Tuesday, October 26, 2010


"If someone said 3 years from now, you'd be long gone, I'd stand up and punch them out, 'Cause they're all wrong..."

It's one of the songs on my iPod and even though we were running a little late to the bureau party that Reena Ninan was throwing for me and Greg at her beautiful apartment overlooking the Golden Dome of the Rock and the pink Old City walls, I managed to get in a workout. I laced up my pink trimmed UnderArmour running shoes and went to the hotel gym, which wasn't easy either because it was under renovation. So I had to go to the new Mamilla hotel across the street which is more Tel Aviv than Jerusalem, and a bit like the W, but nicer. 45 minutes of exercise each day and a low fat diet - that's our tamoxifen and herceptin for me and my Triple Negative sisters which don't have such drugs to prevent a recurrence. I had tried to stay on my diet at the hotel breakfast bar this morning, bypassing the delicious baked goods and barekas, the quiche and labne. I opted for the pea sprouts with a hint of olive oil and the cooked tomatoes (cooked and with olive oil make the anti-cancer lycopene in tomatoes more potent). I broke down and had a "cafe ha fukh", an upside down cappuccino, an Israeli specialty, but asked that it be made with soy milk. Reena had gone to such lengths to have healthy food, which in her state - 8 months pregnant and likely exhausted, meant the world to me. Then her hormones kicked in and she started crying and then I started crying, as she tried to speak. Eli Fastman, man of few words - a former Israeli tank commander who runs the office with a look, said a few words. He talked about how his mother died of breast cancer when he was young - something from which by his own admission, he never fully recovered. He even knew the statistics. He noted that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. He said when I was diagnosed, he looked around the office and realizing that there were 8 women, including me, it was his wish that since I had been diagnosed that that would be it for the office. Statistically, we were done. (I was glad I could take one for the team.) But what he was trying to say, and we all knew it, is that we had left the door open, remembered to leave a seat for Elijah and we had been passed over.
More women die of breast cancer in Israel than of anything else. Most are Triple Negative, like me. And many Ashkenazi Jews are BRCA1 and 2 carriers.
That's why Komen came to town and the city is now awash in pink, in case anyone asks.