Never Give Up

Posted on April 15th, 2013

photo-19First the most important update.

Last night’s CT scan showed dramatic improvement. The cancer has shrunk significantly. Our Doc texted me a thumb’s up icon. (He is a man of few words. But we don’t mind the picture.)

This morning in shul it felt like Yom Kippur. Fourth time this year. I knew that during the minyan — at the same exact time — they were going over the scan results at Share Zedek.

While we have had periods where we felt there would be good news, I have to admit at other times, I was not sure. But those were really guesses. We know that we have to have a scan for them to determine exactly what’s going on. And the last one was not so good.

But not this one. The aggressive chemo, the armored Brigade, seems to be winning the war.

Of course today of all days, we in Israel fully comprehend that the war is never truly over. We must continue to do what needs to be done. The survival of our nation depends on it.

We must still continue with the chemo treatments and all the other yuckiness. We do not know what this news really means in the long run. We will get more details in a few days at our next chemo treatment.

BUT — we will take this step foreword. And smile.


duathalon1I participated in a very special race on Friday. Only one of its kind in Israel. It’s called an “Ultra-Duathalon.” It starts with a 21 kilometer run over some very difficult terrain. Then, you jump on your mountain bike and ride 46 kilometers over even more difficult terrain. It was definitely one of the hardest events that I have had the fortune to participate in.

I had a great time and did very well in the run. I was one of the first on the bikes. About 5 kilometers into the bike section, we got to a short and very steep climb. Going up, I felt a tremendous muscle cramp in my calf. It was so painful, I slid off the bike and just lay on the ground while other riders passed me.

After a few minutes, a guy who seemed to know what he is doing stopped to help. He stretched out my leg. When I felt I could ride again, I thanked him and tried getting back on.

Seriously, I wondered if I should stop.

But I thought of Stella and didn’t.

Stella can’t stop her Ultra. She has steps forward and steps back. I know that sometimes she feels overwhelmed. I am truly amazed at how tough she is and how she deals with the not so good times. She is my inspiration whenever anything seems too tough.

So many cancer patients end up giving up mentally. I can understand. It is hard for me to go to the hospital week after week, and I’m not the one hooked up to the chemo.

All of us encounter things in life that seem too difficult to do. Most of us bitch and moan when things don’t go our way. “Oh no,” the idiot lying on the ground next to his bike cries out. “People will pass me! I won’t be able to finish the race because my leg hurts. Woe is me!!!!”

We convince ourselves that what is only difficult is actually impossible.

And then we have an excuse not to do it.

Most of us are all too willing to accept the part of us that is ready to give up.

Stella Smile closeStella has gone through twenty-six chemo treatments. I have lost count of the scans, blood tests, injections, and so forth. She has heard very pessimistic prognosis. Too many times she feels sick. Our calendar is filled with not so fun days at the hospital.

And yet. She can still smile.

Whenever you feel like giving up on something because it’s just too damn hard, think of Stella. And then whatever you have to do will seem as easy as getting back on a bike.

If Stella can still smile, I think we can too.

What do you say?

(P.S. I did get back on and finish the race in 6th place!)

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  1. Chaim says:

    so nice to have some good news on this sad, difficult day!!!!

  2. Erika says:

    Im sending love and hugs to Stella! Continue to live life Ultra Style! May Stella continue to be blessed with ultra strength and ultra blessings. Yarden, I think your ultra sporting is awesome! It’s a healthy and spiritual distraction and I admire your achievements! Much love and warmest prayers to you and your whole family.

  3. Malkah Fleisher says:

    Stella is one of the toughest soldiers out there (and the loveliest!). May all her valorous battles lead to the end of the war, and a new era of peace for you and your family!

  4. We love all the comments!
    -Y & S

  5. Valerie Corbett says:

    The best news ever. Wonderful.

  6. Heather says:

    I am smiling as I read through your blog. We all have so much to learn from you and Stella:)

  7. lori palatnik says:

    BEAUTIFUL and INSPIRING. Stella WILL win this race, please G-d.

  8. Laurie Cohen says:

    Such good news! Stella is such a fighter! And you are a fighter right there with her. She will win this race.

  9. Barbara R Carter says:

    You and Stella are great teachers! You and your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers every day.

  10. carla says:

    I continue to be inspired by Stella and by your writing. She is truly leading the way in her gentleness and courage. We send lots of hugs and love to you both.

  11. Shimona says:

    So many tears shed today…. and now they are B”H tears of joy.
    I’m so very very glad to hear the news –
    Gorgeous picture of Stella, btw. Anyway I could get a copy?
    Her smile makes me smile!

  12. ELaine and Bob Jaye says:

    we are smiling with you and for you. Chazack v’Amatz. My you both continue to draw strength from each other and from all those who are thinking about you. Fondly, The Jayes

  13. Larry Rosen says:

    Heart warming news – Stella – you are one of the world’s most amazing people. I’m very very happy for you and the family – and thanks again for the lovely visit we had at your home back in January!

  14. minka says:

    i am thrilled with the good news. stella, you look gorgeous in orange……….keep that gorgeous smile and may the chemo do its job and get rid of the tumor all together. may the docs next time say “huh? where is it? where did it go? i dont see any tumor anymore.”

    you two are amazing people and our world is richer for both of you.
    all my love,

  15. minka says:

    my coat wants to be worn for at least 35 more years stella, so you must live up to the coat’s expectations. hows that for a goal? are you laughing?

  16. Sharon Baratt says:

    YAY STELLA!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 I’m so happy for you!!!

  17. Sharon says:

    The smile that lights up the world! Love you, Stella, and congrats. to Jordan!

  18. Steve Wolinsky says:

    My family and I are really happy to hear the GREAT news about Stella. You are an amazing fighter.
    And Yarden ,we are also proud of you (on a very different level) for getting back on the bike and finishing. May you both go from strength to strength. As you say, failure is just not an option.

  19. Fernanda Carroll says:

    Dear Stella.
    This is Fernanda from Syracuse, Tim Carroll’s wife. We have followed your incredible battle through Scott, Jen and your parents. I have no words to express my admiration for you and your entire family. You are the strongest person I know for sure and yet you have such a soft and peaceful look in your eyes. You are a true inspiration to me. We will be honored to wear a bracelet! Please know that you are always in our prayers and in our hearts. Keep smiling Stella, you look beautiful when you smile.
    Receive all our Love from far far away!

  20. Miriam Poch says:

    My father A”H always warned us to NEVER say NEVER. Here is one time I think he would agree that it is appropriate. NEVER NEVER give up. Keep fighting. We are with you. Refuah Shlaima. Miriam Poch