ISRAEL: Part I of IV: Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer

ISRAEL: Part I of IV: Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer

Neta sat down with World Mom contributor, Susie Newday in Israel to talk about living her life with metastasis breast cancer.

Neta sat down with World Mom contributor, Susie Newday in Israel to talk about living her life with metastatic breast cancer.

As a nurse working in outpatient oncology, cancer is something I’m surrounded by. As time goes by, I’ve unwillingly learned to live with the fact that it seems like cancer is taking over the world and affecting more and more young people. (I stink at statistics so I don’t have any hard facts to back that feeling but I seem to be seeing way too many young people undergoing chemo.) Yet even with the walls we build to protect ourselves from the hurt at the loss of each patient we have come to know, every nurse has a soft spot for certain patients. For me, it’s young mothers with cancer. I don’t know why. It just is. When the young mother being treated for breast cancer also happens to be your friend it’s even more heartbreaking.

Today is the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I thought that a personal story of someone living with Stage 4 Breast Cancer would do more to help raise awareness than just stating the facts and figures. By putting a name and a face to a disease we make it more personal. My friend graciously agreed to be interviewed in the hope that her story would help someone else.

Neta Eshel, is a 42-year-old mother of 4 children ages 6 1/2, 9, 13 1/2 and 17. She was diagnosed in July 2009 with Stage 3 Infiltrating (Invasive) Lobular Carcinoma. As far as she knew, there was no family history of breast cancer. She was treated with aggressive chemo, had a double mastectomy, radiation and more chemo. In September of 2011 her cancer came back. She has Stage 4 Breast Cancer with metastases to her bones.

Towards the end of 2012, Neta was hospitalized for a prolonged period of time due to a low platelet count. During that hospitalization, she woke up one morning and couldn’t see. After running a battery of tests she was told she had bleeding in her brain. She was confused and disoriented and her family braced themselves for the worse. Then, as if by a miracle, her sight returned, and she improved.

A few months later, before she even had time to catch her breath Neta’s husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. As you can imagine it, that was devastating news. Their individual and combined strength in coping has been and continues to be an inspiration for their family, their community and their many friends.

Susie: Did you have any symptoms?

Neta: I felt a lump in the shower, and I went to get checked.

S: Do you have a family history of cancer?

N: Not in my or my parents’ generation. I didn’t know about it until after I was diagnosed but there was a history of cancer in my grandparents’ generation. That’s why there was no awareness. My father’s father had pancreatic cancer, one of his sisters had breast cancer and the other sister had ovarian cancer. There was also another brother who died of cancer. I’m not sure what type. Both of my grandfather’s sisters passed away when I was young, so I didn’t really know them.  On my mother’s side there is no history of cancer.

S: After you felt the lump what did you do?

N: I went to my family physician who sent me right away to the breast surgeon*. The surgeon told me to go immediately to the hospital. (*note: Here in Israel it is the breast surgeon who does breast screening.)

S: How long did it take from the time you felt the lump until you were diagnosed.

N: No time at all. Maybe four days.

S: What did they do when you got to the hospital?

N: First they did a mammogram. They then sent me immediately for an ultrasound.  After the ultrasound I had gotten dressed, and I stood up, and the doctor who performed the ultrasound told me straight out “you have breast cancer”. I was at a loss for words. I stammered… How? Why? What connection does cancer have to me? I was in shock. I asked her “How do you know?” She said she knows according to the way it looks on the ultrasound. She said it’s not 100% certain, we still have to do a biopsy but she was pretty sure that’s what it was.

S: You were alone?

N: I was with my husband. I understood it was something serious the way everyone kept sending me quickly from one test to the other, but I didn’t really understand.

S: Aside from the shock, how did you feel about the way she gave you the news?

N: I don’t think it would have been any better to wait anxiously for two weeks until the biopsy results came back. I would have been very stressed out from the wait. I wanted to know the truth, I was just in shock because the whole process was very quick. I suddenly went from being the healthiest person to be the sickest person. I didn’t need someone to beautify the reality for me, the reality was the reality. The bottom line was, I didn’t need the stress.

S: What thoughts and feelings were going through your head at that moment when you got the news?

N: I remember the shock. I remember thinking I am the healthiest person, how am I going to be sick now? I also thought about the kids and what’s going to be with them. I had no idea what to expect, no awareness about what treatment meant. I didn’t really understand the implications at that moment. Afterwords when I started to process it there was a lot of crying and anger and sadness.

S: How long did the processing process take?

N: I don’t remember how long each stage took. I do remember there being a lot of anger. Anger at God. Why me? What have I done? Why do I deserve this?

