Friday, September 9, 2011

the memoirs of Deborah Masel

In my last blog post, I made a link to a book I was reading. The link was actually wrong. I have fixed it. The book is called "Soul to Soul", and it is written by Deborah Masel, of blessed memory. She passed away from breast cancer metastases only weeks after this book was published. Here is the proper link. This book is phenomenal. It is dark, light, health, sickness, fear, bravery, Torah, Kaballah, poetry, and truth. Please think about ordering a copy, you will be transformed. I am.

I am planning on reading it again. I need to soak it in more, to embody this woman more. I need to savor the good parts more, and mark the spots that ring true for me. So many spots rang true for me.

She is searching for Torah. She searches in Tzfat (a wonderful, mystical city in Northern Israel), but ultimately goes back home, to Australia to continue learning.
She is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Shortly thereafter, as a result of a course of tests she did to prepare for the mastectomy, she is told there will be no mastectomy, her cancer has spread; metastasized. Lungs.

Chemotherapy, then brain mets. Whole brain radiation. Chemo. Radiation. Bones. Bone drugs in the chemo.

Almost all of her story parallels the story of my friend, RivkA Mattitya, who passed away of breast cancer metastasis in November, 2010. I can't believe it is almost a year. I felt RivkA reading with me. I saw the same meds, the same courses of events, the same names of chemo drugs, the brain mets diagnosis and radiation.

This book, Soul to Soul, the author talks about the important people because of their illness, and the less important. She likened it to being at the school nurse with a bleeding, scraped knee. At the same time you are there, another little girl is badly wounded, looks like a broken leg. They need to call an ambulance, immobilize the leg, call parents. The girl with the skinned knee is pushed to the back. She isn't hurt badly enough for attention.

The author says now, she (herself) is the priority patient. She likes it.

How does this relate to me?
Well, I so closely related to her and her illness, and her faith. But it's weird; I am not ill anymore. I have medical issues related to having been ill, but I am relatively healthy, thank the Merciful Lord. I feel, however, that the days I was really ill were somehow better... well not exactly better, of course, but I felt I was closer to God than I feel I am these days. Remember-- a feeling is just that-- a feeling. It is not necessarily truth, and it is transient.
I think my writing was much better then. I felt it more; I felt it all the time when I "wrote myself out" (The author's saying, I love it, it is exactly what I feel when I need urgently to write-- to write myself out.)

My posting has become less frequent. I find myself not feeling I have to write. Or better yet, feeling I do have to write, but not knowing what to say.

I think the author, Deborah, said it well for me:

"Death and creativity have always danced together in a way that has a power all it's own."

And there it is. Creativity within facing death. Creativity happening in the trauma.

I am Ok these days.
I am not facing death, I am not nervous about how my next scan will turn out.
No surgeries loom in my near future.

My pain issues, my kidney issues, intermittent sicknesses... it's all the girl with the skinned knee. (but inside me I am screaming! I am the one who had NF! See? I have a HUGE crater and skin graft! I had PVNS, an extremely rare disease! Don't I get to the front of the line? Well, truthfully, yes, in some cases. But that is a different story. There are so many stories in life.)

I miss having the creative juices flowing. I'll get them going when I delve into writing the book.

I miss Devorah Masel, although I never met her.
I miss my friend, RivkA. I really, really miss her.


  1. Darling Sarah, I feel your every word.


  2. I also kept up with rivkA's blog ,and she was a truly amazing woman, full of strenghth and bitachon. may g-d never test us, but these nisyanot should only bring us closer to him. shavua tov, rochel.