Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Holidays Without Mom

Friday, November 4th, 2016

“Happy Holidays”

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I don’t remember much from before my mother’s diagnosis. I remember going to school and playing with friends. I remember coming home to find some after-school snack my mom had prepared for us (yes, everyday). I remember going upstairs to tell my dad about whatever happened at school (when he worked from home). I remember little things. I don’t really remember anything special about how we celebrated the holidays, but I’m sure we were just like everyone else. You know, a “normal family”.

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My mom’s diagnosis was like a slap in the face. I all of a sudden realized what was really important in life. Family. Everyday was a gift and the holidays became an extra-emotional time for us. Every holiday that my mother got to celebrate with us was a huge milestone.

The holidays became a time that I dreaded. It felt like we were all just faking it and pretending to be a “normal family”. It all just reminded me of how we weren’t one and probably never will be. The whole “faking it” thing continued even after my mother passed and after my father remarried. The first year was just uncomfortable and a little awkward for everyone…

Now we’re 3 years later and this year’s holidays have been somewhat, different. They were nice… kind of fun even. Everybody helped with the cooking and cleaning, everybody sat around the table for the holiday meal (which is VERY rare). Everyone smiled. Real, happy smiles. We ate, we talked, we laughed. We sang holiday songs on the top of our lungs and it was amazing.

img-20161014-wa0009We’re never gonna be a “normal family” but I’m okay with that. Our family isn’t complete, but we’re not broken. We’re different from most families and we don’t look it, but we work together. The holidays were proof of that. I’m happy to say I now love the holidays, and I love my complicated family.

I hope your holidays were as meaningful as mine.

Happy Holidays,

Rivka Frankl.

Neve Daniel/Golan Heights.

Stella’s Army — Can You Help?

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Hey Stella’s Army,

I am posting this in hopes that someone will be able to help Esther get the cancer drugs she needs. I know her personally and she is a wonderful, kind neighbor, much loved by her/my community of Neve Daniel. Her post has gone viral and it should until she finds the medicine she needs.

Please share.

Thank you.

–Yarden

Shalom. My name is Esther Caplin, from Neve Daniel, Israel.

After a year of treatments for stage 4 breast cancer which has spread to my liver, my oncologist decided to put me on Ibrance (with Faslodex) providing me with a free 3-month supply of Ibrance that he had obtained from a former patient.

Unfortunately, Ibrance is not one of the cancer drugs supplied on the health plan in Israel and my oncologist hoped to use the three month period to assess its effectiveness on me and to try to acquire more of the drug from Pfizer on compassionate grounds.

While the Ibrance has succeeded in halting the spread of the cancer, the request to Pfizer did not work out. As buying the drug was not a viable option, I began a search in my support group (Inspire) for women who were once on Ibrance and since moved to a different treatment, the idea being that some people have Ibrance that is no longer being used. I was successful so far in obtaining enough pills for two more months of treatment.

I am asking you to please spread the word – if you know anyone who was once on Ibrance and wishes to donate her left over Ibrance pills, please contact me at esther.caplin@gmail.com

As I see it, the unused medicine eventually will be thrown out, but for me, every 21 pills means another month of life.

Thank you so much for passing this on to whomever you think may be able to help me.

In appreciation,
Esther Caplin

 

My Wife Has Cancer — And I’m Going for a Bike Ride

Friday, October 12th, 2012

We moved to Israel seven years ago to “live the dream” of a better life for ourselves and our children. And for six years, with fulfilling jobs and a wonderful community, our lives did indeed feel dreamlike.

And then the dream went dark.

It all started when the Doctor said: “It’s definitely cancer.”

My wife Stella was diagnosed with late stage stomach cancer last year. In fifteen months, we have faced chemo, operations, and more unpleasantness than I could ever have imagined. Yet Stella has never stopped smiling.

From her childhood in Ithaca,  New York to our college days at Colgate University to our first real community in Potomac, Maryland to our current home in Neve Daniel, Israel, Stella has touched the lives of thousands of people.

If you look up kindness in the dictionary, you will see Stella’s picture. If you look up modesty, there she is again. And if you look up compassion — once again it’s Stella. Just ask anyone who knows her and they will tell you that she is simply amazing. I basically won the lottery to have such a wife.

