My “For What?” Philosophy
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on September 13, 2017 – my 45th birthday.
Throughout my journey, I continuously was reminded how lucky I am to be Jewish.
As a part of this community, I had friends and people I didn’t even know saying the Misha Beracha for me each Shabbat. I was overwhelmed by the love and support shown through phone calls, cards and meals brought to my family by dear friends and mere acquaintances.
Rabbi Lubliner reached out on a regular basis to check in and made sure I knew that he was always available should I need him. And, I became a part of a sisterhood of amazing warrior women that otherwise I may have only interacted with in brief passing. Granted…this is not a sisterhood one wants to join – but, if a part of it – one couldn’t ask for a better group of women to be surrounded by.
As a Jewish woman I had access to Sharsheret, a Jewish Breast Cancer organization. Sharsheret, an incredible resource, provides everything from Peer Support and Education to Support for Family, Friends and Caregivers – and this just touches on what they do. Personally, I had numerous conversations with Carly, a Social Worker in South Florida who was there in my time of need and I know I can still call when I am having a bad day – and yes, I still have them. As Jewish women (and men) we are so lucky to have this organization.
Two months prior to my diagnosis I was privileged to travel to Israel for the first time on the JWRP trip. In so many ways this was a life-changing experience. I finally understood others love for Israel. In fact, I remember thinking…if we can’t figure out this breast cancer thing in JAX – I’m sure someone in Israel has already found a cure – because the people are just so innovative.
Throughout the trip the JAX group was able to spend some quality time with one of the trip leaders, Adrienne Gold, probably one of the most amazing women I have ever met and heard speak. We also spent Friday night of Shabbat with Rav Gav – a very entertaining and cool Rabbi.
Last Spring on separate occasions I had the chance to sit down with each and share my recent journey. I was angry and sad and told them both I had a hard time reflecting back on my Israel trip and looking at pictures of myself. I looked the same…but, looking at the pictures made me mad knowing that at the time I didn’t know what was going on inside me. They both said the same thing to me: you can’t ask “why was I diagnosed with breast cancer” instead you need to rephrase it as “For What.” For what reason was I diagnosed? I now have a post-it note on my computer that says For What to remind me everyday.
But, I have also figured out my For What is today – it is sharing and helping others through their journey. My For What was yesterday when I received a call from an acquaintance telling me I was the 2nd person she called after receiving her diagnosis and she was scared. She wanted to talk with someone who has been through it. If I can continue to help other women than my “For What” is answered and I know I am making a difference.