. May you find spiritual peace and a refuah shlema in this New Year.

Judy's letter

Dear Judy:

 

Your letter was so profound to me.  I've been thinking similar thoughts as we near Rosh Hashanah.

Last August I was diagnosed with DCIS and chose to wait until after al the holidays to have my surgery. It was such an emotional roller coaster going through the New Year, Yom kippur and Sukkot knowing that right after the latter, I would go in for a mastecomy.  Thankfully my lymph nodes were clear and I was done after the surgery, except for PT of course..

I also learned so much this past year..about myself, my community, life....I can't wait to reach my first year as a cancer survivor.

Thank you for sharing your experience and I wish you a healthy and Happy new Year!

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