After you start to process you realize that the anger doesn’t give you anything so you move to acceptance. You summon energy for a war. From the beginning I said I’m going to fight this, I’m going to win. I don’t remember being depressed. I was very into “doing”. I’m going to fight. I’m going to understand this and what it means. I don’t remember any great depression. It was obvious to me that I would fight and it will be ok.

A few months after I finished treatment, in the summer, we went on an overseas family trip, and my energy returned. I then said that I need a little luck that the cancer won’t return.

S: When did the cancer return and how?

N: It started with back pain. Two years ago, in September of 2011, my back went out on the day of the first day of school. I worked as a high school guidance counselor. The back pain went on for a few months. I right away thought about cancer but I was afraid to get it checked out by my oncologist. I first went to get checked by an orthopedist. I did a bone scan and then was treated by a chiropractor for two months. It took about two or three months before it was diagnosed as a recurrence of the cancer. It was unbelievable pain. The pain came and went until it stayed.

S: What was different when you were diagnosed the second time? Was it the same shock?

N: The second time it was much harder because I understood that if it has returned, the situation is much worse. I always had the fear that the cancer would return. I hadn’t deluded myself that it couldn’t. I knew there was a possibility of it returning. It was much harder because I understood that if it has returned there is metastasis and I’m most probably not going to get rid of it. I understood what it meant and that’s why I was also afraid to get diagnosed and didn’t run immediately to my oncologist. I thought maybe my back just went out. People said to me, at one point or another back pain happens to everyone around the age 40. The shock was greater when the cancer returned because I understood that it’s not going anywhere and I can’t “get over it”.

***This post was truncated because it originally also included Part II.**

Tune in soon for the next part of a World Mom to World Mom 4 part series on living with metastasis breast cancer. The informative, yet moving, interview with Neta continues…

Cancer can happen to everyone. Listen to your body, treat it well and educate yourself about cancer symptoms. Learn not just about breast cancer symptoms (which are varied) but also the symptoms of ovarian cancer, GI cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and all the other cancers out there. Ask your parents about your family medical history. Do the recommended screening tests that are available to you because early detection of any cancer makes a hell of a difference.

Most of all enjoy every minute of your life because there are people out there who are dying for more time.

Do you have an experience of someone living with metastasis breast cancer in your corner of the world? 

(For the full series: click here to read Part Iclick here to read Part IIclick here to read Part III and click here to read Part IV.)

Click here to read Part IV of the interview.

Photo credit to Susie Newday. 

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer. Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love. You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle PlusYouTube

EGYPT: What Can I Do with My Life?

EGYPT: What Can I Do with My Life?

ID-10086141Writing this post was the most challenging of all the posts I’ve ever written.  You may not find it that valuable, but I will still go with writing and publishing it. Actually I wanted and needed to write, but I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to share it.  My thoughts and my mind are a real mess.

Since the beginning of the 2013, life was really hard for me. First, I lost my father, and although I was accepting this fact and apparently I was calm, I was unaware that I was plunging into depression. It took me five months to realize it and accept the idea that I needed therapy.  When I started to feel better, the situation in Egypt deteriorated, and we were under curfew for months. I was imprisoned at home and rarely went out. I lost interest in everything except the political talk shows, but later on I realized that was the main cause of my feeling down and fearful most of the time.  I totally lost motivation to do anything and lost interest in anything.  All I wanted was to stay still and silent for hours. (more…)

Nihad

Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

More Posts

WORLD VOICE: Preparing for the Next Disaster with Save the Children

WORLD VOICE: Preparing for the Next Disaster with Save the Children

Just a few months ago, I had the opportunity to tour a New Jersey, USA preschool, whose playground had been covered in sludge from Super Storm Sandy.  That was the day Save the Children announced their Get Ready, Get Safe program, which advocates for emergency disaster planning for schools, preschools and day cares in the United States.

(But what about where you live?  Read on for some helpful tips that can be applied anywhere on the globe…)

Today marks one year since Super Storm Sandy hit the U.S., and within the past year, our planet has experienced other natural disasters that have made their devastating impact, too, including the floods in the Philippines.

“Sandy has been toughest on children: VIDEO: Save the Children: Hurricane Sandy 1 Year Later.”

What can you do to prepare your community?

Ask your children’s school or day care center if they have an emergency preparedness plan.  If not, suggest one!

What can you do to prepare your family?

Check out this graphic from Save the Children below to assist you in your family safety plan:

SavetheChildren

I’ve got to go now to make my “go kit.” I hope you will, too.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA.  

Photo credit to Save the Children. 