And so many of these people are now desperate to try and help Stella as she struggles with what feels like a non-stop fight against a deadly disease. People are demanding to “do something” to try and help. And of all those people, I am at the top of the list of those who just need to do something to try and help her.

Stella doesn’t like making trouble. She doesn’t speak badly of anyone. The only one she has an issue with is the Waze lady. (Sorry but Ms. Waze IS a better navigator.) She is always willing to back off to preserve peace. She offers an amazing smile to everyone she meets.

But that’s not me. Not even close.

I get mad. I get pissed off. Someone zings me, despite the best efforts of my Rav, I want to zing them back. And nothing has pissed me off more than the cancer that is attacking my wife.

So what can I do? If I could cure cancer, I would. But I don’t have enough time to go to medical school and spend decades in a lab trying to create a new drug.

I ride a bike. That’s what I do.

So now, I am going to ride a bike to raise money for Stella’s care and all the other cancer patients at Shaare Zedek. I have picked the most audacious route I can think of so I can hopefully raise the most amount of money to help.

The route is in blue

Around midnight on November 9, I will climb on my bike at Mount Hermon and then ride home. It’s 260KM and goes from the highest point in Israel to the lowest point in the world and then back up to the second highest spot in Israel. If you want to do something to help Stella, please consider clicking on this link to make a donation.

Besides the practical issue that the hospital will have more resources, there is a philosophical idea. In Judaism, it is believed that people giving to charity can reverse a terrible situation. And I’m no expert, but I doubt very much that this concept is unique to Judaism.

Even if everyone just gives a small amount, thousands of people giving in Stella’s name has to count for something, right?

I welcome all donations, no matter the size. Because I know that every single donation, every cent and every shekel, is someone reaching out to help Stella.

And we need all the help we can get right now.

So make a donation and please say a prayer for Stella. Doesn’t matter what language or what faith you are.

I need to move the Earth through prayers and charity from around the world.

I WILL NOT LET CANCER WIN.

And if I can do that, then riding 260 kilometers will be a piece of cake.

Thank you.

Yarden Frankl, Neve Daniel

 

Night Run

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Starting last night around midnight, a group of us ran from Bet Shemesh to the Kotel, a total of almost 39 kilometers. We got there just as dawn was breaking and were able to daven (pray) as the sun came up.

A night run is a completely different experience than running during the day. Often, with just a flashlight mounted on a band around your head, all you can see is a couple of meters ahead of you. You can be running fine and feeling great.

Then all of a sudden, the trail turns upward, and you may have no idea how long the climb will be. But you keep running. Or you could stumble over a rock that you had not seen, and you use your arms to try and catch your balance so that you don’t end up getting a mouthful of trail.

Since most of you are familiar with my writing, you know what comes next. I try and tell all of you to live and enjoy life like a night run. You never know when all of a sudden, the pleasant run becomes tougher and you’re not sure when the tough part will end. Or something comes up out of nowhere, and you need to find a way to stay upright and continue on.

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Trying to Understand Suffering

Friday, April 27th, 2012

NOTE: I wrote this a week ago and did not send because it did not seem right with Israeli Memorial Day/Independence Day. Stella is actually feeling MUCH better now. If you don’t believe me, look at the pic. And BTW — This made sense in my head, but it may not to you. I am in no way saying that running is like chemo.

Now then……

——

I always try and wake up an hour before I have to leave for a race. Sometimes that means waking by 4:00 AM, but I need to do so because I am always nauseous the morning of an event in which I know I will be suffering. It’s weird. It’s like my body is trying to convince my mind that it’s not worth it, to go back to sleep. And it doesn’t matter how many races I’ve done. Always the same. Wake up, feel sick.

Friday was the Uriyah Duathalon, an event combining ten kilometers of trail running with thirty of mountain bike riding. It’s a new event that was launched to coincide with the moshav’s 100th anniversary. We got there early since if at all possible, I try to get to events with plenty of time to spare. Even if that means standing around for a while. It gives you time to see others and have some friendly conversations while waiting to put your body through the wringer.

Stella feels sick the morning of chemo, long before she actually gets the drugs. It is the psychological dimension of what her body is going to go through that makes it rebel. Usually she can fight through it and we try to get to the hospital as early as possible. A number of people do so and despite what all the patients are in store for, people seem quite friendly and relaxed as they sit around waiting for the real day to begin.

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