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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Not feeling very witty just now...

I had a witty little post all lined up for you today... but I've put it back in the closet for a sunnier day.  I'm not feeling very witty just now, because a friend just got some unwelcome news.

Rivka is a friend of long standing.  We met and became friends when we were both in university (me at YU and she at Barnard).  Our circle of friends overlapped on several levels, and gradually we ended up thrown together often enough that we noticed that we had similar interests and liked each other immensely.

As often happens, we didn't stay in touch after graduating, but since we knew quite a few people in common, we tended to hear updates about each other.  So when Zahava and I moved our family to Israel I wasn't particularly surprised to find Rivka also living here with her husband and family.  And again our circles of friends overlapped.

Eventually our daughters ended up attending the same high school and became fast friends... even spending occasional shabbat together at our home or theirs.

You might already know the Rivka I'm telling you about... she also keeps a blog.  It's called 'Coffee and Chemo', a cute name for a blog that was inspired by Rivka's habit of inviting friends to sip a cup of coffee and keep her company during her regular chemotherapy sessions at the hospital.

Yes, Rivka has cancer.  Here own short-hand description of her condition and history:

"Diagnosed with DCIS (stage ZERO breast cancer) at age 39. Three surgeries and 2 years later... I became a statistical anomaly: breast cancer mysteriously metastasized to my bones, liver and lungs.  Diagnosis: Cancer is a "chronic illness." You can live with it   (Translation: I hope to be on chemotherapy for a LONG time!)."

And live with it she has.  Despite the rather 'in your face' blog title, Rivka's life isn't a pity party by any stretch of the imagination.  She has lived with her cancer the way someone might live with adult acne or arthritis; treating it as a chronic condition and enjoying life to fullest extent possible.

I can't remember Rivka mentioning her cancer on any of the occasions we've seen each other or attended functions at our daughters high school.  I guess she saves that for her blog.  But even the blog is usually up-beat and full of hope and life.  Oh sure, occasionally she gets overwhelmed by something and uses the blog to vent about a particularly painful treatment or her fears about the future.  But by and large, I would have to say that Rivka is one of the most positive people I know.

Which is why the latest news over at her blog took my breath away when I went over there this morning.  Even if you aren't a regular reader, you should go over anyway and lend some support. 

In the mean time, please pray (or have a good, happy, healing thought) for my friend RivkA bat Teirtzel.

Posted by David Bogner on July 2, 2009 | Permalink

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Oooh... bad news, huh? This brings back bad memories of when my mom told me she had metastases in her brain, despite all the excellent check-up results she was getting during the previous months. I was so shocked... Rivka's post is so touching and sad. All we can do now is pray for her.

Posted by: Miss Worldwide | Jul 2, 2009 5:27:38 PM

RivkA is a blog friend whom I was honored to meet last year at the NBN Blogger's convention. I don't know what to say. I guess I'll just keep praying.

Posted by: Baila | Jul 2, 2009 7:50:53 PM

Who knows what to say, Baila? A few people said very good things... but I felt inadequate to the task. I hid behind witty, Trep. Damn, I hate that disease. It's like some creature, stalking fine and lovely and brilliant people. There is nothing to say -- but you did it better than I would have done. Thank you. Yeah, Baila. I'll keep praying, too. And being as nice to people as I can... and trying to do what I think G-d wants. But I sometimes get tired of feeling like people I love are being held hostage, until we "get it right."

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Jul 2, 2009 9:02:12 PM

Wow, what a nice post. Thank you.

All prayers are especially appreciated at this time!

A note to Miss Worldwide -- I am sorry to read about your mom. However, I am not even close to the stage when "All we can do now is pray for her."

We will know more in about three months, when we see how effective the radiation is. (I haven't posted yet about my treatment plan, but there is one, and the goal is to keep on living, not just to delay the inevitable.)

Anyone who wants to know what else they can do for me, besides praying, is welcome to email me privately.

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Jul 2, 2009 11:59:08 PM

Rivka, my "all we can do is pray..." sounded very bad! I didn't mean it to sound that way! Sorry sorry sorry... What I can say is that there ALWAYS is hope! And always stay positive! Sounds cheesy, but it's true...

Posted by: Miss Worldwide | Jul 3, 2009 5:26:52 PM

Miss Worldwide -- apology accepted. *That* is a message I can live with (no matter how cheesy it sounds) ;-)

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Jul 8, 2009 8:40:21 PM

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