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterGoogle Plus

NETHERLANDS: My Child is Not Me

NETHERLANDS: My Child is Not Me

Olga & Her Daughter

Left: The author, Olga Mecking, when she was growing up in Germany. Right: Olga’s daughter today in the Netherlands.

Sometimes, I find myself rediscovering simple truths about life in general and parenting in particular. My latest epiphany is this: “My child is not me.”

On the contrary to all the books and articles out there that tell us that we will grow into our parents, I don’t think this is the case. I think that while our parents influence our lives, we’re still separate individuals with our own thoughts, ideas and opinions.

And never has this simple truth rung more true to me than it has when my eldest daughter started school. I’ve been very worried about sending her to school at the tender age of four. I thought back to my old school days and worried and worried. And worried some more because my experiences weren’t all that great.

But this is when I realized: my child is not me! Pretty much everything about her will be different.

I was born and raised in communist Poland and went to school shortly before Communism fell. As much as I love my country, going to school in these times wasn’t so great.

We had to learn everything by heart. Language teachers weren’t too good. Classes were huge and the teachers were strict, even to the point of giving bad grades for pretty much anything. Nobody knew anything about bilingualism, and I was even lucky to have German classes offered at my school, as bad as they were.

But my child is not me.

She goes to school in a modern, Western country and has been speaking 3 languages from birth. Her teacher is amazing and lets the children play a lot. They go outside for recess and learn letters and numbers, and they even went on a school trip. In my daughter’s school, it is normal to speak two or more languages.

As a child, I was shy and timid. My idea of a good day was, and still is, to stay at home and read a book. School proved to be too much for me at times: too loud, too big. On the other hand, I was often told to sit still, be organized, and listen when all I really wanted to do was run around.

But my child is not me.

She seems to be more of an extrovert than I ever was. She could be outside all the time, playing, jumping, swinging, playing with other children; and, she seems to enjoy school.

I even often receive photos from her teachers. Guess who of all the children in the pictures has the biggest smile? My blond beautiful daughter.

When I went to school, we were taught about computers, but seldom used them for school. We were told that learning is hard work and were given grades for our work, even for our paintings. After school, I totally stopped painting.

But my child is not me.

She thinks learning is fun and can use all the great apps for learning, and she has a great selection of books in all the languages that she’s learning. She loves getting her hands dirty with paint and uses them to paint on a large piece of paper. She paints the funniest creatures and people, and she gives them funny names.

My daughter and I both have straight blond hair. Many people tell me she looks like me. I think I have an idea who she got her willpower and stubbornness from, but my child, she’s not completely me.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Olga Mecking in the Netherlands. 

Photo credit to the author. 

Olga Mecking

Olga is a Polish woman living in the Netherlands with her German husband. She is a multilingual expat mom to three trilingual children (even though, theoretically, only one is trilingual since she's old enough to speak). She loves being an expat, exploring new cultures, learning languages, cooking and raising her children. Occasionally, Olga gives trainings in intercultural communication and works as a translator. Otherwise, you can find her sharing her experiences on her blog, The European Mama. Also take a while to visit her Facebook page .

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterest

MASSACHUSETTS, USA: Blind (play) Dating

MASSACHUSETTS, USA: Blind (play) Dating

playdateLast week my 7-year-old daughter invited a friend over for a playdate after school. My daughter and this child aren’t close friends, in fact, they aren’t even in the same class at school but they did play on the same town soccer team last year and the child has invited my daughter over a few times—including to her 7th birthday party—so we were due to reciprocate.

This particular little girl comes from a family of four children. She lives nearby in a large house in a posh sub-division and with four kids in her home, they have a lot of toys and things to play with.

Furthermore, her mom is one of those Alpha moms, who runs various nominated volunteer positions at school and who always seems to have her stuff together: pressed and polished at morning drop-off and calm and controlled when you see her in the pick-up line at the end of the day. You know the sort. (more…)

Kyla P'an (USA)

Kyla was born in suburban Philadelphia but tried not to let that stifle her deep desire to see the world. Her travels have included: three months on the European rails, three years studying and working in Japan, and nine months taking the slow road back from Japan to the US when she was done. Kyla took all of her Japanese knowledge and language ability and threw it right out the window when she met her Chinese-American husband in 2000. In addition to her work as Managing Editor of World Moms Bog, Kyla is a freelance writer, copy editor, triathlete and blogger. She and her husband reside outside of Boston, Massachusetts, where they are raising two spunky kids (ages 8 and 5), two frisky cats, a snail, a fish and a snake. You can read more about Kyla’s outlook on the world and motherhood on her personal blog, Growing Muses.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter