On August 15, I was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. Needless to say, hearing those words from the Doctor devastated me and my family. And yet we were uplifted to learn -- just the next day -- that the tumor appears to be localized and has not yet spread. In that moment, we went from the lowest low to one of the highest highs, marking what was one of the toughest weeks of my life.
Let's be very clear about one thing: we are all scared. This is a big, nasty tumor. When I hold my wife and hug my beautiful and precious baby Eleanore, I think about what this will be like and how it will turn out. I don't pretend to be fearless. That has never been me. Quite honestly, I don't see myself as a "Fighter" (have always seen myself as more of a "Lover":).
But I am also clear about another thing: there is absolutely no reason why I will not survive this. I am surrounded by loving family and friends and feel connected to communities all over the country, spanning many decades of my life. My wife is both my defender and my angel, caring for me while showing our daughter what real love and strength is. My daughter makes sure I focus on the present and warms my spirit with her smile and great sense of humor. My parents, siblings and immediate family have already been with me every step of the way. I'm blessed with life-long friends from Camp Tevya and from living in Israel, from high school and college, friends from throughout my career working in JCCs, Federations and Hillel, and now surrounded and uplifted by a special community here in Portland. Put simply, this experience has reminded me of a vast and loving support system that stands squarely behind me. And let's not forget that we live in the 21st century with some of the most magical miracles in modern medical technology that are able to do things unheard of just a decade or more ago.
Basically, the odds are stacked in MY favor:)!
The road will be long and difficult, but I am as sure about this as I have been about anything...God never puts anything in our path that we can't handle. And we will handle this. Laura and I both believe that everything happens for a reason. Understanding the reason 'why" is not nearly as important as being open to all the possibilities placed before us by the universe. And so, please send your prayers, thoughts, good wishes our way. And then when we reach the finish line, together, we will celebrate, together.