April 15, 2013: Never Give Up

First 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.


I 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 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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