Day 7: Who do you call? The initial diagnosis by the breast surgeon was that the “something funny” on Susan’s breast was just “old scar tissue.” “Don’t worry” he bubbled, “it’s just old scare tissue, I’m sure of it.” Except, it wasn’t. A week later after the lab did their tissue analysis we are called back to the doctor’s office, sitting around a table in a small side office, he explains what Stage 3 Breast Cancer means, and that Susan’s tissues qualify by three different criteria. I say “Stage Three Cubed” in the show.
Now what? Earlier, when it seemed everything was going to be “just fine,” Susan insisted we not tell anyone about the biopsy. Now it was different. Remember, Susan was 54 years old at the time, and her mother had died from breast cancer at the age of 56. It was clear, “we” were in trouble, and we needed to make some calls.
Who do you call first?
Our first call was to our Reform Jewish Temple. We had been active members for 27 years. Indeed both Susan and I had president of the Congregation. Temple Rodef Shalom. While I made the call, once we were transferred to the clergy person on call, our Cantor. It turns out, “I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t say ‘the words.’” I had to turn the phone over to Susan who “calmly and matter-of-fact told him about the diagnosis and that she would be having surgery.”
That call triggered a protocol at the Temple that alerted a committee that offers to support to us and our family.
Where do you turn for comfort and support? We turned to our religious community.
Stats of the Day: As of March 2017, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
Task of the Day: Volunteer at a cancer support organization in your community. If you do belong to a Church or Synagogue they probably have a support committee. Most hospitals also have caregiver programs that need volunteers
Resources of the Day: If you are Jewish, check out Sharasheret, an organization dedicated to the support of younger Jewish women with breast cancer. Most churches and synagogues have programs and resources for members going through serious illness. You can also check out Health Care Chaplain resources, like this one for Catholics. Here is a link to a Health Care Chaplain Network/
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