cancer, chemotherapy, hope, Stella, surgery

A New Beginning

It’s hard to believe that Stella has reached this point. Sometime in June, when all of this began, they were told over the phone that her scan didn’t look good. The doctor, however, didn’t want to talk about it over the phone and he scheduled a time for them to come in the next day. Josh was going with them.

I wanted to come too.

Knowing me well, however, Josh asked if I was really going to be able to be there for Stella.

“You are absolutely not allowed to break down under any circumstances. Do you understand that?” He asked me.

I said that I thought I could handle it, and that I guessed that I had to because I wanted to be there with Stella – and for Stella.

The day, as you can imagine, was horrendous. I managed not to fall apart (how, after all, could I fall apart when the woman being given the diagnosis was so stoic?) while we met with the doctor.

But I heard his words. He was very clear. The only way to survive stomach cancer in the long term was to have an operation; an operation that wasn’t an option.

Then, while Stella and Yarden went to do a number of logistical things, Josh and I sat in the hallway of the cancer ward and waited. When I was overcome with emotion, Josh told me to go to the bathroom until I could pull myself together.

And I sat there on the bathroom floor, sobbing and sobbing and sobbing.

When I managed to stop, I reappeared.

And then the doctor came to speak with us briefly, and his tone of voice and his words, “I’m so sorry,” sent me back to the bathroom.

And I found myself back in that bathroom a number of times throughout the morning.

As anyone who has been following the journey through Yarden’s blog, my own, or Facebook knows, it’s been a very difficult six months.

But somehow – somehow that I truly and totally don’t understand – we’ve reached a time of hope.

Stella’s surgery is in three days on Sunday, January 1.

During her last round of chemo, where we were all a bit giddy (if you can be giddy at chemo) with the knowledge of the change in her status, I revisited that bathroom. And I saw the image of myself curled on the floor sobbing.

And I marveled at how far we’ve come on this overwhelmingly strange and trying journey.

Whatever prayer means to you; however you connect to a Higher Power and to the religious world out there – please do so on Sunday morning and throughout the day Sunday for Tzuriya Kochevet bat Sarah, Stella Frankl, that she may be completely cured through this surgery and resume the life that she knew before this all began in June.


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