July 3, 2011: We have something to tell you

Dear Friends,

We need to tell you something.

It’s something we have known for a couple of days “unofficially,” but it is still difficult and frightening to say. Especially now that it is official, confirmed, with no more “slight chance” of error.

I am going to whisper it at first.

Lean in close, this is tough to write.

Stella has cancer.


I know, I know. Just the thought makes my tears flow as I try and come to terms with how our lives have been so suddenly and rudely turned on their heads. Sunday morning we were looking forward to flying to California for our vacation, and a week later we were sitting in the Oncologist’s office looking at a scan of a malignant tumor that had somehow appeared in my precious wife’s precious stomach.

It’s o.k., It’s o.k.(I keep telling myself.)

We’re going to fight this. Both my Mom and Lance Armstrong beat cancer, and Stella’s tougher than them both.

Yet it’s not going to be easy. Stop, let me rephrase.

It’s going to be hell.

But at least we know — from all your e-mails, chats, comments, calls, and visits — that we are not alone.

Not by a long shot.

Please keep them coming. Even if we don’t respond, we do read them all. Address your comments directly to me and Stella. Talk to us not about us. It just feels better when you do.

Maybe the only thing harder than hearing the news was telling our dear, sweet children. I hope that you never have to hear the cries of your children shredding the night calm. To hold them and say that everything will be all right while inside you are still reeling yourself is torture. Cries that stem from deep love are the hardest of all.

I know my kids read these posts and I want you to know — I am so proud that you are our children. I will help you get through this and you will help me. And together, we will be there for Mommy.

And we are not alone. From Hevron to the Israeli Defense Forces to Potomac to San Mateo to a Church in Oklahoma and all around the world — there are people praying for Stella. When I pray I can feel everyone else’s prayers shaking the Earth, and I know someone up there is listening.

As I said before: We’re going to beat this disgusting, cowardly sickness which sneaks up on people like a thief in the night.

Many people already knew the results. It’s hard to put a calm face on when your world seems to be crashing down around you. I thought I did pretty well, but when I heard the whole Bet Knesset in Neve Daniel saying tehillim (psalms) that I knew were for Stella. I just become a blubbering mess.

So much for the tough marathon man, eh?

By the way, some people have told me that I really don’t have to write about all this. But they miss the point. I have only two ways of coping right now.

The first is to drink a bottle of tequila and scream my head off.

Been there, done that.

The second is to write, write, and write. Perhaps to find a few laughs in between the tears.

You tell me which is better.

Many people come up to me and ask how we are doing. While I want to say that I feel that I am plunging headfirst into a dark abyss while my soul is being torn into a thousand parts, I don’t think anyone will want to stand next to me at kiddish if I do so. Eating herring is hard enough, but to do so alone is unimaginable.

On the other hand, answering that we are “fine,” is a bit like the survivors of the Titanic describing the voyage as “pleasant.”

The truth is that we are both frightened.

So maybe, instead of asking, just give us a hug and we will know we don’t have to say anything.

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