web analytics
May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »
NEW CONTRIBUTOR

No Complaints: My father’s Unwavering Faith in the Shadow of Cancer


My father

My father

Originally published at Aish.com.

Dedicated to the memory of my beloved father, Avrohom Dovid ben Alter Boruch.

It all started with a toe. A discoloration on a toenail, actually, that turned out to be melanoma skin cancer. My father, Rabbi Dovid Ross, was a tall, strong, healthy man. It seemed impossible that a little toe could cause him all this trouble. But it did.

We had never heard of melanoma. If we had, perhaps things would have been different. But melanoma was unknown to us. It was simply not on our radar.

The paradox of melanoma is that if it is caught early enough, it can be almost entirely treatable. If it is not, it is one of the most deadly cancers.

But my father was not the type to dwell on what could have been, what should have been. He believed that everything came from God. His cancer was decreed by God and only He could take it away.

He approached his situation with complete faith in God and with sunny optimism. He never focused on himself or his discomfort, only on the feelings of others. In fact, when he went in for one of his first biopsies, he apologized to the technician for crying out in pain, making his job more difficult.

The Quest for a Cure

Immunotherapy is the treatment of choice for melanoma, and my father was accepted into a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital that combined two different immunotherapy drugs. This very same treatment cured a well-known journalist, who wrote about it extensively in her online column. My father was considered fortunate to have access to this cutting edge treatment. But God clearly had something different in mind. Not only did the treatment not cure my father’s melanoma, but it damaged some of his vital organs – wreaking havoc and rendering him almost unrecognizable from the healthy man he appeared just weeks before. It also made him ineligible for just about any further meaningful treatment. This was an incredibly traumatic blow for our family.

Yet my father forged on, accepting God’s will while at the same time pursuing every avenue for treatment.

Our next step was finding out if my father’s cancer had any identified genetic mutation, as the newer field of personalized medicine targets the specific cancer mutation. Most of the research and available treatments focus around a few identified mutations, especially the BRAF mutation, which over 50% of melanoma patients have. My father’s test results came back and we learned that he was one of a small percentage of melanoma patients whose tumors had no identified mutation, excluding him from many of the treatment options.

Despite all the disappointments coming our way, my father was not discouraged. In fact, as amazing as this may sound, he did not even view these developments as bad. They were directed by God, and therefore, were exactly as they were supposed to be.

During some of these hard times, I would ask my father, “Daddy, are you okay?” His answer: “I’m the most okay guy in the world.” And he meant it.

Two Requests

My father rarely talked of the unspeakable fear we all had, that he wouldn’t win this battle. In the very beginning of his illness, though, he told me: “There are only two things I want from my children. The first is that you should always be close to one another. The second is that you should never have any complaints against God.” The first request was easy to fulfill, as my parents had always raised their children to be close. As my father’s condition worsened, the second request turned out to be a little harder.

About the Author: Tzivia Reiter is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Director at OHEL Bais Ezra, where she has dedicated her career to helping individuals with disabilities and their families. Her many articles on topics impacting the Jewish community, including Shidduchim, Mental Health and Disabilities, have appeared in major Jewish publications. A working mother of a growing family, her efforts to find the elusive balance between family, work and community inspired her to write the ultimate guide for observant Jewish working mothers: "Briefcases and baby Bottles: The working mothers guide to nurturing a Jewish home. A life-long multi-generational resident of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, she recently moved to Passaic, NJ with her family.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “No Complaints: My father’s Unwavering Faith in the Shadow of Cancer”

  1. This came at a perfect time for me. A beautiful story.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Indepth Stories
Harris-052215

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

Shalev and Rabbi Levinger

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

MK Moshe-Feiglin

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Sprecher-052215

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”

The gap isn’t between Israeli and American Jews-it’s between American Jews and the rest of the world

More Articles from Tzivia Reiter
My father

During one of his first biopsies, he apologized to the technician for crying out in pain, making his job more difficult.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/no-complaints-my-fathers-unwavering-faith-in-the-shadow-of-cancer/2014/01/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: