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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Took My Dog for a Walk and Came Home with Breast Cancer

By: Diana Abehssera
Sharsheret Link

"If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I CAME TO LIVE OUT LOUD."
- Emile Zola

Shortly after my cancer diagnosis, I began to receive good-hearted advice from my family and friends. They all wanted me to go to a support group, to reach out to people who were going through the same plight. Why? Because my circle could not relate to me, they did not think they could comfort me or support me like those with cancer could. After all, how many 32 year-olds do you know with Stage III breast cancer? I was the only one that I, myself, knew and I wanted to keep it that way.
For me, I knew that it was critical to keep going at the same pace. My strength came from the living, so at each chemotherapy session, I would sit with friends who all took time from their busy schedules to join me for a round of infusion, cupcakes, funny stories, and lots of laughs. We would laugh so hard and so loud that I remember saying one time, “Guys, we have to be a little quieter, there are sick people here.” Honestly, it was only when they stopped laughing and looked at me that I realized I was one of those sick people.
It was time to reach out for help when I knew that a double radical mastectomy was the next course on the menu to health. I became desperate to speak to someone who could help me accept the surgery as treatment and understand what life would be like afterwards. It was then that I reached out to Sharsheret and spoke to a clear-minded, sympathetic, and strong-willed Clinical Supervisor, Shera Dubitsky. In one swift month leading up to my surgery, I was able to grasp the concept of my illness and finally understand that I was, in fact, sick and needed this surgery and subsequent treatment to survive. With Shera, I was able to speak about G-d, not speak about G-d, to cry, to laugh, to grieve, to accept, to move on, to learn to be happy with my “new normal” self. Reaching out to Sharsheret was one of the most rewarding experiences I had, and I cherish the generosity and kindness that I received. It was the only organization I contacted, and for me, luckily and gratefully, it was the right one.

1 comment:

  1. I am a Jewish woman - 56 - so not as young but I was diagnosed in July, stage 3A, and had a double mastectomy in August. I start chemotherapy - aggressive - on September 23 for eight sessions and then radiation therapy.

    What struck me at the time is I had no idea that Jewish women were at greater risk, which led to my writing to our small Jewish community. http://shessel.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/for-other-jewish-women/

    My blog is a mixture of emotions and humor. Let me know what you think. shessel.wordpress.com.