They Told Me: ‘You’ll Never Have More Children’
When Efrat was diagnosed with cancer, the doctors told her she would never have more children * Soon, she will be celebrating her son’s first birthday
One doctor told her she’d never have a baby. Another offered guidance in adoption. They all agreed that Efrat Keren’s chances of bearing more children of her own were next to nil.
Five years ago, Efrat (39), mother of two, was in the midst of divorce proceedings when she discovered that she had cancer. “It had spread throughout my body,” she relates. “I literally had one foot in the grave.” Due to the dire situation, her doctors told her that she would have to begin aggressive chemotherapy treatments immediately. There was no time to take measures to preserve her fertility. This meant that she would almost definitely forfeit the chance to bear children in the future.
After six months of treatments, tests showed that Efrat had overcome the cancer. My children would have a mother,” she rejoiced. But there in a hidden corner of her joy buzzed a gnat of angst. “Never to hold an infant in my arms again? If I were to remarry, never would there be a child to seal the marriage? Never…”
Two and a half years ago, Efrat did remarry. The couple knew that children were impossible but they dreamed. Dreams are funny things. They do not recognize facts. Hope flutters even when facts try to annihilate it. And so she visited the doctor. “No,” he asserted, leaving not a tiny bit of room for the hope that continued to bubble up.
Then there were symptoms. Imagination? Probably. But she went for an ultrasound and there it was. A fetal heartbeat! It came as a total shock.
Her third son was born healthy and normal. Her gratitude knew no bounds “Every morning, when I wake up, I thank G-d again for the miracle that happened to me,” she says. “Thanks to Leo, we are a real family.”
Then Efrat began to hear about others. Others that she had met at the oncology clinic. Other that had survived like her. But unlike her, they had not rejoined the world of normalcy. Not only was there no joy in their lives, but they were not even able to function as wives, parents, employees, neighbors. Physically they were healthy but emotionally they remained in the world of cancer. Trapped. Unable to find the door to normal living.
Feeling so utterly blessed and exuding happiness, she longed to reach out to these others. Ezer Mizion became her vehicle.
Ezer Mizion had long ago understood the plight of the cancer survivor and thus was born one of its newest divisions, New Beginnings, which offered a vast array of professional help for those unable to cope. As an expression of gratitude for her good fortune, Efrat decided to volunteer at Ezer Mizion’s New Beginning Cancer Survivors Clinic, where, under the guidance of trained psychologists, she offers cooking workshops for cancer survivors.
“Ezer Mizion’s Survivors Clinic provides a comprehensive response for survivors,” explains Tzippy Kestenbaum, Clinic Coordinator. “At the New Beginning Clinic, survivors have an opportunity to see a variety of professionals who can help them cope with the lingering effects of the illness on them and their families. We walk the survivors through the process of re-absorption into the community, help them get psychotherapy and other necessary medical treatments. We also offer therapeutic workshops including photography, nutrition, and drama for survivors, all free of charge.”
And so the circle has turned. From despair to hope, from hope to joy and from joy to giving to others, enabling them to rise from their own to despair to hope… to joy.
For more information: www.ezermizion.org