A real touching story
Dear Friends, Readers, Acquaintances, Family and Coreligionists.
If after much soul searching I have decided to publicize my story, it is not for personal sensationalism, but out of conviction that this misfortune that befell me, and only to accept it and remain passive, NO, but on the contrary, to react and help you all without exception and to convince you all that we can decide for ourselves.
If I am still alive today and able to share my experience with you it is only thanks to the fact that I took the responsability of my life into my own hands.
Most probably you are wondering what I did that is so special and how I was saved. Rightly so!
My story will probably move you enough to contemplate, but I am convinced that G-d didn’t send me this trial without reason. I am convinced that this trial from Heaven was to achieve something in our community, namely to do away with TABOOS IN CASE OF ILLNESS.
To do away with the feeling of guilt and shame for being ill.
To be ill - a drama.
To be ill - a difficult experience for the person and their supporters.
We stand at the beginning of the new millennium. In developed and civilized countries we read and hear about illnesses and yet we still react as if this all doesn’t concern us ourselves.
Why are we indifferent ? That is the question.
According to statistics 1 woman in 8 was a victim of Breast cancer. 25O of our woman coreligionists in our community could fall victim to this illness, in other words 12,5% of the female society. Public awareness and earnest discussions can prevent this happening.
Ask your gynecologist at what age should one have a mammography.
HIDING - DENIAL and feelings of shame etc… should no longer be in our vocabulary.
Tell your brides whether there is a history of breast cancer in the family so that it can be discussed with her gynecologist. Do not wait till it is too late.
Discuss your illness openly. How you feel about it, so as not to deal with your sorrow on your own.
I have to get this off my chest. I may shock many of you but I hope that my story will make you think and that you will realize that if I am still alive and part of the community that I have nobody to thank but G-d and myself.
As I have been doing for the past ten years I went for my yearly check-up for a mammography. I feel happy, no pain at all. How could it be different? My only daughter had just married two weeks ago. During the examination the radiologist had some doubts and decided to have an scan done. When I asked why ? he answered : "you are just about the age when one should be especially careful, family history and all that." After further examination everything seemed all right and so I went home reassured. A visit to my gynecologist ten days later, I was told that the X-rays showed something that shouldn’t be there "something undefinable".
The doctor says that he would further examine the results but not to worry, "you have a robust constitution". I took his report and the X-rays to other doctors for their opinions. They all said : "There is something there that shouldn’t be but what ?" UNDEFINED.
But don’t panic, it just needs further examination to make sure. It was Erev Yom Kippur and I was going from one examination to another. To cut a long story short I was told the following :
You have the option of the two following possibilities :
1) A three days stay in hospital to have a biopsy.
2) Have some more X-rays taken within six months.
Thanks to G-d for blessing me with common sense and I opted for the first solution.
TIME IS WHAT SAVED ME.
I was operated on Friday 5th November and at that moment every one was convinced that I was basically healthy and that there was nothing to worry about. Monday 15th November the painful diagnosis was announced : BREAST CANCER that was spreading.
The only cure : MASTECTOMY AND REMOVAL OF THE ARM-PIT GLANDS. How one feels when hearing such news I will spare you…..
We are still so unaware of what is going on around us that we equal cancer with death. For the time being I have decided TO FIGHT FOR LIFE. To live is to survive whatever the cost. I have enough reasons to take part in this world and much too young to depart from all of you who love me.
An now we are here.
How can you find the courage to fight ?
Where do you take the force from ?
a) Don’t get stuck by unanswered questions.
b) Put all your energy in everything positive that life has to offer.
c) Come forward, speak to people, tell them how miserable you feel.
d) Do not pretend that everything is alright and that illness is taboo. NO.
From now on more that ever you have a right for understanding, love and support.
B’H I see myself and my husband despite this difficult trial that is far from over as blessed people.
Since the moment that we have shared my sickness with others the outpouring of love and strength that we have received at this difficult time can only be described as overwhelming.
Never-never shall I be able to give back all the goodness that I have received but that I will share with you on happy occasions and in peace.
The fight not yet over, the war has not been won but the zest for life is there. This I have in the morning when I open my eyes.
I pray to G-d and hope that my test shall serve as an atonement for all of you whom I love and that you should be spared from this illness.
NEVER FORGET THAT YOUR OWN LIFE IS IN YOUR HANDS AND GO FOR YOUR EXAMINATIONS ON TIME.
I hope that after I receive all my future treatments I shall be able to look back and think, as I do daily, that it could have been worse. From now onwards my life has received new value and new dimensions. May we all be blessed with G-d’s help, good news and celebrations in KLAL ISRAEL, AMEN.
I will be ready to share my experience and offer advice to all those who G-D forbids go through this experience.
( SERKA BAT JEHUDIT )
breast cancer survivor.
Antwerp ( Belgium), 03/01/2000