Usually I love summer and wish it would last longer, but not this year. Between breast cancer, COVID and hip pain, the summer of 2023 has been one of my worst. My only good news is that I don’t have the BRCCA gene, don’t need a double mastectomy or a hysterectomy. The absence of a negative has become a positive. Also, my autistic daughter does not have to worry (more than anyone else) about the risk of breast cancer. Better still, I don’t have to explain any of it or have more life and death conversations for the moment.

I was hoping Fall would be uplifting and my next blog could be funny or upbeat, but world events have not cooperated (to say the least). Even the fall weather has been mostly dreary, with rain every weekend—especially on Saturday—for the past six weeks. Perhaps the weather has been an omen?

The cruel attack and slaughter of innocent Israeli families by Hamas terrorists takes evil to the lowest and most unimaginable level. Killing and kidnapping joyous young people enjoying an outdoor concert has been excruciating for the Israelis who don’t know if their loved ones are alive or dead. The elderly and Holocaust survivors have not been spared either. And what could be worse than burning innocent children and decapitating babies before shooting their mothers? Animals are kinder to each other.

All of the antisemitism, which has grown exponentially in recent years, has now exploded on college campuses and elsewhere with a fury that is scarily like the Holocaust. Not to be forgotten is the war in Ukraine which continues to be long and bloody. I won’t touch the political situation in this country (or the erosion of women’s rights). Honestly, the world has never been in worse shape during my lifetime. Thinking (or writing about it) is exhausting and painful.  My heart goes out to all of the innocent people suffering everywhere, and most of all to Israel.

Is there any good news to report? I was hoping that Samantha would finally have a career break, but no. An amazing film opportunity for my daughter fell through—nobody’s fault, but a lot of bad luck (including COVID).  ENOUGH of COVID! I want to be positive and hopeful, but it’s been nearly impossible. I look at Samantha, who has been so resilient in the face of so many casting disappointments. She somehow manages to be mostly upbeat, live in the moment, and look forward to her next opportunity. She works as hard as she can on each audition and enjoys the process almost as much as the result, even when she isn’t cast in a part she desperately wanted. She always tries to make the most of a much smaller role.

I wish I had my daughter’s energy and ebullient personality.  Samantha manages to sparkle no matter what happens. I don’t know what story—if any—she tells herself about the suffering in the outside world. How does Samantha handle her own personal disappointments, especially the bullies who torment her and try to disrupt her life? She always bounces back. Nobody can steal her joy for very long.

I try to bask in Samantha’s sunshine as I fall faster and deeper into this rainy fall. Even though my breast cancer was caught early, I’m still worried about how many days and years I have left.  I never used to read obituaries, but now I’m magnetically drawn to them.  Last night I heard on Channel 4 news that Suzanne Somers died of breast cancer at age 76.  Howard was hoping I didn’t hear because I was talking on the phone.  Now I identify with the words “breast cancer” just the way I hear my name through the noise of another conversation.

As a breast cancer survivor, I know that I must make the most of every day, because who knows how long I have? Nobody has any guarantees in this war-torn world.  My plan is to stick around for my kids, my husband, myself, and whatever will be my next adventure. Samantha will need me for a very long time, and she worries about me now even when I cough. I’ve promised her I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

Turns out my husband feels the same way. He told me that he cherishes every moment he spends with me now and doesn’t want to wake up alone in our bed. What a sweet, loving man! Of course, one of us will be left alone one day.

In the meantime, we must make a point of creating more happy memories together—memories that can sustain us through whatever comes next.

I’m still curious.


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