Last year, on Rosh Hashanah, I didn’t dream that I’d fear Yom Hadin like I do today…

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Who will live??

Last year, when I recited “U’nesaneh tokef”, I didn’t dream that less than a year later, I’d be pleading for life…

Last year, on Rosh Hashanah, I didn’t dream that I’d fear Yom Hadin like I do today…

But this year, as my life hangs in the balance, the Day of Judgment, Life and Death mean so much more.

This year, I’ll be spending Rosh Hashanah in the hospital. Yom Kippur too. And probably Succos. 

If I even make it that far.

I’ll spend Yomim Tovim in the Oncology ward, in a place where death is as tangible as life.

I’ll spend Yom Tov davening with all my might, reflecting upon my life and the life of my unborn baby.

I sound like a grown woman. Would you believe I’m only 19?

I got married less than a year ago, and baruch Hashem, got pregnant right away. 

Our simchah was complete. We were so happy, so excited to be embarking together on new life.

And then, our simchah overturned and was replaced with shock, devastation, and fear of death.

I woke up one night with unbearable pains in my abdomen. 

We rushed to the hospital, and everyone thought it was the pregnancy. They prepared me to lose the baby.

But it wasn’t the pregnancy or the baby, which were both, baruch Hashem, fine.

It was me.

The diagnosis was quick and shocking.

Cancer. Malignant. Life-threatening.

Threatening not only my life, but also the life of my unborn baby.

We can’t start radiation, because it will harm the fetus, and the chemotherapy is excruciating. 

And unaffordable, because we’re doing it privately to ensure that it’s carried out in the best way possible to avoid harming the baby.

Instead of looking forward to the big day, instead of shopping around for strollers, cribs and a baby layette, I’m thinking about whether I’ll even live to hold my baby?

Will I survive?

Will I ever be a mother?

The doctors explained that they’re doing everything to protect the fetus, because even if I survive, I may never be able to bear another child.

We just got married. I have a job, but my salary is just enough to cover our mortgage and living expenses. Certainly not enough to cover the costs of private cancer treatment. Sometimes, the financial burden is as overwhelming as the illness itself… 

My heart also goes out to my husband who never dreamed that he might lose his wife during our first year of marriage…

Neither of us dreamed that we’d spend our first Rosh Hashanah pleading desperately for dear life and another year together.

Neither of us dreamed that during these weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah, we’d be pleading with Klal Yisrael for help, just so I can survive!

Please help us so I can recover, so I can give birth to a healthy baby and raise my child!

This year, when I recite the words “Mi yichyeh?” during “U’nesaneh tokef” I’ll bli neder daven for anyone who helps us. I’ll daven that you should have a ksivah vachasimah tovah, a good year, a year of health, happiness, prosperity and nachas with no worries!

Tizku l’mitzvos.

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