IN HER OWN WORDS
“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