Judy’s platitudes (by Judy)

May 9, 2011

Yes, I know, I hate platitudes. I do. But I have learned some things through my two experiences with Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer to know that some things are true for at least most people. As always, Your Mileage May Vary. 🙂

1. You’re stronger than you know or ever imagined. People ask me how I get through this, and the answer really is: I have no other choice. I can either crumble (and I do sometimes, but I’ve always been able to go forward again) or I can accept this as a part of my life and find happiness wherever I can.

2. Faith is a beautiful thing. The times when I’ve felt closest to God are the times when I’ve had the easiest time with all of this. God really is with me all the time; it’s just that I don’t always accept or acknowledge it, or my anger against God is so fierce that I harden my heart against Him. He always finds a way through, though — sometimes through the grace of other people — and when that happens, miracles happen, even if they’re small miracles. I thank God for being with me through all of my troubles.

3. Despite everything, life is beautiful. The sun is shining today, I have a wonderful family, I have amazing friends and a tremendous church family. I have many blessings in my life, even though I do have a sucky disease. The blessings in my life are part of what gives me strength.

4. People can and will surprise you, both in good and bad ways. I try not to judge them for that anymore because, as some smart people have told me, “Wounded people wound people.” I am finding that I have more and more compassion for those you would think I would be railing at.

5. Lean on friends, family members, church family. Lean on people. Let them know when you’re hurting. Many times, even just telling others your problems releases burdens that you may have.

Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.
~ Cicero

6. Related to number 2: God is great and can get you through anything. Also, miracles can happen. Never forget that.

7. If you’re not feeling well physically, it’s difficult to feel well emotionally. I often forget that when I’m not feeling well physically. If I would remember that, I think things would be easier for me at those times.

8. A prognosis is simply a history of what has happened to people before you who have gone through the same or a similar diagnosis. Prognoses are not set in stone. You may be the small percentage that lives way beyond a prognosis. My way of dealing with the prognoses that I got the first time I went through this? — honestly, I try to ignore them.

9. Keep the faith, and keep your hope. They are both beautiful things and will help you in the difficult days of your illness or whatever burden you are carrying.

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Cross-posted to Just Enjoy Him.

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Choose Life

May 20, 2009

(crossposted and edited from Coffee and Chemo)
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Our lives are filled with choices.

Almost two years ago, when I learned about my diagnosis, I made a choice, a conscious choice, about how I would live my life.

I stumbled, by accident, on frightening survival statistics of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer: only 20% are still alive five years after their diagnosis.

I determined right then and there that I intended to be part of that 20%.

I wish I could remember which angel directed me to the fabulous article by Stephen J. Gould, “The Median is Not the Message”. I think it might have been someone from Sharsheret, a wonderful Jewish American organization that provided me with tremendous support in those devastating initial weeks, before I found appropriate support here in Israel.

If you have not read it already, then I recommend doing so now. Go ahead. It will reshape the way you view the world.

I read “The Median is Not the Message” and realized that my determination to “beat the odds” is a rational possibility and not just “wishful thinking.”

Meanwhile, Moshe (my husband) was reading everything he could about my disease. My dear, loving, sensitive husband was devastated by the statistics.

I knew that Moshe, for whom logic and cold science are fundamental to how he views the world, needed to read the article.

That article was the greatest gift I could give him.

But I did not stop there. I had already begun formulating my 20-year-plan.

I figured that if I did end up living for another 20 years or more, it would be an aweful shame to live all that time worrying about dying tomorrow.

Besides, I joked, I “just need to live long enough for them to discover a cure.”

There is so much research going on every day, who knows what new medicines and miracle cures might be just a few years down the road?

We do not know what the future will bring. So why live expecting the worst? What a waste of our valuable time and energy.

In the past, I loved the adage “expect the worst, hope for the best, and you will never be disappointed.” Suddenly, this approach to life no longer served me well.

I shifted paradigms.

I chose to expect the best.

I chose to believe that I would live, that I would have a future.

In Parshat Nitzavim (the Biblical passages of Deuteronomy 29:9–30:20) which we read on Shabbat (the Sabbath), just before Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish new year), during the time when Jews are focussed on self-evaluation and repentence, Moshe Rabeinu (Moses, our teacher; not my husband) addresses Am Yisrael (the Jewish People) and proclaims:


הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ, הַחַיִּים וְהַמָּוֶת נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ, הַבְּרָכָה וְהַקְּלָלָה; וּבָחַרְתָּ בַּחַיִּים, לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה, אַתָּה וְזַרְעֶךָ
(דברים ל:יט)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed (Deuteronomy 30:19)


friend as client or client as friend

September 18, 2008

The bell rang and I just thought it was my nanny forgetting her keys again, but no. There before my eyes was a dear friend that I had not seen in months. Later that same week my girlfriend I call Roomie called and had a watershed moment. Not a moment could be found after that, about wanting to get on the first plane to the states, because I missed my room-mate so dearly.

