IN HER OWN WORDS

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

“TH­ESE days I am post-mas­tec­tomy. Not once, not ever, did I imag­ine be­ing sin­gle­breasted in the mikveh.

“I thought I’d come to terms with the op­er­a­tion. Sit­ting here, on the edge of the bath, I sud­denly re­alise I’m not sure I’m ready to see a rel­a­tive stranger’s re­ac­tion to my op­er­ated-on body. Why? I keep ask­ing my­self. You’ve had two years un­der a bar­rage of med­i­cal treat­ments, ly­ing like a fish on a slab hav­ing ra­dio­ther­apy. What’s dif­fer­ent about the mikveh?

“For can­cer pa­tients like me, one of the most fright­en­ing things of all is the phys­i­cal self-scru­tiny in­volved in the mikveh rit­u­als… Sud­denly ev­ery raised bump, ev­ery red­dish patch raises the ques­tion: is the can­cer back?” JC, MARCH 31, 2006 “TH­ESE days peo­ple bring me honey cake all the time. You see, I have breast can­cer, I’m hy­per-vis­i­ble, I prob­a­bly glow in the dark. In fact, I’m scary. In the eyes of peo­ple around me I see a sus­pi­cion, a pri­mal fear, and I think it’s a fear of death. I can’t say I blame them. There is also a recog­ni­tion. Some­how I’ve at­tained a sta­tus I didn’t have be­fore. And I have to ask, what’s so damned morally su­pe­rior about be­ing this ill? Just why is it a con­di­tion more de­serv­ing of sym­pa­thy, of kind­ness, of sheer vis­i­bil­ity, than be­ing di­vorced?” JC, NOVEM­BER 17, 2006

“PEO­PLE com­ing up to me and say­ing they’re pray­ing for me makes me scared. More­over, their prayers are just too much re­spon­si­bil­ity for me to bear. Whose fault is it go­ing to be, I keep find­ing my­self fret­ting, if the prayers don’t work? I know, they’re go­ing to think it’s mine; it’s go­ing to be that I wasn’t good enough to be saved. All those prayers, and my can­cer still spread. And that’s my real ob­jec­tion to this whole busi­ness.

“An ob­jec­tion that was for­mu­lated tan­gi­bly this Mon­day, when a wo­man said to me: ‘Dina, should we still be pray­ing for you? Be­cause some au­thor­i­ties say that when it isn’t work­ing, one shouldn’t carry on with the pray­ing.’” JC, JAN­UARY 26, 2007

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