Suzann Bresler Goldstein
Author

About

FIGHTING BACK: Doing Battle with Cancer, the website and the blog, is a collection of personal essays about managing our lives, the tragedies that sometimes befall us, and the in-between times that leave us marked by the joy of the moment.
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The Valerie Fund
The Valerie Fund's mission is to provide support for the comprehensive health care of children with cancer and blood disorders.

The Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center
RCINJ's Stacy Goldstein Breast Cancer Center provides comprehensive care for people with breast cancer.

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Category: Book Chapter

FIGHTING BACK: Doing Battle with Cancer

by Suzann Bresler Goldstein PART ONE THE SECRET SITS We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows. ( Robert Frost, 1942)  Editor: Edwin C. Goldstein


Chapter 1–Memories

I don’t remember my mother. She died suddenly one Saturday night in March while my parents were at the home of friends. Her name was Edna. She was 40 years old. I was 9 1/2. My dad woke me late that Saturday night—I had been sleeping at Granny’s, my mother’s mother. His arms tight around…


Chapter 2–Welcome to Our World

Eleven years after that jarring night in March when I learned my mother had died, my wonderful brother Stan was gone. He was killed in an automobile accident on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Riverdale, New York. Stan was twenty-six. I still miss him. One year later, determined to build a new life for myself,…


Chapter 3–Cancer!

“Stacy, hon. Daddy, Valerie and I have to go into New York again. The doctor wants another look at her leg.” No questions asked; no further explanation needed.  I wondered briefly about my mother; how would she have handled this? But she was not there for me: not to rely upon or to babysit, to…


Chapter 4–Coping, Quirks and Queries

Valerie has cancer. All at once I forgot about Ed’s reaction to my tears; normally, that would have been eating at me. But his biting behavior in the diner really didn’t matter anymore. I knew he was as shocked, as upset, as I was. And his conduct, I’m sure, was as outrageous as mine probably…


Chapter 5–The Doppelganger

¨Ed and I worked hard. We had no options. Our major medical had maxed out at $20,000—that was gone in an eye’s blink—and the slew of doctor and hospital bills on the corner of Ed’s desk showed no signs of diminishing. Besides that, there was the need to eat. Our new company, E & S…


Chapter 6–The Hall Clock

Traffic into New York City had been bumper to bumper. I was late. Valerie, my five-year-old, was in Babies Hospital one month after her last chemo. It was January 12, 1972, the date marking the end of two long, difficult years of shock and turmoil for my small family. This time, her checkup was for…


Chapter 7–Back On Track

At last! After three inpatient days at Babies Hospital searching for signs of cancer and finding none, we took Valerie home. One surgical biopsy, twenty-six sessions of radiation and two years of chemotherapy were over. I believed Valerie was made whole, liberated, renewed. “No sign of cancer,” the doctors said. “We can’t say with any…


Chapter 8–The House that Ed Built

Valerie and her radiation-damaged leg needed a new home. Her limp was worsening and our North Plainfield bi-level had two sets of stairs. Each time Val went downstairs to play in the rec room, I had to trust to the gods that she wouldn’t trip. We needed a house with fewer or no steps. In…


Chapter 9–The Little Leg

One week after our talk with Dr. Wolff about Val’s amputation, we were back in the hospital. Surgery was scheduled for the next morning. The children had been told only that Valerie had to stay at Babies for a few days. Ed said, “The bad cells in your leg aren’t completely gone, sweetheart. You need…