Just when I was feeling lonely because my silly little car had a flat tire and I did not have the strength to turn a lug nut. I waited out side my door for the road service person. While the gentleman fixed my flat tire, along strolls my Irish friend with a big hug and a how are you.  I retort: Fine, what are you doing in my neck of the woods today? She said:Didn’t you remember you have physical therapy. I said yes I just don’t know who is going to show up. She and I had a good laugh, because it was her. She is officially my new physical therapist. She said there was something great about having a friend as a client or was it client as a friend. Either way it was a win win situation for both of us.

I thanked the AAA road service gentleman, and we were on our way to have a good catch up chat  during the treatment and knowing that she gets paid to visit and I have a constant time to see her weekly. It’s a perfect situation. I am so happy I could burst!


Stick to your goals!

September 10, 2008

Do not alter your ambitions to match the ambitions of others. Stick to your goals! Well that was my Horror-scope today, and as I screen through what other mom bloggers are writing about, I ponder if my blog is interesting enough or down right stale.

I hear the school children play baseball in the park below my house and I stop for more than a few moments and enjoy the sounds of cheering children, cheering for their classmates and fellow team members. Then I am really drawn in as if it is the world series, I found myself cheering.

Then it struck me…

This is my goal. Not only do I want to blog about breast cancer, but I also want to cheer for the other players- IE. researcher, docs and specialists and I want to be drawn in enough to find myself cheering for each and every individual on the field of cancer… people like  the children below in the park.

So I am taking the plunge and agreed to read the contract for Trusera. I hope to start cheering /blogging as soon as possible. For those who have be following this process, thanks for your input. I will look out for all the pitfalls that are suggested.


flying high on the good news

September 8, 2008

http://cancervisa.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/blood-levels-are-up-and-my-tumor-markers-are-down/

More good news, tumor marker only 52 point off of what is considered normal.  25 is normal, I have 77. I just wanted to share and spread the love and joy I am feeling. I can’t wait to let my family know that their diligent prayers are working!


inspired by Philly gig

September 4, 2008

I was happily inspired to see some of the gals getting lime light on what my ex use to call the Rubber Chicken circuit. Meals paid, cushy hotel room  in Philly  (love Philly folk) use of the facilities, IE sauna/ spa rooms.

I don’t know if any one else has been approached to blog for a health organization before. If so, what does it entail? I just was watching a report about housing problems in the USA and gas crunch. It was a how to survive story. Being a natural cancer survivalist I listened to the half lame advise of Augmenting my income.

Augmentation has an entirely different meaning in breast cancer. Augmented breast are way different than augmented income. So I ponder how I as  cancer patient can get a little fun money without losing my face to ad sense or the like. I am not even promoting my own star on Stand up to cancer. I don’t want to spin my wheels. But the attraction of blogging, which I love to do anyway and get paid for my input seems right up my alley. However, I know I am walking into this situation a bit blind, not knowing what to expect exactly.

Feel reminiscent of my first breast doc appointment. Unsure of what was really going on at first. Any clue?  Let me know via a comment or a private e-mail what I should be looking out for.  ie copyright, picture on promotional items, I don’t need my sweetie to be the poster child for breast cancer. That is where I draw the line, but maybe you could help me draw some other lines that you have faced that I will be shortly confronted with. ( please don’t cringe that I ended the sentence with a preposition) I might have bigger fish to fry than I am aware of.


count down to 2 years of chemo

September 1, 2008
sunrise balloon

sunrise balloon

September 14Th is my second anniversary of Life Long Chemotherapy. It is also my one year Anniversary of my blog. I have been thinking about gifts for the “girls” at the outpatient treatment wing.  The nurses have become quite attached to me and I am grateful for their interest in the development of my little one. Last year I gave them all a tea cup and saucer with a card in it reading… thanks for the care. I feel I need to buy something that lives. small plant or flowering bush for all 14 staff.

Time for me to hunt down a thank you for everything gift. Any suggestions? I’ve got 7 days or 13 if I show up on the exact day, which is not my chemo day.

Indoor cherry tomato plants, cactus, miniture rose bush? time for some shopping